Once the notion of traversing the Camino de Santiago nestled into our minds, there was little room for anything else. The idea was my child’s, an adventurous spirit always on the look for the next challenge. I, on the other hand, had spent the last few decades within the comforting embrace of law books and the predictable rhythm of a courtroom.
As August approached, the preparations became a whirl of hiking boots, lightweight attire, and earnest discussions about the route. Our bags were to be transported ahead each day, alleviating one of my chief concerns. The idea of a comfortable bed and a hot meal at the end of each day’s journey eased the apprehension that knotted in my stomach.
Leaving the familiar urban sprawl of Philadelphia behind, we found ourselves amidst the rustic charm of Spain. The initial days were grueling. Every muscle in my body screamed in protest, unused to the relentless pace. My child moved with an ease that I envied, their laughter echoing through the lush countryside.
But among the verdant hills and quaint little hamlets, I discovered a quiet strength I didn’t know resided within me. The path forged on and with each passing day, we fell into a rhythm that was comforting in its simplicity.
The real essence of the journey, however, unfolded through the subtle nods, the soft smiles, and the camaraderie that seemed to bloom effortlessly among the travelers. There was an unspoken bond that tied us, each one on a personal voyage, yet connected through the shared rhythm of our steps on the ancient trail.
The term “Community” took on a new meaning. It wasn’t about long conversations or knowing each other’s life stories. It was the shared smiles at dawn, the knowing glances exchanged under the relentless afternoon sun, and the gentle nods of encouragement that seemed to say, “We move forward, come what may.”
The days blended into nights and before we knew it, the cathedral spires of Santiago de Compostela pierced the horizon, signaling the end of our journey. As we sat in the square, the setting sun casting long shadows, I realized that the Camino had subtly, yet profoundly, altered the lens through which I viewed life.
Expectations, I realized, were often the veil that obscured the beauty of the present moment. The Camino taught me to appreciate the simplicity that resided in the essence of community, the shared human experience that required no words, just a simple nod, a smile, and the willingness to embrace the journey, no matter where it led.
Would you like to send us your story and tell us why the Camino was important to you? Leave us a message.