fredag, juni 15, 2007

The Camino

In the Spring of 2003, I was at somewhat of a crossroads of my life, considering starting a PhD in something that I wasn't sure of, and generally looking for a change. I decided the solution, at least for the short term, was to take a few weeks off of work and do the Camino de Santiago. You know, reflect on life, experience communitas first hand, that kind of thing.

They say that the Camino changes people. I had always assumed that this referred to interior change, different priorities, greater maturity or patience or understanding, subtle yet transformative things. What I didn't realize was that it could also signal external upheaval as well. In my case, I ended up meeting a really interesting Danish man, and six months later, I was living in Copenhagen, somewhere that I probably would never even have visited otherwise. So, it can safely be said that my whole life is different because of the Camino. The interior stuff changed some as well.

In the morning of the 14th of June, 2003, Thor and I completed the Camino together. We got our compostelanas together, and had them laminated together (next to the office where they are issued). We then went to mass, for me the third of the journey (I went to one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end). A couple of days later, I went on to spend a few days in Madrid, and Thor went back to Copenhagen. The rest is not so exciting.

The end result is that life went on, but with new possibilities. And now, it's four years later, and I cannot imagine how things would have turned out had I not done the 800+ kilometer journey across the North of Spain. A truly transforming experience, in almost every area of my life.

What has transformed you? Which pilgrimages have you travelled, be they real or symbolic?

13 kommentarer:

theblackscorpio sagde ...

:D That is just so you: American, going to Spain, picking up a Dane :DDDDD

Meow sagde ...

The Camino sounds like a fascinating experience.
Have a wonderful weekend
Take care, Meow

Gondul sagde ...

Some mornings you just wake up and have to say 'how did I end up here?'. On a selfish note I am glad you ended up meeting your rock-star drizabone wearing boyfriend otherwise I would be that little bit lesser for not having met you.

My life-changing journey was leaving the Army. At the time I fought to stay in but would never have ended up selling cheese and fish in CPH airport if I had : )

Chloe sagde ...

it amazes me that you did the Camino.
my transforming experience was having my son. It is a cliche but it is true for me. I used to be so egocentric before that, and after he was born, the centre of the world changed and my focus changed, and because i was not navel gazing anymore, i became happier.

Devil Mood sagde ...

You did the Caminho (well, I am portuguese, I will use the portuguese word) de Santiago? And you met Thor there? You are full of surprises. What a fantastic story :)
I'm speechless...
The other day I met a japanese tourist and she asked me if a yellow arrow painting on the wall downtown was a sign from the Caminho and I told her "no, probably just grafitti" and it turns out it was ! Why didn't I know that? I thought it was just the shells on the road..:(
The changing experiences sound a lot like Pluto to me. Mine was when I was in hospital as a kid. It was a new world.

DayByDay4-2Day sagde ...

My life changed when I did the 12 step program for co-dependency regarding my husbands addiction. I'm a different person now.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Black Scorpio, that is true...and living in London, don't forget that part! ;-)

Meow, it was amazing in many ways. And a wonderful weekend to you as well.

Gondul, thank you...that is very sweet of you to say. And I do wonder if you've found at least a temporary calling selling cheese and fish...I'll have to let you know when I return in case I can catch you at the airport.

Chloe, I can only imagine the life-changing nature of having children. It must enrich and also just plain alter everything.

Ms. Mood, I always called it O Caminho. I'd love to do the Caminho Portugues also at some point. And yes, it's all about the yellow arrows. My bad joke from the Caminho (yes, I made it up myself)...why did the pilgrim cross the road? Answer: he had to, there was a yellow arrow on the other side. The question at the end for every pilgrim is, how will I know where to go now that I'm not being guided by arrows? Seriously.

Day, that must have been a very liberating experience, yes?

Devil Mood sagde ...

I think I can understand that - no arrows, where to go?
It was also funny that the japanese tourist pronounced it "yellow allow" because they have trouble pronoucing the "r" ;)

Scholiast sagde ...

Truly can't say there's been those great big transformations... I suppose I should say having children - the firstborn, or at least the quads! - but I think I was always "tuned in" (so to speak) for children, before I had my own I'd look after other people's... I know there was a musical lifechanging experience, at least, when (at age 14 or so) a friend took it upon himself to make me like U2. And invited me for tea and talk and listening. And I loved them... I became a lot more aware of music, who & why etc - and I still can't listen to just any radio station...

Now, I think - for no reason at all (possibly for turning 38 1/2?) I've had another transformation happening in my head lately. Will come back to that...

Greg Mills sagde ...

SPeaking of pilgrimages, I returned to Marriott's Great America after twenty years. Can now wait another twenty.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Mood, I'm still looking for the arrows...I could use them at this point, just because I seem to be choosing a path where I have no idea where it leads, or how to travel it!

Scholiast, a life change happening right now? I'd love to hear about it!

Greg, I always found Great America rather traumatizing...I hope it wasn't so bad for you.

Simple American sagde ...

Transformations have not worked for me religiously. Though Asia changed me as a human being.

Glad the Camino was an enrichening experience for you. :)

kimananda sagde ...

It was, and I'd imagine (or I get the idea at least, from what you've written about it) that Asia did transform you in possibly subtle, yet clearly important, ways.