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Why I’m walking the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James)

Why I am Walking the Way of St. James

Last year was one of the hardest years I’ve had.  From New Year’s Day, till December 31st, there were few days that didn’t hold drama or difficulty in one or more aspects of my life.  And so it makes sense that in October of 2012, in a fit of desperation and a desire to flee, I Googled “long walk” and the result was the Camino de Santiago.  485 miles.  Takes about 32 days to complete.  Travels across Northern Spain.  Accommodations are cheap.  I felt that “click” of certainty when reading about it and made an instantaneous decision to do it.  It sounded like just what the doctor ordered.

People walk the camino for all kinds of reasons and only some of them are religious.  I am walking the camino as a meditation.  Finally time to think!   And finally time to physically work out some of the worries and strains of the last few years.  I am surrendering to what may come my way.

A Very Brief History

Pilgrim History

Pilgrim History in St. Jean Pied-du-Port

The Way of St. James has been a Christian pilgrimage route for over 1300 years, with early records showing pilgrims making the journey in the 8th Century.  The pilgrimage reached the height of it’s popularity in medieval times.  The destination is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, reputed to be the burial place of St. James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.  Before that it was a Roman trading route which continues all the way to the coast at Cape Finisterre, Spain – what was then believed to be the end of the world.  It is also an area of many pre-Christian Celtic sacred sites.

We are following the Camino Frances route or French Route which starts in St. Jean Pied-du-Port, France and ends in Santiago de Compostela.  The distance is 485 miles (or 787 kilometers).  It typically takes a month of walking all day, everyday, allowing only a couple of rest days.  When we are not taking a rest, we will be walking about 13 miles/day.  We intend to walk all the way to Cape Finisterre so that adds another 90 kilometers to the journey.

 

2 Comments

  1. I did the same thing. I had a particularly depressing year before I walked the Camino. I even left my job to try to find a new life. The Camino sealed it for me in a way I could never have imagined. I think you will be grateful for the events, even the bad ones, that led you to make the decision to walk.

    • Thanks Elaine. True. I am grateful everyday now for many things and I am grateful to be on the Camino. I am loving every step.

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