Aside from traditionally religious pilgrim motivation, there is so much to experience on the camino. On one level, there is a wealth of history, culture, architecture and art to be found on all of the routes, especially in Santiago itself and the newly restored cathedral.
On a deeper level, there is the opportunity to experience this unique kind of transformative encounter with yourself and with others. Camino Pilgrims often speak of the “slowing down” you find on the journey. That is, the deceleration into a simpler, steadier rhythm of daily life where all you have to focus on is you and the immediate environment around you. It is a chance to reconnect with yourself, with nature and living by simple means. It can be a very cleansing and healing exercise both physically and mentally: an opportunity to process any unsettled grievances or personal consternation.
By following the yellow arrows of the camino pilgrims discover new values for their journey – openness to the stranger, receiving rather than demanding, tolerance of difference. We can discover much about ourselves, about others, about our strengths – and our limitations.
Above all, those returning from pilgrimage speak again and again of their profound gratitude for the hospitality they have received both in the camino and upon their arrival at Santiago. It is this hospitality that allows those who follow in the footsteps of generations of pilgrims to experience the paradox of the camino;feeling at ease in the new landscapes that the camino carries us into whether external or internal, while being a stranger in these landscapes.
And even after the adventures and discoveries of the journey we can learn the power of arrival at journey’s end both at the cathedral of Santiago and our own home. In arriving we realise that we have reached our journey’s end not as we left. The camino has opened new possibilities for our lives.
We seek to inform and empower all Camino Pilgrims that come to us with the confidence to make their own journey and the opportunities to give back to their experiences.
Confraternity of Saint James,
27 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NY, United Kingdom.
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7928 9988
Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered no. 4096721 — UK Registered Charity no. 1091140
Founded in 1983 to promote the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela