Since putting my Camino diary online, currently at day 12 or so of the ongoing story that is a combination of many Caminos, fictionalized in a somewhat “Gonzo” manner, I have received enough comments and emails for me to decide to disable commenting completely.
The Camino is a deeply personal experience, no two Caminos are alike, no two people, ideas, thoughts, or spirituality are. The worst part about other lectures and books on the Camino, I feel, is that they often try to tell the reader, what the Camino is… and no one can do that.
In its core, it’s a number of miles or kilometers along mostly well maintained roads, between cafes and restaurants, hostels, hotels, albergues, and supermarkets. It’s a string of day hikes, each night sheltered and well cared for, each mile secured by Guardia Civil and local police, every pilgrim safe in knowing that there are hospitals, a well functioning ambulance network, and clinics never far away.
This isn’t 900 AD’s Camino, and it never claimed to be. Some Caminos, like the Frances, are simple and easy, others a little harder. But that’s just the framework in which the real “Camino,” each pilgrim’s journey, happens. And those Caminos can be hard, battling with health, demons, or fears, or easy, and anything in between. That’s the Camino no one can describe and even less prescribe.
You’ll see mentions of God in my diary maybe twice. You’ll hear about smoking, drinking, passing joints, and, yes, even sex. Not just mine, but that of others as well.
This was my Camino. Yours will probably be different. And as much as no one can prescribe or describe the Way, I can make a reasonable effort to tell you about mine.
And, at the same effort, could venture a guess as to whom is not really ready for it: those who judge others’ Ways. Those who feel, that their Camino is the “right” Way, while others range from deluded to disgusting in theirs.
I met many people on my Ways. Few could be classified as one specific kind of person, but everyone carried their rock to the Cruz de Ferro and everyone walked away from something or towards something. Many did both. And none, not one, fit into the mold of “the Pilgrim.”