March to Santiago
Usher Syndrome World Awareness Day!
We made it across Spain after 33 days backpacking to raise awareness on Usher Syndrome the leading cause of deaf-blindness In the world. So thrilled to have my three guides and the VSP Global all make it into Santiago.
It was truly the test of endurance and the engagement of all the senses.
It would be a shame if all people thought of the Camino de Santiago is that it is simply a religious pilgrimage. It is way beyond that.
It truly is about taking time out to reflect on one's own life journey. It helps you see yourself in the past, present and the future. The modern world makes Inordinate demands on one to respond, act and constantly be stimulated. There is truly little time for reflection, renewal and reengagement from a world that is racing 24/7 to destinations unknown.
When I walked into the square after over 500 miles, I had so much on my mind of everything that had happened over the past 33 days.
As we hiked into Santiago, I was struck by all the people who have helped me accomplish projects that seemed improbable or impossible over and over again. My wife, kids, family, friends, community and all the people I have met with hearing and vision loss have gotten me to this point. Many times, I pinch myself that I get the chance to do adventures around the world and have an opportunity to try and elevate others as so many have for me over the course of my life.
The entire team endured a lot in the last few days most notably getting up the dark to hike for a few hours each morning before the sunrise. They endured blisters, sleeplessness, tired muscles and sore feet but never skipped a beat. They were engaged having fun, learning and meeting people from around the world. Most notably, they kept telling all the people on the hike about the Bill Barkeley / Usher Syndrome Coalition World Awareness Day project.
We had the goal and we had to get there. All the physical discomforts disappeared as we drowned in our gear. Everybody kept moving to keep the cold and wind at bay. No complaints just pressing on. The goal was bigger than all of us so when we looked back after hot showers it found that the hike had been fun, memorable and filled with some good stories.
I hope you enjoyed the journey through the lessons learned by a deaf-blind adventurer. Many people have gotten me there and if it helps others on life's journey then it's all good.
The No Barriers Life Elements are:
Vision- Define your purpose that allows you to give your best to the world.
Reach Beyond Yourself -Move beyond your comfort zone to grow and reach your goals
Pioneering - Persevere through challenges to innovate
Rope Team - Collaborate and connect with others to grow strong communities
Alchemy - Harness life experience into optimism
Summits - Find the gifts earned through struggle
Elevate - Impact the world as a leader who serves
Glorious view of what we hiked over 500 miles to see!
My hiking guide Father Loc Trinh celebrated his 24th anniversary as a priest by celebrating Mass at the cathedral since he walked 33 days! Beautiful moment.
The sun set and the adventure did not end. If one does the Camino de Santiago they must travel to the "end of the world".
Tomorrow will be my last post on this special adventure!
This adventure project is to celebrate a life-long journey with Usher Syndrome- a devastating disease that robs its victims of their hearing and vision progressively decade by decade. There are no treatments or cures.
After 33 days of hiking, my guides and I hiked into Santiago on September 17th in celebration of Usher Syndrome World Awareness Day. #USHEQX #VSPVisionCares
If you are interested in supporting this project, you can go to www.classy.org/billbarkeley
Thanks for reading and feel free to share with the world.