What better way to begin 2015 than to announce that I am going on an adventure.
This spring I will lace up my boots, put on my backpack and strike out across Spain on a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago.
The Way of St. James inspires all kinds of people from around the world to abandon their daily lives for at least a month and to walk across northern Spain on a pilgrimage with 1,000 years of tradition.
My Camino will last six weeks. From May 5 to June 15 — flight to flight — I plan to see as much of Spain as possible. I will fly into Barcelona and then, by train and bus, make my way to St. Jean de Pied, the starting point for the Camino Frances route.
The next 500 or so miles of my journey will be completed by foot.
I will walk from town to town, sleep in dorm-style beds and eat and drink whatever I can find. If that’s a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread on a sunny afternoon, so be it. I’ll meet the locals and other pilgrims who have heard the siren’s song. I’ll tell stories and hopefully hear many more.
The Camino is a traditionally Catholic pilgrimage, leading pilgrims to the final resting place of the bones of St. James at the Santiago de Compostela. I’m not an overly religious person. While I appreciate the beauty of the architecture of old Gothic churches, I do not walk to see anything in particular.
I do not walk to find myself, either, nor do I expect to figure out life while placing one foot in front of the other.
There is no dragon resting on piles of gold, or dark lord to vanquish. There really is no noble point to this quest of mine.
I plan to walk because the path is there and I haven’t been able to get this idea out of my head for years.
Only when I’ve seen the ocean waves crash upon the shores at Muxia, with my feet propped up, my ass imprinted on the shore and the Spanish sun warm upon my back, will I consider my Camino complete.
After a few days in Madrid, my journey will officially be over. As of right now, I have no idea what I’m doing after this trip. I have to admit it is a terrifying notion to pause life and leave everything behind for six weeks. Especially when you don’t know what you’ll be coming back to. But to me that is all part of the adventure — my first grand adventure all by myself.
While I’m abroad I intend to document my journey through this blog. I’m not promising regular updates. Part of the allure of the Camino for me is the opportunity to unplug from the world for a while. But I do want to use this as a sort of photoblog so that I can bring you all along with me, should you choose to join in, with quick updates. I’ll also be posting from my Twitter and Instagram at @DrIndianaJon.
I’m going because I fear I’ll never again work up the courage to leave. I go because adventure is out there, and I am not. At least, not yet.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”