Tom Cochrane sang, “Life’s like a road that you travel on…” a potent metaphor. Life as a journey is a deep well that’s been drawn from by many. Oliver Goldsmith wrote, “Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” Tolkien taught us that the road goes ever on and on. Road trips are part of our American mythology. Frost’s “Road not Taken” inspires some of us and haunts others but resonates with all of us.
On September 1, 2019, I stepped into the metaphor by stepping onto the Camino de Santiago. With a couple friends, I traveled from my home in Raleigh, NC to St. Jean Pied de Port in France. From there we walked the Camino Frances, a very old pilgrim’s route that crosses Spain, west to east and arrives at Santiago de Compostela.
It doesn’t end there. But you do arrive there.
I find that it’s also important to emphasize what a sign along the early part of the Camino told us…“You have always been on the Camino.” We didn’t start our Camino in St. Jean but we did turn west into Spain from there and joined hundreds of other pilgrims and hikers and tourists on the way to Santiago.
Walking the Camino is being immersed in a giant metaphor, an ongoing exploration of the meta-message of life. The road is about 780 Kilometers long and we walked 666km of it on foot. (Read into that number what you will.)
The Camino de Santiago is a very old Christian pilgrimage route. Books have been written, documentaries and dramas have been made. It’s more than just a hike. It is an invitation to let go, to ruminate and reflect, to have an adventure, to meet new people and make new friends. On the Camino de Santiago, I listened to the voice of God, saw spectacular displays of nature’s beauty and found a rhythm of life that nurtured peace and rest.
The Camino is not a story about a destination, it’s the story of a journey and all you discover along the way.
Over the next few weeks I’d like to share Camino Wednesdays with you where I’ll share a daily excerpt (with some commentary) from my walking journal, a picture to say a thousand words concisely, to share some of my experiences with you from the pilgrimage I walked with friends and now invite you to join as you read these entries.
Next week we begin our walk in St. Jean Pied de Port. Buen Camino.