Ep158: The Pilgrimage
This episode marks the 7-year anniversary of Mike Murphy Unplugged. In this episode, I share the story of my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in France & Spain.
My name is Mike Murphy and I started Mike Murphy Unplugged in September 2015 to teach and document my journey of building an online business and brand creating content. The goal of the podcast has always been to share what I am learning and doing to create the life I want to inspire others to create the life they want.
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Introduction To Adobe Audition
My name is Mike Murphy, and you are listening to episode 1 58. The pilgrimage, I started this podcast, Mike Murphy unplugged seven years ago in September of 2015, as a way to teach and document my journey of figuring. How to make a living doing my own thing. So I could live a simple, happy, and healthy life on my terms to celebrate the seven-year anniversary of this podcast.
Mike Murphy unplugged. I wanted to do something special and share the story of another journey. My 650-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. That I completed in October of 2021, as the cliche goes, [00:01:00] it's the journey and not the destination. And I could not agree more. I hope you enjoy this episode 1 58.
I thank you for joining me today. And for those who have been with me since the early days of this journey, an extra big, thank you goes out to you. The pilgrimage. Shaking his head with a very concerned look on his face. He simply said, no Bueno. That means not good in Spanish. Just minutes before I was told that he in this conversation was the goat greatest of all time of feet and made magical elixirs that have healed wounded pilgrims for years.
This shaman of feet took one, look at my heavily blistered infected, extremely painful and so swollen. They barely fit in my shoes and basically said, I'm [00:02:00] good, but not that good. Lo siento (I am sorry). A Pilgrim or Perrino is defined as a person who journeys to a sacred place often for religious or spiritual reasons.
The Camino de Santiago or the way of St. James is a pilgrimage that can be traced back to medieval times. There are several different routes, but all lead to the tomb of the apostle St. James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the most popular route. And the one that is documented in the movie, the way.
Starring Martin sheen is called Camino Fran, and it starts in St. John PED deport, France, and goes up and over the ESE mountains into Spain for 500 plus miles to Santiago de Compostela in the Galatian region of Spain. [00:03:00] On August 26th, 2021, the amazing volunteers at the pilgrim's office gave me maps, words of wisdom, a scallop shell, and the official symbol of the Camino to tie onto my backpack.
The first stamp in my pilgrim's passport, which is required to stay in all of the ESES or hostels, and also to receive the coveted Compostela or certificate of completion when you make it to Sant. As I walked out the door of the pilgrim's office, my new 80-plus-year-old volunteer friend looked me in the eyes and simply said, Blane Camino, which I would say in here, thousands of times, over the next 45-plus days.
And Boin Camino simply means to have a good Camino. And hearing it and saying it to fellow pilgrims made me smile every [00:04:00] single time. Let's back up a minute. So you understand how I found myself on the Camino de Santiago. Some friends of mine told me to look into the Camino. And from that moment on, I could not stop thinking about it for over two plus years.
The lore is once the Camino calls you have to go. And that was indeed the case for me. I was starting to get very burned out at my full-time podcasting job. And even though I was still able to consistently create content at night and in the early mornings, the stress was building up and I was not in a healthy or happy place.
I felt as though I was giving all of my creative and mental bandwidth and best work to my nine to five, and I was putting my dreams and goals on the back burner in exchange for a good paycheck in health insurance. And it was really eating at my insides. If I did not quit or [00:05:00] take a break, I was either going to lose my mind or my.
So I decided to ask for an unpaid leave of absence to walk the Camino de Santiago and get a much-needed attitude, adjustment, and reset. Honestly, I did not care if my request was approved or not, as the Camino was calling and I was going, either way, surprisingly, the leave of absence got approved and I knew right then and there that things would never be the same, both at work and in life.
Walking out of the village gates of St. John PED deport with everything I needed on my back and my new walking sticks in my hands. I spotted my first yellow arrow spray painted on a rock, showing me the way to Santiago. I began the most incredible, beautiful, and challenging experiences of my life. Whistling singing, smiling, and never once thinking about my J O [00:06:00] B, I began day one climbing up the French countryside without a care in the world.
I stopped for the night at my first of many albergues or hostels for pilgrims on the border of France and Spain, where I would learn my new routines of hand washing my dusty and smelly clothes, taking a much-needed shower, attending to blisters, and assessing the body pain levels, setting up my charging station, headlamp, setting up my bed, packing and unpacking, et C.
