Buen Camino

walkA friend of mine is on the second leg of his Camino de Santiago.

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching hundreds and hundreds of miles across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Pilgrims walking the Camino do so for many reasons. I’d wager that most of them are on a spiritual journey as much as a physical one. The intent of the “pilgrimage” is the goal of becoming your best self. To live your life by design instead of happenstance.

My friend began his Camino last fall, and ended it about halfway through due to medical issues. A few weeks ago, in his inimitable “press onward” style, he returned, determined to complete it. I’m honored and grateful to be one of the friends that he’s included in a closed group where he has been sharing photos and he recounts each day’s adventures. You might say I’m living vicariously through his pilgrimage. But, more than that, my friend has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to realize that, whether here or in Europe, we are all on our own journey, our own Camino.

A common phrase used by pilgrims greeting one another is “Buen Camino”, (literally “good path”). It is generally used as a shorthand wish of “good fortune and happy traveling”. It is also an acknowledgment that those you encounter are, like you, seeking perfection and attainment of their goals.

Each day presents us with obstacles and goals – gives us new challenges and adventures. Our determination to press onward in spite of the pain, the blisters, the boulders flung onto our path is really our own Camino. Whether we choose to forge our path and live a life that we desire or allow the happenings in life to shape our destiny – it is our unique journey.

But greeting fellow travelers with “Buen Camino” is also offered as a prayer that their day will be blessed with many wonders, that they will have an enjoyable walk and that they might arrive safely at their destination.

My wish for each of you today, my fellow travelers, is that you all come closer to your goals today. May you have an enjoyable walk and arrive at your destination safely.

“Buen Camino”.