Father Kevin Codd, author of Field of Stars, gave me the following advice before the Camino. Your initial intentions for doing the Camino will always change at the end and you will never be able to share your experience. It is impossible for non-Camino pilgrims to understand.
The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile physically demanding pilgrimage. It is necessary to walk 15 to 20 miles a day over the Pyrenees mountains and several other mountain ranges in Spain. Every day there is a steep challenging climb that tests your spirit. There is also the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of the Camino. Thousands of Pilgrims have made this trek since the 8th century. You pass hundreds of churches and sacred shrines along this route to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago.
Miracles happen every day on the Camino, but as Father Kevin stated these miracles are not understood but the non-pilgrim who has not made the journey of the Camino.
I would like to share how the Camino has changed my life. I begin the Camino as another extreme endurance event in my life and decided to dedicate the Camino to raise awareness and give hope to people with macular degeneration.
1) You begin the Camino 500 miles from Santiago. Your only concern is to finish each day and find a place to spend the night. You learn to live for each day, enjoy the moment and appreciate a nice room at night to sleep
2) Your life becomes very simple. A backpack with a change of clothes, a poncho if it rains, a good pair of boots and a walking stick. These are the essentials in your life.
3) You become friends with pilgrims that walk your pace. You see the same people day after day and in a very strange way they become your best friends.
4) I look at life much differently now. People say live for the day but you really don’t know what this means until you walk the Camino.
5) You learn to share the joy of life with strangers from all over the world. I read a note on the Camino, “If all the world leaders would walk the Camino we would have world peace immediately”
6) Last but most important it was a joy to share this experience with my wife. We survived the Camino together. If a couple can survive the Camino they can survive anything together!