I feel like it has become even more prevalent in the past few years that the proper way to travel is hyper focused on taking your photo in front of whatever tourist attraction there is and then moving on to the next one as quickly as possible. I’m not saying that you can’t travel this way, I know I’ve done it, especially on group trips. I simply want to encourage people to learn to travel with other intentions as well.
One of the most amazing trips I went on was to walk the last 100km of the Camino de Santiago. The Spanish countryside was beautiful, and we definitely took photos along the way, enjoying the yellow arrows and shells, the symbol of Saint James, guiding our way, but the intention behind our trip was not focused on documenting where we were, but focused on why we walked to Santiago de Compostela. What made the trip especially memorable was that, since we weren’t focusing on where we were, we focused on the interactions we had with other pilgrims traveling on the Camino. Our connections to each other could be heard through the phrase uttered to passerbys, “Buen Camino!” And one of the best connections we made was as we stood in the line to receive our certificates for completing the Camino. We noticed a man digging in the crevice of a stone wall. We learned he was from Nantes, France, and in 1994 he had hidden a small French coin in the wall in Santiago with the intention to one day walk the Camino starting in Nantes. We helped him search along the wall, he had a small drawing showing him about where it should be, and sure enough, we were able to witness his retrieval of the nearly twenty year old franc. It was such a unique interaction and highly inspiring to see the dedication so many pilgrims have to the Camino. It’s an invigorating journey that I would encourage anyone to go on.