Fitness and El Camino saved my life

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Sometimes we think that walking El Camino de Santiago will change our lives. But what she couldn't spect is that her return home was going to be the beginning of a new life. A life that would make her Camino much more meaningful for her, and if you're reading this , for you too. Let me introduce all of you to Julie Ann’s story…

Hello to the people of the page!

12th September 2016 I started off on my journey of the first week of the Camino de Santiago. I will share an overview of my journey as I have so much to tell I need to write a book.Fair to say this was a Major Life Event for me!

Why I decided to walk El Camino

I started off my year in Jan weighed down by adrenal fatigue, no vitamin B in my system, low progesterone, overworked and feeling heavy, fuzzy, flat.I saw a specialist and started taking an alternative approach to my issues and shots for B vitamin. I had cut back personal training to once a week, down from 4 a week and less activities.Since Paul Cohelo wrote his books in the 80’s on the Camino Spain, I have been reading, watching and drawn to this path for many years. I decided in 2015 I would do The Camino for my 50th birthday 2017. I intended to use 2016 to be fit and ready for the 6 week camino.Maybe it’s a past life thing, maybe its a path life thing either way I intended to achieve this and decided 2016 would be the year to prepare myself, but, things didn’t look like they would be happening.

Instead of taking things slower, and easier on myself I decided very quickly to do the camino week to boost myself, almost shock my body into action and heal myself in the forests.One Saturday I saw an advertisement on Facebook for a health yoga wellness superfoods trek on the first week of the trek. I watched their video, I talked for hour and half on the phone with The leader and then boom I am in. I have 6 weeks to prepare. ?? So I decide that day to do a 2 hour walk along the beach. 

At Saint Jean-The begginig of El Camino

I decide to visit with my personal trainer and ramp up my training for Specifically achieving this task in 6 weeks. I begin to be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. So I pay in full, I seek reiki and I do a full body chakra course. I keep a diary and  meditate and detox and walk up my first ever mountain at 49 years old locally and I strength train and I start walking. I still worked long days into the night and crammed in my secret. I only told a couple of friends and a couple of family. I needed to get into this on my own back.


And the day came…

Happy and free at El Camino de Santiago

The anxiety and fear were real and deep, could I really do this? And can I allow myself the space and time from my life to do it. I always help others and am needed and give.I started crying a quarter up the mountain on day one. I continued to cry every day for the next week and I suffered in the wrong boots and had double blisters and black toes by the end.I achieved all I needed to do for myself but I wondered had I bitten off more than I can chew daily. Mostly up the Pyrenees day one. I loved walking alone for hours, I actually questioned myself :

Will I go crazy from being alone with my own head over analyse everything.

We all carry a backpack full of baggage

Sunrise at El Camino de Santiago

About consciously even old old issues that were gone got dealt with again, such as my first car accident at 16 years old and my boyfriend driving died in the car next to me.The camino pulls this stuff up and out of yourself and then empties you through the gift of nature and just being there doing this journey!

Little did I know on the last day in the afternoon what awaited me. I have a photo on the balcony in Logrono before we headed to the bus stop to ride to Madrid to make the long haul flight home alone. This photo is a new me. It was me free, at peace, an aura that shines through a mobile phone camera to reveal the new me, I was ready to sit on the bus and look at my camino photos and start detailing my diary as we were to sore and tired for any journaling on the camino.

The most unexpected happened

Something I regret and did resent for not allowing the time for this. I lost my photos and journal,  part of my foot, and some toes in the bus crash . Whilst doing diary on the bus the bus driver ran up the side of a truck on the highway doing 140 km hour speed. I was sitting at the front of the bus it was my side that tore off, throwing me like a broken puppet into the metal of the bus. The lady beside me died a local young lady. I was next critical. I nearly died at the scene before being choppered to Burgos Hospital. I was to remain in a coma for 3.5 weeks and then ICU for a further 2 weeks and then move to trauma unit for another 2 weeks. 7 extra weeks in Spain. That cost me the use of my legs. I was broken from chest down and felt like a puppet stuck in the metal with my legs up around my ears.

The end of my Camino-Logrono

But like the Phoenix , she was reborn

I have been learning to walk ever since. Next week is a year to the day. I survived, it takes strength and determination to do the camino and climb mountains and it takes strength  and determination to survive and to rehabilitate my walking and life. It still continues and I will never be the same.

How do you integrate climbing and trekking and health and fitness with returning broken, not walking, unfit, vulnerable and never the same. I have been in a wheelchair until last couple of weeks using it less. I put on lots of weight, I turned 50 the fattest ever, unfit, and not doing my dream of Camino 6 weeks in Spain. The only answer I have is the fitness, and camino definitely saved my life, allowed me to heal and live. And my job is to still help people and give to others but not necessarily physically anymore but to teach through strength and determination you can do anything and I need to inspire others with my story, learn to receive help from others!

There is so much more to my story. !

  1. Always have travel insurance I cost ($450,000) to come home.
  2. Research your travel options- more bus crashes then trains.

Just my story.

This happened more than two years ago , and now she is doing amazingly great. If you wanna know more, encourage her … or just take a look to her amazing story of perseverance, commitment and of course of example to all of us. Check her instagram jfiegert67 Buen camino!
A Santiago con Javier

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