The people you meet

By Erin

One of the best parts of my personal Camino was meeting other peregrinos that were not in our group. It was amazing to hear the stories of how each person ended up on this incredible journey and where they came from.

One such person was a guy from New York named Patrick. Dom, Jesse, Jack, and I met him in Ambas Mestas outside of the restaurant because he was looking for a Bob Dylan zippo lighter he had left there earlier that day. He ended up finding it, which he was very excited about because he had had the lighter for over 10 years.
We all got to talking, and we learned that he was an actor in New York City who was working as a car salesman before he came on the Camino. Because of issues at work and a desire to explore the world, he quit his job and booked a one-way ticket to France to begin the Camino. He arrived there on his birthday, April 26, and started walking. I love the idea of that: leaving your entire life behind to go to a foreign country in which you don’t know the language in order to find out more about yourself. And to do that alone takes a certain kind of strength that I really admire. Because he had no itinerary or plans of any sort, he was able to take his time, stopping for a few days in certain towns or cities and walking until he felt like he wanted to rest.
After that night, we saw him in various places and towns as we got closer to Santiago, and his face was always one that we were happy to see.

Another day on the trail, Coryn and I decided to stop for a coffee, and sat with an Australian woman and her son, who we soon learned to be named Amanda and Sage, respectively. As it turns out, Sage was an eighth grader, and was taking a 3 month vacation from school in order to do this trip. Apparently, in Australia it isn’t a big deal to take a few months off of school to travel the world. I wish they did that in the United States! Because you learn about so many different cultures and people while traveling, they think that it it worth missing school. He is only 14 and has already been to every continent except the Americas and Antarctica. We also saw these people as we continued through the Camino.

I have met and conversed with countless other people on the trail, and that is definitely one of my favorite parts of the Camino. Every pilgrim has an intrinsic connection with every other pilgrim because we are all struggling to make the same trek, with the same destination. That commonality between us all caused me to feel an intense camaraderie with each and every peregrino. I think this feeling is best summed up by the standard peregrino greeting, “¡buen Camino!”
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