- [Voiceover] Welcome to The Effortless English Show
with the world's number one English teacher, AJ Hoge
where AJ's more than 40 million students worldwide
finally learn English once and for all
without the boring textbooks, classrooms
and grammar drills.
Here's AJ with a quick piece to help you learn
to speak fluent English effortlessly.
- Hello, I'm AJ Hoge,
the author of Effortless English:
Learn to Speak English like a Native
and this is The Effortless English Show,
the show that teaches you to speak English powerfully.
And I am finally back after a long break.
As some of you know
that what I was doing during my break
was walking the Camino de Santiago.
What is the Camino de Santiago?
Well, it's a walking path in northern Spain.
But it's more than just a walking path.
It's actually an old pilgrimage.
A pilgrimage is a spiritual
or religious trip or journey.
Muslims have a pilgrimage to Mecca, right?
They're not just going to Mecca for tourism.
It has a deeper meaning.
So that's what a pilgrimage is.
In India, Hindus have pilgrimages;
Buddhists have pilgrimages.
Well, this was an old Christian pilgrimage,
especially about, you know, thousand years ago or so.
People used to walk along northern Spain
because at the end, the end point of the walk,
the end of the Camino de Santiago,
there's a big church.
And inside that church are the bones,
the body of Saint James.
I'm not Catholic but I just did it as a
I don't know, still as a deeper journey,
an opportunity to walk across Spain,
as a kind of walking meditation.
I went with my good friend, Joe,
from Learn Real English,
so it was also a chance to travel with him
and have an experience with him.
So I thought, in this show,
I'm gonna do something a little different.
Normally, I talk about learning English, but
many people have asked me about my trip,
so I thought I would share some of the videos
that I took during my trip,
because during the trip, I took a few videos.
Every several days, I would take a video
and talk to the camera
and talk about what was happening.
So this is an opportunity for me to share
some of my experiences in Spain
just about a month ago.
Let's start with the first video.
The first video comes from France.
We actually started in a little town in France
just over the Pyrenees Mountains.
It's just a, like six seconds long;
it just shows me
the day we began, it's Joe and I
starting our Camino.
Here it is.
We're beginning the Camino.
Okay, well that's it.
We're beginning the Camino.
But you can see, this is a little town called
St. Jean Pied de Port.
I don't know how to pronounce it correctly in French.
But it's this little town and it's
one of the most traditional starting points
for the Camino de Santiago.
And this is just an old little town,
and this is where we started
and this was the morning we started.
The next video is several days later.
I can't remember,
it was day four maybe of our pilgrimage.
And it's a famous point on the Camino.
In the camino, you walk to these paths,
first we went up and over the Pyrenees Mountains,
which was a beautiful walk, that first day.
Then we went to the town of Pamplona,
and then finally, we reached this point called
the Alto de Perdon.
It has a nice sculpture.
It's on top of this hill.
If you ever see the movie, The Way,
there's a movie called The Way
with Martin Sheen,
it's about the Camino de Santiago.
So if you like, if this is interesting to you,
I recommend rent or buy The Way
and you can use my movie technique,
using that movie, The Way.
And my movie technique is described in my book,
if you don't know what the movie technique is.
All right, so this is the famous point along the Camino.
I'll show you the video now.
Hello, it's day four of the Camino.
We are at the Alto de Padron, I believe it's called
Alto de Perdon,
which is a big top of a big hill;
very windy up here, there are wind turbines
you can see.
We're feeling really strong;
we had a nice rest day in Pamplona
and we are at the half-way point for today
onward to Puente de Reina,
which is our next stop.
And you can see behind us the statues,
the canvas sculpture, iron sculpture of
pilgrims, you know, walking into the wind
which is famous little
waymark, or landscape mark
on the Camino.
We're doin' well, havin' a great time.
So as you can see
that landscape was very beautiful,
these big, these green hills.
For most of the Camino,
we're walking through the countryside.
The beginning, we walked over the mountains.
For most of it, we were walking through
hills or plains, flat area.
And then every two or three hours,
we would walk through a small, little town,
a little Spanish town.
Most of them were beautiful towns
with the old stone buildings,
very old, 500 years old, a thousand years old,
very, very old stone buildings
from the Middle Ages and beyond,
and more recently, too.
It was one of my favorite parts,
was number one, being out in nature
and walking around every day,
and then also going through these beautiful
old stone towns in Spain, was great.
in a journey like this,
this journey took 32 days,
we walked for 32 days.
And just as in life,
just as when you were learning English,
many times when you begin
and everything feels great and you're excited, right?
