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The Camino Isn’t A Pilgrimage Anymore

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jsalt

Jill
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Obviously it's all up to individual "pilgrim" as to why they walk it, but of course quite a few have no religious or spiritual reasons at all why they walk it and I'm sure many don't have the foggiest idea of the origins of the Camino. They're just walking because they see it as a fad or a cheap vacation.
I know why I walk it and that's all that's important to me. Right now I just want to walk it again as it was. Could care less about the crowds, etc. I'd happily deal with all that again just to be able to walk it freely, without the nasty specter of a pandemic hanging over it.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Oh I’m torn in two with this one, I’m religious so I would firmly place myself in the pilgrimage group…but I’m also an avid walker who enjoys the views and the interesting people on the path so I can embrace those who walk for leisure and I applaud those who walk for their faith we all have a journey in life I just wouldn’t ever judge another’s journey because it’s different to mine. Buen camino mi amigos
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
I understand exactly why you are asking this and I think you are very brave to voice it 😁 I read messages on FB and often I despair ‘what’s the best this, what’s the best that’…. Aaarghghgh. I just shut up because I think I would be in the minority….
i think most people now see it as just a hike and if for some of us it has more meaning, then it’s up to us to just keep it that way. It doesn’t really matter, does it, what the others do? 😉
As for why I am walking again the CF this year… A friend of mine (an old friend) asked me to please walk it with her… Against my better judgement, I said yes.
i see it as giving back something the Camino gave me…
 
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woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
I wanted an adventure that's all; nothing more!

Never been religious or for that matter spiritual in my life; but i don't think i will ever understand what that means when applied to me.
But me being moved to tears in a church more than once; mystified me!
So in my mind it's not just a hike!
Woody
 

Tincatinker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
Long term members will know this is an hazardous topic. Offense easily given and often taken. Please remember that we are as they on the roads to Santiago. No-one owns those roads, there are no rules. As the good Bishop said “God does not count your steps, nor Santiago weigh your pack. Look to your heart pilgrim for why you walk this road”.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Long term members will know this is an hazardous topic. Offense easily given and often taken. Please remember that we are as they on the roads to Santiago. No-one owns those roads, there are no rules. As the good Bishop said “God does not count your steps, nor Santiago weigh your pack. Look to your heart pilgrim for why you walk this road”.
Every now and then the topic of pilgrim v adventure & faith v secular comes along but I personally don’t see it as a bad thing, it can be a discussion that allows us to understand those who walk with us on the path, we will walk together, eat together and laugh together for very different reasons and that’s a good thing, if we show each other love and respect then whatever our reason for putting one foot in front of the other we can do it together and help each other reach our goal mi amigos.

Just a quick ps remember that the “tourists” also keep the economy of the Camino alive, the villages and hostels rely on income provided by us all, so would they survive without those who see the adventure instead of the faith it’s good to enjoy it together
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
To your question, is it still a pilgrimage? I think, for many, it is certainly. But the world has shrunk with cheap flights and social media. People want everything. 'The Camino' as the media puts it, has been laid bare and I do wonder, that it's so accessible now, it has become mainstream to the masses.

But it's still there for all of us, it's up to us as individuals to give what we will or take what we need from it.
 
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cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
To your question, is it still a pilgrimage? I think, for many, it is certainly. But the world has shrunk with cheap flights and social media. People want everything. 'The Camino' as the media puts it, has been laid bare and I do wonder, that it's so accessible now, it has become mainstream to the masses.

But it's still there for all of us, it's up to us as individuals to give what we will or take what we need from it.
A big London pub is mainstream and accessible to the masses. I never had any problem about being alone in one. I simply didn't project I wanted or needed company. I was there for the beer. Same as Camino. I prefer my own company, do not look for family, avoid where possible communal meals. I let life happen as it will and do not label myself or others. I believe , most of the time, I am spiritual, but wordsmith I may be , but cannot define that either :) I do not now attempt to analyse Camino or why I walk it. I long for it when I am away from it, feel at home when I'm on it and am not over concerned about the rest of the world cluttering it up, well not all the time :) Let the OP answer his own question and fry his own brain cells :)

Buen camino never the less :)

Samarkand.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Rather a lot, and hopefully more to come
I have reconsidered my hasty earlier pronouncement on the subject, which might in retrospect have been perceived as somewhat judgemental.

On matters such as the conflict between pilgrimage and tourism where religeous and secular perspectives may conflict then I feel it best to rely on the deeply held views of the late Father James (Jack) Hackett - mentor and spiritual guide to the sadly deceased Father Edward Crilly, latterly of Craggy Island - and conclude that this is, without doubt, an ecumenical matter.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
This question comes up regularly, one wave of peregrinos look at the next and wonder about them and their motives. My 1st Camino was in 2010 and we were questioned by the previous wave to us, are we spiritual?, are we religious,? do we care for unique forms of hospitality on the Camino and the supporting and nourishing of it? It was the same for previous waves they had the same questions put to them. I think once we have that connection to the Camino most of us see it as special and 'get it' and we become more appreciative of its traditions and relationships, but before that there is a little 'blindness' Also another way of looking at waves of peregrinos is looking at surges of nationalities, which happens at times, I think previous peregrinos from those counties get nervous that their fellow countrymen will bring all their most demanding aspects of their culture to the Camino, they should smile because they were probably the same, the Camino has worked it's magic for them. I have the same worry with the UK and dread a big wave coming, to begin with there won't be much experience but a lot of new people who want to not just have a 'Camino experience' but want it on their terms of what they think is comfort and acceptable and their questions. The Camino becomes stretched in those times and the people who have history of supporting and giving hospitality question the future and their own involvement. From what I have seen some people walk away but others come in with a refreshing vitality and maybe some of them come from the newer nationalities with the ideas and uniqueness representative of them, some people who stay regroup and go on to promote the more giving message of the camino in the traditional ways for example the Albergue in Grado and Canfranc are examples of that, so it feels the Camino is alive and adapting to the people who walk it, but at times the OP questions need to be asked because the Camino seems to be becoming submerged and just the awareness of a possible uniqueness needs to be put out there for the newer peregrinos.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
I have reconsidered my hasty earlier pronouncement on the subject, which might in retrospect have been perceived as somewhat judgemental.

On matters such as the conflict between pilgrimage and tourism where religeous and secular perspectives may conflict then I feel it best to rely on the deeply held views of the late Father James (Jack) Hackett - mentor and spiritual guide to the sadly deceased Father Edward Crilly, latterly of Craggy Island - and conclude that this is, without doubt, an ecumenical matter.
Brilliant 😂
 
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Eve Alexandra

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Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
The first time I was a devout Catholic. I went in familiar with the history and traditions. I planned my Lenten confession to be in SDC. This time? Well, it’s complicated, and I won’t be attending confession. It’s still very much a pilgrimage, for me.

That said, the first time I was there, I didn’t meet anyone else who would have called themselves religious, and yet in talking to them, they were all clearly on a pilgrimage. Even in the Middle Ages, people walked to Santiago with a lot of different motivations, not just religious.

I think the concept of pilgrimage is expansive. I presume everyone on trail I meet is a pilgrim unless they specifically tell me it’s their preference to think of it differently.
 

andarapie

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
As Chaucer will attest, six hundred years ago the reasons for going on a pilgrimage were as varied, and as similar, as they are today, and I would guess that six hundred years from now, someone on Mars will bemoaning the lack of spirituality on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Elon.

