And then she graduated. The End.
Ok. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but receiving my diploma a while ago did feel like the end of a life phase. Anyways, I decided freaking out was not going to get me anywhere and where certain things end, new things begin. Although obtaining my master’s degree was quite the battle I reckoned that, when I survived writing a 60-page thesis whilst in constant doubt about my academic abilities, I was totally ready for a new challenge.
As a (now) scientist of religion (yes, I know) I have always been fascinated by pilgrimage and spiritual journeys. Preparation, travelling and transformation are all experiences that naturally occur when going through life. Purposely experiencing these stages, with or even without a religious intention, makes for inspiring stories and intellectual nourishment. Although I had written my thesis about the Hajj – the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca – I knew I wouldn’t be able to experience this ritual myself due to simple fact that I would never be able to enter Mecca as a non-Muslim. However, I was aware of a possible alternative.
The Camino de Santiago, among others known as the Way of St. James, is one of the most popular Christian pilgrimages. Last year 277.854 pilgrims arrived in Santiago, a number that is growing every year. I have always longed to be a pilgrim myself. Why? Perhaps, because I am in search of something myself but I also want to figure out who these people are, where they come from and, most importantly, what motivates them perform this pilgrimage. Whatever it is that makes me yearn to be on the road for 4,5 months to walk 2500 kilometres to Spain… it sounds exactly like what I am looking for.