A 500-Mile Hike to the Center of Your Soul

By: Ken Streater | Spirituality | Personal Stories

My sister is walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, by herself. It is a 500-mile hike through open countryside, but more than that it is a journey to the heart of your matters. Solitude, occasional camaraderie, old world culture, and good old peace and quiet dominate the days while small inn rooms and more time for reflection comprise the nights. Sore feet from the first phase are ultimately replaced by a soaring soul, as the spiritual journey winds towards the end. 

Here is an excerpt from her journal. I am so proud of her and how she walks:

Such an interesting journey this has been. The adage of the first third of the walk being for the body was certainly true. Those first couple of weeks put me through physical paces: how heavy was my pack, did I get enough blister prevention on my feet prior to putting my boots on, am I drinking enough water and eating enough food.

It's been during these past few days that taking care of my physical needs has become second nature. I know how to boot up, I barely feel my pack, my water bottle empties just as I come to a fountain to fill up. I've come to understand that my food needs may never match Spanish eating schedules, so I make sure I always carry some sustenance.

I am now walking on the meseta. The flat fields of wheat blowing in waves as far as the eye can see gets interrupted by a village, hopefully with a small cafe ( called a bar) with a bathroom. There are long expanses of quiet; time to think about everything; time to let pent up or deeply buried emotions bubble up and be set free. I have several more days to open my heart and mind to the landscape, and to release what is unneeded. I am firmly into the second third--the part for the mind.

The third phase begins somewhere outside in Leon, about a week away. There is supposed to begin a spiritual intensive that will take me to Santiago. I have no idea what that will look like.

For now, it seems my work is to examine my mental baggage, and lighten my mental load. Just in the thought of that lies a deeply felt "aaaaah."