What makes the Camino so captivating before we have ever set foot upon it…and so difficult to leave behind once we have?
In the days, weeks, months, (and even years for some) prior to experiencing it, the Camino whispers of its enchantments, coaxes and persuades us to leave behind what is familiar and safe and habitual…convincing us to move forward into the unknown.
In the days, weeks, (and even months for some) of walking the footpaths, country roads, and paving-stoned streets of the camino, it carries, holds, sustains us as it wends its way through the mountains and foothills and plains and forests and cities and villages, under freeways and over streams, through fields of sunflowers and corn and grapes…and when occasionally we encounter what in the moment appears to be insurmountable obstacles or unattainable goals, the camino supports us until once again we embrace what is unexplored and unfamiliar, and continue making our way westward, toward the sea, toward rebirth.
And in the days, weeks, and months that go by after leaving behind the albergues, the backpacks, the pilgrim menú, the panoramic vistas, the new friends from all over the world, the moments of profound introspection, and the moments of connection with a power greater than ourselves that some choose to call God, the Camino continues to call to us in a voice strong and clear, urging us to return, insisting that we return.
And many of us find we cannot resist the call, and we begin to plan our next Camino…
Give the face of earth around
And the road before me.
Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
Nor a friend to know me;
All I seek, the heaven above
And the road below me.
–Robert Louis Stevenson