The word peregrino means pilgrim, in Spanish. I am a pilgrim.
My husband and I decided that for his next birthday we are going to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James, in English) – a pilgrim walk that begins, traditionally, in France and ends at El Catedrál de Santiago, in northwestern Spain, where the shrine to the apostle St. James the Great is and where his remains are purportedly buried. People have been walking the Camino for over 1200 years. It is said that the Camino lies directly beneath the Milky Way and that it follows the ley lines that reflect the energy of the stars above it (I completely geek out over stuff like this.). The Camino was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages and almost 300,000 people from all over the world still walk The Way today.
You are required to walk 100 km of the trip to be considered an actual pilgrim and receive your Compostela certificate, but our plan is to walk about 160 km, walking between 13-16 km per day for 12 days. I’m hoping there are foot massages at the end of every day. A girl can dream.
People walk the Camino for a whole host of reasons and I have several. The first is spiritual in nature. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get the idea out of my little Catholic schoolgirl head that suffering in the name of spirituality wins you Brownie Points. While the very rational part of my brain knows this is false, there is something about the idea of taking an arduous walk and thinking of nothing but spiritual things and you know, blisters, and how badly your back hurts, and then offering all of that up to God, that makes my inner plaid-wearing girlie squeal with delight. But seriously, I can’t begin to tell you how much the idea of 12 days of walking and talking to God and others on a similar spiritual walk appeals to me. Makes me giddy just thinking about it.
Another reason that I want to walk the Camino is because, Dear God, I need a fitness goal! I have been sedentary for YEARS and having a goal to prepare for physically is just the motivation I need to get off of my duff and get moving.
Yet another reason for doing this is to spend this time with Wayne. He is such a treasure and when we get time alone on vacation we always have such an awesome time together and have really amazing and deep talks. I am so looking forward to what this trip in particular could bring up in terms of conversations. I’m guessing they are going to be quite juicy.
The reason that I said that “I am a pilgrim” in that very first little paragraph at the beginning of this post is because yesterday, while I was out walking my 5th 3.5 miles of the week, I was thinking about how I was doing this in “preparation” for being a pilgrim at some point in the future and then like a sucker punch I heard, “what you’re doing is a pilgrimage.” And that voice was exactly right. This is the pilgrimage. This is the journey – this is the sacred journey. I’m already on it. It has already begun.
We aren’t going to walk the Camino for about a year and a half. And who knows if it will ever happen? But, for now, I know that I am a pilgrim walking on a pilgrimage to me.