camino love, camino de santiago

A Camino Love Letter

Maybe you were “supposed” to be somewhere else right now, but instead you are at working from home or doing school from home, or you are doing a job where you have to wear a mask all the time.

Probably, in some way, your life has changed drastically over the last several months. Something is different from what you are used to.

I was “supposed” to be walking this week in one of my favorite places with a group of incredible women. So I am sharing a Camino love letter I wrote to the group of women who were going to be with me this week in Spain, because friends, one day we will travel again. We will hug and kiss each other and we will walk in the sun side by side. 

Camino Love, Camino de Santiago

To my beautiful Camino dreamers!


Today is the day we were meant to meet on the streets of Sarria to begin our Camino adventure together. And though we are not there, I thought it might be fun to dream it into existence, to close your eyes and pretend. 


Come away with me for a moment to the Camino…


You have just arrived in Spain and are feeling weary from the long plane ride. Maybe your body aches a bit from being crammed in a small seat for so long, but the drive through the Spanish countryside replaces the aches with feelings of excitement. The van pulls up at an Albergue, a small hotel run by a couple who loves pilgrims. They welcome you with open arms and show you to your room. Dinner is at 6, just over an hour from now, but don’t close your eyes or you might sleep right through it. Instead, we will all meet up in the street out front in 15 minutes to go for a walk around the town together. You drop your things, splash a little water on your face, and head back out. 


You are flooded with all kinds of feelings as we walk together up the streets of town towards the cathedral on the hill. We fill up water bottles at the fountain where the water is clean and cold. You see other pilgrims, folks with dusty boots and large packs who have been at this for weeks now. 


If you feel tired, you might start to get nervous about what is to come in the days ahead. If it’s hard to take a short walk through town, how are you going to walk 15 kilometers tomorrow? But then we remind you that it’s 11pm back at home and it is going to take a minute for your body to catch up to time in Spain, to be fully present here. 


Oh yes, that’s right. Jet lag. 


But then you see the cathedral, the old arches around the courtyard and the ornate towers. It’s exquisite. 


Camino Love, Camino de Santiago, cathedral courtyard in sarria


We wander inside the ancient place of worship and everyone gets a pilgrim’s passport, a little booklet full of squares that will mark the steps of our journey to Santiago. At a small table in the back of the cathedral, everyone receives a passport stamp, your first official sign that you have begun your Camino. 


We snake back down the hill and arrive just in time for dinner. You didn’t realize how hungry you were until you smelled the food. Plates of salad arrive as we are passing carafes of wine and baskets of bread. More food arrives. You chose the chicken dish, but it’s different from the plain grilled chicken breasts from back home. This chicken has been slowly baked with all its bones until it’s falling apart in the sauce. The person next to you ordered fish, which arrived whole, even with its head and eye staring up from the plate. You trade bites with each other, laughing that even eating is going to be different here, as you both work to find all the bites on your plates.


Soon the plates are cleared and dessert arrives (custard flans), we go around the table and share a little about what we’ve each left behind to be here. Some folks say their kids. Others their jobs or partners. Pets and plants that need to be watered and fed. But also a sick family member, a lingering lawsuit, a child who is in the midst of a crisis, grandchildren who will miss their afternoons at Grandmother’s house, or disappointed clients. 


You listen to each of these beautiful women and you think about what you will share when it’s your turn.


There are tears and laughter in equal measure. And also a big exhale. Just being present here is a relief, even if you aren’t sure why.


After dinner we stretch and breathe together for about fifteen minutes to get ready for bed. Kandace and I anoint each of you with sweet smelling oil. When I get around to you, I take your face in my hands, look into your eyes and say:


You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment. 


I wish you grace (as I place oil on your forehead)

And peace (oil on your temples)

And abundant love this week (oil on your neck).


Sweet friends, as I dream about our taking this journey together, which I continue to plan for us to do at this time next year, I hope you can hear me say these same words to you for now…


You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment. 


I wish you grace 

And peace 

And abundant love





PS. If you would like to be a part of one of these journeys some day, you can sign up for our Humility Walk newsletter to hear about future walking trips. 

PPS. Here’s a (slightly clumsy) video of the cathedral church bells ringing the first time I was in Sarria, Spain, walking the Camino in 2015.


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