Bon Camino – Would you walk 800km to learn this lesson?

Bon Camino – Would you walk 800km to learn this lesson?

I recently had the chance to walk the Camino Way in northern Spain with my wife and some good friends. It was a fascinating and enlightening experience. We walked the last 120kms from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela in five days. Well done you might say; thank you, but we were more impressed with the people we met who were finishing off the full 800km walk.

People of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds take the journey, whether it’s for religious reasons, spiritual reasons or just to take on the challenge and view the scenery. Whatever the motivation it is a great experience.

And it’s in situations like this I think; it’s not what you do but what you learn from what you do that is important. What can I take from this walk that is valuable elsewhere?

What interested me most was the camaraderie that is constantly present among the participants. Regularly you hear “Bon Camino” as you overtake someone or are overtaken – simply, “Have a good journey”. Everyone has the same goal but it is not a competition. The adage, ”It’s not the destination but the journey that counts”, certainly rings true here.  And the encouragement can certainly help as you hit the 25km mark late in the afternoon.

Reassuringly, t’s very hard to get lost or lose your way as it’s very well signposted. The scallop shell and yellow arrow keep directing you along the right path, in the right direction.  You don’t need a tour guide or someone herding you or yelling instructions. The signs are there – and so is the encouragement.

It had me contemplating; how do we in our work places direct the people in our charge? Do we keep a close check on them, herd them and bark instructions? Or do we give them good directions and plenty of encouragement and make the journey as valuable as the destination? Which approach gets the best out of them?

Bon Camino.


Simon Madden