How to Start Your Pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago

When did you consider that you had really started your Camino? When you took the first step on Day 0? When you got on the plane? When you made the decision to go?

There is a lot to think about when deciding whether to walk Camino de Santiago. I think that decision is an important part of your pilgrimage. In this episode I explain the first two steps you need to make on your way.

The Pilgrimage Is Like Life: Reversing the Metaphor

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Our first day on pilgrimage we were greeted with a pretty significant hail storm.

It’s not uncommon among those that are versed in the life of a pilgrim to speak of life being like the pilgrimage. They note that living life requires navigating a path and going toward your life mission.

Medieval Christians would have said this in the reversed fashion. For Medieval Christians life is the pilgrimage, and the various place pilgrimages such as the Holy Land, Rome, or Camino de Santiago are just small samples of this much greater pilgrimage. No matter which direction you take your metaphor, you learn a great deal from becoming dependent upon your surroundings.

As we started our long awaited walk, it was already raining. But when you have travelled for this one purpose, you don’t decide not to walk just because the conditions are not ideal. So we set out through the rain and the mud that resulted. The walking was slower than expected, but there were enough moments of sunshine that we could soak in the beauty of the place that we were traversing. Even as it rained we walked past centuries old churches and monasteries, ate our first empanada con jamón y queso (ham and cheese pie), and strolled through countryside covered in wild flowers.

Just a few hours into our walk we decided to take our first real break in a very tiny village. As I said, it had been raining off and on most of the morning. But it was mostly sunny now. Just as Jen suggested that we start walking again, it started to rain lightly. We were glad to stay under the covered bus bench a bit longer as the rain would likely pass. Just a few moments later it began to hail very badly. We considered it quite a privilege to be covered and watching from a dry bench.

Today we learned that life (like pilgrimage) requires that you take what you are given if you are to pursue a mission. Living life aimlessly might allow you to “stay out of the rain.” But living life on purpose requires that you take the rough moments and the moments of provision with joy as you take another step toward your calling.

Related post: What is a Spiritual Pilgrimage?

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What is a Spiritual Pilgrimage?

Photo by Miguel Ángel García

Photo by Miguel Ángel García

Within Protestant Christian circles, interest in spiritual pilgrimage has grown significantly in recent years. For many years this practice had mostly been left to Catholic Christians. Protestants have always made journeys to the Holy Land or significant churches within their tradition. But now Protestants are beginning to rediscover the rich language and practice of pilgrimage that makes these trips significant opportunities for spiritual formation. [Read more…]