Maybe, you just started off with these English lessons,
you're very excited,
or you're doing anything that's new,
and it's very easy to be excited at the beginning.
But what always happens
for anything that's a little bit difficult,
a little bit long,
there are going to be some bad days,
there are going to be some tough days.
And of course, everyday on the Camino was not easy.
I also had some difficult days.
And the next day, in the next video, I describe that.
So it's early morning, maybe 6:30,
and I'm up because I can't sleep.
And I've to say that the first
miserable day and evening on the Camino.
Yesterday, walking was fine, no problem,
seemed fairly easy, actually, physically.
But then when we arrived into town,
I was just feelin' pretty good.
We arrived in this town, and the town is
honestly just horrible.
We walked through,
I guess, what is basically a Spanish gado,
so just a horrible neighborhood;
lots of these teenage kids standing around
doin' nothing, not even talking,
it was kinda weird.
They're zombies (mimics zombie groan).
And there's trash everywhere.
There's trash all over here,
even by the little riverside.
Just overall kind of depressing.
And that's sad because most of the towns
have been really pretty and nice and interesting
so this one, not so much.
And we got here and all the accommodation was full
because it's the first of May, May first, it's a holiday,
so it's lots of Spanish people are traveling
so we had a hard time finding a room.
Finally found one.
Then I woke up at 5:00 a.m.
'cause Joe was snoring.
He snores every night and
usually, I can put in my iPod and kind of
get back to sleep, but
this time, even with the iPod on,
I could still hear it (sighs).
So anyway, pretty miserable
evening and night
and we'll see what happens today
because this day has happened.
As you can see, I was not in a good mood
when I made that video.
I was tired, that was very early in the morning.
I got no sleep that night.
It was a tough day.
This happens when you're learning English.
You're gonna have some tough days.
You're going to have days where you feel like
you can't speak at all.
For a while, you're excited and you feel like
you're doing well and you're improving,
and you are improving,
but then you have some bad experience,
maybe you tried talking to someone
and you can't think of what to say
or you can't understand what people are saying
and you feel depressed and (sighs)
you know, it's quite tough.
Yeah, you're gonna have those days.
Now on the Camino, the thing is
because we had that big purpose,
right, it's kind of a deep meaning
like we're gonna go all the way to Santiago,
and I could feel that this was an old
walking path, very old,
and that thousands of people,
hundreds of thousands, I don't know,
maybe more than that,
have walked this same path for over a thousand years.
And so in my mind, it was this great big purpose
to get to Santiago, the end point.
And so because I had that big purpose,
I kept going.
It was easy to keep going.
I never had the thought to quit,
not one time did I think I want to quit,
I want to stop,
even when I had a miserable day.
I just got up in the morning and (sighs)
that felt bad but, of course, I knew
I was going to continue.
And that's why with your English learning,
you also need a bigger purpose,
because if you're just doing it for a test
or a grade in school,
if you don't have that bigger purpose,
then it's very hard to keep going
when you have the difficult days.
If you don't have a big purpose,
it's easy to quit.
But if you have a big inspiring purpose,
something that excites you,
something that is deeply meaningful for you,
I don't know what that is for you,
maybe it's to get a much better job using English,
maybe it's to travel the world
and be able to speak English to people,
maybe it's to study in a university
in the United States, or Canada, or England,
or something like that, I don't know what it is
but something that excites you and inspires you,
that will keep you going.
So when you have those bad days, and you will,
you'll be able to keep going;
you'll never have the thought of quitting.
Now let's go to the next video.
(strong wind blowing)
Huh, today we are walking from Santo Domingo
to Belorado, two very small towns.
And all day today, we have a very strong head wind,
meaning, the wind is blowing directly into our face.
We'll have to fight the wind as we walk.
You can probably hear it, it's very strong.
And during the day, it's getting stronger and stronger.
So, even though today we only have
I don't know, 22, 23 kilometers,
12, 13 miles,
but it's a little difficult because of the wind.
Can't hear anything,
it's difficult to talk to each other.
On the other hand, it's cool,
not so hot,
the wind and the clouds are keeping things cool
so temperature feels nice but
'tis tough walking in this strong wind,
directly into it.
That's our report from today.
Onward to Belorado, Spain.
All right. So...
On this part of the Camino,
we were in the mountains and the hills for a while,
then we got to this very flat part,
for maybe a week,
maybe a little longer than a week, actually.
The flat part is called the Meseta,
which means table in Spanish,
it's like a flat table.
So you climb up and there's just this long, flat part.
You could see there are really no trees
on the Meseta.
So we had, I don't know,
probably more like 10 days on the Meseta,
I don't know, seven to 10 days.
