We begin a series of mini-stories focused on the experiences of pilgrims on the Camino. In this case, this is the story of Nathan, a New Yorker lawyer in the Camino.
I’m Nathan, a lawyer from the city that never sleeps. I’m married, have a kid, and you can find me in a suit Monday through Friday. But something was missing from this perfect picture. That’s when the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in Spain, came into view. Craving a challenge, I decided to embark on this journey in winter, the toughest season.
The minute I landed in Madrid, I swapped my suit for hiking boots and thermal wear. The chill was bone-crushing but real. It felt like the city had been holding me in a bear hug, and for the first time, I could breathe. So there I was, stepping onto the Camino, each footfall a departure from everything comfortable, yet freeing. Forget case briefs and boardrooms; now it was about icy trails and real obstacles.
What makes the Camino so special is its way of humbling everyone, and I mean everyone. I met a diverse group of pilgrims. We were connected not just by our shared commitment to this rigorous path but by our shared humanity. Sharing a flask of brandy with a stranger from halfway across the world in the freezing cold isn’t just camaraderie; it’s connection.
However, even this profound connection couldn’t cushion the day I hit my lowest point. Physically and emotionally drained, I began questioning my decision. It was then that I met María, a seasoned pilgrim, who shared wisdom that snapped me out of my doubts. “Commitment isn’t just a word; it’s a series of acts, small but vital,” she said.
That was my turning point. Each step became not a chore but a choice, a conscious decision. The path ahead was the same, but I was different. Challenges didn’t feel like roadblocks; they became milestones, benchmarks of my resilience.
Reaching Santiago was a moment I had dreamed of but couldn’t fully comprehend until I was there. Surrounded by ancient architecture, I felt a sense of accomplishment that no corner office in Manhattan could offer.
Back in New York, life went on. Emails flooded my inbox, and the subway was as crowded as ever. But I was different. I had brought back lessons from the Camino that life in a corporate high-rise could never teach.
Yes, I’m still Nathan, the New York lawyer, husband, and father. But now, when I look up between skyscrapers and see the open sky, I’m reminded that sometimes you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone to reach for it.
Would you like to send us your story and tell us why the Camino was important to you? Leave us a message.