So I am committing to walking The Way this May after graduation. I don’t know if this is a good idea or just some form of escapism. To me, like many others, the idea is inspired by the Emilio Estevez movie “The Way.” I know there’s a lot of purists who look at this historical pilgrimage as a deeply religious event. I am not really a religious person. I’m not saying I never was. I probably know more about the Christian faith than most people who attend church every day. I grew up best friends with a pastor’s son. My mom took us to Sunday School every week and then occasionally attended “grown-up service.” My parents also taught me to think for myself and challenge the status quo (often to their dismay). As I got older I chose the practical route of believing in a higher power than myself but rejecting organized religion. While I appreciated the teachings, I never saw the need to commit to a singular practice of expressing faith. So for me, I won’t pretend this is about religious servitude. The walk is specifically about me and my devotion to becoming a better person. Cheesy, right?
So, back to the Camino de Santiago. The idea of walking 30 days through the length of a foreign country isn’t new to me. As a young Boy Scout, I was inspired by those trekkers who hiked the Appalachian Trail every year. I always thought it would be a good idea to get out there and complete this task. As time goes by, you slowly realize that “next year” isn’t going to happen. Especially once we start working. Upon watching the movie, however, I realized that I am not satisfied with NOT taking up the challenge of a long-distance trek.
In addition to walking a long distance for no apparent reason other than to finish, I think there is a social element to the Camino that has a deeper meaning for me. I tend to keep a very large circle of acquaintances. However, very few people really get to know me, and vice versa. The idea of a “Camino family” appeals to me because this is how I tend to find comfort in social situations. Also, it takes a special type of person to walk 30+ days and smile at the end of it. Meeting people from all over the world is also a primary motivator. I really don’t see myself confining my future to one small region of the United States. I crave travel and adventure. It’s way more efficient to develop a global network to reach out to when the travel bug starts to bite.
Lastly (I think), I am doing this for the pure exercise and physical well-being aspect of a 30+ day walk. My lifestyle has taken a downhill tumble. I’ve always been lazy and the only things that would get me motivated to be healthy are rush goals and peer pressure. After high school, there was college and that binging was undone by basic training. Years later I had a concussion that caused me to lose 20 pounds and gave me the motivation to keep up a decent lifestyle. That has passed. I need another big health push. This time it will be one that I want to sustain into my “adult” years.
In this page I will be posting in several key areas:
- Training – obviously needed before I walk 500 miles in 30 days
- Prep – including equipment, packing, travel, logistics, etc.
- Posts from The Way – fairly self-explanatory.
- Post-Camino – reflections
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! Keep checking in and leave comments. This is important to me and maybe someone else may be inspired by my journey.
Oh, and here’s a map of the many Caminos. I am planning hte more popular Camino Frances.