This is second most frequently asked question I get when I told friends and family of my plans. After some brief explanation of where I heard about this hiking trail it’s only logical to describe why one would walk the Camino de Santiago. But for those who aren’t familiar with either..
What is this Camino de Santiago malarkey?
First off, it is a pilgrimage. This particular pilgrimage has a large network of routes that stretch around Europe that come together at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In a nutshell, there is a legend that St. James’ remains were taken from Jerusalem to northern Spain at Santiago. Popularised during the Middle Ages dozens of Christian pilgrims follow these routes.
Nowadays people from all sorts of backgrounds walk the Camino de Santiago by foot, bicycle, horse, by themselves or in a tour. The way I see it as a form of retreat from the routine life and having a sole purpose to work/walk towards. Some people seem to come into their own realizations and even boast the more spiritual theme of the Camino AKA The Way providing you with what you need.
The most popular road is the Camino Francés which is about 790 km (about 500 miles) from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port to Santiago.
Here’s essentially the route I took to Santiago:
Alright, then why am I doing the Camino de Santiago?
I think that the first time I heard about the Camino de Santiago – to be more accurate I read about the Camino in a magazine 4 years ago about a woman listing 15 lessons she picked up from doing the Camino. At the time I thought it was a wonderful thing to do, while me considering doing such a trek was contemplated for about 2 seconds. I’m was never the most outdoorsy person or super active so thinking of doing even 10km made me groan let alone 800km. Then irony has it here I am writing the reasons that I’m doing the Camino this year.
People say that the Camino/The Way calls you when it’s time. Such poetry if that really is how it happens to other pilgrims. For me I was reminded about the Camino about 1 year and a half ago, I was in a hostel getting to know the other people that were sharing the female dorm with me and one woman told me about her Camino adventure. She reeled me in with her enthusiasm and stories – rekindling the inspiration of doing this walk. About a month later a met another woman who hadn’t done the Camino but left me the book “Wild” to read. The story of Cheryl Strayed who trekked the Pacific Crest Trail in the US. Of course this set even more kindling into the Camino idea. I think it was on the same month I met a Spanish man that did the Camino too and all I thought was “The universe is toying with me, it knows I don’t believe in coincidences”.
I hadn’t researched much, I didn’t even watch The Way until very recently.
My initial reason was/is, people are doing this pilgrimage which I interpret it as a walking meditation. I often think back to my first meditation retreat in which I found harmony within myself instead of externalising all that might be cause for grievances.
Ever since I quit my cubicle life and even during it I guess what I’ve been always searching for what brings me joy. For myself and not out of the expectation how it would appease others. I still to this day recall my father telling me out of the blue as we were driving back home to do what I love, to let money be a consequence. At the time I told him right away “Of course! That’s obvious” but as a teen you fail to realise the impact of that pearl of wisdom. When he passed away, a big big BIG part of me was shattered in ways I didn’t understand but now come to realise that I do not need to know what it was. I say that confidently now because that event sent me on an expedition of my own – to decode the answer that as my Uncle put is already within me. A bit Yoda-esque but I suppose he has a point.
It is overly ambitious to think that in a year I would have been able to re-gather my ground. I did lay some new ground to this new phase..trading one lifestyle yet again for another one. A bit more uncertain than ever as I progress with not much of a grand plan but less fearful than before.
One of the major reasons for me is that I want to really know what ignites my soul for myself. Come back to the little girl that used to love, laugh and create freely without worrying about the external influences. Recently I’ve been trying to think of my childhood, what things I liked to do and oddly it was hard to pin-point exactly what they were.
Some of the other questions are what is the path for this life? Where do I want set roots in so that I can start my own family? Have my own structure so that I can continue constructing my own independent stability. Ultimately in the hopes that I will no longer shy away from my personal truth. I have always felt there was something grand I could share with the world. I mean the tagline for Museflux is to rediscover your own bliss.
Plus someone stated another great reason to go on the Camino – an adventure of a lifetime.
On the physical aspect this would be probably the longest walking meditation I’ll be doing thus far in my life but also fitness wise how well conditioned will I be at the end of 800km and would be a great form of getting exercise in while getting explore that particular part of Europe. All the while clearing the mind.
As a meditation it would be great release and let go of all negative energies from my life. Feeling prepared to face any ‘demons’ and have them transmute. Much like my meditation retreat it helped me have a better sense of sense and curb the negative moods.
For a more emotional note I want to be able to really open up to love. To share affection and I feel more prepared come from my shell and have a partner in my life to share all the experiences on our ongoing journeys in life, travels, or whatever else might be. Being able to risk more but also be able to care for another unconditionally.
Surely there are more reasons but I guess I need and see what it chooses to provide.