Missing the Camino

And also missing writing this blog.

I miss the walking – though am still walking everyday.

I’ve noticed that I’m both fitter and trimmer after the Camino, though I didn’t actually lose (much) weight – beer and wine most days was the main reason I suspect – and in an attempt to keep the weight off I’ve been to the swimming pool a lot as well as walking and running (a bit).

I’m also missing meeting people on the Camino.

Last Saturday I did my first park run post Camino.

My time was nothing to write home about (40.23 /5km) but it was lovely to be running by the lake in Tampere again, and to spend time with some of my park run family. I love that … in some ways reminiscent of the Camino family at least in terms of having a shared goal and being part of an encouraging community!

Come and join us … the Tampere park run is every Saturday morning at 9.30. To get there (I go monthly!) I get the early morning bus or train from Turku. You don’t have to be a runner to do the park run, you can walk the course. It’s possible to do it pushing a buggy or wheelchair as well, or why not run/walk with your dog? In the spring I plan to drive up one week so Tinka can meet the parkrun gang as well. She’ll love that!

I’m missing the sunshine of the Camino, particularly the wonderful weather I had for the first five weeks!

Meanwhile here in Turku: at the pool I’ve changed my regime a bit because the city has invested in a couple of water friendly mounted tablets … so instead of only aquajogging I’ve been following a programme called hydro hex … mainly focussing on developing core muscles and strength and working a bit on my upper body (arms in particular) as well. It’s a lot of fun … and I’ve liked the change from merely aquajogging. I feel it’s helping me keep my sanity post Camino!

November is usually the trickiest month for me, and the one in which I have to work hardest to keep SAD at bay. This year, so far, most probably because of the Camino experience (which is still bringing me joy) and the new exercise regime, I have managed better than I feared possible. The November blues are there, but milder than they’ve been for the past few years. For that I’m thankful … though it was SAD last November that forced me to try running … and what a wonderful thing that’s turned out to be.

I’m missing all the different impetus of the Camino: the different views, colours, the cultural differences, the mix of languages ….

To compensate I’ve scheduled in things that “fill the tank”.

In Tampere last weekend I went to the Tampere Art Museum, and this week I was at Aboa Vetus (old Turku) with a school group … Next weekend I’m off to the theatre (a birthday treat) for a musical evening in Swedish.

And I’ve started to read again!

Another thing that’s really been helping me this month, is my decluttering project. I’ve done a little every day … and chosen not to focus on /blitz one particular room, but rather take a ‘bite-sized’ approach of one junk drawer or one shelf per evening …and it’s paying dividends.

I’m combining the purging of unwanted/ un or under-used items, with a sort of spring /winter clean … the most purging has happened in my closet and the junk drawers, and I feel both I and our house are already able to breathe a bit better! Certainly the dust is less which helps!

I tend to think of myself as a reluctant consumer insofar as I am not a shopper by any stretch of the imagination, and when I do need to buy I usually prefer to try to buy secondhand pre-loved items rather than new … (on the Camino almost nothing I took with me was new) so it’s always a bit of a shock to realise how much stuff I actually have … and worse how much of it is never or very rarely used.

I’ve worked primarily with the premise “if in doubt, throw it out” … although sentiment does come into play. We have this lovely coffee service (tiny coffee cups) which was a wedding gift thirty years ago from family friends in Sri Lanka. We never use it … but I’d hate to part with it!

So it was washed, the shelf cleaned, and put back in more or less the same position! The shelf contains porcelain that our children were given as babies / small children. Below that on the open shelf my late dad’s coffee grinder, and my grandmother’s rosewood box with a few blue nicknacks I’ve acquired over the years. This is the closest I have to ornaments … none of it useful or used, but most holds sentimental value for me. Which goes to show I’m a hoarder … though not an extreme one.

I’m missing the Camino but not as badly as I feared. I think that’s because the Camino helped me learn to look at life a bit differently. And my life here in Finland is pretty good …

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