My blog documents my personal experience of walking the ancient Christian pilgrimage the Camino de Santiago. Although dating back to medieval times, it is now a pilgrimage made by many, religious and non-religious alike, along several official routes across Europe, all with Santiago as their destination. The most popular route, the Camino Francés, begins in the French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrénées, a distance of seven hundred and ninety kilometres from Santiago.
In 2011, I walked the last one hundred kilometres of the Camino Francés with an organised group, staying in hotels while my main luggage was transported each day. Since then I have learned that people who do the Camino in such style and comfort are known as ‘four-star pilgrims’. At the time, walking the last one hundred kilometres was, for me, the Camino, and although it took less than a week to complete, it felt much longer, such was my feeling of expansion. On that occasion, I approached it more as a getaway than a pilgrimage. Then a year later, I walked the full seven hundred and ninety kilometres in thirty-four days, doing it with pilgrim intentions, without really being sure what that actually meant. Second time around, I opted for more simple living and stayed in pilgrim hostels (albergues), while I upheld the tradition of carrying all my belongings in a single rucksack each day.
People do the Camino for an array of different reasons. For some it is a journey intimately connected to their faith, while for others it is a quest for something perhaps less clear. In my case, I was questioning my commitment to my working life; I felt I had a deeper calling and I hoped that by walking the Camino, I would find a connection with whatever it is I am here to do in this life.