Friday, July 28, 2006

Interview with a Peregrina from Canada: Josephine

1. How did you hear about the Camino de Santiago?

Long time ago when I was on my regular visit to our local Art Gallery there was a Spanish Artist from Toronto showing her oil paintings. They were all Spanish Images showing mountains and beautiful valleys. In the center of the showroom on a large stand under glass there was another display. I was fascinated by what I saw. There were very simple things. There were some cockle shells and a couple of note books. One looked more like a diary, and there were some photos. I was delighted with what I could read in the open pages of the diary. It talked about this long 800km walk. I was thinking then ,that would be something for me. I was immediately taken by all this so started a 3 year research.

2. What made you do it?

What made me do it ? My reason for walking the Camino was for my sister Helena. She had just passed away and I needed help to get over that pain. The Camino did help.

3. Four attempts! There is a lot of determination right there. You must be elated when you finally completed it on your 4th try.

Yes, I'm so pleased with having finally done the whole Camino de Santiago de Compostela. It was also important to do it alone.

4. The disappointment in the first 3 attempts must be devastating. How do you cope with it?

I'm only disappointed with my first attempt at doing the camino. A woman I knew casually wished to go with me. So I agreed but it was the biggest mistake I could have done. I never talk much about my first try because it was so nasty. We did do only 450 km then. The second and third try was with my daughter. She never got enough time off work so we did as much as possible.That walk was just great and we did 300 + 500 km.

(Wow, Josephine's Camino in 4 tries covers 450+300+500+around 800 which is just over 2000 km!)

5. For someone with a small stature, the feat must be extremely arduous. What do you do to prepare for the journey?

To prepare for the camino I go for long walks daily. I learned to train as a road runner. Yes Evan I used to run a lot. I used to train for Marathons and Triathlons. So every morning at 5 am I go out there and walk 10 km. I do 5km make a hairpin turn around and walk back home. This will prevent hip injuries. My husband then has prepared for me a lovely breakfast when I get in. Three weeks before going to Spain I walk with a full backpack. My backpack never exceed 10kg. I also swim 5 times a week and do a little weight training.

6. Any advise for would-be pilgrims?

My advice to would-be Pilgrims is that training is an absolute must. It will prevent injuries. I already train now for my next year walk. Also wear your favorite shoes and bring an extra pair in your Backpack.

(This is where I suffer the most! I am lucky that I managed to complete my camino -ed)

7. Finally, I see that you do art work on the Camino theme in your spare time. Can you share with us what are the things that you have created?

My art work has changed a lot since walking the Camino. Paintings of mountains in watercolor are right now a priority. On pottery I like to leave imprints of the camino shell. I actually use my own shell to press into the raw clay. I sell once a year In September at our park in Bright's Grove. I feel so privileged to have gotten to know and walk the Camino. The Camino has attached itself to my soul. I wish for everyone who tries it , to come out of it feeling good about themselves and their achivements. Buen Camino.

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