Camino de Santiago
On September 18, 2013, I walked with a group of friends the last 140 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino is an ancient Christian pilgrim’s trail that’s known for its beautiful scenery, historical sights and fascinating culture. But what most people don’t know about the Camino, unless experienced firsthand, are the lessons a pilgrim (camino hiker) learns along the way, the mysteries that the trail unfolds, and the surreal experiences that a Camino pilgrim may encounter. Every Camino pilgrim has a Camino story that goes beyond the beautiful scenery and historical sights. My Camino experience taught me 1. To slow down and smell the roses, 2. There are mysteries in life that can’t be explained, and that 3. I have a “guardian angel”.
Walking approximately 20 miles a day on the hilly terrains of Northwestern Spain was not an easy task! As a fast paced New Yorker, my New York walking pace made walking the Camino even more difficult. The faster I walked, the more blisters I got. As I continued to speed walk, my ankles started to get swollen. Because I approached the Camino as if I’m in a foot race, the Camino had a way of telling me to slow down, to enjoy the journey, and that it is not about the destination. Why was I rushing? With each painful step, my blisters and swollen ankles forced me to slow down. Finally slowing down, that’s when the pain subsided. In a slower pace, I started to SEE things more, I started to LISTEN to how I feel and to fellow pilgrims and the turning point was when I started to FEEL the Camino come ALIVE!