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.
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 it’s there.
* * *
Edit: To print this in a pretty PDF format, visit my Christmas post.