jeudi 28 mai 2009

Why do people do this?

In medieval times, there were three pilgrimmages Chrstians were supposed to undertake - to Rome, Jerusalem, and to Santiago. Santiago was supposed to be the last pilgrimmage one undertook. It was a dangerous one, with thieves, wolves, and wild boars. Today's pilgrimmage is much tamer. The Spanish governmnet, aware that religious fervor is diminishing, but wanting to encourage this camino that brings much-needed money, now promotes it as a 'European cultural itinerary' and in their promotional literature gives the following 5 reasons to do it:

1. To see World Heritage sites
2. For the variety of outdoor activities.
3. To enjoy extraoerdinary food and wine
4. For the chance ot stay in restored historic buildings, rural houses, modern hotels, etc.
5. To meet people from different creeds and gain personal enlightenment along hte way.

The people I have met who told me their reasons included: a United Church Minister who needed to figure out how to stop saying yes to every opportunity and overcommitting herself; an 18 yo who saw this as a rite of passage to manhood; a family who had lost a father; a young German investment banker who needs to destress from her very streesful job in a male dominated environment; people seeking to understand why relationships failed, etc.

Originally, this would have been the last few months before moving to BC, and was planned as a time to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. As you know, things worked out differently, and this has become more a camino of gratitude, of just being happy and grateful for my life and my work where they are right now. A lot of it has been the pure pleasure of walking, and of spending time with Nadine. I think some of the reason for going this may have been finally putting to rest the memory of the nerdy kid who got D's in PhysEd and was always picked last for games. It feels good to know that I can do this on a physical level. Some of it was also wanting to believe that I have not grown entirely soft in my comfortable life, and that I can deal with things like dormitories and cold showers.

I had brought a list of things to think about work, but until day 17, I was just busy walking and watching where I was going (that is very inportant- I did not watch where I was going in Pamploma, nad stubbed my toe not once, not twice, but three times, whihc is why I almost lost the toenail..). The time is now passing very quickly; we will be in Santiago in 10 or 11 days. The snow-capped mountains we have been seeing in the distance are now up close, and we are climbing again. The scenery is amazing. Life is good...


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