Stories that take you on a journey

Ways to Santiago de Compostela – Part 3…

The Camino provides solace…

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

Thankfully I was able to schedule my hip replacement operation a week after my contract finished. With a six week recovery time and who knows how long to secure another job, I was reluctant to prolong going under the knife. When I woke up post-operation the gnawing, life-sapping osteoarthritis pain was gone. It was a struggle, but I had continued my weekly Pilates sessions. Yes, I had some surgery pain, but the Pilates had paid off. This plus some help from friends and family post-op meant that I had a quick recovery. On my first day home, I walked with my crutches, taking the route to the bus stop and stood at the spot where my left hip would cease, where I wondered how I would make it to the bus. I stood in silence, thanking both the universe and my surgeon. Continued on walking with ease.

I got through the dark days of the osteoarthritis, those days were I got home and flung myself on my bed, unable to walk another step by meditating. In my mind, I walked the Napoleon route from Saint Jean de Port to Roncesvalles. I would breathe in the mountain air, feel the wind on my cheeks and marvel at the beauty of the mountains.

After this break, I would make some dinner, return to bed and lull myself to sleep with a nightly ritual of walking with Efrén González. I loved his drone footage, sense of humour, the way he captured his daily routines on the track and his choice of accessory. On Day 32 he arrived in Compostela de Santiago, after a massive walk from A Salceda. It felt too soon to say goodbye, so we walked together to Finisterre.

On the last day of 2017, I accompanied one of my cousins and her friend on a bushwalk. The track started with a steep climb that challenged my breathing, but my fitness levels were back, and I had a newfound inner strength. Life was fun again.


The Camino – unfinished business…

“Being authentic means being who you are at your core, regardless of what others think of you.” – Angela Morelli Carpenter

2018 –Feeling great – a new contract, fitness level on the up and up. I’m committed to completing three papers to my Degree – double major in English and Media Studies. I was also tossing around thoughts of where I should live. I liked the area where my niece and her partner had purchased a house; eight hours drive south of where I currently live. I made a couple of reconnaissance trips to check out the area, see how I felt. As I walked in my new hiking shoes through Queen Elizabeth Park, I knew that the only way I could move forward with my life was to acknowledge my need to go back and walk the Camino Frances. Again I virtually walked the Camino.  This time with Angela Morelli Carpenter. Her spirit resonated with mine, as we both possess a deep faith which is not founded on religion but is of a more spiritual and intuitive nature. Her 36-day walk was full of challenges, blisters, wonder and joy.

2019, approached I renewed my contract but limited my hours as I needed to finish my final three university papers. I intuitively felt that I needed to complete these papers in the first term, then head off to do the Camino Frances in September. My spirit, my intuition told me this date was immoveable. I was excited. I did though think my friends and family would be horrified, thinking I was crazy. Instead, they were supportive.

Sadly Covid19 has affected all of us, one way or another. For those who like reading and those of you who have cancelled your trip join me on my Camino Frances 2019 experience…


8 Responses to “Ways to Santiago de Compostela – Part 3…”

  1. Isobel Cunningham

    Your words resonated with me on a few levels. I too experienced the miraculous release from pain a hip replacement can bring. I will be forever grateful to my surgeon, Dr. Stephenson. My plan to walk the Camino in May 2020 were, like those of so many others, hijacked by the Corona virus. At age 72 , I sometimes wonder when/ if my dream will be realized…but I continue my fitness training every day and trust in the future. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthea Noonan Wade

      Thanks, for your message Isobel.
      My friend’s mother walked at age 76; she had a fantastic time. Don’t lose your dream.
      On a personal note, it’s great that you are going to be following my journey.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Suzanne

      Very inspiring, and here I was losing hope at 62 years of ever getting back to travel, let alone doing my first Camino.


      • Anthea Noonan Wade

        I understand your apprehension; however, walking a Camino is less about age and more about attitude. As such, I wanted to share Maggie MacLauren’s story She walked her first Camino solo to celebrate her 80th birthday. Not only has her story inspired me, but she has also given me a role model to help me navigate my late sixties and beyond.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne

        Thanks for that link. Yes, I know all about attitude – I completed 10 half marathons in my fifties.


      • Suzanne

        Thanks. Might take a while as I have another journey to get through in the coming years. My husband is waiting for a stem cell transplant up in Auckland and it will be hard going for a while all going well. In the meantime, small things and distractions like walking and cycling for me.


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