A Journey to Remember

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A Journey to Remember

Patrick Bannon | Sherman Oaks, CA

Camino Primitivo flowing stream and trees.
A flowing stream on the Camino Primitivo. Photo by Carol Guttery.

The act of travel is a deliberate choice. Travelers who disembark into a distant land, some have chosen a unique destination–to follow the Camino route and don the moniker peregrino. Some seekers may already know the Camino ways, while others arrive newly minted. 

First comes preparation and gear, filling the backpack. Is each item essential? Or expendable bulk? Then a surfeit of choices: Backpack comfortable? Clothes adequate? Where are the albergues? What are the beds like? Should I bring an umbrella? Should I read reviews? Which map? Will I get lost? A staccato of questions to ponder fade away as training hikes confirm a solid decision. When is it airport time?

The days and weeks become familiar schedules, a rhythm that ranges from mundane to sublime. Walk, shower, laundry, food, sleep, morning, pack, coffee, walk. Find the rhythm of the road. Allow quiet pleasure to grow, understand blisters and heat-cold-rain shall occur. Embrace a simpler being. The physical Camino does not speak, it’s only a path to a place. The walkers, the seekers, and local residents animate the journey with each step. A diverse group of souls have chosen a journey that is older than all of us, each one with a reason and desire to participate.

Camino walkers adopt a certain cadence, a stride that feels right. While walking one hears the various well-worn sayings, then passes those along. The Camino shall provide, place one foot in front of the other, walk your own Camino. Well-worn does not mean empty, simple sayings with truth ease communication gaps. A delicious variety of languages may hinder communication yet meaning still talks. Gaps, hiccups, question marks, huh? Translation may be fraught but the exercise is worthwhile. A diversity of walkers who have come together, ready to participate in the parade. Or maybe the participant is just one walking to a different beat.

Those who walked the way and absorbed the experience may wish to share myriad Camino instances. Storytellers enjoy sharing travels. Others may be quieter, sharing the obvious but unsure of the meaning. Remembrance slowly seeps into a consciousness; effects may be quiet, deeper and longer-lasting. Camino experiences allow fluidity. The stream provides ample water for filling countless buckets. Each walker may quench their thirst and remember the journey.

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