It had been a rough week. My grandmother fell and ended up in the hospital. My mother was abroad to help my little brother settle into a city he will be calling home for the upcoming months and could not get back as soon as she wished to. I did what anyone else would have done and tried to be best granddaughter I could be. Home after a few days of going in and out of the hospital, I caught myself desperately trying to figure out why.
Why on earth do I want to walk the Camino de Santiago?
I am not particularly dying to see James’ relics or exceptionally eager to acquire a certificate stating I walked 100 kilometres. Neither do I solely want to figure out whether my body can cope walking the entire way, nor do I want to show my friends that I can actually read a map. So why then, do I wish to undertake this journey?
Interestingly enough, not many people have asked me why. When they do, I often said, “Because I can.” or “Why not?” Truth is I have always had a peculiar admiration for pilgrims. Without hesitation they physically remove themselves from their surroundings to venture off into the unknown. This act of distancing themselves from their daily lives, which could be regarded as a representation of someone’s current being, provides mental space to observe these selves – with or without reference to a religious tradition. Often, during the pilgrimage or upon return, these people report to have acquired certain inspiration or insights, at times resulting in some sort of personal transformation.
Every time I have read or performed research on pilgrims, their journeys and the effects of these journeys, the urge to experience such undertaking myself grew stronger. So, the answer to the question why do I want to walk the Camino de Santiago is actually rather simple. The experience itself is my motivation; I am dying to find out what will happen to me once I surrender to being a pilgrim and I am on my way to Santiago. Perhaps pursuing something I might not be aware of yet.