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The Camino Santiago...Hold That Judgement.

Updated: May 23, 2023

This is a series of posts that I had written originally on Facebook on 11/5/2019

Camino Santiago post 4

Read post 3 here.

A wooden sign with a yellow arrow and the words Camino de Santiago

People walk the Camino Santiago for many reasons...religious, social, to test oneself, to soul search, to find their way, to be hip as it’s ‘the’ thing to do, and many other reasons, I’m sure.

The reason I find most poignant is those who walk in memory of a loved one or to raise money for a that is deeply personal.

Tom, an American gentleman gave us directions to the church on our first day in Sarria. Surprised that he had chosen to spend 5 days at this town, unusual for peregrinos who normally took a maximum of one or two rest days. “I’m waiting for my wife to walk the last 100 together with her,” he said, “she’s home raising funds for brain cancer research. We lost our son to brain cancer last year and we are walking in his memory.”

I was very moved.

An image of a paper showing the route of the Camino Frances from Sarria to Compostela del Santiago

The pictures below shows a few of the memorials along the way. Once or twice we came across a memorial to pilgrims who had passed away while on their Camino journey. It was heart-wrenching to see.

For Mary-Lou this journey was religious, for me it was partly religious and partly out of my interest in it being one of the routes through which stories spread and quite often called the 'Way of the Storyteller' for all the bards who used to line its path.

I love the fact that this is a pilgrimage.

The hipster crowd I’ve met, have tried to tell me that it isn’t. I guess it’s something to tick off their bucket list. This thought brought me down a bit.

Susanna, our friend from Seattle and a Lutheran pastor, told us, “ One of the main teachings of the Camino is not to judge. Let people be. If you cannot do the entire length, so what if you do 100. If you cannot carry your own what. Why does it only have to be suffering or sacrifice that validates ones journey. If someone needs a hair dryer to give them that boost to get up and walk each be it. Don’t judge.”

So hipsters walk on....I’m going to hold that judgement.

This was quite a learning. Don’t judge. Each one of us knows our limitations, whether physical, mental, financial, commitments or any other. Respect that.

Despite the hipster tag attached to the Camino, it was so heartening to see the pilgrim masses packed each evening en route and at Santiago. I revelled in the fact that there were still many who walked the Camino for its original reason, that of faith and belief.

Read the next post here...

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