The Camino is your experience. The Camino is more than a walk. The Camino has few rules and no regulator. My experience is, as you can imagine, a positive one. What I did and what I valued from being there is probably not the same as others.
I can explain what I have done but nothing I would say or write indicates that my path is recommended. I have appreciated everyone’s suggestions and all of them influenced me in some way. The best one is summed up by the book “I’m Off Then”. Great title as it sums up my view of what makes the Camino a special place.
When I walked the Camino for first time noticed the freedom that people experienced. Some pilgrims do the strangest things but that is their journey. As one small example, I met a pilgrim from Belgium who was walking the French Way. He was about half way and on schedule to complete his plans to walk 70 KM a day and finish 780KM in 12 days. Not for me but he seemed focussed and pleasant at the end of his day’s journey. I met a family from Seville who were walking with their 75 year old mother. She had done the French Way when she was 60 and wanted to share the experience with 3 generations of her family.
I, as many do, had a Camino moment on each of my two Camino journeys. After my recent journey, in July 2019, a FCJ (Faithful Companions of Jesus) nun ran a group for English-speaking pilgrims who assembled for her daily Camino debrief in Santiago de Compostela. She said – “The Camino like you is not perfect as neither is the church. We should respect that in ourselves and not expect any journey to be perfect. But in the imperfection great things can happen.”
For me the Camino allowed me to see that there were others in the world that had similar thoughts. None of us were trying to tell others what to do. We were, well most of us, going the same way and doing our best to get to the next village. It was truly egalitarian. We were all stripped of our possessions, except shoes and for most phones.
I’m off again when I can.
- Phil Rebakis