Il Camino - Next Action Associates

For the fourth year in a row I’m out walking Il Camino, the pilgrimage in Spain. It is an amazing experience, but the connection to GTD® might not be obvious. Still, apart from the obvious checklist for all the things I want to bring – ranging from walking boots to sunscreen factor 50, through a Camelback for keeping me hydrated and enough clean underwear to feel human along the way – there are several other links.

I am not a typical pilgrim. I’m not a Catholic and am not on the Camino for religious reasons. That said, I’ve always been intrigued by its spiritual side and put ‘Walk the Camino’ as one of the first items in my ‘Mind Sweep’ when I first started implementing GTD. Prior to using GTD, it was one of those things that kept on creeping back into my mind every once in a while. After my first implementation, if finally found itself a home: a spot on my ‘Someday Maybe’ list (instead of my head) – to be tackled once I was retired (in about 20 years).

As a result, during my Weekly Reviews® I was reminded about my ‘retirement project’ on a regular basis, and my eyes and ears got trained to spot information about the Camino whenever mentioned in an article, on a webpage or in conversations.

Thanks to that new focus I learned that I didn’t have to take several months to walk the whole thing in one go, and that there were many routes throughout Europe. Most importantly, I learned that it wasn’t obligatory to sleep in a dormitory with 50 other deeply spiritual but seriously snoring pilgrims!

Within a few months my project moved from my ‘Someday Maybe’ list to my ‘Projects’ list with appropriate next actions. This is the year when I will walk all the way to the end: Finisterre – literally translated, ‘the end of the world’.

The third link to GTD is a bit less obvious to the outside observer: it made me think about my Horizons of Focus. Il Camino moved through my horizons at an amazing speed, and once it arrived upon the five-year vision level, it influenced all horizons below. How?

Well, at the Goals level I made sure my calendar was blocked over a year in advance. On the Project level I managed to confirm enough work and crammed it into my schedule during non-Camino time so that I could afford to go away for two months without having to eat cabbage for the rest of the year. At the level of my ‘Areas of Focus’ (parent, partner) I was moved to teach my boys to use the washing machine… (get it?).

My main learning? However wild, inspiring, spiritual or challenging your ‘Someday Maybe’ ideas might be, write them down! It seems perhaps too simple to be effective, but once they are there magic happens. In my case I am getting to complete the Camino 20 years sooner than I expected, and you can be damn sure that creates space for the next amazing project, the seeds of which are already germinating on my ‘Someday Maybe’ list.

Buen Camino. Or perhaps better, my favourite pilgrim greeting, which says much more: courage, onwards, go beyond: Utreia!

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