So why the Camino de Santiago?

I was out with some good pilgrim friends last evening and naturally enough, the Camino was brought up during our conversation. One of the many questions was “So how did everyone hear about the Camino?” which is a perfectly fine question. I didn’t get a chance to answer, however, and as my story is not fairly typical, I thought I would post it.

I have written about my first Camino before. It was a hastily planned affair arranged 6 months before I stepped on the plane. It started with a leaflet, given to me. The words “Walk The Camino” were emboldened at the top of the sheet. I said I would give it a try as the cause was worthwhile. The thing is, after raising quite a lot of money, I was spent and the Camino was just an afterthought. The six days was merely a formality and dare I say, a holiday? I had the wrong gear, the wrong attitude, the wrong everything. On arriving into the Praza da Obradoiro, I was already mentally home in Dublin deciding on the week ahead.

But the Camino didn’t want to let go…

Our guide for the 6 days was a pretty outgoing chap from Australia called Garry. He loved Spain but loved Ireland also. He saw I was struggling and wanted to make sure I got to Santiago in one piece.

Job done. And for that, I thank him.

October 2011, I am back to normality at my desk-based job in Dublin. I receive an e-mail from Garry asking how I am. I leave it unanswered for a while, maybe a week, but like an itch unscratched, I feel the need to reply. A quick hello leads to chat and that leads to a plan to return to the Camino the following May.

Without that e-mail, without that scratched itch, I would not be where I am today – writing from the heart on this site or giving my time to the Camino Society. The rest is history.

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