By Jan Foster
Being on the Camino has parallels with being a carer.
Firstly, as a carer you need to be strong, committed, resilient and able to cope with adversity.
On the walk we have experienced extremes of weather conditions - hot and 37 degrees one day, then constant rain. If we weren't tough, resilient people we would just want to give up!
At the end of each day our feet are tired and covered in blisters but we rise the next day to face a new challenge, just as you have to as a carer.
We need to be organised and think ahead and wash out our clothes ready for the next day. A carer also needs to be really organised to juggle the needs of loved ones with their own needs and commitments.
On the Camino we need to be really vigilant and watch out for yellow arrows on the trail, otherwise we could end up in some foreign destination. A carer also needs to be vigilant to be in tune with the needs of their loved one - watching for pressure areas, if they are thirsty or hungry or their clothes need changing.
Being on the Camino toughens you but you also need to be strong to survive, just as you need to be if you're a carer.
So while we are already strong, resilient people, this experience is toughening us even further.
It will enable us to return to caring roles even more determined and committed, having had a bit of time out for reflection and adventure.
Follow Carers NZ's Walk for Carers here at the website, with stories posted as we walk the Camino Portugues, and at Facebook! You might also enjoy reading tour leader Bill Bennett's blog about the journey.