I asked - Who are those guys with backpacks walking on the side of the road?
A friend replied - Pilgrims ! They are walking to Santiago and you are about to become one.
In the first days of August 1993 I end up following a couple of friends into a journey that continues until today. Without a better summer program, I joined a youth group on a trip to places I had no idea they existed. Some of the findings I was able to capture in pictures and drawings in my journal, others I kept on a special place inside my heart.
Walking and walking for long distances was always part of my memory. With family first and later with boy scouts and friends, moving along forests, prairies, mountains and coastlines was no strange feeling to me. Actually I always felt more at home when outside rather than inside four walls.
Until I was 20 years old, there was always an objective when I was out with my rucksack. Either a certain place to arrive, a group intent to be achieved or the challenge of walking faster than my peers.
After arriving in Obradoiro, two things catch my attention. First, standing in front of the cathedral was a beautiful moment but did not taste like an arrival, it was more of a pause followed by the need to continue my way, which I did. Secondly, one of my favourite musicians (Prince) was playing in few days in Monte do Gozo.
I lost count how many times my walks took me again to visit Santiago, but I keep very clearly in my mind what each one of them gave me. Friendships, smiles, sounds, the scent of rain on dry earth, clarity of ideas, simplicity of life, long talks, long silences and many other route companions.
Curiously, 20 years after my first walk to Compostela, I started the Walking Mentorship, a service I provide to all kinds of people, geographies and stages in life. Today I walk and mentor everywhere in the world, but my initial walk, the one that started everything and never ended, begun in Via Stellae.
I am sure you have heard it before, but it is always good to remember -
Travellers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.