Why Walk the Camino de Santiago


[Pilgrims]

Because of the Santiagos: the saint and the city.

Because of the rhythm of walking.

Because of the laughter … and the tears.

For the adventure of it.

For the joy.

To find yourself.

To lose yourself.

To go looking for God, whatever God might be.

Or not, if that’s not your journey.

Because whatever you believe or don’t believe, it’s nice to have clear guidance: just follow the yellow arrows and you’ll be all right.

Or use a map and leave the arrows. Any road to Santiago de Compostela is a Camino de Santiago.

To immerse yourself in history and culture.

To meet other pilgrims of all ages and backgrounds and nationalities.

To experience the kindness of strangers, and get a chance to lend a helping hand.

To start a day not knowing where it will end, and then another. And another.

Because old architecture.

Because cafe con leche.

Because fresh grapes and fresh figs and fresh blackberries.

Just because.

To have your sins forgiven.

To hug the apostle.

To learn another language.

To walk over mountains.

To meditate or pray.

Because cheap wine.

Because you see a place differently when you walk to it and through it.

Because, even if you’re too hot, or too cold, or your feet hurt, or your back hurts, you feel alive.

Because it’s nice to be in shape … eventually. The day you feel like you can fly is worth every moment of slogging up hills.

And let’s be honest: because you can eat as much chocolate as you like and still lose weight.

To live another life, just for a while.

To appreciate the little things of “normal” life, like feet that don’t hurt and non-dorm rooms and washing machines.

To be part of something that’s huge in time and space.

To say thank you.

For the journey.

For the stories.

For candles and stained glass and statues.

For the arrival in Santiago or Finisterre.

Because friendship.

Because movement.

Because pilgrims.

Because it’s there.

* * *

Edit: To print this in a pretty PDF format, visit my Christmas post.

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Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 10:38 am
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10 Comments

10 Responses to Why Walk the Camino de Santiago

  1. Celena says:

    Anna-Marie, this is just too beautiful. Even for those of us who haven’t walked the Camino, it gives us a little glimpse into what you lived. Thank you!

  2. emilene says:

    I love it! When are you planning to walk again Anna-Marie?

    • Anna-Marie says:

      I don’t have any definite plans yet, but am actually hoping to do the Olavsleden (Way of Saint Olaf) in Norway this summer. Fingers crossed.

      I’ll return to the Camino Francés one of these days, though. I’m also looking forward to hearing what you think of it after you walk in 2012.

  3. Eric says:

    Great post! A summary to savor.

    It takes me back to my Camino Francés in 2009. All except “cold water” being something to appreciate in “normal life”. There was plenty of cold water along the way in April, when I did the C. Francés, and once or twice a cold shower was the only type you were going to get at the end of the day’s walk!

    By the way, great that you’re podcasting. If you haven’t already, can I suggest getting the feed to show up on iTunes? This will make it easier for all us iPhone/iPod users out there. Thanks!

    • Anna-Marie says:

      You’re right about the cold water—I changed it. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Probably easy access to water. Thanks for mentioning that.

      I am planning to get my intermittent podcast on iTunes. I should look into that today, especially since I think it takes a while to get approved. I’ll tell you when it’s up!

  4. Andrew says:

    All wonderful reasons. Some of them the very reasons I will be walking the Via de la Plata come May 23rd.

    I wish I could walk out the door right now..

    Buen Camino.

  5. Hans says:

    This is exactly the reason. Especially loosing and finding yourself at the same time.

  6. Cindy says:

    Brilliant – you have captured it all. I have so struggled when I try to explain it to friends and family. I look forward to walking again – it’s something that I think about every single day – flashbacks to people, places, feelings that will be reminders to me of that time forever. Thanks for giving words to it!

  7. lars teglbjaerg says:

    Wonderful reading. I walked the Camino Francés from St. Jean last September and will begin Via de la Plata in Sevilla in 4 weeks time. You covered all the reasons I have for walking. Pax.