Spain, Camino de Santiago (2018)

Camino Route

My Quest For Zest...


The French Way: St. Jean Pied De Port to Finistere, Spain (5 week pilgrimage)


A five week, 780km (485mile) physical, mental and spiritual pilgrimage...In the summer of 2018 I began the French Way on the Camino de Santiago after a week of sightseeing and vacationing in Barcelona with my family! I began the pilgrimage with an attitude of "I can do this on my own." I was there for my inner work and didn't want any "distractions"...By day three, the way had cracked my hard-shell exterior wide open and into a million little pieces; I was longing for social connections, I was desperate to share this journey with the fellow pilgrims around me, I was physically beat, mentally drained and questioning my faith..."what have I gotten myself into?" I contemplated for hours a day in my silent walk...

In my inner storm and darkness, the universe responded in love and light, getting me out of my own way. That third day I decided I couldn't push further to my intended days destination, blisters were forming on both feet making each step a painful struggle and my backpack was weighing heavier than ever on my shoulders. I was forced to stop, and in that afternoon at the albergue (pilgrim accommodation) I met two girls that would end up being an essential part of my journey. We instantly became friends, as one does on the Camino. In one conversation you'll know a persons life story, their innermost fears and desires, their purpose for embarking on the long and trying journey, where they've been and where they "think" they're headed... Connections are fast and go deep in a short amount of time. I don't know whether this is due to the spirit of the Camino or to the fact that despite what I, and many others, come into The Way thinking about completing it in solitude, friendships and connections are a crucial part of the journey.

Day by day, step by step, mile by mile, I made my way across the north of Spain to reach the village of Santiago de Compostela (and after the "End of the Earth" in the village of Finisterre). My daily routine typically stayed about the same: wake up early, walk, stop for breakfast, walk some more, arrive by mid afternoon to intended destination, shower, wash clothes, have lunch, rest, have dinner, sleep early. Routine became familiar but the scenery was constantly changing, my mind shifting, my spirituality sharpening.

For the most part, I still walked on my own at my pace, within myself and with my thoughts. However, there as well were meaningful conversations and belly-hurting laughs with my friends. There were small conversations with pilgrims passing. There were familiar faces that I'd see day to day, or every couple of days, and these moments were reminders that we're all together, on the same path, but different journeys.