As simple as they were, it was these daily routines and rituals that would become a major part of the Camino magic. The other magical part was of course the Vino and the cam communal dinners with my fellow peregrinos. I started the Camino excited for the solo adventure, but it only took my first night to realize that I would never truly be alone on the Camino and that I would end up walking with friends for [00:07:00] life.
There are no rules on the Camino and everyone's Camino is their own many peregrinos simply walk until they are tired and look for a bed at the next Pueblo and repeat day after day until they make it to Santiago. The saying is that the Camino provides or the Camino gives meaning you do not have to worry about anything except following the yellow arrow.
And there will always be a bed or food or someone to take care of you, no matter how crowded or booked things may seem, you just have to trust that the Camino will provide. And I witnessed this many times during my walk. The Alberta days were set up years ago to care for the pilgrims. After a long day's walk.
And the tradition of the Camino is taking very seriously in the entire region of Spain. Every village you walk through feels like home. As everyone from little [00:08:00] children to senior citizens are so welcoming. They are very proud of the Camino and they say Camino with such sincerity. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
It only takes a few days on the Camino to realize that every morning you leave in Alberta, you start to recognize more and more familiar people, and they become your Camino family, people from all over the world who all started on or near the same day, all walking together yet alone, somehow, or another become like you're graduating class all with the hopes of making it to Santiago together in one piece.
Since everybody pretty much wears the same thing every day. You just start recognizing people by the color of their shirt or hat or backpack. And it doesn't matter if you know their name or can speak their language. As all it takes is a smile and a Boin Camino life on the Camino is simple. Walk, eat, drink, [00:09:00] sleep.
Repeat. One of my favorite sayings on the Camino was we have one thing to do today and all day to do it. Let that quote sink in a minute. One thing to do in all day to do it and think about how you are living your day to day life or running your business. I know for myself as a content creator, trying to do my own thing.
Most days I am multitasking and doing a million things at the same time. And at the end of each day, I feel like I got nothing done. And if I only applied this simple practice of one thing to do and all they to do it, I would move mountains with my business, focus on the task at hand, and good things will happen.
One of a million lessons learned on the Camino. So they say that the Camino can be broken down into three parts. Body mind and spirit. Basically the first third you are in pain every day. The second, third is more [00:10:00] introspective and mentally challenging. And the last section spirit is the feeling that you never want to end.
The body section part one was no joke. On average, I walked about 15 to 20 miles per day. My apple watch was always over 40,000 steps and the terrain was always changing. After a beautiful climb over the ESE mountains, and then a very strenuous day walking down a gorgeous, but really Rocky trail for 10 plus miles.
I found myself in and out that night with four drunken Irish guys, and both of my feet were split wide open. I was in pain and I knew that I may be in trouble. This was only day three while soaking my poor feet before dinner, I heard a commotion outside and then a car door slam. And in came this loud whirling dervish also from Ireland, coming in hot to the Berge, cussing like a sailor.
It turns out another [00:11:00] Berge down the road lost her reservation and she was not happy about it. And she was gonna let all of Spain know about. Her fellow Irishman knew exactly what to do. And with no time, there was a lot of drinking going on, eating, singing, and Dorothy had everyone and gals of laughter.
She would become mine and many others on the Caminos guardian angel medic and partner in crime all the way to Sania. The next morning, Dorothy. And I wrapped up our blistered feet in hobbled, out of the Berge on day four in pure agony, unsure how we would be able to walk the 15 plus miles to PLO. But after reminding her that we had one thing to do today and all day to do it.
I also lied and assured her that today's walk was gonna be a walk in the park, which neither of us believed, but it sure seemed to help for the first two weeks. I could barely walk to the bathroom in the morning. My feet barely fit in my [00:12:00] shoes because of all the bandages. But as soon as I started walking every day and seeing familiar faces, the pain just seemed to go away.
And all I wanted to do was enjoy the beautiful scenery and just put one foot in front of the. All I could think about was how lucky I was. And I could not have been happier. Just walking, laughing, taking a million photos and feeling completely unplugged. Literally I did not listen to podcasts, audiobooks music, or check social media the entire time.
And it was so peaceful. In a side note before I left for the Camino, I made about 30 videos, which was not easy. And I scheduled all of them to publish a YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook so I could remain consistent, but not be tethered to the digital world. I rarely thought about social media or using my phone for anything other than the camera maps and WhatsApp, which is how my Camino group all kept an eye on each other.