We're just under the sun and there's no shade at all.
Some days it was super windy like that,
blowing in our face.
And other days, there was no wind but then the sun
was just beating on us the whole time.
And some of those days were also quite tough physically,
especially when we're under the sun the whole time
without any shade, which you'll see in a later video.
Again, you know, these are challenges that
the Camino was a mix,
just like anything that's great in my life.
I've noticed, anything that's a great experience,
a really powerful experience,
something that I remember
and have deep feelings about,
always, there's a mix of challenge
and fun and excitement.
Right, challenge and enjoyment, we could say.
So on one hand, it's very enjoyable,
the Camino was enjoyable.
I loved being out in nature walking everyday,
it was great.
I loved meeting people;
we met so many wonderful people
during the Camino de Santiago.
And I'm still emailing some of them now
because they're just such wonderful people
and I want to keep that connection.
Going to the towns, it was great.
Meeting Spanish people was great.
I got to listen to Spanish almost everyday.
You'll see me wearing earphones in many videos
'cause I was listening to Spanish lessons.
I got to chat with Spanish people
and eat the Spanish food, and all,
the whole thing was such a wonderful experience,
But with that, also,
there was also a lot of challenge, right,
The wind in our face at that whole day
was very difficult;
couldn't hear anything,
kinda made you crazy sometimes.
The sun beating down very hot
was difficult some days.
Just walking all those kilometers,
all of those miles,
because we were doing, you know,
on our long days, we would do 40 kilometers.
Short days, we would do less than that,
maybe 30 to 25 kilometers,
but every single day with a backpack.
That was challenging;
that was difficult sometimes.
As in the previous videos,
sometimes I couldn't sleep because
either I just couldn't sleep, I don't know why,
my body just would wake up or my mind would wake up,
or for a while, Joe was snoring a lot,
eventually we got separate rooms so that I could sleep,
but there were challenges like that constantly.
But it's overcoming the difficult things
and also enjoying the wonderful things,
that combination gives you such a wonderful
deep feeling of excitement and pride and...
It makes the experience deeper, I think.
If it was just all super easy,
maybe not as meaningful.
So today, a very, very long day,
36, 37 kilometers walking
under the hot sun with no shade.
In fact, most of the day today was just
along this long straight dirt road
with basically no shade.
And as the day went on,
the sun got hotter and hotter.
Today, no wind but it was very, very hot.
And it felt a little bit like one of those cowboy movies,
you know, the cowboy movies where
they're walking through the desert
for hours and hours, or days, and they're thirsty
and the sun's beating down on them
and they just keep going
and there's no towns, nothing at all,
that's kind of what today was like.
But we made it.
We finally came to this little town.
The town is down on the valley so
we never could see it when we're walking on the road
until we finally made it.
Long, hot, dusty, tiring day on the Spanish Meseta.
Time for a shower, time to get some food,
drink some water and relax.
Okay. So, again, the Meseta.
What's interesting is
you know, the meseta is a plateau, right?
You go up to it; we had to climb up to the Meseta
then it becomes flat,
and then it's just flat for a long time.
That's called a plateau in English.
What's interesting is, when you're learning
English, for example, or learning anything,
you will also experience a plateau.
What happens is,
you improve quite quickly at some points,
but then, after a time of improvement,
you'll notice that everything seems to be flat.
You will continue studying,
continue listening, continue practicing,
but nothing seems to be happening.
You seem to not be improving at all.
You're just going along,
and it's kinda like my experience in Meseta.
I can just feel like it goes forever,
like this plateau will never end.
You're just going forward, going forward, going forward.
You keep practicing, you keep practicing,
in my case, I kept walking, kept walking,
and it felt endless.
And the plateaus can be quite tough,
it can be difficult to keep going
when you feel like you're never going to arrive
at another point of improvement.
But the good news is, plateaus do eventually end.
You just gotta keep going.
(heavy footsteps, plodding)
So we are a couple hours outside of Astorga,
and I spoke too soon today.
We have one final day on the Meseta.
Today has been a long, flat day.
And in fact, we've had no shade.
There are a few little bushes and small trees,
kind of near, as you can see,
but the path has no shade at all,
as you can also see.
And so you could see that I was expecting.
I thought we were almost finished with the plateau,
we're almost arrived to the next mountains
where we're gonna go up again, but
nope, still had to keep going;
it still continued.
And this can happen in your learning, too,
where these plateaus seem like they will never end.
And there's nothing you can do during that time
but just keep practicing, keep listening.
Continue moving forward.
I promise you, eventually the plateau will end
and you will start going up again.
