The Camino de Santiago is so much more than just a long and painful walk…
It’s a unique and privileged opportunity to discover oneself–unburdened by the distractions and trappings of everyday life.
It’s a great crossroads–where people from every walk of life are building bridges of peace and understanding each and every day.
It’s a place of ineffable timelessness–where clocks and calendars lose their grip, and where a lifetime can be lived in a single day–and sometimes in a single moment.
It’s a great equalizer–where, no matter your gender, age, nationality, faith, or station in life you are stripped bare of your wealth, titles, possessions, and prior accomplishments.
It would be a gross understatement to say that the Camino de Santiago exceeded my expectations. In the words of wise young Irishman I met along the way…
“I came to the Camino to find myself…
but I discovered so much more.”
— Fiach Walker
I see the Camino as a grand University of life–inviting everyone to be both student and teacher.
Allow me to share some of the priceless lessons I learned at that university:
- There is no such thing as THE Camino de Santiago. Everyone’s Camino is unique–just as we walk different paths in life.
- No man is an island. Your identity is impossible to define except in relation to others. Your significance as a human being is your significance to others and your significance with others.
- True community is based on sharing what we have with each other such that giving and receiving, giver and receiver, become one.
- You do not need much, materially, in order to be happy.
- Finding peace and freedom is largely the courage to leave behind all those things that you no longer need.
- Angels are everywhere–humble, generous, and unassuming. If you do not see them, you may be looking in the wrong places.
- Just because someone has a smile on their face does not mean that their life is easy.
- Happiness is largely the humility to say YES to “small” things that matter and the courage to say NO to “big” things that don’t.
- Make profound gratitude a touchstone as you rise to each and every day.
- A journey of a thousand miles is accomplished by one simple commitment–the willingness to take just one more step. And no matter how hard it is, you can almost always take one more step.
- Each and every one of us is eminently worthy of being a source of peace and healing.
- People and LOVE are always the most important things in life, period.
All of the words and pictures in the world could never capture the true essence of the Camino de Santiago. In fact, saying anything at all risks diminishing the experience altogether. Despite my best attempts to do so, my Camino experience is ultimately non-transferrable. Each person must walk and discover their own way.
That said, I encourage you to walk the Camino, trusting that any amount of time or distance traveled there, be it six weeks or six days, will be a unique privilege to cherish for a lifetime.
Physically and emotionally, your Camino will be much harder than you expect, but infinitely more enchanting, enlightening, and inspiring than you ever dreamed possible. The Camino’s arms are wide open, ready to embrace and transform anyone willing to take that very first step.
So, what are you waiting for?