Camino de Santiago: Why?

I’ve Got All The Reasons

One of the first and most common questions you are asked on the Camino is: “Why are you doing the Camino?” It’s a valid question, and important question, a good conversation starter and also super personal, and yet before I even knew the name of the questioner, I was often asked this question.

I was also asked this question by people back in the US before I went on this trip. Like I said, it’s valid and important, but it’s also a tough question to answer. Typically I told people I had three reasons to hike the Camino and then I would proceed to tell people what drove this completely out of shape man to hike almost 490 miles. I don’t hide things from people, so I was completely honest with them and said:

  1. Jump-start to losing weight – I’ve always struggled with weight. I’ve been larger than average most of my life and the one time I wasn’t I was struggling with my weight in the opposite way. My thought was that 5 weeks of hiking would help me establish a healthier lifestyle and force me to eat better and move more. If 5 weeks of hiking couldn’t do it, what could?
  2. Research for my job – As part of my job I lead short-term mission’s trips to places across Europe and a missionary friend of mine and I want to do one on the Camino where we would hike for a week and then serve for another. Throughout my time on the Camino I was learning about hostels, villages, and the needs of pilgrims. We want to bless those who are making the pilgrimage and seeing their needs first hand was vital for any potential future trip.
  3. Going deeper with God – I spent a lot of time with people, but when you are hiking for at least 6 hours everyday you also have a lot of time alone. I wanted to use that time to surrender to God and His plan. Each day would be a time for me to dive deeper into prayer.

Those were my reasons, but the reasons for each and every person were their own. I met so many people on the Camino who were seeking. Whether they were seeking answers, a connection, a place to grieve, or as one person said “inner peace,” almost everyone on that trail was seeking. We all wanted something by the end of our time.

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