Several years ago there was a thing going around Facebook where you wrote 25 Things About Me. One of my friends wrote that a book changed her life. As much as I read, I don't think there is any one book I can point to. However, there is this movie...
A few months ago I was in Chicago and got to spend some time with my sister Jeanie. She was making dinner and, like any good guest, I was sitting at the kitchen island drinking wine and keeping her company. We were talking about how much we both like to walk, and she told me about her sister-in-law who had passed away about a year ago, and how she had always wanted to do this pilgrimage. She started talking about this movie she and her husband had seen about it, written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen. I had never heard of the movie, and only very vaguely knew of the pilgrimage route, no doubt dredged from somewhere in the cobwebby attic of my Catholic schoolgirl brain. The movie is The Way, and the pilgrimage route is the Camino de Santiago.
|My own copy!|
We watched the movie that night, and it may have been the wine talking, but I turned to Jeanie and said, "I think we can do this". Now keep in mind that two hours prior, this idea didn't even exist in my universe. Tom then reminded us that the accommodations are not the Marriott. All you have to do is walk 12-15 miles a day carrying everything you need for the trip, stop at villages and towns every few miles, eat good food, AND drink Spanish wine.
If you want the whole history you can google it and read pages and pages and pages, but here it is in a nutshell. There are several pilgrimage routes, with the destination being Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The Cathedral is where the shrine (and remains) of the apostle Saint James the Greater are located, and has been a pilgrimage route since the 9th century. The route we are looking at is the Frances (or French) Way. It begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees, covers about 800 km (500 miles to us), and traditionally takes about 35 days. That is a LOT of walking. (I'd say it's a shit-ton of walking, but hey, this is a religious destination.) While I would love to do the entire route, and actually am planning on it for when I turn 65, next fall Jeanie and I are going to do the last 111 km of the route, from Sarria to Santiago. 100 km is the minimum that can be done to earn a Compostela, which is a certificate saying you walked The Way. I'm pretty sure that people who walk the full 800 km might feel a little cheated because they get the same certificate.
If you know me personally, you can imagine that I'm pretty much researching this little journey to death. One quote I read that has stuck with me is that your Camino begins when you decide to do it. I have hiking shoes. I've been walking a LOT (okay, a shit-ton, because this is in Nebraska and not Spain and I can say it). While I don't have the backpack that I'm going to be carrying yet, I am carrying my North Face day pack loaded with weights to get used to carrying everything I will need on my back. (And apparently right now that is some dumbbells wrapped in beach towels...)
Another reason is that I want to prove to myself that I can do it; that I can do hard things. I was trying to explain this to my friend Debbie, and she said, "But don't we do hard things every day?" Debbie, if you are reading this - thank you. I know I don't need to go on a long multi-day hike thousands of miles from home to prove this, but I need to prove this to the chubby girl from Aberdeen, South Dakota, who never really felt good enough for anything.
So I will be showing up (just like the blog name!) in your news feed more frequently - this blog has its own Facebook page if you're interested in following.