Walking the Camino ~

We rarely go to the movies.  Aside from the whole theater experience, which I admit can be fun (but it can also be annoying when the person behind you talks through the movie) I pretty much like watching movies at home.  Think about it – $17 admission versus $1.20 at Redbox?! In your home theater you can pause the movie when you have to “ahem” leave the room and you don’t miss the most dramatic/emotional/important part of the movie.

Throw in another $15 for your snack of choice and well, it’s kind of a no-brainer, yes? But, when we happened upon a flyer for a documentary that was playing at our local theater, for 1 week only, it was  time to hit the theater because this one, just had to be seen.

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I’ve been reading more and more about the pilgrimage of Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and I find myself fascinated with the whole idea.  I know pilgrimages are nothing new and The Camino has been in existence for… well, forever practically, dating back to medieval times, but it seems as if it’s being rediscovered, for lack of a better word.  Or maybe because it’s no longer seen as just a Christian pilgrimage, it’s a pilgrimage of whatever you want it to be – what you take away from it.  It’s yours, you own it.  In 2010, 270,000 people attempted the trek.*  I’d say that’s a real resurgence of interest!

I can’t imagine walking 500 miles to anywhere, yet I am inspired to do just that; so walking the Camino de Santiago is officially on my “Before I Die” list, I believe that makes #4.  I think Abi and I are destined to make the walk, (at least part of it) as we’ve been practicing for years.  Most weeks we average  15 – 20 miles of out and about walking, it’s how we clear our heads each day.  Granted, we’d have to walk 10 – 15 miles per day to complete the journey in six weeks, but hey, there’s no hurry, right?!  One of the pilgrims in the film stated, “I will walk this day the best I can.”

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“Someone told me if I walked I’d find the answer, but I realized I didn’t know the question.”

The documentary, “Walking the Camino – Six Ways to Santiago” was directed and produced by Lydia B. Smith who walked the Camino in the fall of 2008.  She returned to Spain in 2009 to begin production of the film, which follows six pilgrims who share their stories, using their words.  The devout young mother who walked with her 3-year-old son and pushed his stroller 500 miles; the 70+ gentleman and his friend who walked the journey to pay homage to his wife who passed away 4 years earlier; the young woman who lost her job and was floundering in her life; and the others, each with their own story of why they walked the journey, translate the message of self-awareness.  When asked why he was making the walk with his mother, 3-year-old Cyrian replied, in French (English subtitles), “Because I don’t have a choice.”  Ah… out of the mouths of babes.

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Tatiana and her son Cyrian, she pushed his stroller 500 miles.

In the darkness of the theater, I scribbled down a few of the most profound statements that had me right there on the Camino with the pilgrims:

“I walk to create some kind of motion.”

“The mask comes off and you reveal yourself.”

“The baggage you carry is your fears.”

I found the film inspirational in that it captured the inner strength of each of the featured pilgrims.  It brought tears to my eyes when the gentleman reflected on his wife’s passing and when the young woman who was floundering in life, realized her inner beauty.  It took her 30 days of no make-up or hair color, and more importantly 30 days off of anti-depressant meds, to realize she was alive again.  I found myself thinking, if they can do it, so can I.  For heaven’s sake if a 3-year-old can do it, so can I!  I would love to take on the challenge of turning off the cell phones and disconnecting from the world of technology, and obligations, to just be together… walking – and reconnecting with our lives.

* statistic taken from the film.

* photo credit:  www.caminodocumentary.org

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25 Responses to Walking the Camino ~

  • I dream of doing this someday! First learned about it when I saw “The Way” a couple of years ago. Will definitely look for this documentary.

    • It is an awesome dream, isn’t it? I’ve been wanting to see, The Way, and just recently discovered I could stream it so we’ll be watching soon. Thanks so much for finding us, I will definitely click on over to your site! We’ve got a common theme!

    • We’ve been wanting to see “The Way,” as well. It’s a fun dream to have, I hope everyone who dreams of making the walk can do so. Thanks for reading, Tricia!

  • Thanks for the review… I’m going to see if it’s coming to Portland. Have you seen The Way about the Camino w/ Martin Sheen? Fantastic movie, gorgeous scenery and very inspirational. We found your site recently (we’re friends w/ Kim and Brian of so-many-places and Maria & Sky of My Life Experiments) Good luck getting to the Camino..it’s on our Must do before I die lists as well!

    • We haven’t yet seen The Way, but definitely planning on it. Thanks so much for finding us and I’m heading over to take a look at The Next Big Adventure. Safe travels to you!

  • Excited to read about your trip when it materializes! I’m walking from Avilés to Santiago from late July till mid August…finally!

    • How exciting!! I’ve been wanting to find someone who is actually making a walk. I’ll head over to your site so I can make sure I am able to follow your journey. Safe travels and thanks so much for reading, Catherine.

  • Sounds like a great documentary, I’d love to see it, thanks for the heads up. I hope that you get to do the walk someday. I’m off to go find out if the documentary is coming to Australia.

    • It is really good. I think the producer is still looking for $$ for broad distribution. Keep an eye out for it though, it’s worth watching. Thanks for reading, Sarah!

  • I hope this film makes it to the Philadelphia area or that they release it on DVD or some other format. Thanks for the review. They list their future screenings on the media tab on the website that you linked to. It looks like their next two are in Washington state and in Spain — both a tad far for us (for a movie anyway).

    I also harbor a desire to walk the Camino. I haven’t told my husband yet (we are only celebrating our 31st anniversary in June). I also haven’t told him about my hiking the Appalachian Trail fantasy.