Hundreds of years before St. James' bones made a miraculous appearance near Compostela, it is said that the Celts were making mass migrations to Finisterre, and I would guess their reasons also weren't very different from ours. We are a walking species. Our ancestors walked out of Africa into the rest of the world, and we still have a desire to go on long walks, to leave our familiar surroundings and see what is over the next horizon, and the next after that. On this walk, all that matters is what is before you today, and maybe tomorrow - the rest of the world and time drop away. It is both liberating and focusing. Maybe this is what people think of as spiritual.

And, of course, there is bound to be some suffering on the way, too, essential to both Catholicism and modern fitness. So there's something for everyone, really.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I think the concept of pilgrimage is expansive. I presume everyone on trail I meet is a pilgrim unless they specifically tell me it’s their preference to think of it differently
I completely agree.
The motivations of others make no difference to me. And I'm still not sure of my motivation, other than I love being part of a mass of humanity walking towards the same destination.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
As hospitaleros we see and talk to many who are there for various reasons. Often ones who are not religious tell us they are finding something 'more that they can't explain'. Many are 'in between' something. Jobs, school, divorce, retirement, deaths, life, you name it and mostly they are looking for answers to questions they sometimes didn't know they had. Maybe I'm seeing a different side of pilgrimage? Dont know, but I still believe it is a experience that changes you. People ask questions here in preparation for a journey they may not yet understand?
 
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F

Former member 99290

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The motivations of others make no difference to me. And I'm still not sure of my motivation,
I feel the same. I don't like to enquire of others I meet as to why they are walking the Way - but this often comes out on both sides in the natural flow of conversation and I appreciate it if the other pilgrim / walker wishes to share their thoughts. The reasons are many and varied - sometimes surprising and frequently touching and humbling. I've never heard anyone say 'because it's a cheap holiday / hiking trail'. And, even if that were the case ... their sentiments may well change somewhere along The Way. And perhaps that's the point.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I walk the Camino for the "safe" adventure that it is, and because I can. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and cultures, the beautiful architecture of ancient cathedrals, the food and terrain.
Do I consider myself a pilgrim? Not really. Although religious, I am not Catholic, but I absolutely love the many churches along the way; they make me feel humbled, safe, and awed inspired.
All reasons for walking are individual and who am I to judge.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2017
The Camino is.

The Walker is.

It is the interplay between the two that determines whether one's walk is a pilgrimage. Annnndddd, it might not be apparent to the walker for some time after the walk that a pilgrimage was indeed undertaken.

The "calculus of the Camino" is only understood by an Entity well above the pay grade of mortals. A gross objective view of a personal subjective issue is not easily grasped and likely not even possible.

YMMV,

B
 
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Katherine Radeka

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2022, 2023)
My husband is agnostic and I'm a practicing progessive Catholic.

He has traveled with me on pilgrimages to Assisi and Rome twice. He says that he comes for the great wine and food, the natural beauty, culture and art.

He embodies the Pilgrim's Creed of Murray Bodo, OSF so much better than I do:

I am not in control.
I am not in a hurry.
I walk in faith and hope.
I greet everyone I meet with peace.
I take only what God gives me.

I tried to walk the Camino in 2018 but I forgot the first two lines of the Pilgrim's Creed and ended up with an overuse injury before I even left. This time he's coming with me.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
I walk the Camino for the "safe" adventure that it is, and because I can. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and cultures, the beautiful architecture of ancient cathedrals, the food and terrain.

There really are not a lot of places with this level of relative safety for solo women. An under-mentioned and significant point.
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Portugues 2022
I confess to uncharitable thoughts about those who ask about skipping stages, avoiding 'boring bits', looking for better accommodation etc. There was even a poster on here a while back asking where exactly the 100 kilometre marker was so they could avoid walking any more than they absolutely had to. Seems these people do not understand the concept of pilgrimage or what the Camino is all about.

However, each to their own and maybe some of these people find something special or spiritual on their walk, even if it does not start out as a pilgrimage.
 
F

Former member 99290

Guest
I confess to uncharitable thoughts about those who ask about skipping stages, avoiding 'boring bits', looking for better accommodation etc. There was even a poster on here a while back asking where exactly the 100 kilometre marker was so they could avoid walking any more than they absolutely had to. Seems these people do not understand the concept of pilgrimage or what the Camino is all about.

However, each to their own and maybe some of these people find something special or spiritual on their walk, even if it does not start out as a pilgrimage.
While I can understand the reaction - and have also felt a bit 'irked' by some posts from time to time - it takes just a few memories of some of the wonderful people I've met on The Way to give myself a proverbial slap. The distance people are able to walk and what they are able to carry, where they choose to sleep and whether they need to skip stages, let alone why they’re walking can come down to so many factors.

My most recent Camino was way back in October 2019 (thanks to Covid). It was my second time on the Primitivo, this time walking with a dear friend. Those who've walked the Primitivo will know that when that path joins the Frances, 50 kms before Santiago, it can be quite a jolt! While I was looking forward to those last stages into Santiago, I found myself feeling apprehensive about the crowds many of whom would ONLY have been walking the last 100kms. For what it's worth - here's what I wrote on that day in 2019. It's one of the many reminders I have if I ever find myself veering towards judgement of others' approach or motivation.

After a restful night at Albergue a Nave, we set out just before 7.30 am in light rain, more of a mist really. A few hours later the rain was heavier and stayed that way until our arrival in Melide at around 12.30pm.

Melide is a significant town on the Camino Primitivo. It is the town where the Primitivo joins the Camino Frances – the most popular of all Caminos – at around 50 kms from Santiago de Compostela. To offer some perspective, we estimate that as we’ve been walking there may have been between 30-50 people per day on the various stages of the Primitivo. For the Frances, it’s more like 300-500.

For many people the Primitivo is their second, third, fourth … Camino. Almost all have walked the iconic Camino Frances at least once and, of those, many (us included) have walked before the numbers ‘exploded’ in 2014. And that trend has continued at what some of us ‘old timers’ regard as an alarming rate.

As the day approaches when the Primitivo joins the Frances, we hear discussion about the shock of the number of pilgrims we will see. Though, of course, it is not a shock – we know this will be the case. There is sometimes discussion about the fact that a great many walkers are only doing the last 100 kms (of an 800 km path) the minimum required to qualify for the Compostela, the ‘certificate’ issued by the pilgrims office in Santiago. There is sometimes discussion about transport, luxury accommodation and day packs vs full packs.

A few pilgrims we’ve met are so concerned at the ‘change’ in the nature of The Way on the Camino Frances that they choose to finish the Primitivo Way in Melide. They have been to Santiago on at least one if not many Caminos and have no wish to join the crowds.

We are not immune from these thoughts. We get it. And while we might also wish that the Camino Frances remained as it was when we walked together in 2013, or when I walked for the first time in 2011 – we know that people continue to be drawn to walk for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways. The Camino belongs to no-one.

So, as we walked out of Melide this afternoon, we found ourselves walking among a group of women from the south coast of England. We each started chatting to different members of the group. Though we walked with them no more than 10 or 15 minutes – then pulled ahead – here’s what we learned.

This group of 16 women are not walking the ‘full Camino’. They are walking the last 100 kms from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. No they are not staying in pilgrim dormitories (neither are we), and yes they are carrying small day packs and having their luggage transported.

