Why I walk Europe’s pilgrimage routes

I must admit, the first year (Le Puy – Cahors) was motivated initially by curiosity (what is this like?) and personal challenge (can I do this?).

By the time the plans were in place for that first year, and I actually started walking, my mother had passed. So I was given a “homework assignment” at the beginning of that walk: the work of grieving that loss. Each year since, I seem to have been given a similar “homework assignment”, some individual work that can only be accomplished in the inescapable dailiness of silence and solitude that is pilgrimage.

Sometimes this work becomes apparent well before I start walking, during the months of training and preparation. Other times, it is only after I have been walking a week, and have finally managed to leave behind the busy mind of daily routine to enter the more meditative pilgrim mental state.

I have learned many valuable life lessons on these walks.

  • I am not in control.
  • I need less than I think.
  • The path goes where it goes; there is no sense in complaining about that.
  • Others, even on the same path, are on a different journey.
  • I depend upon others along the way; I cannot reach my goal through my own efforts alone.
  • The most amazing things happen while living in the moment.

5 responses to “Why I walk Europe’s pilgrimage routes

  1. I have too much “stuff” and have started the decluttering process. It is so hard. I don’t “need” this stuff but it makes me feel like I’m “home” to have it. Maybe I need to go on a walkabout with just my backpack. 🙂

  2. Lovely

  3. Very thoughtful. And who knows what this year might bring.

  4. Yes! That is so “right on,” and I will always treasure the fact that I shared a part of that first pilgrimage with you. It was certainly a challenge for me.

  5. So what are your dates for walking this time? From where to where is your goal? Thought you walked in summertime–why the change or additional walk this time? Will be glad to follow you whenever or wherever you walk — vicariously of course!

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