One of the questions I got when I returned from walking the Camino de Santiago was – “Why did you think it was a good idea to walk 800 km across a country?” Basically, what’s the point?
I had a lot of reasons for walking the Camino, but I realized that for someone who asks this question, none of those reasons would justify a 500-mile walk.
I wanted to be able to reach people with an answer, regardless of where they are at in their understanding, when they ask me “Why?” There is some curiosity there to even bother asking at all.
I took some time to really think about how I could explain the “reward” of taking this journey.
In fact, why bother doing difficult things at all, really?
To be totally honest, the rewards of the Camino are not predictable, but the effort and pain and fatigue are guaranteed. And frankly, those rewards may not be in proportion to what you invest.
Some people can look at the pictures of the landscape and the historical buildings and think, “Wow! That looks cool!”. “I want to do that”. They say things like, “How was your vacation?” There is so much beauty, but they also don’t see or feel the physcial, mental, and spiritual pain and exhaustion it takes to get to that rewarding vista.
You don’t get something amazing by doing no work. It is the willingness to do hard work itself that transforms you into a better person.
As I thought about answering the question, “Why bother?” it occured to me that you can substitute “marriage” or “parenting” or “my career” etc. for the word Camino in the above sentence and it reads just as honestly.
“The Camino” is a living breathing metaphor for the path we take in our lives towards anything we consider worthwhile.
The reward ? An absolute certainty that as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will get there. And that I won’t be the only one on the road. And there is great comfort in that.
If you want to be a successful person in life and achieve your dreams and goals, then you have to persevere.
Never give up
Always move forward
Rise up to challenges and overcome them
One step at a time
…until you arrive.
— With love from aneternaltraveler 😉