Why are you walking the Camino?
This is the question every “peregrino” is asked, and it will be asked over and over again.
It all started for us in 2012, when our son Stephen set out to walk the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA. This trail starts at the Mexican border not far from San Diego, and is a continuous path through California, Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border some 2,650 miles away. For those of us who are metric, that is some 4,240 kilometres. We started following his blog (http://www.stevehof.com/), and the blogs of those who were walking near him. I became hooked by the idea, and said to Jane, “Let’s do it!” Jane, being sensible, said “let’s try something shorter”. She suggested the Camino. If our not-so-young bodies can manage, and if we are still talking to each other at the end, we can try something longer.
I was not convinced that the Camino was the thing for me. Wild mountains and isolated places call me to adventure, and the thought of walking through villages and sharing bunk rooms with hundreds of sweaty pilgrims turned me off. Then I spoke to some friends, Pete and Viv, who had recently walked a section, and I looked at their photos and I was intrigued. It didn’t look too bad at all, and their photos were wonderful. Pete even complained that being a talkative extrovert, there were not enough people for him to chat to each day!
We talked to others, and found many who had walked long or short stretches of the many Camino’s that end in Santiago de Compostela, and we were hooked.
So who are we?
We are young enough to still be able to walk, and old enough to be able to get away for six weeks and not worry about pets and children and unpaid bills. We love the outdoors, and have hiked, sailed, run, paddled and swum.
Our children inspire us. Ross has been to Antarctica almost four times (see http://www.doctorross.co.za/ and http://wildmedic.co.za/) and persuaded his wife Fran to walk around Patagonia; Steve set out to walk 2,650 miles and will be back with his wife Kristin to complete what he set out to do but sadly had to interrupt; Laura is courageously tackling the education of young South Africans (a tough task, she says), and Kate is studying occupational therapy, and is the last to stay home to look after her parents (or the house when her parents go walkabout).
We hope this blog will inspire one or two readers as we have been inspired by the many blogs we have started reading. Somewhere we will put in some links to some of them, particularly those whose information has helped us plan to walk. Jane and I each hope to blog, and it will be up to you to decide who is writing, if this is important to you! I am a baby blogger, but Jane has some experience (http://dj-walkabouts.blogspot.com/.
Will this be a spiritual journey? We are not setting out with this purpose, but we hope it will be. Our Anglican minister, Rob Taylor, who has walked part of the Camino with his wife Sue, has encouraged us to become Catholics while we walk. In just a few days, that’s what we will do!