One of the interesting things we have learned on “Our Camino”, is the many varied ways that people “make their Camino”. Everyone has their own unique Camino that they are making! I have used the word “make” over the word “doing” since it seems much more appropriate describing the Camino experience. To make something means you add something of yourself and are often creative in the process. “To do something” seems more rote and less creative.
When we made our plans for the Camino Frances, the traditional way that most people walk the Camino, we kind of assumed this was the way everyone made their Camino. You started at the border town in France, St Jean Pied Port, and you walk from east to west across the northern part of Spain in the period of roughly 5 to 6 weeks ending your Camino at Santiago de Compostela. What we have learned though is there are many ways to “make your Camino”.
Some we met started at their home city in Europe and started walking from their “front door” all the way to Santiago! We met a German woman that started at her home town in Northern Germany and was making her Camino all the way from her home. She started in 2006 and was doing pieces of it every year taking the train to where she left off from last stop. Some of the folks we met were coming back to finish up where they left off a few years back. It seems that many of the folks we met along the way live in Europe somewhere and are returning to do their next piece. It might be they only have a week but they make their way back to finish their next section.
We met one Aunt and her Niece that had 3 days off from their jobs and had decided to do a small section from the town they lived in, Burgos. We saw them early this morning as we were leaving the town of Fromista. They were waiting for the bus to take them back to Burgos. They both had to get to work today!
It has been facinating to hear each of the Camino stories. Equally as interesting is the number of different ways that folks choose to make their Camino. We see many walking, of course, but there are also a lot of bicycle riders as well on the Camino. We even saw some doing it on horseback. We also saw a man pushing a woman in a wheel chair hauling a huge pack! Speaking of packs we have seen a huge variety of pack sizes. In fact it seems the majority of the Camino walkers do the walk with a small rucksack and ship their gear each day from one spot to the next. It seems that the minority are carrying everything they need for the trip (like we are doing).
The thing we have come to understand though, is that there is no one way that is right because it is a personal thing. Each person “makes their own Camino”. No judging! There is no right or wrong way; only your own personal way!
John and Terri