Imagine going on a trip, solo, to a foreign country, then hiking 110 kilometres (68 miles) over six days, sometimes in the middle of nowhere with strangers from all over the world. Our very courageous Wendy Leblanc did just that!
Wendy is Dovico’s international product and implementation specialist, who you most likely have come into contact with if you did any timesheet business with us outside of North America.
Where did Wendy go?
Wendy took advantage of Dovico’s Courage Program, and lined up a trip to Spain to walk the “Camino de Santiago,” also known as the “Way of Saint James.” The Camino de Santiago is a network of pilgrimage routes that leads up to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world walk the many routes as a retreat for spiritual growth.
Wendy selected the Way of St. James as her courage program exercise to challenge her mind, soul and body. By walking 110 kilometres along one of the most spiritual paths on the planet, often completely by herself, certainly met each of those challenges. It’s such a courageous journey!
Riding Solo to the Camino
The courageous part of Wendy’s journey was navigating the entire trip by herself. Wendy and her husband, Andre, travel many times a year to various places all over the world, so she is no travelling rookie. But by going solo for the first time, Wendy was nervous about taking this trip on.
On top of navigating the various airports, bus trips, and understanding the Camino route, Wendy also was concerned about the mountainous terrain and temperature. “I had been training for a while by doing lots of walking, but I was worried about the heat and mountains in Spain that we don’t have either of too much here for training,” said Wendy of her concerns once she got there.
Wendy’s best experiences from her journey came from meeting the various pilgrims walking the trail. Along the route, Wendy walked alongside a lady in her 80’s as well as a Catholic school grade 5 class from Spain. While talking to these international strangers, she understood that everyone had a different purpose for being there. Some were walking along for spiritual guidance and for others, curiosity.
A lesson in patience and slowing time down
Aside from the confidence that her courageous journey had given her, Wendy learned a valuable lesson on time.
By default, Wendy is a morning person. Because many of the Dovico clients she serves are many time zones ahead, her day starts much earlier than most others in the office. So, waiting until 9 AM to begin her Camino walk each morning felt like forever! Like an excited child on Christmas morning, she was itching to get going much earlier.
As Wendy’s journey continued, she realized her walk along the Camino was not a race, and neither is her life. Having that alone time to think and walk over 20 kilometres a day, Wendy’s perspective on time changed. She realized time only goes as fast as we do and ultimately we control how quickly we go.
Will she do it again?
This experience inspired Wendy to go back and do another leg of the Camino de Santiago. But this time, she will go with her husband and take a much longer route -perhaps along the Portugal coastline.
When the time comes to make another courageous leap, she’s thinking of taking a week and volunteering in Africa. Africa remains one of Wendy’s favourite places she’s ever visited.
Courage is a very subjective thing. However, a lack of courage is universally a deal-breaker when it comes to personal growth and happiness. We can all be courageous if we take the opportunities that are afforded to us to step away and break free.
Wendy encourages all Dovico employees to stop putting courageous things on hold. She would like to see everyone take advantage of the opportunity that the Dovico Courage Program affords them to take.
Just do it, don’t put it off.Wendy Leblanc – Dovico’s Courageous Hiker
Wendy’s daily journal she shared on Facebook
Day 1: First full day on the Camino. Hot and dusty. Considering this morning they were calling for 15 mm of rain and we were going to have to change our itinerary, turned out amazing. 24km done today, all kinds of different terrain. Lots of downhill. Thanks again Dovico for helping me with this amazing opportunity.
Day 2: Another beautiful day full of spectacular views. 22km today, body is still holding up, but it is a little painful walking downstairs. Tomorrow is supposed to be an easier walk, we shall see. Clean Dovico shirt will come out tomorrow .spending tonight in Sarria.
Day 3: 25.75 km today. Foggy this am, then super hot, then a few sprinkles, plus rumbling thunder. The drivers found us and took our walking sticks from us (aka lightning rods) but told us to keep walking. Not as pretty as the last two days, but spending the night in a beautiful restored farmhouse outside Portomorin.
Day 4: Sore toes today, I think my first blisters, hard to believe only one long day left. Staying in Sedor tonight in a beautiful manor about 1km off the Camino. That last km felt like forever to complete after a very long uphill into town that pictures will not do justice. 26.7km today.
Day 5: 23.5km today. Tomorrow is our easy day, less than 10km left to go. Today many more pilgrims on the Camino, tomorrow will be even more I am sure. What an amazing way to spend my birthday, thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. This has been such an amazing experience, will post more on that later. I am one very lucky girl…
Day 6: Made it!!! I am now in Santiago, the end if this amazing adventure for me. My short walk today turned into 16.5km by the time I finished exploring the city. Quite the experience walking into the city with so many pilgrims. Made it to the pilgrim mass which was packed. The cathedral is closed for services due to renovations, but we had mass in a beautiful church that is attached to the hotel we are staying in. I can’t thank Dovico enough for helping me with the courage to do this. And I can’t thank Andre enough for letting me do this on my own, really a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t forget to pick me up at the airport tomorrow Andre! And to my Dovico family see you Monday, and find your courage!
Check out Wendy’s and her husband, Andre’s amazing travel blog! Andre is a talented photographer, and with the detailed stories of their trips, it makes you feel like you were there!
Learn more about Dovico’s Courage Program by clicking the link below:
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