Wednesday, January 2, 2013

El Camino de Santiago

Have you ever heard of the Camino de Santiago?

Also know as the Way of St. James, this route has been a well known pilgrimage since medieval times and moves across Spain to the place where the remains of the apostle James are said to rest. 

I first learned about it while reading a book where solo traveler, Abigail Seymour, wrote about her adventure on the trail. Then a few months later, I happen to see an interview with Emilio Estevez & Martin Sheen discussing their film called "The Way." So when I saw the movie at Target a few weeks later, I felt compelled to buy it and I really enjoyed it!

“The Way” tells the story of an American doctor who receives news that his son has died in Europe as he was walking the Way of St. James. While there Sheen's character decides to finish the pilgrimage for his son.

In one article Martin Sheen shared, “In the journey, he becomes himself. It’s a story of renewal and healing. It’s also a story of redemption and faith." The pilgrims, or Peregrinos as they are often called, begin to open up to living in the moment, to community, and to adventure while setting down the internal baggage they carry with them (anger, mourning, worry, dull heart).

It's, of course, a bit sad at the beginning but gets lighter and more rich as the movie develops. And now I want to begin hiking again. There is something so refreshing about getting out in nature and walking. It can clear the mind and spirit...just like Martin Sheen can bring such renewal and healing.

Will I be placing a journey of the Camino de Santiago on my dream list? Actually, yes. My Dad was talking to me during our New Year's celebration and asked if I'd like to hike the Guadalupe Peak Trail with him. As far as it's size, the peak very much mirrors the mountain I climbed in Iceland, Mt. Esja. Our goal is to make that hike this September. We have also decided to make this our training hike! Once we get in shape to conquer this, then our training will shift to make it our goal to walk the Way in 2014. We won't be walking the traditional 500 miles across Spain but at least 62 miles which is the minimum needed to be given a Pilgrim's Certificate of Completion or compostela. Most likely the plan will be to travel from Sarria To Santiago De Compostela (113 kilometres / 70 miles). Both of these walks will require much prayer, discipline and totally God's guidance to accomplish. But amen...cause with God's help, my Dad and I can do it.

So let the training begin! And as is share while walking the way...I wish you a buen camino, my friend.

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