The Camino doesn’t end when you reach Santiago. It stays with you forever. Thoughts often lead back to the simple life of walking, first breakfast, walking some more, second breakfast, walking… The simplicity takes your thoughts to a peaceful place, but even better are the memories of laughing and sharing stories with Camino family and friends. These are lifetime connections – even if it’s someone you just met for a day. They stick with you.
I was lucky to have made so many connections with amazing people along The Way. My Camino Family and I shared so many laughs and tears of joy. It’s great to be able to meet up with them on occasion to keep that connection going.
This last weekend I flew back to Philadelphia to spend time with Maurice (aka Big Father) and Paige (aka The Boss). Maurice has the biggest heart and Paige is as caring and friendly as they come. She felt like an instant friend the first time I spoke with her on the Camino.
Maurice and I joined up with a friend from his American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) group and caught the train to New York City. After about 10 hours and 13 miles of exploring we had seen Times Square, the Empire State Building, walked past Alec Baldwin in the village, reflected at the 9/11 memorial, stood with the Fearless Girl and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for some amazing Pizza. We laughed, told stories of the Camino and genuinely enjoyed one of the best cities in the world.
Because Maurice and I are adventurers – or gluttons for punishment – we planned to get up by 5am the following morning so we could drive to Washington D.C. for more walking. This time we picked up another APOC friend, Nadine, from Maurice’s local chapter and our Camino family member Paige.
After a long drive in we met up with other Pilgrims at Arlington National Cemetery. The plan for the day was to walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. from his march in 1963 where he delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Our walk would take us past the monument to him and then on through the Capitol mall, around the Capitol building and back to the Lincoln Memorial where Nadine read a portion of MLK’s famous speech. A powerful moment, especially considering the times we are currently living in. Words that everyone in our country could benefit from hearing again.
It was an incredible day in so many ways. Being able to pick up right where I left off with Camino family, speaking with fellow Pilgrims that become instant friends. These connections are hard to match anywhere in life. These are bonds I’ll never take for granted we understand parts of each other that others may never understand.