You have reached your destination

September 12, 2020

The voice of my GPS tells me when I have arrived. That’s what a GPS is for: lead me to where I want to go. Even if I don’t know if this really is the place where I should be.

Exactly one year ago today, I entered a portuguese address into my GPS. Because I had a date. A date with the future. My future.

Two days later I arrived at this address. So, my GPS told me I had arrived. Physically I had arrived at this place. With all of my personal stuff in my car. In my head there was, apart from the luggage I had been collecting for 51 years, a jumble of thoughts and emotions. Seeking for balance and still taking me on a rollercoaster so many times. But I had the faith that it would all turn out wel, as I used to do.

‘The year after’ feels like a moment to draw up a balance. But what’s the use of that? The past year wasn’t predictable. Not for me like for no one in the whole world. And that is fine, even though this may seem a weird thing to say. Was it what I expected it to be? No, of course not. Even if I had had expectations, they have been surpassed in every way. I could name things that I did not do or did not accomplish. But there are way more things that happened and that where not even on my list.

I’ve been thinking quite some time about what I would write on this ‘first anniversary of the big move’. It didn’t show, just like if it did not want to be written. In that case I have learnt to ask myself: “Then, what do you feel?”
Well, I feel PEACE. My mind and my body are all in peace. The fatigue that has been killing me for such a long time has gone. Once in a while it returns, but instead of shutting the door and ignoring it, I let it in. I allow it to be there, I give it time and space and then it will disappear on its own.

Both physically and mentally I have travelled a long way since the day I arrived where I am today. Actually since the day I decided, over 2 years ago, that I wanted to head in another direction than the dead end road where I got stuck.

I could say: “What a year!” But that goes for the world. Because Covid-19 changed the script for everyone. There I was. I had only just moved to a new country, with a different language and culture. I had only just started a new business, with a ‘business model’ in my mind. And all of a sudden the world stopped turning. Literally.
Suddenly I was forced to press pause. And this may sound bizar, but oh my, this was a blessing! The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Because, whether I liked it or not, my body was still filled with adrenaline and dopamine. I was all ‘in the flow’, as they say. It was all running so smoothly and far too often I forgot what led me here. So, quarantine helped me to hit the brake, to slow down and to refresh both physically and mentally. And to connect with myself. The walks to Bom Jesus and to so many other stunning places have brought so much peace of mind. The sudden absence of too many incentives did the world of good. I discovered that my place here in Braga really is my place. That my house and my garden are really my home.

The past year I have travelled to Belgium 3 times. It would have been more, but the circumstances did not allow me to. Every time it felt like drowning in the same bath. Every time it was like a ride on a rollercoaster. The joy of meeting the people I care about and an oppresive feeling at the same time. The relief when the ride is over. Returning to Braga felt more and more like coming home. Not just physically, but also mentally.
It’s like after a year the voice in my GPS echoes: “You have reached your destination.” I do feel like coming home to myself.

And yet? Well, the future will tell. What should happen, will happen. My business Nefelibata will get the time to develop. The time that is needed, without any deadlines. But perhaps with a goal. Because today I want to make a commitment.

A year from now, somewhere in September 2021 I want to walk the Caminho Português da Costa.

Indeed, the caminho to Santiago de Compostella, about 200 km. The coming year I want to prepare for that goal. And I want to share my preparations with all of you. And perhaps it will encourage some of you to walk with me? Who knows?

So,… the word is out ?

On this blog page I will share my preparations. Enjoy reading!

What makes people want to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella?

So, In september 2021 I want to walk the Caminho Português da Costa. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't want to prepare properly How do I start? When do I start preparing? And so many other question that I can only ask one person. Inge Compen is definitely the most experienced walker of the Camino de Santiago I know. I asked her to be the 'godmother' of my project. And I raised a first question: "Inge, what makes people want to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella?"

Your day might have come

“Could it be that your time has come?" That's what Inge asked me a couple of months ago and she meant that perhaps it was the right moment for me to walk the Caminho Português. I declined the invitation because at that moment I did not feel  ready physically. After all it is nothing like my walk to Bom Jesus, even when you count the 600 stairs. "But it is on my list," I said to her.