They are walking for 5 days to cover the 100 kms. Four day of around 18 kms and one day (today) of 30 kms. That’s a very long distance any way you look at it. They have been training for many months to make this walk. One I spoke to told me she was ‘a complete couch potato’ before then.

These 16 women – some already friends, others who met just a few days ago – are walking 100 kms to raise money to renovate a hospice in their community. Some work or volunteer in the hospice. They look to be in their 60s and 70s. The oldest is 77. Her husband was cared for by the hospice before he died.

Many are finding it hard going – especially today with 30 kms to walk. But all we spoke to are thrilled to be here and loving the experience.

The Camino is for anyone who’s drawn to it. We’re doing it our way and these 16 women are doing it their way. What an inspiration.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I confess to uncharitable thoughts... There was even a poster on here a while back asking where exactly the 100 kilometre marker was so they could avoid walking any more than they absolutely had to.
It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable question to ask where the 100 km marker is, but I don't remember any poster ever expressing the reason quite like that :oops:.
 
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BookGirl305

Active Member
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Ingles (after Covid)
I am in the 100km crowd due to ability level and time available and still not sure if I am going to do the start in Pamplona or the finish in Sarria in my available 6 days (and I might even start in Morgade- gasp!). What I do know is this- I have no idea why I am doing this. The first book I downloaded to my Kindle was in 2013. This isn't a sudden thing. I go in May. Prior to this, I have never walked long distances, never used a backpack. When asked why I don't just walk the Appalachian Trail close to home, I can only say that the Camino is the trail I am to walk. I don't know why.

As far as "who's the tourist"? If someone has already made their spiritual pilgrimage and arrived at the cathedral, hugged the statue, been to mass, gotten their Compostela and then goes back to walk another path in another year on an annual vacation allotment or goes back to stay in a certain albergue to see a friend they made along the path or goes back to eat a dish only found in that area of the world- I ask you- who's the tourist? I'd say it's the person who's going back for a repeat, not the first timer making their way along the road toward the church.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Right now I just want to walk it again as it was. Could care less about the crowds, etc. I'd happily deal with all that again just to be able to walk it freely, without the nasty specter of a pandemic hanging over it.
We all hear you and agree.
But good luck with that.
What is, is. And we all need to figure out how to cope with reality.

To anyone who's started grumbling that I've gone off topic, I will say, the last sentence is the topic.

Yes, there are more tourists than there used to be. It's inevitable, given the infrastructure, the xunta ad campaigns, and social media.
What is, is. And the 'old days' aren't coming back.

But everyone has to walk. And whether we walk as religious pilgrims, tourists, or somewhere in between, we're all thrown back on that same conundrum - when the going gets tough, now what do we do?

The 'pilgrim' may dig deeper.
The 'tourist' may take a taxi.
And we're all in this together. The camino is a great leveler.

So I figure...well, whatever.
What other people do (and the consequences of that to them) aren't my business.
But my reaction to them certainly is.

I'm quite capable of complaint and judgement, especially when I encounter someone who's entitled and selfish - but if I'm lucky, I remember that their personality and intentions are not my crosses to bear. And that if I feed a habit of complaint and judgement, I'll just get more of the same.

They'll reap their consequences, and I'll reap mine. And what do I want to sow?
 
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OZAJ

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
Why do people get excited about other people's motivation, intention?

Surely, all that matters is your own motivation and intention.

How can you possibly know another person's? Unless of course they tell you. And that might not be true. Very many people cannot distinguish between the spiritual and the emotional, even the sentimental.

Are we sure about our own intention? Yet we criticise others. It is a terrible thing to be a hypocrite, yet so many of us are just that.
 

JCarpenter

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
But skipping stages doesn't mean it isn't a pilgrimage. Time constraints, and the wishes of two people blended together make skipping sometimes the best way to make the trip a pilgrimage for two, for both. One 5 time pilgrim, one first timer. Which Caminonwould you pick? Chime in and be helpful rather than silently steam and judge. This idea that one person is a pilgrim and another is not is not very pilgrim like, is it?
 
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andarapie

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
But skipping stages doesn't mean it isn't a pilgrimage. Time constraints, and the wishes of two people blended together make skipping sometimes the best way to make the trip a pilgrimage for two, for both. One 5 time pilgrim, one first timer. Which Caminonwould you pick? Chime in and be helpful rather than silently steam and judge. This idea that one person is a pilgrim and another is not is not very pilgrim like, is it?
There's no right way or wrong way to any of this. The only requirement is that you walk (or ride a bike, or a horse) towards Santiago. And given that the Earth is a sphere, you can pick any direction you like and maybe eventually you will get there. Or not. The only person it matters to is you. If you take a car or a bus or a train or a boat or a plane to shorten the distance, or have a service carry your bag for you, that's between you and The Woman Upstairs, and, if I may be so bold, I would imagine this is not among the things She is very concerned about.

However, I will make a judgment to say that if the pleasure you get from the Camino is in making judgments about how other people do it, and their motivations for doing it, it's easier for you to do that from home.

I was raised Catholic, but I am not religious now, nor have I ever been spiritual. But I did the Camino last year, and I went to confession at the cathedral in Santiago. My discussion with the priest was brief, but the thing he said that stuck with me was this: "The main thing to remember is that God loves you."

There is something in this to think about, particularly when we want to think that other people are somehow lesser because of why they do things, or the way in which they do things. Why does this matter to you? If there is a God, why would it matter to Her?
 

Will O Dwyer

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
This year will be a pilgrimage for my late son Paul.Having walked parts of the Norte and French you do absorb the energy and faith from others.On previous walks you get to know yourself, the pain from blisters etc.This Camino will be different. No matter what we as a group will get my son and grandsons ashes to the cathedral. I can only say that it will be 'bloody mindless'.
 
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Former member 99290

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This year will be a pilgrimage for my late son Paul.Having walked parts of the Norte and French you do absorb the energy and faith from others.On previous walks you get to know yourself, the pain from blisters etc.This Camino will be different. No matter what we as a group will get my son and grandsons ashes to the cathedral.
Wishing you and your companions well, Will 🙏
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Rather a lot, and hopefully more to come
I have reconsidered my hasty earlier pronouncement on the subject, which might in retrospect have been perceived as somewhat judgemental.

On matters such as the conflict between pilgrimage and tourism where religeous and secular perspectives may conflict then I feel it best to rely on the deeply held views of the late Father James (Jack) Hackett - mentor and spiritual guide to the sadly deceased Father Edward Crilly, latterly of Craggy Island - and conclude that this is, without doubt, an ecumenical matter.
I’m not surprised to see the debate continue, as it depends so much on the optics of each commentator.
It did occur to me overnight that my reference to Fr. Hacket’s considered words might not be definitive.
I could direct the interested reader to the ‘response to Vatican ll’ (privately published, Craggy Island Press 1997) by the now Bishop Dougal Maguire - hotly tipped for Cardinal - especially his chapter on perspective. The same physical presence being interpreted differently whether from a religious or secular point of view.

Bishop Maguire's discussion of the modern parable ‘The cows - tiny or far away?’ is a set text in philosophy classes in seminaries throughout the UK.

It does seem that the fame of the intellectual and spiritual debates which so characterised the Craggy Island conclave in the latter part of the 20th century has not spread to the Americas or Africa?
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
I missed this part, or just glossed over it:
What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?
Absolutely nothing!
Well, I speak for myself.
Nor do I seek God on the Camino.
But it's not just a touristic vacation either.