Well, it's the same day.
We have crossed up and over
the Cruz de Ferros,
the high point.
And we've been dropping, dropping, dropping now
for the rest of the day down into this nice valley.
Still quite dry here, lots of brush,
but again, lots of beautiful colors, wild flowers.
Again, just nice to be back in nature.
It's a hot day but
very pleasant day.
Little tough on the legs, though,
'cause we're going downhill
and we have very, very rocky tough trails
which I'll show you now.
Okay. So you could see we got up,
and we went up over this high point
then we had to go back down.
And many times,
going down was more difficult than going up,
and especially with those rocky paths,
it was very difficult on our knees and our legs going down.
But as you can see, the best thing to do when you're,
when you have a rocky time, a tough time
is to try to enjoy your surroundings.
I was noticing the wild flowers.
And you just have to enjoy the moment,
even when it's difficult.
(water rippling, birds chirping)
So, we have seven or eight days left
on the Camino.
Today, we leave the province of Castilla y Leon
and we will be going into the province of Galicia.
For more than half of the day today,
we will be walking along this road.
But it's not a busy road.
And we also have this nice stream next to us
on the other side.
We're walking through these mountain valleys.
Again, we have lots of trees,
real trees this time, not the little bushes
from the Meseta or even yesterday.
There's clearly more water here.
The trees are bigger.
We're definitely in the mountains now.
We have fairly flat walk
today for about two thirds of the day,
walking through valleys.
It should be beautiful
and quite peaceful.
And then, at the end of our very long day today,
we have the steepest climb of the Camino.
Not necessarily the highest point but the steepest--
So, you can see this point where we've gone through
some hills again, and then getting
ready to go into a very tough, big climb,
a very tough climb.
Same day (panting).
I'm now in the mountains,
in the wooded mountains.
I think this is the
the first true forest we've been in
since maybe the first week.
This is nice, we're not near any kind of highway.
This is just a mountain path, a dirt path
through the mountains, through the forest.
This is now the steep climb
that I mentioned earlier.
Now we're climbing up to the town of O'Cebrerio,
or Cebreiro, something like that.
our place is just a little bit farther beyond that.
And you can tell by the way I'm breathing
it's quite a steep climb,
but it's beautiful, this is what I love;
this is my favorite part
of hiking up the Camino.
It's joy being up in the woods,
away from all the cars and buildings
and people and noise,
just out in nature.
So again I would point out
this great point that this thing, I loved it.
When we got to Galicia and all the trees,
and being out in nature walking,
at that point my body was quite tough.
And I didn't mind the tough climbing.
It really didn't feel that bad.
I was breathing heavily in that
video, but thoroughly enjoying the experience.
And I think that's just good in life in general,
that to learn how to enjoy those tough challenging times
'cause they can be quite enjoyable.
So we sometimes get in our mind that it's so
it's painful, it's bad, but
you know, that was a tough climb,
physically, that was difficult, but
at the same time, I loved it, it felt great.
I loved the exercise,
I was very much enjoying that
'cause my body was quite strong at that point.
I was enjoying all the trees,
I was enjoying just being out in the quiet of nature.
And you, too, can enjoy the process of learning English.
Even during those tough times,
it can still be fun, it can still be enjoyable.
You can love the experience.
And that really is the key
to achieving your big goals,
your big purpose, your big success:
learning to love the experience,
even the difficult parts.
All right. Next video.
This time we're getting up towards the top here.
It gives you a little scene of the top.
And then after that, we
went up and over the mountains.
It came a little more flat again, just little hills
and then we started getting very close
to our final point, Santiago.
That's a picture of the paths that we walked through.
Quite nice, huh?
So today is actually our last day on the Camino.
We have decided to push forward
and just do a long day in our last day.
We're both feeling quite strong.
The day is going quickly,
and you know, we're well-trained;
our fitness is very, very good now.
We were gonna stake near the airport
and then have a short day tomorrow but
we decided the airport probably is an uglier area
so anyway, we're on to Santiago.
We will arrive today and I'll do another video
when we arrive.
So my feelings today about the Camino,
sort of reviewing it,
really go back to the beginning
because the same things I mentioned
and loved in the beginning of the Camino
are still what I have enjoyed and still enjoying now.
So number one, the simplicity.
I just love the simplicity of
focusing on, you know, getting up, and
just wakin' up and focusing on food,
walking each day.
None of the complications of city life
and all that.
I have hardly been online at all,
so, on a computer or anything.
So it's been fantastic.
Also, just being outdoors for most of the day.
So stop it there but
there you could see that's my last day.
I was feeling very grateful,
feeling a little sad, actually, too,
that the Camino was going to end.