Walk, eat, [00:13:00] drink, sleep. life could not get any simpler or better, except getting to meet new lifelong friends that would become my Camino tribe. And that would end up walking with all the way to Santiago and some beyond the beauty of the Camino, especially for an introvert like myself is if you wanna walk alone or be by yourself, you just go, you don't have to tell anybody or explain anything.
But the Camino has its way of bringing people together, especially those like myself who probably needed the nudge to interact more with others. I loved every part of the Camino experience, maybe minus the pain, but enjoying an ice cold Tinto day Verano or summer wine at the end of a 15 mile walk with my Camino crew and hundreds of my closest friends was the highlight of every.
And the best part was I knew that the next day I got [00:14:00] to do it all over again, part two, the mind section, this was through a long, hot sun exposed section, known as the Mata that has desert-like qualities and quite a mystique about it. As it seemed to scare a lot of people and some even skipped it all together.
Personally, I found them as set, just as beautiful as everything else. And while the landscape was a little barren, there wasn't a lot of shade in trees. It was still life on the Camino and I loved it. All the mine part was definitely a thing though, and recall having some very tough days walking and really having to dig deep in the gas tank to make it to the final destination for the day.
And I had some real introspective moments for. Should I take a rest day? Are we not even halfway there yet? It feels like I've been walking for months already. Are my feet gonna fall off? Then one day about three weeks in, I found myself just effortlessly climbing up a long steep section for several miles at a [00:15:00] time.
And my feet felt incredible. 15 miles was starting to feel like a walk in the park for. randomly and frequently, I would just find myself overwhelmed with feelings of happiness and gratitude. How amazing is this? I'd say out loud, how lucky am I to be able to do this? The beauty of the Camino was incredible.
My Camino tribe from Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and all over the world made every day full and fun and funny. And I felt present just like all the woo woo books that I read. I knew I had entered part three, the spirit section, this was the section I never wanted to end. And also the part that I knew would change me forever.
This is why people walk the Camino de Santiago and why they can't wait to return the walk into Santiago de Comella for me, with pride and joy, like I have never [00:16:00] experienced before. Bagpipes in the distance were getting louder. As we approached the final stretch of the Camino Fran face, and then walking through a tunnel to this massive Plaza that opened up in front of the Santiago cathedral only to be embraced in a giant group hug by my entire Camino family.
We did it and life will never be the same. After spending a few bittersweet days in Santiago, relaxing, reminiscing, crying, laughing, drinking, and savoring our final hours together. I said my goodbyes and continued on for another a hundred plus miles to the coastal towns of Fera. And MOIA, if you watch the movie the way this is where Martin, she throws his son's ashes in the.
The last stretch leaving Santiago took about a week and it was very long days and physically challenging. But by then I felt unstoppable physically [00:17:00] at sunset. I made it to the lighthouse in Fera, which the early pilgrims deemed the end of the world. And out of nowhere, I completely lost it. Totally unexpected.
I wept UN. It was definitely tears of joy, but I will never forget this feeling in that moment. And I'm sure many of my fellow pilgrims had a similar experience somewhere along their journey. I had changed and I was proud of what I had accomplished. I knew at that moment that I could do anything I set my mind out to do, and that life was really incredible.
in total. I walked over 43 days straight and according to my apple watch, I logged 650 miles. And over 1.4 million steps. And I also learned a good amount of Spanish. And again, I made friends that I will never forget. I remember laughing with a friend toward the end of the journey when I [00:18:00] realized, you know, what I haven't thought of my job once during this entire.
Months before I was stressed out and overwhelmed with slack notifications, emails, Zoom calls, and here I was walking from one end of Spain to the other. And it was if I had never worked for the company, the reset button definitely worked to deal with the stress, but I also knew the truth. I was ready to return home to celebrate the trip.
And I felt like I was. but adapting to non-Camino life was a lot harder than I expected. I returned to work and I knew that I was on borrowed time. One based on the vibe that I received when I returned, but I also knew the life I wanted did not include being miserable at a corporate job that no longer served me.
I was informed that my position was no longer needed. That's in quotes in January of 2020. And it was, if [00:19:00] a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders, I was relieved and I was ready to focus my energy on Mike Murphy, COO. I still have plenty of work to get my business to where it needs to be, but just like on the Camino, slow and steady wins the race.
I am happy. I am moving forward and hope you are too. I thank you for joining me today. On this seven-year anniversary episode of Mike Murphy unplugged in hears to many more Wayne Camino.