There are a lot of things I do not know.
For instance; I do not know what it’s like to hike the Camino de Santiago. I’d like to know, but I do not. I do know how much I like that the trek is referred to as a ‘pilgrimage.’ That those who make the trip are ‘pilgrims.’
Pellegrino is Italian for Pilgrim.
I love the term Pilgrim. Aren’t we all pilgrims? Aren’t we all on our own journey, whether by foot or in our hearts? In search of salvation, piece of mind, peace. I used to think saying the word ‘peace’ was foolish, that mankind was incapable of world-peace, the idea being foolhardy. But what I have come to learn is that peace is not to be found out there, it is to be found in here, within our hearts and minds and souls.
The pilgrimage, the hero’s journey, whether without or within, is the path one must travel to get there. Some survive, some do not, there is no guarantee of salvation. We can only try. And trying is our duty, it is our right, it is our privileged; trying in and of itself, getting up and doing, can lead to peace, without ever actually reaching any sort of destination.
I am a pilgrim. I am a pilgrim currently on one of the biggest pilgrimages of her life. Perhaps one of the most difficult. Although, that is foolhardy to say too. The loads we carry are not ours to judge, but simply to bear. That is our duty too. I will get up, I will be kind, I will wish well on those around me.
I miss the sea. I miss being unplugged and being a part of a crew, each of us pitching in to survive. If I could, I would go to sea for an extended period of time. How long? I’m not really sure. A month? Two months? I would find a solid sail boat and invite a mixture of friends and family and strangers that both know how to sail or would like to learn, six to eight in total including me, and we would commit to living on the water, a pilgrimage across the ocean.
I’ve long dreamed of hiking the Camino de Santiago. Carrying only what I need on my back. Unplugged and open. I do not know the story of the Apostle St. James, but I would like to walk the same path that pilgrims have followed for centuries. To be connected to the past, to the people, to the land they knew and the air they breathed and the dirt beneath their feet.
When we were at sea, with the ocean stretching purple and blue and grey and disappearing into a distant horizon that engulfed us, minimized us, I felt connected to all of the souls that sailed the great oceans before us. Before me. Their bravery, how little they knew, or did they? They did not have electronics, but only the stars. They did not have a refrigerator to keep food. They did not have bottled water. The sea stripped away my false sense of security, my ability to control, my compulsive addictions to electronics, food, consumption. It left me with nothing but myself.
I have it in my head that to be a pilgrim on the Santiago would do the same. Would leave me with nothing. This is where I want to be. I want everything, yet nothing, all at once. I want peace, yet crave companionship, love, comfort, warmth, salvation. Yet I do not believe you cannot achieve one, without sacrificing the other.
You cannot live in peace without first becoming nothing.