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What do pilgrims actually DO during their journey to Santiag


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Thats a very interesting question and there are probably many answers depending on the individual's interests, personality and whether they are travelling alone. From my own expererience (on the via de la plata) I began on my own but met up with a danish fellow.usually we would walk apart-he would start a bit earlier in the morning, about 8.30 and i was a bit later.although we also started together and beagn our day trying to find a coffee somewhere.
Personally I liked the option of walking through the countryside without the main view being someelses's backside. Most of the time was taken up with the practicalities of looking for the yellow arrows. Needless to say it also gave great opportunity to think about any problems or issues.
I found the camino concentrated the mind on such seemingly trivial things-which are not great concerns when at home-such as whether you have enough food and whether there will be anywhere to eat that night. At the end of the day the danish fellow and I would have a celebratory beer then he would go off and write his diary and I would often read then meet later for a meal.other days we would walk for a while together and talk and any and everything.sounds a bit dull i suppose but i did have an adventure and plan to do the french camino next year. I have some trepidation as the via de la plata was so isolated that the french way will be one long line of people-which i think some people like
There is the outer journey (walking, cycling or riding) and the necessities (food, drink, shelter, footcare) and opportunities (sights to see, people to meet) that arise from it. I think that most pilgrims are also using the opportunity of the change from their regular routine and the pressures of "normal" life to take steps along an inner journey as well; for me, it was certainly a time to reflect and pray, enjoying the presence of God and gaining a little more perspective on the rest of my life.

Is this a Zen or an existential question? Two possible Zen answers could be: a. no need to DO anything, or, b. when I started out I was just a pilgrim now I am a pilgrim.
The existentialist would just argue about the definition of ‘started’ and ‘I am’.

There are two basic aspects to your question firstly there is the physical daily existence of the pilgrim who requires two basic needs, food and shelter. Then there is the inner personal pilgrimage. On this website you will find lots of information for the first and references of the second although there will be as many aspects of the second as there are pilgrims.

If you want to do some research look at the CSJ website and read up on the Camino and its history. Then look at newadvent/catholic encyclopaedia under pilgrimage. This will give you a wider view of pilgrimage and the different types of shrines and places of pilgrimage. You might also consider the statistics from Santiago on the numbers of pilgrims and reasons for their pilgrimage as it is not always claimed as religious or spiritual some people just do it because the Camino is there.

Finally congratulations. I think you just started your Camino. One day you can let us know what you did.

Buen camino

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