This spring, long held dreams and plans finally came together, and I was able to complete my journey of 780 km/500 miles: the Camino de Santiago in Spain. My goal was do to the traditional camino from St. John Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The first three days my daughter JoAnn and my “son” Andy walked with me. It was wonderful having them, but the Camino was a challenge that I set for myself to do alone.
We parted in Pamplona, the city where many of the other camino routes converge. The morning of May 29, JoAnn and Andy tearfully said goodbye, and I was alone with my backpack and 700 km in front of me. Each day was a beautiful experience. I walked slowly but didn’t ever get discouraged.
Every day I walked my miles and met people of all ages from all over the world. Some would stay with me for a few hours and tell me their story; others would walk with me for days, and we became companions on the journey. It is so easy to get to know a person while walking! We often said many of the world’s problems could be solved if everyone would walk together.
Sometimes I was all alone for miles, but the Camino is very well marked, and I always felt safe. Spain is very beautiful, and the Camino is a great way to see the natural diversity in the regions.
The Camino de Santiago is a journey of hiking and travel, but also reflection and self-discovery. I prayed in every church (so many) for all the people I know, especially all the runners, walkers, and hikers in our club.
Having finished the Camino makes me more grateful than ever for my health and my determination. Sunshine or rain, I walked each day. I wish to pass on this message to our runners: Be thankful and look ahead with confidence. The finish line is there for your glory! Buen Camino of your life!!