And the point I said, that the thing I
still appreciated the most
was the simplicity of the Camino,
of just getting up everyday and walking outdoors,
meeting people, just chatting,
focusing on food, eating, walking,
it was not complicated.
For me, that was just absolutely wonderful.
It had a deep purpose but not complicated.
Simple. Getting back to the basic parts of life.
And I think this can apply even to learning English,
to keep it simple,
which is why when I,
in my book, Effortless English,
in the Effortless English system,
we try to make the system simple,
enjoyable and simple,
not a lot of complicated stuff.
You're not trying to memorize a lot of complicated grammar.
If it's too complicated, you can't actually use it
because it gets in your brain
but you can't use it during a real conversation.
So you want to keep your learning simple.
That why we focus mostly on listening,
lots and lots and lots of listening,
and that listening eventually leads to effortless speaking.
It's a very simple but powerful system.
And finally, you will arrive at your destination
just as I did, arriving here in Santiago.
So we made it, we are here.
This is the plaza, that is the church,
the Cathedral of Santiago.
We're going to get our official compostela,
which is like the certificate.
We gotta go to the office and show them our
little stamps that we got all along the way.
So going there now.
All right, now I'll play one more video here.
So, here again in the plaza of Santiago.
That is the Cathedral of Santiago
and now I have my compostela
which is the official certificate
that you walked the Camino.
Joe and I both have them now, so
officially at an end.
It's officially done.
Whew, it's quite a feeling of relief and gratitude.
It's quite wonderful.
I don't know, don't quite know how to
state it at the moment.
We're gonna meet up with some friends
that we've met along the way tonight, celebrate.
We'll meet a lot more friends
that we've been walking with tomorrow
and celebrate again.
And then that's all.
Bye from Santiago. We made it.
All right. And my final video.
So I'm in the Plaza de Santiago again.
This is the next day after we arrived.
Today is the 26th of May.
And this morning, we're going to the Pilgrims' Mass,
where they have the,
maybe, they might have the big famous
giant incense burner that they swing over the crowd,
or maybe not.
We've heard they may or may not do it,
but anyway, it'll be exciting and fun to see
many of the people that we walked with,
most of whom are finishing today.
Like they just saw (audio drowned out)
they're walking with quite a while in a cafe.
They just arrived this morning.
So I'm so excited to see all these people
that we met and connected with
during the Camino.
And I think I'm gonna finish there because you could see
that my final thoughts on the Camino was
really about the people we connected with
in this amazing community
because we shared this
path with them.
We shared this journey with them.
We shared the difficulties and the challenges with them.
We shared the fun and the good points
and the excitement of the Camino with them.
And it's the same with your English learning.
Just doing it alone in your room or at home
is not as meaningful.
It's much more meaningful when you share
your journey with other people.
It's one of the great things about the
Effortless English community,
which you see on my Twitter page,
on my daily periscope videos,
in our VIP member program especially,
that there's this special connection between the people,
between our members,
that we're family
because we're all sharing this journey together,
the journey of, certainly of learning English,
or in my case, teaching it.
But also of just learning all the other things
that we learn in the Effortless English community
because we also learn strategies for success.
We also learn how to overcome difficult problems in life.
And we just create real strong friendships.
You know, after the Camino, I met my wife
and then we went to Barcelona.
And we had a member meeting there,
a VIP member meeting.
And we got to meet many of
our Effortless English members.
We met Mira and Julia and Jean Jacques,
and just so many wonderful people,
Gloria, etcetera, etcetera.
And this is the super special thing,
the thing I love most about Effortless English
is the community.
And so it's important for you
to connect with other people
so that you enjoy this journey of English.
Because there are challenges, there are tough points,
and there's also excitement and great things about it.
And it's all more meaningful when you share
that journey with other people.
So please connect.
Get on my Twitter and connect with our other members
and make new friendships.
If you join our VIP program,
then don't just join and be silent.
Join and write on our VIP blog and
again, write on Twitter,
write on the Facebook page, whatever.
And if you can, come to a live Effortless English meeting
so you can meet face-to-face
because it really makes the experience
so much deeper.
And this was certainly the case for me
with the Camino de Santiago.
These wonderful people that we met
made the experience so much deeper,
so much more meaningful.
It was a life-changing experience for me,
one of the best experiences of my life.
And I loved it.
I'm gonna end the show here today with that.
Thank you so much.
Lots of love to you.
I'll see you next time.
Bye for now.
And go to effortlessenglishclub.com
for more information about
Effortless English courses
or to join our community.
Okay. See you soon. Bye.