When I start walking this coming Sunday I’ll be taking pictures along the way of the different signs of the Camino. Sometimes they are a yellow arrow. Sometimes a scallop shell. Sometimes the sign includes both. These help you guide your way to Santiago. For some routes of the Camino the signs mean you never need to consult the map in your guidebook to know the way.
Just because you leave the Camino after finishing your walk, the Camino does not leave you. Nor do the signs. You may not see those signs daily, but they’re there. Sometimes they pop up at a moment when you really need them. They immediately transport you back to The Way.
After my first Camino I decided that I wanted to see a sign of the Camino every day. I wanted to be able to have something to instantly inspire thoughts of the Camino. Something to signify the pride I felt in completing a 500 mile walk and to remind me of the amazing people I met along the way. My sign – my tattoo makes me happy every time I look at it.
The other signs that aren’t always so easy to see might be right in front of your eyes. They’re there waiting to surprise you. A church I had walked past probably 100 times had a sign I had never noticed. Until one day I finally looked up and saw what had been there all along. Beautiful scallop shells on each of the doors.
My job at Geocaching HQ has been in the same office for the past eight years. For eight years I’ve been walking past the St. James condo complex. It has a big sign with its name on it. It was only two weeks ago that I realized my daily walk (my daily Camino) into the office ends right across the street from St. James!
People often come back from the Camino (The Way of St. James) and shortly after fall into a slight depression. The post Camino blues. Someone asked on a Facebook group how to deal with the sadness of not being on the Camino. Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of opening your eyes and noticing the signs of the Camino all around you. Let them take you back through fond memories or let them inspire you to return to the Camino.