One of the questions I love to ask fellow Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago is “Why are you walking if you don’t mind me asking?”
No two answers are the same. I’ve whittled down the replies to the following six reasons to walk the Camino de Santiago:-
As A Spiritual/Religious Experience
Obviously, most Pilgrims who walked the Camino de Santiago in medieval times did so for religious reasons. The walk was a form of penitence for previous sins committed. Yet, many people still walk the Camino as a spiritual/religious pilgrimage to experience a time of inner reflection and religious devotion.
From a religious perspective, there is much to see and experience on the Camino de Santiago in terms of religious buildings. Most of the major stopping points hold a daily Pilgrim Mass for the many who walk the Camino for religious reasons.
Adventure, Challenge & Social Experience.
On the other hand, you don’t need to be religious to experience the Camino. A growing number of people walk the Camino for the adventure and challenge of a long-distance walk. Let’s face it – not many people walk hundreds of kilometres, day-after-day, through the countryside of a foreign country with random strangers. Many Pilgrims enjoy their Camino because they meet so many different people from around the world.
Major Life Changes Are Underway
I have met so many Pilgrims who are either in the process of beginning, undergoing or have just gone through a major life change such as changing jobs, retiring, getting divorced or a loved one has passed away. As a rite of passage, walking the Camino is the perfect way to let go of the past and energise for a new future. Many Pilgrims come onto the Camino with a question and make life-changing decisions on their Way.
For some, the Camino de Santiago is the perfect opportunity to improve their health – whether physically, mentally or emotionally. Nature heals, my friends. A dose of physical exercise and fresh air, every day, can only bring health benefits to a Pilgrim.
To Experience The Camino Culture
If you walk the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, you will experience two different cultures – Spanish and Portuguese. The Camino de Santiago is the perfect place to experience the people, the places, the food and everything else in between, all of which makes Spain and Portugal so special.
Time Away From Everyday Life
Most Pilgrims will say that they need time away from everyday life, just to de-stress, unplug and wind down. Sometimes, a change is definitely as good as a rest!
Read my book, The Adventures Of A Wild Woman On The Camino De Santiago, my story of an adventure of a lifetime. Available to order now. Click the link below for details.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.