This Camino was different for me. It was about the kids, about motherhood, about the journeys that make us and the ones that call us home.
Since returning from our first Camino on the Frances route just over two years ago, and now that we’re back from our 2nd Camino, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on why this journey is so special, so unique. I watched the movie “Tolkien” on our return flight to Los Angeles, and LOVE what Tolkien has to say about his most legendary work:
It’s about journeys. Adventures. Magic, of course. Treasure. And love. It’s about all kinds of things really. It’s hard to say. I suppose it’s about quests, to a certain extent. The journeys we take to prove ourselves. About courage. Fellowship. It’s about fellowship. Friendship.
The greatest journeys, the greatest stories, have all of these things. The Camino has them too.
It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s a journey of self-discovery, of family, of seeing the Camino through the eyes of a child. It’s about how children are our greatest teachers. Watching my kids – a baby and a toddler – experience the Camino, I see how that’s why so many of us are drawn to it. We can become children again. Children in the sense we don’t have to worry about anything. We walk. We stop when we’re thirsty or hungry. We have no responsibilities except to walk, eat, sleep and play. We are seen, protected and able to be completely ourselves.
Play is such an important part of childhood. It keeps us curious, inquisitive, seekers of adventure and truth. Why don’t we incorporate play into our lives as adults? The Camino allows us to do that. To be present and to play. To be with old friends and to make new ones, just as if we were on the playground in 2nd grade meeting someone new.
Fellow pilgrims along the way would ask us how we do it with two kids. There were hard moments, but I wouldn’t define it that way. Granted, I wasn’t doing the pushing of the stroller and packs. Still, I’ve asked Rob, and he said the same. If you think it will be hard, it will. If you see it as a great family adventure, it will be. Irrespective of how you define the Camino, it draws us into something significant and defining. It’s an invitation for something more. It’s what you make of it and what makes you.
In our busy culture, the Camino is one of the closest things to a quest we can embark on. In the words of Tolkien, “it’s about journeys. Adventures. Magic, of course. Treasure. And love.”
If you’re curious, if you’ve thought about it, if you’re a seeker, if you feel a call, even if it’s a whisper of one, go. Let the Camino work it’s magic. It will.
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