In just about 10 days I’ll be walking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain for about 12 days or so. If you want to know about what that is check out my first post in this little series.
This time I wanted to answer a question I’ve been asked several times – “Why are you going all the way to Spain to do this? Aren’t there hiking trails in America?”
Yes there sure are. But they aren’t the Camino. So here’s a few of my why and why not’s for walking the Camino.
1) Spain has nothing to do with it.
Aside from the fact that Spain is where the Camino is of course. I’m not doing this because of the great scenery in Spain, thought I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I’m not doing this because I’ve always wanted to go to Spain. I’ve been to southern Spain and enjoyed it. But frankly I’m still amazed that I’m doing this and not spending my time in France checking out all the World War 1 & 2 history there that I’ve always wanted to see!
2) No, I’m not becoming Catholic.
While it’s true that I’ve been called “The UnCatholic Priest” for being celibate for such a long time, this has nothing to do with this as a Catholic pilgrimage. I don’t believe the tradition that James is buried in Santiago or all the other tales that have accrued around it.
3) It’s the Infrastructure Silly!
One of the reasons why I’m doing this is the infrastructure that has built up around the Camino. There are lots of small villages along the way with inexpensive hostels, etc. Most of the restaurants offer cheap “pilgrim meals” as well. It’s cheap and you don’t have pack your tent and stove along with you. That really makes this a great way to go for me.
4) Time with God.
While I’m not becoming a Catholic I do find the spiritual focus of the Camino appealing. It’s going to be (I hope) a great way to get out, get away, and spend significant time with God apart from all the usual pressures of life and ministry. I also hope to be able to have some enlightening conversations with my fellow pilgrims along the way and hopefully be a little salt and light to them.
5) Good for Body and Soul.
I first got interested in this because it seemed like a neat combination of my losing weight and getting in shape and my faith. God had helped me to get back where he wanted me physically, this would be a great goal to aim for once I hit my goal. This is the kind of thing I need to do to motivate myself to “keep on walking” and keep that weight off.
So that’s a little bit of my mindset going into this. More next time when I might just tell you the amazing story of a mysterious Spanish wallet that will going along the way with me.