We struggle to pigeonhole this Camino, because it's essence is deeper and much more nuanced than the dualistic concepts of tourist visit versus pilgrimage.

So the simple answer to your question, @jsalt , is sometimes it's a pilgrimage. And sometimes not. The boundaries between the two are awfully fuzzy, so sometimes it's both. And essentially? Maybe neither. Just a mystery.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Inglese 2021
CF started 22022
I think it's ok to walk the Camino for whatever one's reason is. I also believe that a pilgrimage does not have to be done for religious reason, although that was my reason for my Camino last year. My brother, who loves history, is trying to visit all the American Civil War battle fields, and that is a pilgrimage in progress too. He is drawn to something he loves. I'm going to be doing the Camino Frances over a period of years until I retire. I am drawn to it like a piece of steel is pulled to a magnet, ever since I heard about it. I'll start in SJPdP this year, and following my walk I'll be going to Barcelona. That will be the second pilgrimage of my trip, since the last time I was there was over 40 years ago as an architecture student and I want to see the fruition of the work that's been done on the Sagrada Familia.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
"Why are you doing this pilgrim?" asks @jsalt - repeating a question that has been asked of us all. Here is my answer:

  1. It brings me joy. Moments of ecstasy. Usually after kilometres of walking by myself, often in lonely places. There are scientific explanations, reasons why my brain is releasing endorphins. All I know is that it happens.
  2. Time and space to reflect, to meditate, to put past and future into perspective, to pray, to wonder at the stars, beauty, nature, and my place in the world.
  3. It is a simply glorious way to get fit. A body makeover and so much more fun than the gym!
  4. Freedom from stress. There are no, or very few, decisions to be made and total freedom from responsibility. When in doubt - walk. Allied with that is the strengthening of confidence in myself. Whatever comes, I can cope.
  5. Living in the moment. Really in the moment. Something about the physicality, the concrete reality of feet meeting the earth, the body stretching itself, muscles working, getting wet when it rains, getting hot, getting cold, feeling the wind - connects me to now and grounds me in reality.
  6. Contrast. As in much of life, contrasts sharpen my awareness, focus and pleasure. Getting cold and wet also means getting warm and dry. Pushing the body and then relaxing completely. A hot shower after a day of sweat and grime. On camino these are the daily miracles for which I am grateful.
  7. People. Humanity. Connection. Meeting as equals. Sharing food, a landscape, bathrooms, funny stories, deep thoughts, ibuprofen, clothes pegs and a simple cafe con leche - in a culture that stretches back 1,000 years. With people that I will meet again and again, all headed in the same direction.
  8. Intellectual pleasure. Stuffing the mind and the senses with the glories of western art and architecture.
  9. A sense of accomplishment, achievement. Getting there.
I could go on....

Edited to add - oh - and the food!
 

steve 217

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
I have reconsidered my hasty earlier pronouncement on the subject, which might in retrospect have been perceived as somewhat judgemental.

On matters such as the conflict between pilgrimage and tourism where religeous and secular perspectives may conflict then I feel it best to rely on the deeply held views of the late Father James (Jack) Hackett - mentor and spiritual guide to the sadly deceased Father Edward Crilly, latterly of Craggy Island - and conclude that this is, without doubt, an ecumenical matter.
I read this and then suddenly understood the reference and burst out laughing, it made my morning , although i think you might need to explain the reference to non uk members .
 
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Wildcamper57

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
(2018)
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
I blame the "hipsters" they spoil everything. They turn everything into a dinner party humble brag...
 

Rick Chollett

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spring of 2018.
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
It's what you make of it. For me it was a healing and closure type walk that was religious in context. I walked from SJPP to Santiago to place a memento on the altar from my youngest daughter that had passed away. For some it's a cheap hike. For others it's just something to do.
 

Guateboston

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 3018
Oh I’m torn in two with this one, I’m religious so I would firmly place myself in the pilgrimage group…but I’m also an avid walker who enjoys the views and the interesting people on the path so I can embrace those who walk for leisure and I applaud those who walk for their faith we all have a journey in life I just wouldn’t ever judge another’s journey because it’s different to mine. Buen camino mi amigos
I did the Frances and it was for spiritual reasons. But I also enjoy walking. Don’t see a problem with staying an extra day somewhere or skipping just industrial area walking. It is your Camino, and yours only. And it will teach you something and change you.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Long term members will know this is an hazardous topic. Offense easily given and often taken. Please remember that we are as they on the roads to Santiago. No-one owns those roads, there are no rules. As the good Bishop said “God does not count your steps, nor Santiago weigh your pack. Look to your heart pilgrim for why you walk this road”.
Lovely reflection...In my mind, a pilgrimage is simply a movement toward something...And that "something" may take some time to be revealed...
 
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SpanBrit

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Unsure, maybe the Madrid + Invierno
I am certainly doing it for religious reasons, I made a vow to God and I am planning to walk the Camino in fulfillment of it. I suspect some of the views of it not being religious have to do with non Spanish, or at least non European Camino walkers. Even if Spaniards are usually only culturally catholic i think many would walk it for Catholic religious reasons. In any event even if it is for religious reasons that's between the person in question, maybe their confessor, and God. If I find a stage dangerous or am injured and need to skip a stage, i hardly think God will hold my promise unfulfilled. But, i suppose I should do the more boring stages as the Camino isn't just about beauty for me. I wouldn't mind skipping road walking if i got too nervous about that though and it was a busy road.
 

Diana H

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
I 'walked' the Camino many years ago - solitary, older, newly retired and searching for a better sense of myself. Even though I was/am Catholic, I found the Camino to be a very self-reflecting, meditative experience. I would say more of a spiritual experience as opposed to religious. (although it can't help but have deeply religious overtones!) Thank you.
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I blame the "hipsters" they spoil everything. They turn everything into a dinner party humble brag...


Please do explain " hipster "? Everyone who is not like you?

I like to quote Blaise Pascal.

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”

 
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isobelmtl

New Member
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
There are a lot of questions in your post. There are a lot of questions in all of us who walk the Camino. When I walked my Camino - Frances - last fall I brought questions, pain, longing with me. I bring those things when I walk to the grocery store or to the park or to the Metro too because I carry them in my heart. The only difference is that on the Camino, I'm not worrying about if i'm in time for the delivery service, or if the turkey in the park will chase me or if I forgot my Metro pass. On the Camino important questions were stripped down, purified, unavoidable. I did meet people who were "religious" in the conventional sense but the miracle is that even in an age when religion has lost a lot of its grip on most people, there is still the drive, the urge to search, to challenge oneself, to absorb beauty. The rewards? Contact with nature, the fragrance of history in villages and cathedral towns, the fellowship with other pilgrims. So, yes, a valid question. After all, something made me order the guidebook for the Camino Portugese!
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
Meeting as equals.
Though all of @Kanga's reasons resonate with me, this one struck a particular cord. On the camino, when someone asks you "¿Qué haces?" 9 times out of 10 they are not asking you what do you do for a living, they are just asking you what you're doing. In the US, at least, it is frequently hard to detach whatever you "do" from who you are, and it is a wonderful experience to be able to do that. Meeting as equals, that's a great way to put it.