    • Well… you don’t want to break the news too soon, you’re too funny! I think the Appalachian Trail would also be a great walk but I think for me it would be too remote. I’m not a tent – pee in the woods – kind of girl! Thanks for reading, let’s see which one of us walks the Camino first!

  • I saw the film “The Way” in January 2012 and by the time I walked out of the theater, my life had changed. I was going to walk the Camino and eight months later i was in St. Jean Pied de Port starting my pilgrimage. I walked 230 miles in 3 weeks. I am returning in May 2014 to walk the entire 500 miles. I’ll celebrate my 72nd birthday some where along the way. Buen Camino!

    • Patty – I wish you great success on your 2nd pilgrimage! What a wonderfully fabulous way to celebrate your 72nd birthday! Safe travels, and please, when you return I’d love to hear your story!

  • Just finished the Camino! incredible experience… I’m another person now.. everyone should do it.. i’m so happy!
    Will we be able to see the documentary in Spain?

    • Margarita – it is my understanding that the producer, Lydia, is still looking for funding for broad distribution of the film. If you go to the film’s website she has a listing of where the film will be showing. I can’t imagine it won’t make it’s way to Spain. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I’m so glad it was inspiring for you! I am very moved by all of the stories and I look forward to the day when we start walking.

  • BTW..I just saw “Six Ways to Santiago” at the Rainier Film Festival in Ashford, WA May 11th. Lydia captured the Camino perfectly. I laughed and I cried and I didn’t want it to be over, just as I didn’t want my pilgrimage to be over. It will be on NPR eventually, but for now it is making the rounds of festivals and will open in Santiago sometime in June. And, I think, eventually it will be on DVD and I will own it.

    One thing I know, if I can do the Camino, anyone can. I’m in my 70″s, osteoarthritis in both knees, osteoporosis, asthma, overweight and chronic low back pain. Plus, I have very little money…but when I’m “called” to do something, I can’t ignore it. I knew if I didn’t walk the Camino, I would forever regret it.

    For all of you interested, check out the Camino Forum..just google Camino de Santiago and click on the forum.

    • Thank you Patty for sharing your story, you brought tears to my eyes! I am so inspired by your story and all of the pilgrims. I (we) very much want to make this journey and I look forward to the day when we start walking! Thank you so much for reading, take care!

  • I’ve seen the Camino Documentary – Six Ways to Santiago. It is so much more real (less Hollywood) than the Way. If you liked the Way then the Camino Documentary will knock your socks off! The level of emotional and spiritual intimacy the featured pilgrims share with us is profound, the scenery is breathtaking. I have also walked the Camino more than once and I can truly say this film shows the pilgrims experience as it truly is. See The Camino Documentary when you can!

    • Thank you Daniel for the feedback, it’s great to hear from those who have made the walk! We haven’t yet seen The Way, but we hope to. I agree with you about the emotional stories of the pilgrims, it was very moving. And thanks so much for reading!

  • In spring 2009 I walked the Camino as a pilgrimage of gratitude (surviving the death of our 25 year old son and my breast cancer and a few other life experiences) – I was delighted to be included in some of the original footage of this film (I ended up on the cutting room floor) -> so many people with so many compelling stories. I encourage you to follow your heart and make the journey. We are all pilgrims walking our own Camino whether we make it to Santiago de Compostela or not. Buen Camino to you. <3 – Ginn

    • Thank you Virginia for sharing your story, I have a son and I can’t imagine the loss. I wish we had been able to see your story in the documentary, all of them were so moving. Thanks so much for reading and may life bring the best to you.

  • Thank you so much for this review! I work on the film and can answer any questions you have. I definitely want to encourage people to check out our website where you can find most of your answers. While you are there, please sign up for our email updates so we can let you know when the DVD will be available. As mentioned above we are still looking for funding and distribution to be able to show the film all over the world. We are currently showing at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, OR until at least May 23rd (they may add another week TBA). If you have any questions about anything else, including when it may be in your area, please email me: CHAD@CAMINODOCUMENTARY.ORG

    Thank you!

    • It must have been quite the experience to work on such a project. The documentary is so well-done and the stories are heart-warming! Thank you for stopping by and leaving your email address for others to find you and learn more about the documentary. And thanks so much for reading!

  • I’m another who saw The Way a couple of years ago, and as I was walking out of the theater said, “I’ve got to go there and do that!”. After seeing Walking the Camino at the Newport Beach Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, I am unable to get it out of my mind. Seriously. I’m a mid-50s female and am wondering if I really(!) need to train for it, or if I could just go and let nature nurture me along the way. I am in decent shape (not great, but pretty good), and have good stamina and love to walk. I mean LOVE to walk. I just got laid off from a 7-year job, and have been thinking…hmmm, what if I just went to the Camino now…and “worried” about finding work after. I’ll bet the universe would blow open for me like nobody’s business!

    I wonder what a 5-6 week journey would realistically cost. And would it be too hot in summer?

    How does one just throw caution to the wind and follow their heart? Damn you practicality!

    • Barbara ~ I learned of the Camino through an interview I did with a traveling couple. When I saw the documentary was going to play in our town I knew the universe was telling me something and I (we) walked out of the theater completely inspired to make the walk. We think 10 miles a day for 50 days (give or take a mile or day) would be our pace. As for throwing caution to the wind, sometimes we all have to take a leap of faith and I really believe everything happens for a reason… Maybe you’ll come back with a completely different take on which path you’d like to travel when you return to work? Would love to know if you decide to make the journey! Thanks so much for reading! Of, and there are lots of website informational sources and forums about making the walk so I think you could find the answers you’re looking for.

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.

 

2 years, 354 days ago!

 

 

 

 

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