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How important is your pilgrim's passport?

Camino(s) past & future
CF June 5, 2013
CF June 5, 2015
CF June 3, 2017
#1
I've walked the Camino Frances 3 times but one discussion with a man outside of Pamplona on my very first camino in 2013 stands out as the most memorable. He stopped me as I was just about to enter the city and told me I needed to hear his story of the camino. I stood and had my life changed.. (I'll try to make this a short as I can)

He was in his early 60's and talked to me as if I was a young boy, even though I was 44, but it was okay. He told me when he was a child he wasn't the best behaved and didn't really respect other people. Then one day his dad got really sick and was going to die very soon. He started to see the recklessness of his life and wanted to talk to his dad one last time. During their talk his dad asked him to do one last thing for him. He said that after the funeral his son was to pack a bag and walk from Pamplona to Santiago. His father claimed this walk would help finish the upbringing the boy needed. The old man said that he actually brought his bag to the funeral and walked away from his father and onto his camino immediately.

His camino was like all of ours; hardships, injuries, mistakes, lessons, problems, solutions....

Upon his return he realized that his father (who did leave him some money and an apartment) had actually given him the greatest gift of his life, his Camino Passport. The boy got married and decided to keep his camino passport on the wall of his house next to his chair. [important to note that many men in Spain still have "their chair" as exclusive use in the living room]. He said that whenever he had an argument with his wife he would first go sit in his chair and count through each and every stamp before making the argument worse. He did the same with his passport when making decisions on buying property, changing jobs or any other significant life decision. This was his connection with his father and it served him well.

He also said that on the first day of each month he would take his passport off the wall and turn it around to face the other way. He admitted to forgetting to turn it around but said "it is okay to do it a week or so late if you forget". He was kind and calm. I've learned to cherish my pilgrim's passports.

He went on to give me some obvious advice that was far less profound like; You should walk as early in the morning as possible, don't take a shower when you wake up because you'll need one after the hike, bandage your feet at the first sign of pain, take care of other people as much as you can even if it slows you down and eat with as many people as possible while you listen more than you talk.

He then told me where to get good tapas in Pamplona and sent me on my way like he had just done his job and it was time to go home.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#2
I've walked the Camino Frances 3 times but one discussion with a man outside of Pamplona on my very first camino in 2013 stands out as the most memorable. He stopped me as I was just about to enter the city and told me I needed to here his story of the camino. I stood and had my life changed.. (I'll try to make this a short as I can)

He was in his early 60's and talked to me as if I was a young boy, even though I was 44, but it was okay. He told me when he was a child he wasn't the best behaved and didn't really respect other people. Then one day his day got really sick and was going to die very soon. He started to see the recklessness of his life and wanted to talk to his dad one last time. During their talk his dad asked him to do one last thing for him. He said that after the funeral his son was to pack a bag and walk from Pamplona to Santiago. His father claimed this walk would help finish the upbringing the boy needed. The old man said that he actually brought his bag to the funeral and walked away from his father and onto his camino immediately.

His camino was like all of ours, hardships, injuries, mistakes, lessons, problems, solutions....

Upon his return he realized that his father (who did leave him some money and an apartment) had actually given him the greatest gift of his life, his Camino Passport. The boy got married and decided to keep his camino passport on the wall of his house next to his chair. [important to note that many men in Spain still have "their chair" as exclusive use in the living room]. He said that whenever he had an argument with his wife he would first go sit in his chair and count through each and every stamp before making the argument worse. He did the same with his passport when making decisions on buying property, changing jobs or any other significant life decision. This was his connection with his father and it served him well.

He also said that on the first of each month he would take his passport off the wall and turn it around to face the other way. He admitted to forgetting to turn it around but said "it is okay to do it a week or so late if you forget". He was kind and calm. I've learned to cherish my pilgrim's passports.

He went on to give me some obvious advice that was far less profound like; You should walk as early in the morning as possible, don't take a shower when you wake up because you'll need one after the hike, bandage your feet at the first sign of pain, take care of other people as much as you can even if it slows you down and eat with as many people as possible while you listen more than you talk.

He then told me where to get good tapas in Pamplona and sent me on my way like he had just done his job and it was time to go home.
For some reason, this is one of the most touching stories I have heard in a long time. You are now about 50. I am MUCH older than you! I think you know the value of your pilgrim passport... and I thank you for sharing this wonderful lesson. Truly.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#4
When Scott was sick his son didn't understand why he wanted his ashes scattered off Finisterre and not at his birthplace in NZ. After Scott died, I gave his pack to his son, who then took it on his first Camino, when he finished he rang to say he understood. It's not the passport that's important. It's the shared experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 5, 2013
CF June 5, 2015
CF June 3, 2017
#5
hel&scott, I both agree and disagree with your post. Yes it is about the experience and that is everything so by that criteria the passport is unimportant. That said, let's take a minute to think of the human brain and how memory ques unlock memories. Looking at your pilgrim's passport will bring back memories day by day that otherwise could/would be lost. Memory recall to valuable memories is priceless. So I guess the prilgrim's passport is priceless, because the experience of the Camino is everything.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#6
I've walked the Camino Frances 3 times but one discussion with a man outside of Pamplona on my very first camino in 2013 stands out as the most memorable. He stopped me as I was just about to enter the city and told me I needed to hear his story of the camino. I stood and had my life changed.. (I'll try to make this a short as I can)

He was in his early 60's and talked to me as if I was a young boy, even though I was 44, but it was okay. He told me when he was a child he wasn't the best behaved and didn't really respect other people. Then one day his dad got really sick and was going to die very soon. He started to see the recklessness of his life and wanted to talk to his dad one last time. During their talk his dad asked him to do one last thing for him. He said that after the funeral his son was to pack a bag and walk from Pamplona to Santiago. His father claimed this walk would help finish the upbringing the boy needed. The old man said that he actually brought his bag to the funeral and walked away from his father and onto his camino immediately.

His camino was like all of ours; hardships, injuries, mistakes, lessons, problems, solutions....

Upon his return he realized that his father (who did leave him some money and an apartment) had actually given him the greatest gift of his life, his Camino Passport. The boy got married and decided to keep his camino passport on the wall of his house next to his chair. [important to note that many men in Spain still have "their chair" as exclusive use in the living room]. He said that whenever he had an argument with his wife he would first go sit in his chair and count through each and every stamp before making the argument worse. He did the same with his passport when making decisions on buying property, changing jobs or any other significant life decision. This was his connection with his father and it served him well.

He also said that on the first day of each month he would take his passport off the wall and turn it around to face the other way. He admitted to forgetting to turn it around but said "it is okay to do it a week or so late if you forget". He was kind and calm. I've learned to cherish my pilgrim's passports.

He went on to give me some obvious advice that was far less profound like; You should walk as early in the morning as possible, don't take a shower when you wake up because you'll need one after the hike, bandage your feet at the first sign of pain, take care of other people as much as you can even if it slows you down and eat with as many people as possible while you listen more than you talk.

He then told me where to get good tapas in Pamplona and sent me on my way like he had just done his job and it was time to go home.
Profound words of wisdom...
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#7
@SuperPilgrim i take your point about memory, and agree the role the passport can play in this. i find my memory is more often prompted by a forum thread, or more unexpected sensory prompts, such as the smell of an orange or taste of a ripe peach, fininding a bottle of Estella in the beer fridge, the sound of foot fall on a stony path, the pain in my big toe where I lost my nail, the smell of sweaty socks, or the warmth of the sun. All can take me right back to specific places on the way.
 

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