Step by Step – Andrew Boddicker

Five years ago I walked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain. This ancient walking path leads pilgrims to the remains of St. James, purported to reside at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in the northwest of Spain.

The magic of the Camino is hard to explain, you really need to experience it. Indeed, many people do – over 250,000 pilgrims walk every year! Some do it for religious or spiritual reasons. Others do it for the adventure and endurance challenge. I went for healing and to find a sense of self.

And it delivered, in these and other uncountable ways.

About a year before my long walk my husband ended our 9-year relationship. It triggered a depression and loss of direction in me that nearly spun out of control. The turning point, or rather, the illuminating point was when I found myself screaming and crying on the floor in our kitchen saying, “at least you get to leave, I have to stay here with myself!” This tragic statement was painful but it was also brutally honest. I did not like who I had become and I had placed all of my happiness and direction on my husband. I was a shell of a person.

I needed to make a decision – allow this to ruin my life, or use this experience to make my life.

Almost 10 months after my separation, and half way to Santiago, I was given a vision from the universe by way of a dream. It was vivid and clear and took over all of my thoughts. I woke up in an almost possessed state and talked with anyone who I could about it. In this dream, I saw myself leading people, in Iowa (where I’m from) on walks to help themselves heal, discover, and reinvent themselves.

After three years of saving, scheming, and pontificating – I left my job, the “best” job I could have ever had in my profession, left my community I had created for six years, moved back to Iowa from the UK and dug in.

It did not take long before the shimmer of my idea lost its luster. I ran into obstacles that nearly derailed the whole concept. But the obstacles resonated inside me in a different way. It wasn’t like at work where I would get on a negative-biased thought pattern. It was fun to find a way around these problems and all of the problems solved themselves in the most magical sort of ways. I was listening to the universe and the universe was responding in really surprising ways.

And so – today. I continue to teach as a means of having an income and inspiring kids into creativity and purpose through music. In the summers I run my business – Walking Space – leading small groups of people on multi-day walking events as a means of self-discovery, healing, and self-actualization.

For me, long-distance, multi-day, supported walking put me back in touch with myself and set me on a course of more authentic, fulfilled living. Our daily, stubbornly monotonous, lives are consumed by distractions that take us away from ourselves. Encountering new people, places, and walking amongst nature engenders this all-too-infrequent contact with ourselves.

In walking we come upon brighter versions of the people we always knew were there. We encounter our pasts that we’ve buried and deal with them. We stumble upon old dreams and reignite them. We sprout new ideas and relationships with like-minded seekers who have felt the itch of discontent for far too long.

Walking Space provides the platform – the time, place, and pace – where these crucial discoveries and healings can take place. It is an introduction to a better way of living – closer to nature, others and, most importantly, ourselves.

As a little boy I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seemed like every one had, at least, a fantasy like a super hero or a fire fighter. It wasn’t until I completely lost myself that I found my passion. I found the means within me to deliver a dream I never knew even existed until I died a little death. The old me is gone – and good riddance. Let’s take this, one step at a time, and rediscover our true selves through slowing down, building one another up, and allowing our mindful, intentional steps to lead us into a future beyond our imaginations.