I have walked with one of the French founders of the Carrefour food chain, who only started to tell me stories about his experiences (like getting the red carpet treatment when landing in South Korea, met by the president!, or getting edged out by the Board when he hit a certain age) after we had already spent many hours over many days walking together on and off, occasionally eating together. I already had an idea of him and a connection with him as a person. I'm not sure exactly why he decided to tell me (and of course, it could all have been a fabrication) but walking for 8 hours on a cold grey rainy day does strange things to people. I don't think I would have felt as comfortable with him had I known from the start that he was one of the mega rich. Just being a person without being attached to any extrinsic attributes is a great feeling, and I think it is one of the reasons why people feel so uninhibited about opening up with total strangers.
 

Mfazio

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
I have enjoyed reading this forum for quite some time as I prepare for my first Camino. Walking the Camino has been a goal of mine for many years and I am thrilled that the stars have aligned to allow me this opportunity.
The original post concerns me. There seem to be a few folks who feel it is their Camino and that only their rules to walk it apply. In the spirit of a pilgrim this seem like the exact opposite attitude to take.
Everybody has their reasons to be on their pilgrimage. Who has the right to question another’s reasons or methods? If you want to take a 75 liter backpack - fine! I’ll help you strap it on. If you want to fill it with bowling balls fine! Let me help you with that. Want to only carry a toothbrush? Great! Want to walk it backwards the whole way fine! Why is it any of my concern other than being a decent fellow pilgrim and helping you do you?
After 40 years in the working world I have grown weary of others telling me what I should do, how to do it and how I should feel about it. I think it’s time for folks to mind their own business and get back to being decent humans and helping their fellow pilgrims.
 

isobelmtl

New Member
Your post asks many questions about the motives of peligrinos. I walked last fall on the Camino Frances. I carried with me heartache, fear of advancing old age, my unquenchable sense of adventure and stubborness. Religious motivation? I am a loosely practicing Christian but I have had contact with many people of different religions and admired the principles of those religions. On the path I met those who did walk for religious reasons, for love of nature and history. The world changes and thank goodness no one one is walking in dread fear of hell-fire anymore. How wonderful that only a tiny few of those who walk meet an untimely death unlike in Medieval times. (would it be such a bad place to release my spirit?) "Adapt or Perish" said Darwin - thank "God" the Camino and peligrinos are adapting, surviving and thriving.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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The Camino is a unique experience in one's life. You put this experience into the context of the life and that determines what it means. For those that don't believe in a God or a god, it means one thing. For those that do, it takes on a different context. That context is irrelevant to all others walking but supremely relevant that the one having the experience. Religion, spirituality, or the lack of such are not hard structures in and of themselves. They are just constructs of our minds meant to help us explain our path through existence.
 

JTCamino

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances '14, Portuguese Coastal '17, Sanabres '19
I wanted an adventure that's all; nothing more!

Never been religious or for that matter spiritual in my life; but i don't think i will ever understand what that means when applied to me.
But me being moved to tears in a church more than once; mystified me!
So in my mind it's not just a hike!
Woody
God works in mysterious ways pilgrim...embrace it!
 
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JamesVT

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
I wanted an adventure that's all; nothing more!

Never been religious or for that matter spiritual in my life; but i don't think i will ever understand what that means when applied to me.
But me being moved to tears in a church more than once; mystified me!
So in my mind it's not just a hike!
Woody
My wife and I both found walking the Camino to be a spiritual experience that we welcomed and embrace. Neither of us is religious in any formal way. We do not attend church or see the world through a lens shaped by dogma. But the Camino, with its millennial history, its extraordinary beauty, and the ever changing flow of pilgrims from all parts of the world spoke a lovely, touching language about simplicity and faith and perseverance. We each found ourselves on the verge of tears in the cool quiet of churches along the way as we rested and contemplated why we were there, so far from home, and prepared ourselves to pick up our packs and walk farther. My walk on the Camino taught me much and soothed my soul. I am grateful for the Camino every day.
 

parttime pilgrim

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
c.France 2006-2012/Fsterre 2013.France2014/.C.Norte15-16 c.France 2017. Primtvo.18,C portugl 2019
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
Brian Sewell in his documentary The Naked Pilgrim described himself as a lapsed Catholic at the beginning of his journey and towards the end stated that by walking the Camino he ran the risk of becoming a lapsed Atheist. Who knows? Who can say.
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
For some it is a catholic pilgrimage, for others a spiritual journey, for others again it is a long hike as an analogy to the walk of life, a way to calm their soul, to find peace before or after heavy life decisions or involuntarily changes or simply to be with yourself, reflect and just talk to strangers at the same time.
I think these are all valid and good reasons to walk the way and maybe it even all means the same if condensed down to its core. I would call all these different camino-walkers actually pilgrims, even if they are not religious.
On the other hand you find people like that young bus driver I met, who did it to get physically fitter and only did one week on the Frances to continue later as his vacation plan would not allow for more. But he was jolly good company so I think people like him do not spoil it for "true" pilgrims and in the end maybe even that week became a sort of pilgrimage for him even if not intended as such ;-)
The only thing I despise are people, playing music loudly while walking (hence disturbing my experience), who see it as a thing on their bucket list to be cool or for those instagram-shots. This is why I prefer the mileage before the last 100k as there you find more genuine walkers before the crowd joins in.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
I think it's ok to walk the Camino for whatever one's reason is. I also believe that a pilgrimage does not have to be done for religious reason, although that was my reason for my Camino last year. My brother, who loves history, is trying to visit all the American Civil War battle fields, and that is a pilgrimage in progress too. He is drawn to something he loves. I'm going to be doing the Camino Frances over a period of years until I retire. I am drawn to it like a piece of steel is pulled to a magnet, ever since I heard about it. I'll start in SJPdP this year, and following my walk I'll be going to Barcelona. That will be the second pilgrimage of my trip, since the last time I was there was over 40 years ago as an architecture student and I want to see the fruition of the work that's been done on the Sagrada Familia.
Speaking as a retired architect who has made many “pilgrimages” to buildings the most moving ( for the power of the natural lighting) were Sagrada Familia and Notre-Dame du Haut at Ronchamp by Le Corbusier.
 

Carla M.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022: Camino Primitivo
I know why I walk it and that's all that's important to me.
As simple as that.

I will do my first Camino this year. I intend to walk alone. That’s what I feel I need to do at this stage of my life. And I confess I feel selfish, I feel lost and hope that going out of my comfort zone, and all the comforts I take refuge in, I can get some clarity.
Am I asking too much of the Camino?
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
Please do explain " hipster "? Everyone who is not like you?
Everyone with a hipster beard I would guess ;-)
Well, it is actually a term that is often overstretched and most people actually do not know what they mean when they use it. Similar to "snowflake", "activist", "leftist", "conservative". This is what always happens when you try to put complex individuals into simply labelled boxes to apply stereotypes to them. This is the best way to not understand this world ever ;-)
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022 (canceled)
CP 2023 (planned)
As simple as that.

I will do my first Camino this year. I intend to walk alone. That’s what I feel I need to do at this stage of my life. And I confess I feel selfish, I feel lost and hope that going out of my comfort zone, and all the comforts I take refuge in, I can get some clarity.
Am I asking too much of the Camino?
This is not selfish. And realizing that might be your first learnings on the Camino :)
You might succeed or not or partially. You cannot force it. But it will be an experience for sure.
 
F

Former member 49149

Guest
As simple as that.

I will do my first Camino this year. I intend to walk alone. That’s what I feel I need to do at this stage of my life. And I confess I feel selfish, I feel lost and hope that going out of my comfort zone, and all the comforts I take refuge in, I can get some clarity.
Am I asking too much of the Camino?
Clara, what a fortuitous name! I loved, absolutely loved, walking from Oporto to Santiago. Go. Expect nothing. You will be so surprised! Bom Caminho!
 
