ON THE ROAD WITH ANN—Wonder While You Wander with Ann

All of our TRAVEL PURSUITS are variations on the theme of discovery. We travel as seekers of experiences and insights we do not find at home.

Taking Your Soul for a Stroll: 160 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago is a bit different from our other trips in two respects.

First, it is a walking trip. Most of our time together is spent moving through the rural landscape of northern Spain on foot.

Secondly, we are not walking in just any beautiful place. We are walking on a medieval pilgrimage route that has for hundreds of years has provided for pilgrims the practice, the place, and the circumstances that allow for spiritual rejuvenation, reflection, and introspection.

I would like to say a little more about each.

WALKING

Me on the Camino in 2012

Me on the Camino in 2012

Your first association with the Camino de Santiago is probably with the body – blisters, achy shoulders, thirst, sunburn. Oh, yes, gorgeous landscapes and towns, too.  But basically, you may think of the Camino as Travel as Travail.

I would like to disabuse you of the notion that the Camino is an arduous challenge, painfully putting one sore foot in front of the other. I would like to tell you that peregrinos (pilgrims on the Camino) receive undeserved kudos. With a little bit of training, walking the Camino is enormously relaxing and pleasurable.

There is no rushing. We each walk at our own pace. The legs move, and the mind and heart are able to run free. Our sense of wonder is restored.

As Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “Never did I think so much, exist so vividly, and experience so much – never have I been so much myself – if I may use that expression – as in the journeys I have taken alone and on foot.”

PILGRIMAGE

Camino tradtions

Camino tradtions

Some may be put off by or feel excluded from the notion of pilgrimage, imagining that the Camino is only for the seriously pious. The Camino is for everyone, card-carrying Catholics, spiritual seekers, and avowedly secular alike. Everyone is welcome and no one grills you about why you have come.

Over a millennium, many traditions have been created. Most are secular, like carrying a scallop shell on your pack, bringing a stone from home, and having your credential (pilgrim passport) stamped along the way. Others, like pilgrim masses at various churches along the way, are there for those who wish to take part. And many non-religious people do.

The point is that no one should they don’t belong on the Camino. You meet people from all corners of the globe, all ages, and many and no religious affiliation. And one cannot help feeling a part of one human family, an all to rare experience these days.

A PERFECT COMBO

Bill, Tom, Maureen, and Olivia enjoy pre-discussion glass of wine in 2012.

Not all walks are pilgrimages. Not all pilgrimages involve walking.

The Camino experience creates a space for reflection on one’s values and approach to life. After a day of walking, we gather in formally over wine and cheese before dinner to consider a short reading on some slant or other on the theme of pilgrimage.  The poetry and essays help us to dig a little deeper. A few people have personal epiphanies on the Camino, but it is more common to notice small movements of discovery, small joys, humble experiences, and recollection of wisdom we already had.

Here is a short, slightly corny, film.

I suspect most of us have a pilgrim soul. Consider taking it for a stroll with a dozen congenial wanderers.

We take only 12 on this trip. Eight have registered. We will soon be sold out. I am glad to talk to you personally to answer any questions or concerns.

For more information and to register, click here.

Saludos,

 Ann

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