About a year ago, possibly more like 18 months ago, Momma T and I watched a movie one Saturday night called “The Way”, and starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. The movie we watched followed Martin Sheen as he walked a path that his son had planned to walk but unfortunately died before completing it. While walking this path, he travels through some jaw dropping scenery, suffers through extremely difficult circumstances, grieves the son he lost and the difficult relationship they endured while he was still living and ultimately, he undergoes a personal transformation.
Halfway through the movie, T pressed pause and looked at me, saying “I want to do that.”
“That” is El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
El Camino is one of many Christian pilgrimages in the world.Thousands of Christians undertake a pilgrimage every year from their homes, to Santiago de Compostela, walking the “Way of St. James” as it is known in English. Legend has it that the remains of St. James were carried by boat and donkey, from Jerusalem to Northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now known as the city of Santiago de Compostela. Annually more than 200,000 Christians make this same pilgrimage in whole or in part, as a spiritual journey or as a personal challenge.
Today we drove Momma T to the airport where she left on a flight heading to Spain and her own Camino pilgrimage. She is walking the final 120 km of El Camino with her best friend as part of a celebration of a milestone birthday, and with the support of a touring company which will carry the majority of her luggage for her. She will carry only what she needs during the day and not all her food, clothing, sleeping, and cooking equipment! She is also doing some touring of Spain and Portugal while in the region.
The journey seemed simple enough when she began planning for this journey 12 or so months ago… however life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. As T often will say, “Want to make God laugh? Make plans!”
Despite the obstacles that were in front of us, it was high priority to us that T make this pilgrimage this year. For one thing, it was mostly paid for when everything else came up so there was no reason to NOT go ahead with it, unless we were willing to lose most of the funds that had been put towards it. But more importantly, at least in my mind, is that this was such an amazing opportunity for life changing, transformational, eye-opening, soul searching, personal development… despite all the obstacles and challenges I’ll be facing over the next 19 days there was no way that I would ever consider standing in T’s way to make this happen! I know that she will come back as a stronger, more vibrant, and much revived individual who will be ready to embrace our next journey of life! She deserves this journey and I cannot wait to hear all about it.
And while T is making her journey through Spain, I’ll be walking my own transformational path here at home in Canada! I will have sole responsibility for the care and feeding of three small to medium sized children. Not to mention holding down employment and a half (I’m doing some contract work on the side), packing up a household and preparing us for a cross Canada move in 6 weeks!
Perhaps my journey is not as ‘sexy’ as T’s El Camino de Santiago journey, but I have no doubt that it too will be transformational, life changing, eye-opening and full of soul searching and personal development opportunities!!! Much like T, at the end of it I will be able to look back with pride and say “I survived!” and “I did that!”
Of course, I should probably get a full night’s sleep!
Before I go, here is T’s itinerary so you can follow along:
April 23 – Arrive Barcelona, Tour the city
April 26 – Taking overnight train to Sarria, meeting Tour company there
April 28 – Walk from Sarria to Portomarin (23 km)
April 29 – Walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei (25 km)
April 30 – Walk from Palas de Rei to Arzua (29 km)
May 1 – Walk from Arzua to Arca (20 km)
May 2 – Walk from Arca to Santiago de Compostela (19 km)
May 3 – Tour Santiago de Compostela
May 4 – Travel to Porto, Portugal
May 5 – River boar and train tour in Porto, Portugal
May 6 – Travel to Sintra, Portugal
May 7 – Travel to Lisbon, Portugal
May 8, 9 – Tour Lisbon
May 10 – Fly home!!!