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ortemio

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
Norte,19
we walk and ruminate on many things, at some point we get stuck ruminating about what's going on
w the other caminantes. it is tough to let it go. Who cares if they skip a stage or all of them, or take a taxi or a bus, or use poles or have an expensive backpack or wear boots or trail shoes ...

My question at that moment is : How is that affect me ?
1st answer is , it does not. 2nd : it does not 3rd : less noise in the camino 4th: less competition for the cafe con tostada

The problem is that when you get stuck with this kind of rumination it's tough to let it go. Like when you get stuck w a song and can't silence it, my camino nightmare song goes "god is watching you , god is watching you, from the distance" over and over again...

I came up with this idea of training the "will" to let go. We are already doing it when we walk for 30 days eating lentejas and sleeping in dirty mattresses. Now we have to come up with a way to clear those extraneous thoughts and let go of controlling what everyone else is doing.

Some ideas that have worked for me: ( crazy me of course )
=> Listen to the wind and spend time trying to differentiate between what comes in on one side versus the other, we are so busy ruminating that we forget to listen to the wind or the cicadas in stereo!
=> In the long stretches, try closing your eyes while walking and listen and feel, yes feel, every cm of your body is sending signals to your brain, how many can you label? pay attention to the ones in the feet, less blisters...
=> if you have to ruminate, try a meditation exercise, pick an important person in your life and totally immerse yourself in being them, try to see the world from their point of view, total immersion, that will train your will to the limits, repeat for others...
=> if you are alone and can't let go then try something physical. The chinese use a "horse stance" to train in their martial arts, I came up with "walking horse stance", imagine that you have a big beach ball in front of you and have to keep it there while walking, you would place you hands over the top of the ball and keep it against your torso, try this for a few minutes at a time until you can keep them there for one hour while walking , that is training the will! ( I can do ~4 miles now ) , google "Three-Circle Stance"
=> pay attention to your breath, turn it into something easy to follow, break the input into three successive breaths and let the outflow be one long one, rinse and repeat ...
=> see yourself as a creature from another planet, try to vividly experience every second of your walk, wind, sun, rain, road, smells, taste,sound... spend time describing what you feel as if you were telling a person that has never been there

It is not easy to let go, the brain wants to have something to do,,, whatever you choose as long as it makes you happy

long, yikes, but my two cents ... ;=)
 

darealdeal77

Member Since 2018
Time of past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
Good questions!
As for skipping stages, I know when Camino originated the pilgrims were at the mercy of the people daily, whether they ate, slept or hitch a ride on a cart to the next city. I don’t know if that would have been skipping under today’s standards, but there are many who suffer injuries or life back home have them on a time schedule. I was once told on a famous hike: “Hike your own hike!” I think everyone who walks Camino should hike their own hike.
The word pilgrimage means: A pilgrimage is a devotional practice consisting of a prolonged journey, often undertaken on foot or on horseback, toward a specific destination of significance. It is an inherently transient experience, removing the participant from his or her home environment and identity. Devotional could be religious, spiritual, personal or one of life’s goals.
I hike Camino in 2014 after suffering a devastating injury which left me with PTSD, my pilgrimage was to come into terms with the ugly beast and feel alive again. I was raised catholic, but growing up I realized that GOD was much more than just a religion, I respect all faiths, and believe in GOD over all! I skipped some stages, avoided super bad storms, and on those days were I walked 15 miles I remembered the cause; remembered the people I have met along Camino, the temples I visited, and the feelings I felt when I reached a mountain top.
I saw and interacted with many people from all over the world and realized, that on Camino there’s compassion, understanding, gratefulness, forgiveness, Joy, and love! Isn’t that what GOD is about, and a spiritual experience?
I can say from experience that many times I felt the presence of GOD, that helping a hiker patch a bloody knee with my first aid kit was as spiritual and religious as it could get! I love Camino, what it meant to me, and what it did for my heart. In Camino when you socialize and talk to someone doing the walk you realize that everyone has their own purpose for the walk, and religious or not, Camino has a gift that touches us all whether we want to or not.
I cannot wait until this pandemic is over to walk it again, and I know my experience will be different, my messages will be different and my conversations with GOD would be as alive as ever, for every corner that I will turn in the outskirts of Spain when I meet a happy or wounded pilgrim there I will find GOD!
Please WALK YOUR WALK! Breathe, cry, smile, shake hands, sing and best of all: BUEN CAMINO!
 
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G_NYC

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Coastal/Litoral (Oct/Nov 2021)
I’m not surprised to see the debate continue, as it depends so much on the optics of each commentator.
It did occur to me overnight that my reference to Fr. Hacket’s considered words might not be definitive.
I could direct the interested reader to the ‘response to Vatican ll’ (privately published, Craggy Island Press 1997) by the now Bishop Dougal Maguire - hotly tipped for Cardinal - especially his chapter on perspective. The same physical presence being interpreted differently whether from a religious or secular point of view.

Bishop Maguire's discussion of the modern parable ‘The cows - tiny or far away?’ is a set text in philosophy classes in seminaries throughout the UK.

It does seem that the fame of the intellectual and spiritual debates which so characterised the Craggy Island conclave in the latter part of the 20th century has not spread to the Americas or Africa?
I’m very sad for those who are not familiar with the importance of the Craggy Island conclave :)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Long term members will know this is an hazardous topic. Offense easily given and often taken. Please remember that we are as they on the roads to Santiago. No-one owns those roads, there are no rules. As the good Bishop said “God does not count your steps, nor Santiago weigh your pack. Look to your heart pilgrim for why you walk this road”.
I am glad you have mentioned this as in years past I have unwarrantedly disparaged others for not fitting my model of "pilgrimage". I personally think when I walk it is really important for me to strip down and walk as simple a camino as possible. Municipal albergues, donativos, community meals and walking no matter the weather, unless of course it could be dangerous. I am not a masochist but I do feel discomfort etc is an important part of my experience. I remember before my first camino my daughter had just returned from a year of backpacking the world. She told me a few days before I left, "Daddy, I have you and Mom and my sister's love. I have a few really close friends. I learned everything I need in life I can fit in my backpack. The rest is just s%*t. I hope you learn that too.
I did learn that.
But that is for me
Camino for me is a very personal journey.
I have chosen the way I need to walk. It is part of what the Camino teaches, it gives us what you need not what you want.
I need to walk this way.
If everyone else stays in the Parador every night. Who cares???
It does not affect me with every step I take.
I learned those kind of judgements are just noise and those thoughts diminish my experience.
Isn't it 1000 times better to fill your body, mind and spirit listening to the wind or the birds, hear the gravel under your feet and smell the morning cow shit??????
 

longwalker60

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
09/2018
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
 

longwalker60

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
09/2018
The Camino is what you make of it. On that note, I think it would be hard not to encounter some spiritual progress, regardless of your spiritual intention, with the fact, you are walking the camino with many who are seeking a spiritual experience. I think the Camino can be an adventure-spiritual or otherwise. Buen Camino!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019: León - Santiago; 2021: St. Jean - León; 23?
I read this and then suddenly understood the reference and burst out laughing, it made my morning , although i think you might need to explain the reference to non uk members .

I love this whole discussion and hope to return to the Camino soon. Buen Camino to all of you.

