How to send uplifting messages by email.
June 19, 2012 1:39 PM   Subscribe

My wife is hiking the Camino in Spain, the same one as depicted in 'The Way' with Martin Sheen. She's having some difficulties adjusting and could use some uplifting messages. What can I send her?

She's about two and a half weeks into a six week sojourn hiking along the Camino trail. She's having some issues with leg pain, probably feeling somewhat alone in a different culture and asking for some emotional/psychological support by email.
What quotes, images, stories could I send her to help put the wind back in her sails? She has pretty limited access to her gmail account, so brevity is desired over length. She needs to hear she's going to make it, that she can do this, that it's all good. I'm looking for quotes, haiku, images, whatever that helps to drive that message home.
posted by diode to Travel & Transportation around Trebujena, Spain (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This Spanish palindrome, "La ruta nos aportó otro paso natural," or "the route provides the next natural step." Found here via this blog about pilgrimages and walking (which I once made a post out of) that's sure to provide much that is inspirational.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Before the start of the Leadville 100 ultramarathon, the race director sends everyone off with "You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can."
posted by shornco at 1:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Thomas Merton Prayer might be useful to someone who is unsure of the road ahead.
posted by jquinby at 1:55 PM on June 19, 2012

Oysterband has a wonderful song called "the Road to Santiago". (The whole CD is great).

You can also send my best wishes - walking the pilgrimage to Santiago is one of those "maybe, one day" dream things for me (along with the Great Wall of China and the buried treasures of Xi'an).
posted by jb at 2:11 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry - I didn't realize how limited her data access is - she may not be able to watch youtube.
posted by jb at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2012

Two and a half weeks into it, she is likely in the worst part of el Camino, in the flat and boring North of Castilla. Few messages / ideas :

That part really sucks - I spend some time near Sahagún every year, so I know full well the brutal difference with other parts of the trail.

It will definitely get a lot better (just like at the beginning in Navarra) once she hits León and will keep getting better from then on. Santiago definitely will not let you down as a destination.

13 months ago, I did the Navarra stretch for a week and one of the unexpected highlights of the trip was meeting and talking to at least 5 different people or groups per day, most of them English-speaking. I am not a specially social person, but you walk with folks pretty much for the whole trail.

One thing that I noticed is that Spanish caminantes pampered themselves a lot more than foreigners. Even if you are on a tight budget, you don't have to stick to dining and lunching on cheap sandwhiches. Even in boring old north Castilla she will be surrounded by a cuisine that is extremely sophisticated yet quite accessible. Scouting out a special place or two along the way might make a big difference. It very important to know that many high-endish places will offer a peregrino menu, which is often a huge deal. Many places in Spain will have a regular menu, which is another great and cheap option: Spanish lunch menus always include a starter and a main course to choose from a set of 3 or more each, bread, wine and coffee or dessert and cost ~10 euros.

Likewise for hotels: albergues are a great bottom-rock cheap option, but splashing on a decent hotel can also bring spirits up and there is no penalty for it (albergues will seal your credentials even if you do not sleep there). You might be able to help with the logistics if her internet access is limited.

Bottom line: it is worth working through the pain of Castilla, but don't forget to enjoy not only the trail but also the place.

I don't come here often, but feel free to send me a mefi mail if you need specifics.
posted by magullo at 2:56 PM on June 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Re: leg pain - yeah, it's pretty much either you are a hiker or your legs will freaking kill you. I had split sheens for a month after walking 140 km in 6 days with barely any training before that .

Getting "Crema de Pies Neutrogena fórmula noruega" at a Farmacia and using it every day before and after walking is another - very sensible - way to pamper herself. Farmacias along the camino are also not at all surprised when people come in complaining of leg pain and are the best walk-in choice. With the crisis hitting hard, I am also quite sure talking to a physiotherapist should not be expensive or hard to arrange, at least in the larger places (language barrier might be an issue though). Ask in the farmacias.
posted by magullo at 3:11 PM on June 19, 2012

I think I know how she feels, for me it was more my flat feet than my legs though those got pretty sore too. There are definitely times on the camino that feel an awful lot worse than you expected, especially if you're not really hardened to distance hiking. I mostly got through them by singing whatever songs I could think of as I walked (CCR's Lodi got a lot of voice time for some reason) and by asking for advice from fellow pilgrims and refugio hosts, those and the all too rare post restant messages sent from home (before the internet). Despite the pain and the discouragement i often felt though, I got to Santiago in the end and remembered the experience so fondly that I did it again a few years later. Those pilgrimages remain high points in my life.

You might find more camino-specific advice on a forum like this one, which is dedicated to questions about the pilgrimage. If she is really hard to reach via internet, or if you think she'd appreciate some other kind of contact, you might be able to send a message through one of the refugios--here is a list of the local pilgrimage associations in Spain, though someone on that forum I mentioned before would know more than I about other ways of contacting pilgrims.

In any case, please tell her that despite how she feels, it is doable and send her an 'Ultreia et Suseia' (just a picture I found) from a Canadian peregrino.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 4:53 PM on June 19, 2012

"It's the climb."
posted by hermitosis at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2012

I did the Camino journey last year, and I know how she may be feeling. Remember how much you have covered already - - keep your own pace - - take lots of breaks - - IT WILL get easier around day 14-18 - the body will get used to it.
Buen Camino - don't give up! it's all worth it!
posted by hanessa at 11:29 AM on June 20, 2012

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