There are many reasons people walk The Camino. There is no right or wrong, good or bad reason. The only important reason is your reason as The Camino is an intensely personal physical and internal journey.
- Religious. For many the journey to The Cathedral de Santiago is the primary reason to walk. All along the Way there are churches, convents, monasteries, and points of religious significance. For most, The Cathedral de Santiago is the destination. It was at this site a hermit was guided to by a star in 814 A.D. where the bones of St. James The Apostle were discovered. If you walk for religious reasons, the Cathedral is an appropriate destination. Some pilgrims strengthen their bond with their religion and some reaffirm their lost religious beliefs.
- Spiritual. For many the Camino is a special journey taking you within yourself. What makes The Camino Spiritual is somewhat hard to explain. The key is to treat it like a long term meditation retreat and focus on emptying your mind to connect with your soul. Getting out of your comfort zone and shedding all those negative feelings and biases you may have picked up over the years and allowing the Camino Spirit to enter your soul and do its magic. For those walking for spiritual reasons, it is recommended to continue on from the Cathedral to the sea and Finisterre and or Muxia.
- Life Transition. Many undertake the pilgrimage after losing a loved one via death. After a divorce. Or upon retirement, or finishing school. For some who feel there is something missing in their life, it is a chance to return to your true path. For all these people the pilgrimage often evolves into a life changing experience and or a spiritual journey.
- Walking Holiday. Some people walk the Camino as a vacation choice. Sometimes in Stages, a week per year, and return annually. Some walk for days, some for weeks, and a few for months. It can be a cheap vacation. By staying at albergues it can cost as little as $25 per day.
- Looking for Something Different. Perhaps you are bored with your routine of typical beach or city holidays and are seeking something else. The Camino is an excellent option in this scenario, and does not require too much planning. Nor is it necessary to be in great shape. Many start out slowly and walk themselves into shape. Though it is of course better to walk at home a few hours per day in preparation.
- Fun. Many young people and others come to The Camino to have fun. Obviously better if you enjoy walking. But the highlight for many is connecting with other pilgrims from around the world, making new friends, discussing new ideas. The nightly Menu del Dias with wine shared with other pilgrims is special.
- Like to Walk. Some people just like to walk and if so the Camino is a great choice.
At the end of the day, everybody who undertakes the Camino does so for their own reasons. Part of connecting with the Camino Spirit is to accept all your fellow pilgrims and not judge anyone for their reasons for walking nor for how they walk, or ride, or crawl to Santiago. Also, there is a saying “The Camino Provides” what you need. By remaining open, you may find that there is another or different reason for your pilgrimage than the one you think is your reason at the beginning.
Once you decide to undertake The Camino be aware there are many Caminos. This post will help you answer, Which Camino To Walk?