I’m in North America and found “Cows, Small or Far Away,” and Craggy Island, on YouTube. When I began searching, I expected to find a dry discussion of a lofty parable covered in seminary classes. Well worth my time this a.m.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
People who are looking for a "cheap holiday" generally aren't interested in walking 20-30 km a day!
I woiuld have thought so myself, but over several caminos ran into pilgrims for whom this was the case. During the economic crisis (of ten years ago?) this was not infrequent as young Spaniards were often unemployed and this was really the best solution for them. Other than that, I saw no difference between them and other other pilgrijms; they trudged the same path, discouraged and challenged with the same hills, the same time for engagement with people of all views from all parts of the planet, the same space for time alone. In spite of the difficult and depressing time for them, they were cheerful and diligent, and were great company.

In my experience, pilgrims with religious motives fell into a whole range of categories; the only young people I have ever seen with rosaries would walk through the meseta, telling their beads, intégristes bitter over the Communist tendencies of various popes, a cheerful young policewoman fulfilling a vow to Our Lady for getting her through her exams, another walking as penance set by her confessor, evangelicals from Ulster encountering Catholic Christianity for the first time without a political reference, Lutheran theological students trudging and trading fart jokes, and Koreans singing psalms as they went along.

The discipline of walking for hour after hour, day after day, is so foreign to our culture, that it could not but have an effect on people. There is the saw that the tourist becomes a pilgrim, and I don't think that they can avoid this, although for some it will take time for their reflections to become evident for them--- perhaps for years. While observing all of this, I never worried about it, focussing rather on the prospect of some really interesting food and wine at the end of the day. There's really very many worse ways to spend one's time.
 

Scott Fraser

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 17&18; Podiensis 19, VdlP exSalamanca 22
7. People. Humanity. Connection. Meeting as equals. Sharing.....all headed in the same direction.

So many good comments on this thread to which I'll add one observation.

Kanga touches on a what I believe is a key difference between hiking and walking a Camino that I didn't fully appreciate until I walked from Le Puy to Pamplona after two prior walks from SJPdP to Santiago on the Frances.

Many (but certainly not all) of people I encountered in France were not pilgrims walking the Via Podiensis -- they were groups of friends hiking portions of the GR65. Some were headed SW, some NE, some doing thru-hikes from town to town, some walking loops that started and ended in the same place.

As Kanga points out, people walking a Camino are sharing a common experience "all walking in the same direction" toward a common goal.

That is a rare experience in our modern world, one that can be appreciated by hikers and pilgrims alike. In fact, I believe this factor is that often transforms hikers seeking adventure and challenge into pilgrims on a journey.

I have absolutely nothing against taking a long hike in the southwest of France -- the country side is beautiful and the food is superior to most one finds along the Frances. But walking a Camino is different. Truly different. I believe it is peoples' alignment toward a common goal that creates a spirit and an experience found in very few other endeavors.

Vive la différence!
 

Tincatinker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
pilgrims with religious motives fell into a whole range of categories; the only young people I have ever seen with rosaries would walk through the meseta, telling their beads, intégristes bitter over the Communist tendencies of various popes, a cheerful young policewoman fulfilling a vow to Our Lady for getting her through her exams, another walking as penance set by her confessor, evangelicals from Ulster encountering Catholic Christianity for the first time without a political reference, Lutheran theological students trudging and trading fart jokes, and Koreans singing psalms as they went along.
Hey, you missed out the pagans clutching our sprigs of mistletoe and our flint sickles and looking smug on our way to the end-of-the-world ;)
 

Bob Calver

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked the Norte in September 2019.
Surely the Camino/trail/way/long distance path is whatever the pilgrim/hiker/traveller/seeker/tourist likes to think it is. That said, I would argue that everyone who has followed a way to Santiago is changed by the experience. At the end they will certainly know more about themselves and their fellow human beings than they did when they took the first step.That is why this experience is so special to all of us - each in our own unique way
 

Michael Swanberg

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017);
Camino Portuguese (2019);
Camino Frances (2021)
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
"All journeys have a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware." --Martin Buber

"Who am I to judge?"
--Pope Francis
 
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howardd5

Active Member
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
I too felt a calling when I walked my first Camino in 99 , have felt it when ever I walk in Spain . Maybe it’s the historical setting with ancient churches or is it the people?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
They’re all Pilgrims. Some won’t have realized that yet
Exactly. That is why I kind of smile ... Because they don't know what lies in store. Nor does anyone, really. Anything that gets people started is fine by me. I became a pilgrim by walking the Camino. A longing was crystallized in me. So, no matter how truncated or assisted or whatever, it is all good. As long as people dip their toes in the water.
 

brian_garcia

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
Portuguese from Porto 2022
The Camino is what you make it and it's meaning is something that you give it. Sometimes it evolves into something that you didn't see or plan when you started.
Embrace what it has to offer to you and find joy in the moments and experiences you have while walking it.
People have been walking the Camino for hundreds of years and that energy is still present when you walk it.
It's good people get out and experience it.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I have enjoyed reading this forum for quite some time as I prepare for my first Camino. Walking the Camino has been a goal of mine for many years and I am thrilled that the stars have aligned to allow me this opportunity.
The original post concerns me. There seem to be a few folks who feel it is their Camino and that only their rules to walk it apply.

I had the same concerns before my first Camino, and feared that I might not be accepted on the Camino by many "true pilgrim" types.
Fortunately my fears were unfounded, and I found only acceptance and cameraderie.

The word pilgrimage means: A pilgrimage is a devotional practice consisting of a prolonged journey, often undertaken on foot or on horseback, toward a specific destination of significance.

Another definition is the course of life on Earth
Kanga touches on a what I believe is a key difference between hiking and walking a Camino that I didn't fully appreciate until I walked from Le Puy to Pamplona after two prior walks from SJPdP to Santiago on the Frances.


As Kanga points out, people walking a Camino are sharing a common experience "all walking in the same direction" toward a common goal.

That is a rare experience in our modern world, one that can be appreciated by hikers and pilgrims alike. In fact, I believe this factor is that often transforms hikers seeking adventure and challenge into pilgrims on a journey.

I have absolutely nothing against taking a long hike in the southwest of France -- the country side is beautiful and the food is superior to most one finds along the Frances. But walking a Camino is different. Truly different. I believe it is peoples' alignment toward a common goal that creates a spirit and an experience found in very few other endeavors.

Vive la différence!

Yes, that is the big draw for me - being part of something that is bigger than myself.
 
F

Former member 49149

Guest
I love this whole discussion and hope to return to the Camino soon. Buen Camino to all of you.

I’m in North America and found “Cows, Small or Far Away,” and Craggy Island, on YouTube. Well worth my time this a.m.
Although I rarely sit down in front of a tv set, this series is worth finding. Dermot Morgan died too soon...
 
