When making a pilgrimage, it is a truth seldom told that the journey begins long before the trailhead.
To find whether this is fact, ask anyone who has committed themselves to traveling the twin paths of physical and spiritual endurance.
It was about eight years ago when I first heard of the Camino de Santiago. The Camino Frances, one of several paths of the Camino, stretches from the border of France over the Pyrenees Mountains and across all of Spain, to the sea. To complete the full Camino requires just under 500 miles of walking, usually over a month to six weeks. A friend had mentioned the Camino was on her bucket list.
At the time, I had no idea it was on mine too.
Over the years, the call has become louder, more insistent.
And somehow when you lose a parent, all the gaping holes you wish you had filled, all the not-good-enoughs, all the proud parent moments you never finger painted so they could hang them on the fridge suddenly gain a clear voice.
Problem is, I’m not even sure what I should have painted. Or written or accomplished or said or done. But something is undone. And I believe somewhere in that 500 miles of the Camino Frances, I’ll figure it out.
My Camino has already challenged me, since the moment I felt first called to it. The life lessons we face as we discern is part of the gift of a pilgrimage, and recognizing that is the first insight of the journey. Like tools strewn across the trail, you pick them up knowing you will need them when the road ahead gets rough.
Likewise, the people drawn into your discernment are also a gift. The people who bring it before you time and again until you hear it call your name, the people who walk before you and show you the way, and the people who encourage you, knowing it may be beyond you, but that you must do it anyway.
So many lessons. So many gifts. So far yet from the trailhead.
Charish Badzinski is an explorer, food-lover and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb.
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at rollerbaggoddess.wordpress.com.