Hola friends! Meet my “camiga,” Beth. Together we will attempt to walk the Camino de Santiago from mid September through mid October. If you aren’t familiar with the Camino de Santiago, there’s a plethora of information available out there, but in a nutshell, it’s a 500 mile pilgrimage route across northern Spain. Santiago’s cathedral is the alleged burial site of the apostle St. James, thus the destination for thousands of pilgrims (or perigrinos in Spanish) for over 800 years. While there are several pilgrim routes to Santiago, we have chosen the most popular route, the Camino Frances (or the French Way).
My interest in the Camino began about 5 years ago, when I watched the movie The Way, with Martin Sheen. Watch it. You can’t help to be drawn to the journey. Then two years ago, a friend of mine from Omaha, Jane, traveled the Camino and I followed her blog. I got the “itch.” Jane sent me a box of books about the camino. I devoured them. The itch got stronger. Last fall, our pastor preached a series of sermons called “Following the Way” even showing some outtakes from the movie. The camino was definitely calling me.
After retiring from education in June, I decided it was now or never. I needed to walk the camino. I’m not getting any younger. I don’t have any work commitments at the moment, and fall is a good time to walk. My husband Dan, had hoped that I wouldn’t do the camino alone (although many people do) and as fate would have it, my friend Beth showed some interest one night as I shared my camino longings with some girlfriends after a bike ride. Long story short – Beth got the itch too.
Anyway, our flights are booked, and we are having a blast preparing for our journey. REI stock has probably gone up since we began shopping for our camino supplies. Shoes and backpacks (the 2 most important items) have been purchased and we have begun our hiking training in preparation.
For me personally, I will admit that I’m drawn to this journey mostly for cultural and athletic reasons. Unlike Martin Sheen and the other characters in The Way, I am not walking to solve a life problem. However, I also know that the journey will be a spiritual blessing for me.
I do not begin to assume that my camino blog will change the world in any way. I do however, want to use this blog as a way of journaling my experiences, and sharing my journey with friends and family. And if one of them gets the itch too, then so be it.