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F

Former member 91017

Guest
Oh I’m torn in two with this one, I’m religious so I would firmly place myself in the pilgrimage group…but I’m also an avid walker who enjoys the views and the interesting people on the path so I can embrace those who walk for leisure and I applaud those who walk for their faith we all have a journey in life I just wouldn’t ever judge another’s journey because it’s different to mine. Buen camino mi amigos
The "tourism" aspect has always been part of the goal of the church anyway -- it was the prime enticement to receive an education along the way, and is the basis of the "Grand Tour" the more privileged Europeans were supposed to go on to fully appreciate the cultural importance of their faith...
And it has always produced financial well-being for those regions associated with the protections and dispensations of the churches on the way (things like better food, education, housing, hospitals...). The system of churches was far more able to provide for the needs of the peasantry than the little Duchy's could. Power of the saints indeed felt in a very down-to-earth way.
In Quebec we say "tigidou" -- it's all good.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Oct/Nov 2021 SJPdP to Finisterre
This thread brought back memories. I walked my Camino last Fall for multiple reasons: secular, societal, personal, selfish, cultural, and religious/spiritual. I didn't care whether someone walked more or less than me, whether their pack weighed less, whether someone transported their bag, or why they walked. I walked for me. It was my Camino. When I finally walked out of SJPP, my paralyzing pre-trip anxiety eased, and I began enjoying the walk. I like to think most people walk for their own reasons, and all reasons are valid.

Like some of the responders above, I too am Catholic. I may not go to mass every week, but I will always feel connected with my religion. Every morning while walking my Camino, I quietly prayed the rosary, asking Mary to keep me safe. I also asked some dead loved ones to look after me. Whether for these reasons or other reasons, I made it through all the trials that I encountered. In Santiago I sat in the cathedral and prayed the rosary, this time in thanks. I then went to confession – not an easy process in English as it seems only one priest is available and only for limited hours. It was an effort to be in the right place at the right time, but it all came together. It was a wonderful experience. I even cried at one point. I earned the plenary indulgence and promptly gave it to my brother who prematurely died from cancer. The priest and I had a splendid discussion of what the Camino means. I walked out feeling loved by the entire world.

While entering my thoughts in this forum, I just now realize that all the reasons for walking the Camino fall under the umbrella of 'love'. Whether it's love of God, love of friends, love of adventure, love of time to reflect, love of the open road, or love of oneself, it can all be boiled down to love. Perhaps the small percentage of walkers who don't feel moved by the Camino, just haven't yet realized the love that's present on those ancient paths. I think in time they too will come to realize why it's been so popular for so many centuries.

Bob91
 

Eddiebee

Eddiebee
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPDP to SDC May & June 2017
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.
I don't really care why others walk. I do wonder why anyone cares why I walk. Buen Camino.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I don't walk a camino for religious or external spiritual reasons. I would say that the simple act of walking for many days in a row has spiritual effects on a person. Much time to let your thoughts wonder in all directions, leave your daily routines behind and so on. This applies of course to all long distance walking. A camino is special in a number of aspects that increase the spiritual effect : you meet people with all kind of different backgrounds. With some of them you would not have contact in your normal life, because of class differences, different opinions or religions. With some people you would avoid contact based on prejudices. On a camino these differences become quite meaningless. Walking in Spain you are confronted all the time with monuments of cristian/catholic culture and history. Although I am an atheist myself after a catholic upbringing this has an effect on my mindset. I don't agree/believe in the answers that the church ( or any other religion) provides, the questions to which these answers apply are essential ones.
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
I don't really care why others walk. I do wonder why anyone cares why I walk. Buen Camino.

In many ways I agree... but there is the real hazard as seen elsewhere, of having too much impact from tourists on a Disney experience -- destruction of housing affordability, of local environments, of excess human *breath* ruining the interiors of ancient edifices... caves...

So if all the perceived requirements of "pilgrimage" were to disappear, I think we could fairly easily see the routes triple their numbers inside a decade, and then more beyond that -- it's cheap! it's outdoors! There's plumbing! And there is the promise that it's not anything more challenging than a walk.

I may sound histrionic, but we know from the efforts that have to be made at 300K or so per year to keep the trails clean... we see the signs from locals imploring us not to use their grounds as toilets, not to drop our plastic bottles along the way....

So, I don't really care *why* a person walks, but I care if they walk with disregard.
 
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Tom DeWolf

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Fall 2019
Portuguese plan: Fall 2023
When I walked the Camino in 2019, I encountered people grumbling about others (riding bikes, having backpacks shuttled, walking just from Sarria) and the best comment I ever heard was, "Everyone has their own Camino." I've since applied this to all aspects of this life's journey... giving others the grace to know we are all doing our best through this pilgrimage called "life."
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
The Camino is.

The Walker is.

It is the interplay between the two that determines whether one's walk is a pilgrimage. Annnndddd, it might not be apparent to the walker for some time after the walk that a pilgrimage was indeed undertaken.

The "calculus of the Camino" is only understood by an Entity well above the pay grade of mortals. A gross objective view of a personal subjective issue is not easily grasped and likely not even possible.

YMMV,

B
On my first camino, I think it was Burgos at Easter before I realised this is a pilgrimage, not a fun thing to do. From there on and my next four journeys to the Camino became religious. When, on my last Camino, I was dragged unconscious by a young girl from an ice cold river, I knew beyond any doubt that a higher power was walking beside me.
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
There are lots of threads now on “skipping stages”, “where to stay an extra day”, etc.

Is it now just a cheap hiking trail?

I guess it probably is.

Does anybody actually walk the camino for religious reasons now?

Why am I asking this?

I am not religious.

When I walked my first camino it was just a long distance hike.

But somewhere along the way I felt the “call of the camino”.

Maybe we are all searching for “God”.

Are we?

What is missing from our lives that we need to do this?

We have been here before (many times) on the forum, just thought I’d raise it again now people are planning their 2022 camino.

Why are you doing this pilgrim?

I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot me. Ask yourself.

On my first camino, I think it was Burgos at Easter before I realised this is a pilgrimage, not a fun thing to do. From there on and my next four journeys to the Camino became religious. When, on my last Camino, I was dragged unconscious by a young girl from an ice cold river, I knew beyond any doubt that a higher power was walking beside me.
I will always see it as a pilgrimage. Knowledge of it's origins prevents me from seeing it any other way, and it is what initially captured my interest in doing the Camino. The only time that I was somewhat bothered by others not taking it serious was while I was at Cruz de Ferro. Luckily I had prayed and documented my arrival to that point. As I was leaving, a couple with their kids appeared and the children took to it as a playground with no objection by the parents. But this is to be expected. I took about a year to plan and prepare myself for the journey and I did my homework. Not all do...and that's ok. Not that I don't notice the antics of others, but I try to focus more on my experience during a journey. Buen Camino to all.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Time of past OR future Camino
2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022
Nothing is random. Nothing. If you are called to walk it isn't random. The way you walk is not random. How far you go is not random. Those you meet along the way...all placed in your path for a reason. The experiences you will have, both joyous and ugly...not random.
Being a 'pilgrim' simply means you open your heart to all of the possibilities and lessons. Nothing is random. It all unfolds as it should.
( in that respect, I feel it's rather spiritual whether one cares to see it that way or not )
 

Pilgrim1960

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/Frances 2021
Planning VdlP 2023
I had a moment during my Camino.
I was, at one time, very devout and then kind of went the other way and lived as an atheist for decades. Then the Camino entered in... A crazy obsession almost. I was emotional as I started and wondered what the hell was going on. All Camino routes are a testament to a religious life and experience. I arrived in Santiago and was eating at a monastery and I looked up and there was a massive crucifix with a equally large statue on it. I thought how I had spent some much of my life taking that concept off the wall of my life. I realized I had little else to put up on that empty wall. So here I am with a statue now hanging on the wall of my heart. I started the Camino as an obsession and ended with little fight left but unlike CS Lewis intimated- there was no kicking and screaming.
In short, the Camino became a pilgrimage for me and it took me where I did not expect.
Buen Camino!!
 
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