Camino – a 37 day walk across France and Spain covering 799 km with an injured knee brought a different perspective towards life for Ms. Samantha Kochhar, Managing Director, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies and her husband Jan Kirk. Managing Director, the designation itself makes it clear the responsibilities and hectic schedule one holding the position has to shoulder, keeping this major role in mind she chalked out her entire leadership plan for the month and took a leap of faith to allow her a much needed break.
Meetings were held, strategizing was done as to how she would hold the fort while being away from her office for this long. Smooth functioning of the company was ensured before she boarded the flight with her husband by her side to have the experience of her life.
Samantha from the very beginning has been intrigued with short walks and extensive treks, as she loves challenges. While searching about treks, Camino came up and thus the decision was made. Being the only Indian at this walk, made it all the more interesting for not only her but also for her fellow travelers.
For her this trip, which started off as a trek turned into a pilgrimage walk at quite an early stage on their journey.
The walk which ended at Santiago de Compostela had them traveling across unknown terrain, crossing mountains and wide fields through unknown weather conditions. It was an experience of a lifetime for them. For all the 37 days they had a new bed to sleep in, walked almost 25 – 30 km everyday, for a week they walked through a heat wave in Spain and all throughout slept in albergues devoid of fans.
Extreme weather conditions, unknown path and completely different food from what their taste buds are accustomed to, this pilgrimage walk turned out to be a learning experience for both. It brought them clarity towards life, helped them address issues that have been put away for long due to their hectic lifestyle and enabled them to battle against all odds to rediscover themselves as individuals.
Starting at 4.30 am everyday, completing the major portion of their walk between 5 am and 9 am before the heat increased and took a toll on them, in between completing their daily chores, providing for their own food and hitting a new bed every night, this walk has been a pathway to a long meditation for them.
It has not only helped them to be closer to their spirit and understanding their own self better but also did teach them that life can be spent on 10% of your weight, as that were what exactly they could carry in their backpack during their travel.
Camino also brought about within them inner healing and helped them go through the philosophy of the walk – the physical pain (wherein your body breaks down to adapt to the walk across the uneven terrain and extreme weather conditions), the death (where you completely surrender yourself to the daily routine, face your inner issues and do away with the unnecessary theatrics of life) and the reborn (where you have met people, faced yourself, learned more about life, found your purpose for this walk and are ready to apply the knowledge in practical life that you have attained post this walk).