Since I carried all of my worldly possessions day-to-day on the Camino de Santiago, I picked up very few souvenirs. I came home the usual artifacts, the Compostela, distance certificate, and the Cotolaya – the document given to pilgrims receiving the Compostela in 2014 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi’s pilgrimage from Italy to Santiago.
Like every peregrino, my credencial is the most unique souvenir from the journey. Every stop, Dublin to Barcelona to Leon to Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre and Muxia, every sello a noteworthy stop with fond memories of café con leches and friends along the way. I got home and flipped through my credencial, again and again, I decided I wanted to look at it every day, somehow. So I fired up my computer and got to work.
Continue reading Camino de Santiago souvenir: A DIY credencial sello poster
Montreal, is a very, very fine food city, so (to borrow a phrase from one of my traveling companions) there is no need to waste a meal on a substandard chain restaurant, or somewhere that won’t surprise or delight. I’m happy to admit that a lot of my recent trip to Montreal was spent eating, or in recovery from eating, and I don’t regret a single minute of it. Eating well is living well and the living in Montreal is very good indeed.
Continue reading Everything I ate in Montreal
Update: Great news! I have posted an update to this post at the bottom.
I completed my Camino de Santiago in September 2014. Along the way, I encountered people who were at various crossroads in their lives. Some had lost children or partners. Some had just retired from long careers. Some were on a school or career break. Some needed to check out from their daily lives to reset and regroup.
I had more conversations about Camino motivations and learning along the way than I can recall. My story was boring and consistent: “It just feels like the right time in my life to do this.” I did my daily kilometres, collected my compostela, and flew home.
In April 2015, I lost my job. The government department where I worked was eliminated, my position along with it. On a sunny April morning, the first nice weather we had seen after a tough slog of a winter, my former colleagues and I streamed out of a conference room with our hand-delivered letters into blinding sunlight and uncertainty. As it turns out, receiving the compostela was the beginning of the journey, not the end of one.
Continue reading What I learned from the Camino de Santiago after I lost my job
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I took the overnight Trenhotel between Barcelona and Granada when I travelled in Spain in 2011. I knew starting the Camino de Santiago in Leon, approximately 300 km from Santiago de Compostela, would require a bus or train from Madrid or Barcelona, so once I booked a flight to Barcelona, taking Trenhotel to Leon became an option.
Continue reading Starting my Camino de Santiago on the Trenhotel from Barcelona to Leon
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about returning to the Camino de Santiago. In fact, I’m having a hard time getting my head to go anywhere else these days. Thinking back to September 2014, I stood among crowds of peregrinos and daytrippers in the path of giant incense burner, feeling like I accomplished something significant in my life, even though the purpose wasn’t entirely clear at that point. So, today, I think about the Camino and whether we’re meant to meet again sooner, rather than later.