Why am I doing the Camino?

At the end of the Camino, when you get your certificate (Compostela) they ask you why you did the Camino. If you say you did it for spiritual reasons, you get your certificate in Latin. Otherwise you get the Spanish version.  I’ll be getting the Spanish version but I’ve been thinking about what I will say when they ask me. I want to be truthful but also succinct, and that’s harder than it sounds. It’s the same when people ask me why I did an Ironman. The reasons why I do things are not easy to articulate.  But I’ll attempt it anyway.

Why am I doing the Camino?

1) Because Russell wanted to.

That probably doesn’t sound like a good answer but that’s the most truthful. Although I’m super excited about this trip, I would never have come up with the idea on my own. In fact, when another friend asked me about a year ago if I’d like to do the Camino with him and his wife some day, the idea sounded ludicrous and I replied with a very curt no. :-(  But Russell saw a movie about the Camino and something about it struck a chord with him, and over the course of several months his dream became my dream too.

2) For the physical challenge.

I like setting physical challenges for myself (a 150-mile bike ride, a triathlon, a marathon, an Ironman) and this one is a doozie. Can I walk 12 to 15 miles many days in a row while carrying a heavy backpack? I’ve never done anything like that before, so let’s find out.

3) For the international social aspect.

I’ve lived in 6 countries and traveled to over 50, and I’m really looking forward to participating in an activity with people from all over the world again. I know we’ll meet so many interesting people and be exposed to different perspectives and different ways of doing things.  There’s the possibility of short encounters with people we’ll never see again but that we’ll remember forever, as well as the possibility to make new life-long friendships.  We’ll all share the same goal of making it to Santiago but we’ll all be doing it for different reasons and we’ll all have had to overcome different hurdles and personal challenges to get there. It’s simple and it’s complex and it’s amazing and I very much want to be a part of it.

4) To see a beautiful part of the world.

As Russell researches the trip, he reads about other people’s experiences on the Camino.  Some of them have made movies or slideshows, and whenever I watch them I get kind of emotional because I know I’ll soon be able to see these things for myself.  It’s definitely a strong motivator when the training workouts are hard, and when we’re sore and tired.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think these videos will explain why I want to do the Camino.

(For the best viewing experience, click a video to start it playing, then click the gear icon at the bottom of the video and change the quality to HD. Then click the full-screen icon in the lower right corner of the video.)