“El destino de la humanidad es el amor…. Y el viaje comienza aquí”
When I first arrived at Santiago de Compostela, my professor brought my classmates and I to a small cafe where the quote above was written over the bar area. The quote reads: The destiny of humanity is love, and the journey starts here. I was intrigued by this quote because it was before I started El Camino. El Camino is a historic pilgrimage walk that millions of people from all around the world participate in. Although a majority of people do it for religious or spiritual purposes, others do it for the experience itself. The final destination being the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Prior to starting the walk I asked my professor what is her favorite part about the pilgrimage walk, and she said that she loves how people from all over the world can peacefully walk the same path – laughing together and helping each other. She said the love and joy the pilgrims share is an amazing experience. During my bus ride to Samos, I thought about the many things I will experience, and if I would enjoy it as much as my professor had. After walking from Samos to Santiago de Compostela for six straight days, I can finally understand the quote and what my professor told me. The amount the pilgrims cared for one another and kept each other company was incredible. The path was also filed with many inspiring quotes and photos. Love radiated from el camino.
Despite how much my feet swelled up, I can genuinely say I will do this pilgrimage walk again. I never once imagined myself walking about 90 miles within one week. The walk allowed me to disconnect myself from the rest of the world. By disconnecting myself from my phone and social media, I was able to enjoy the natural scenery this walk had to offer me. It also allowed me to enjoy visiting old churches and learning about the small towns I passed by.
Moreover, the walk pushed my limits in many forms. I learned how to enjoy and be comfortable in my own company. I say this because although there were many pilgrims walking my same path, there were moments where I walked miles on my own. I would simply just walk and lose myself within my own thoughts. Also, there were many times where I did not see myself finishing the walk. It was truly mentally and physically challenging. I had to learn how to not allow my physical pain overcome my desire to reach my final destination. Mind over matter was everything. When I finally reached the cathedral, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of relief. El camino de Santiago was an forgettable accomplishment.
You can learn more about El Camino de Santiago here: