The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage that pilgrims have been walking for hundreds and hundreds of years. And from the time I started planning this trip right up until very recently I have been uncertain about how to describe what I’m doing here. Originally I felt uncomfortable with the idea of being a pilgrim (peregrino), because it didn’t seem as if my motivations and intentions fit the “typical” or “traditional” understanding of what it meant to be on a pilgrimage. So I started out calling it an adventure, then shifted to journey. But in the last few days I’m coming to embrace the notion that I am, indeed, a peregrino. This is how Wikipedia put it. “A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.” That seems to be a pretty good description of what I’m up to. I am walking into a fuller, deeper, richer awareness of who I am and what it means for me to be in the world. And with each step I take it feels as if I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin and more confident in who I am and what I have to share. Hopefully this growing awareness will also expand my capacity to be in mutual, connected relationships in deeper, richer ways.
After reaching Santiago I will, as Wikipedia put it, be returning to my daily life. But I have a deep sense that the “me” I am learning to embrace on this pilgrimage will find ways to reshape and redefine what that “daily life” looks like, including a desire to live all of life in every moment as a peregrino. We shall see. For now what I know is that I like how my life is unfolding. Buen Camino!