My Camino story began about 20 years ago. I was listening to a friend of a friend share her experience of a 500 mile pilgrimage she had walked across Spain. I was immediately intrigued and being a visual person who loves adventure and nature, drew a mental picture of myself walking down that solitary path. I left the conversation with not much more than that image and a yearning that lay dormant for 18 years.
My Dad, An Awakening and A Movie
When my Dad turned 50 he ran his first marathon in Hawaii. That impressed me because I had never known my Dad to exercise. On top of that, he had struggled with alcohol addiction most of my life. His fortitude and determination to get in shape and accomplish this goal felt powerful and left a huge impact on me. I determined that at some point in my life I would do something equally as empowering.
Three years ago I made the decision to go to counseling. I was motivated by the ways I kept getting stuck in my relationships, lies I believed about myself and a desire to be set free into the person God created me to be. Through that process I learned that my basic personality was that of a peacemaker. While being accepting, trusting, optimistic, and supportive are the plus side of the personality, the desire to avoid conflict and tension kept me from true connection with those important to me. I also learned that I believed my needs and desires were seldom, if ever, as important as others.
About a year into this process I happened onto the Martin Sheen movie, The Way. The story is about a man who, through unexpected circumstances, ends up walking the Camino de Santiago. It’s a beautiful movie about loss and redemption. I would highly recommend it, even if you’re not considering walking the pilgrimage. I was at a point in my personal journey where I wanted to do something to commemorate my upcoming 60th birthday, just as my Dad had on his 50th. I felt compelled to set aside some time to evaluate my life. I wanted to go into this next phase of life with purpose. I wanted to move into my sixties committed to staying active and having dreams. The thing is, Scott and I have always been dreamers. We’ve always believed we could do anything and that’s something I’ve always loved about us. I don’t want to lose that as we get older. When we’re 85, I want to be dreaming about the next big thing we’re going to do or the next great adventure we’re going to take. And so, the image from many years ago of walking down that solitary path became more and more clear. I decided in the spring of 2015 that I would walk the Camino de Santiago in 2017. The adventure became even more exciting when Scott and Ryan decided to join me!