For the last several months, I have often been asked, “Where is your next adventure?” My reply has been, “I am going on Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago!”
This is then always followed up with, “Why are you going on Pilgrimage? Are you a Pilgrim?”
My Answer: “Am I a Pilgrim? I don’t know!” “Why am I walking the Camino? I am not sure.”
According to Wikipedia a pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) “is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey (often on foot) to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs.”
On Monday, June 27th, 2016, I will be embarking on a perhaps one of my greatest adventures, a pilgrimage if you will. This is to fulfill Bucketlist item #109) Walk the Camino de Santiago from France to Santiago, Espana.
The Camino de Santiago, often called the Way of St. James has several routes of different lengths. The traditional and most common route, known as the Camino Frances, is a 490 mile walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain where it is believed that the remains of the Apostle St. James the Greater are buried.
Many take up this route for many reasons: as a form of spiritual path, retreat for their spiritual growth, to discover their past or reveal their future, or in hopes that a miracle touch them or someone they love, and many other reasons. It is not a hard hike like those who have backpacked the Appalachian trail nor is it a seemingly impossible climb like reaching the peak of Mt. Everest. However, it is a test of physical, mental, and spiritual perseverance and overall will.Walking the Camino de Santiago is definitely on my Bucket List! #Bucketlist #CaminoDeSantiago Click To Tweet
So why on earth am I going to take on a 490 mile pilgrimage that will require me to walk for 30+ days? Am I looking for a miracle? Do I need some sort of revelation? Have I lost God?
I guess there is a little bit of “Yes” in answer to all of those deep questions, but I also keep coming back to quote by J.R.R. Tolkien:
“Not all those who wander are lost,” a line from the poem All that is gold does not glitter,
written by J. R. R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings.
It was a line that Tolkien wrote twice. Tolkien first wrote in reference to Aragorn who seemed to wander, but his journeys were always to a purpose. The second time he uses it, is repeated by Bilbo at the Council of Elrond. He whispers to Frodo that he wrote it many years before, when Aragorn first revealed who he was.
In recent years, I have found a purpose, my Bucketlist Project. It has offered me an outline of many things – opportunities, adventures, and discoveries that are hopefully leading me down the path of a good life. The world seems a very large place and I can’t believe that I am meant to only live it in one tiny section for my small period of existence only to have it end with no experiences, no education, no adventures, or no self revelation of purpose. But where do I start? Where do I find these lessons? How do I experience these adventures that will help me learn who I am? For me, the answer has become my Bucketlist Project.
Though I am walking the Camino de Santiago to fulfill my bucketlist, I am really walking it to find out more about myself. Will I discover anything at all? Only time and about 490+ miles will tell. I hope that each of you will follow along as I walk this path and join me in perhaps my greatest adventure to date. Perhaps this will become a wonderful chapter in the life of my Bucketlist Project.
Have you ever gone on the Camino de Santiago or any other pilgrimage before? Perhaps you have just been on a local retreat? What have you discovered about yourself or the world? Please let me know in the comments below so that I can use your comments as points to ponder on my walk.