Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 05/29/20 7:59 AM

Feature: Walking a virtual Camino

Visitng ancient churches made of stone.

Doing a virtual pilgrimage

One of the few highlights of this long lockdown period (and I was in lockdown mode from 16 March 2020) was a virtual Camino I went on,  for 36 + 3  days, starting early April.  The invite came from our Camino leader Amy Gigi Alexander, she who has walked more than 20 real  Caminos over the years.

What is a Camino, you ask in some bafflement. Or maybe you already know.

Well, before I went on this spiritual walk of over 800 kms from St Jean Pied de Port in western France to Finisterre, Land`s End,  beyond Santiago de Compostela in Spain, I didn’t know what it was. Also, not being any sort of believer, I was a bit chary of undertaking a spiritual walk. Because that is essentially what a Camino is, a pilgrimage along an ancient route, in this case, the Way of St James.

Walking through forest glens and glades.

However, I will always be grateful for that streak of curiosity in me, the willingness to take up something interesting with an open mind, the confidence I had in Amy, all of which made me join the rest of the walkers,  and do the virtual walk.

We `walked`  about 22-34 kms each day,  sometimes in inclement weather and at average temperatures of 13-18 degrees,  climbed steep hills, gingerly came down them into saddles and valleys, stopped each night in mostly humble albergues (backpackers` hostels), grabbed a bite at cafés  recommended by Amy, to then walk,  walk and walk some more.

What made this Camino special? The fact that one found the discipline to commit to this long trek, for whatever personal reason, and to stay the course. The fact that almost every day, we were passing beautiful vistas, fields of poppy glowing red, 12th century churches, vineyards, glens and forest glades. And the most important fact of them all, that every day as we walked, Amy would give us a life lesson to ponder over, to introspect about, to make decisions on.

Land`s End.

At the end of the Camino, one hopefully shed all the extra trimmings in one`s life and sought to become a kinder individual, wanting less, happy with what one has, free of guilt and recrimination.

Back in the 12th century, people walked the Camino hoping to spend less time in purgatory. Today, I`m thinking, the aim is less dire; maybe people now walk seeking more serenity, grace, a better way to live.

Thank you, Amy,  for showing the way. It is now upto me to make those life lessons part of my everyday life.

 History of Santiago Cathedral:

Welcome to the End of the World:

Walking the Walk:



a virtual pilgrimageCaminoFranceintrospectionlife lessonspilgrimageSantiago de CompostelaSpainthe Way of St jameswalk and think

Sheila Kumar • May 29, 2020

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