Let’s get to the bottom of this whole idea. To become a scribbler in Internet, encourage others to set off on inner journey of self-exploration and overcome 300 km in the heat by foot (I put it in bold deliberately as I am getting used to the number myself).
As long as you go along with the predestined scenario called “college”, you are somehow excused for delegating the responsibility for your life to your parents, University for the next 5 years. And it feels so convenient because on the one hand you have entered symbolically the adulthood (as you claim rights to buy some booze, go for a party and enjoy it) but on the other hand you still have the safety net where you are not hold responsible for your actions in its entirety. Once the studies’ period finishes, you have two options. Either you go for first, hands-on job experience that is meant to work as Great Career-Opener but in reality it feels more as a (pardon my French) pain in the ass as your expectations were slightly different. Either you decide to continue the so-called post-studies lifestyle living with your parents until further (never ending) notice as you do not agree to accept the job under one’s skill level with minimum wage.
Or is there a different way? I think that too many of us mindlessly implement the project that is called life. And I do not mean picking the major that lack job perspectives afterwards (as picking the profitable one does not guarantee the prosperity either) but I do urge you to make use of the common sense and simple respect to your limited time that you possess. I believe that once you find something that you can give yourself completely to and that something is your thing, you will succeed in life. Referring to my story. Once I came to the realization that I have no idea what to do in my life, I decided to wait out and give myself some time to find my calling. Rather than covering the fear up with throwing myself blindly into the work that was not “my thing”, I decided to spend some time in isolation, to listen to my thoughts and go into spiritual retreat. The way may bring many surprises: a random person, conversation, seemingly innocent set of circumstances can give a great amount of inspiration and positive energy that you would never find while sitting in front of your computer at work. And that is exactly when El Camino crossed my mind.
Santiago, also known by the English names Way of St. James, is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes, known as pilgrim ways, (most commonly the Camino Francés or French route) to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.
Today, hundreds of thousands (over 200,000 in 2014) of Christian pilgrims and many others set out each year from their front doorsteps or from popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. In addition to those undertaking a religious pilgrimage, many are hikers who walk the route for other reasons: travel, sport, or simply the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life. It serves as a retreat for many modern “pilgrims”.
You may ask: what was was my exact motivation to do that? Well, certainly not religious one. I treat it more as a unique time for one-to-one with myself where in complete silence and surrounded with beautiful landscape I can ease my mind and escape from the hassle of my thoughts.
I’m going to hit the road beginning of July and once I’m back I’ll share with you my general experiences and a bit of practical information.
Camino de Santiago has several roads (also in Portugal) so it’s up to us which one and to what extent you are going to make it. Personally, I decided to walk 300 km of Camino Frances from Leon to Santiago de Compostella (reaching the so -called “end of the world”, Fisterra coast).
If you wanted to get a bite of how the walk tastes, I recommend you one movie with El Camino as a leading story (click here: The Way).