One year ago today my brother and I were hiking 18.32 miles from Villafranca de Bierzo to Laguna del Castilla in Spain. 43,336 steps, give or take. We started early in the morning, before sunrise, with lights strapped to our heads as we walked along the Spanish highway through the pouring rain. It remained raining most of the day, as we passed through several villages and fellow pilgrims passed us. At one point we heard a very loud and unrecognizable noise above the sound of the rainfall, only to realize it was a honking donkey strutting by. And I can only imagine that at some point during our walk, my brother and I got into a spat about something silly, like that he was talking too much or that he ate more than his fair share of tortilla. After a slippery incline at the end of the cold, fall-like day, we finally arrived at our tiny town—no more than a single hostel and a restaurant—before settling in for the night, watching the movie Twister in Spanish as it played on the restaurant’s TV. Continue reading “El Camino de Santiago: One Year Later”
In honor of Thanksgiving on Thursday, I decided to start the week with my fourth and final Camino de Santiago post about the lessons I learned, since I am unbelievably grateful for having had the incredible opportunity of hiking across Spain. However, truth be told, I’ve been dreading writing this post. I think part of the reason is that I feel a certain pressure to share something profound with you. The other part has to do with fearing the end of my Camino journey—by publishing this final post, I somehow feel like I am done telling my story. But I’m not ready for that yet. Continue reading “El Camino de Santiago: The Lessons Learned”
When I first felt this itch inside to walk El Camino de Santiago, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to embark on the journey was for the people. All the pilgrims I knew who had come before me told me that the friends you make and the deep bonds you create with the walkers around you—from all walks of life—were incredible. Surprise surprise, they were right. I didn’t know what exactly the social landscape would look like, but I knew I was starved to learn from and be influenced by other cultures. What would my fellow pilgrims and I talk about? Would they speak English? What if I say something wildly inappropriate for their culture? Like I learned to do many times over on the Camino, I hung up my fears and left them behind, along with extra clothing items—they were just too heavy to carry.
In today’s post, I outline some of the relationships I made and share what it means to be part of the pilgrim community, the Camino Family. I hope you enjoy it! If you missed the first post in this series, where I explain exactly what El Camino de Santiago is and why I walked it, you can click here. Continue reading “El Camino de Santiago: The People”