shadow of walker

9 clues that the Camino is, for you, a pilgrimage

“Each step, each day brings you closer to yourself.”  ~ Shirley MacLaine

It is so easy to get caught up in the logistics and all the details of planning and preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago. When to go, where to start, how long to take, how to pack, how to get to the starting point, how to decide where to sleep and how to book beds or rooms in advance if that’s how you want to do it. It’s a long list.

Is that what walking the Camino is about?

I think that’s what we tend to focus on, because those are all things we know how to sort out. We know how to find information, hunt down answers online, survey our friends, and figure it out.

Make a list, do your research, check things off the list.

But we are talking about the Camino de Santiago, which is a pilgrimage route, and it has been that for more than 1000 years.

That’s the key: pilgrimage.

What is a pilgrimage? How is a pilgrimage different from other travel? And is this, for you, a pilgrimage?

Pilgrimage has been defined in many ways. Personally, I like how San Francisco author Phil Cousineau says it in my favorite book, The Art of Pilgrimage:

“A pilgrimage is a transformative journey to a sacred center. Pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise, an act of devotion to find a source of healing, or even to perform a penance. Always, it is a journey of risk and renewal. For a journey without challenge has no meaning; one without purpose has no soul.”

He goes on to say: “Making a pilgrimage is a way to prove your faith and find answers to your deepest questions.”

Ready to make your Camino dream a reality? Find out how here.

How do you know if the Camino is a pilgrimage for you or just another travel adventure? Here are some clues that may indicate you are about to embark on a pilgrimage:

1) You have a sense your life is about to shift, and after the journey it will never be the same again.

2) You find yourself feeling nervous or anxious, even though you are on top of your planning to-do list.

3) You understand the logistics of the trip you are planning, but you can’t quite find the words to explain what this journey really is.

4) You suspect there is something big on the internal horizon, and you are excited about it but also leery.

5) You have your doubts about being able to do it – being able to meet the physical challenges – but you’re doing it anyway.

6) You find yourself obsessing over your boots and gear instead of thinking about the deeper meaning of the journey.

7) Things you have been tolerating in your life are no longer tolerable.

8) Now is the time. You are sure of it.

9) If you had your way, you would walk out your front door today and get yourself to your starting point.

So, what do you think? Is walking the Camino a pilgrimage for you?

If yes, let’s get started together.