There is a saying that the Camino really begins when you get to Santiago. Since walking the (French) way of St. James in 2019, I have sometimes wondered what this meant. After all, once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, the walking is over. It’s time to return home, to work, family and friends, etc.
This morning, it occurred to me that the saying is, perhaps, true by analogy. We leave the way of St. James for the way of our daily life. Our home is our albergue. Our daily walk is our workplace, or the work we must do at home. Our daily destination is to complete that walk, that work. Our ultimate destination is our evening rest, meeting our friends or family, going to the pub, cinema, or simply, to bed. Our ultimate destination is no longer Santiago, but heaven. I am speaking here, obviously, as a Christian. Perhaps a non religious person’s ultimate destination is simply to reach the end of their days having done the best they could during them. That sounds good enough to me.
I make no claim for this realisation being in any way original. I’m not aware that I have taken it from anywhere but maybe I did and I just forgot. It is too neat and obvious to be original to me. What I will say, though, is that when I made the realisation, it really cheered me up because now the daily duties of my life took on a new, brighter, hue; basking in the light of the other Camino, they meant more, and I am most grateful for that.