Buen Camino is the common greeting on the Way of St. James. It means “have a good walk” and is used instead of “hi”.
I have walked from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port to Nájera in August 2010 but unfortunately couldn’t go on there because work was calling. But I am a fan of the camino, so it was clear from the beginning that I would finish it one or two years later.
“Walking the Camino always changes your life!”
People often ask me why I made this pilgrimage and I always respond them I didn’t have a special reason. I am neither religious nor was I on the search for something. I am just really interested in history and therefore stumbled over the name of this way every now and then. Actually the thought of walking several hundred kilometers by foot with only what I could carry on my back attracted me the most.
In this world of today, life is getting faster and faster and society defines ourselves over what we look like, how well we perform, what (good-looking and successful) friends we have, how sophisticated we are and with how many really nice-looking things we surround ourselves. My house, my car, my (very important and beautiful) friends. I was so sick of it and felt like trapped in a treadmill from which I tried to escape again and again.
So I went to the camino because it simply was a way of life I am feeling attracted to. I love simplicity. Alternative lifestyles. Modesty. Be it in a cottage with no tap water or electricity. Or just some other form of down-to-earth life. I simply feel it manages best to bring me down from that trip we are living in.
It was on one of the first days on the Camino in 2010 when another pilgrim meant to me that pilgrimage always changes lives. At first I didn’t believe in what he said and simply thought this way of thinking originated from his spirituality. He definitely was no Christian geek (as you would think from pilgrims on the Way of St. James). On the contrary: He had been a successful manager, quit his job, made an education as reincarnation therapeut and prepared for this new challenge by walking the whole way from his house in Belgium to Santiago. Quite astonishing! There are many special but very interesting people to be found on the Camino!
In the end the pilgrimage did change my life. I am neither more beautiful nor richer or more successful than before. But I found back to music and thus went through many positive changes in the past two years. This resulted in the idea of buying a guitalele – like a ukulele but with 6 strings – and taking it with me back to the Camino. In the sense of “I found back to music because of the Camino, now I am returning with my music and walking the rest of the way up to Santiago”.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog. I will actually make a post about my experiences in 2010 one of the next days.