Stage 15: Boadilla del Camino to Carrión de los Condes
Official: 25.63 km // iPhone Step Count: 26.4 km
While the Camino de Santiago cuts through northern Spain, the people who flock to this ancient trail come from every nation on Earth. As we walk, whispers scatter along the trail in languages near and far. Spanish mixes with English, Korean, and Polish. Each sentence is parsed together with patient jestures. When translations fail, smiles and laughter fill the gaps.
In a world where each country is growing terrifyingly nationalistic, the Camino suggests the opposite.
Rather than fearing the stranger. The Camino welcomes others with open curiosity hoping to discover a profound truth in their storied life.
Rather than asking them to, “Speak English Goddamn it!” The Camino welcomes this new language and supports the opportunity for diverse dialogue.
Rather than closing doors to others. The Camino invites people in with radical hospitality and sees each person as an encounter with Christ.
Fear plays on our willingness to love.
Fear preys upon our stupidity.
Fear closes our hearts to others.
Fear closes our minds to God.
As we pilgrims walk the Camino each step strips away our fear. Wallets lay open atop beds. Passports exposed for hours. Phones left abandoned on chargers in various corners of buildings.
Our time together on the Camino reminds each person, from each nation on Earth, that we are all together. When we walk the Camino no “Country is First.”
The rich diversity is celebrated. A group of Italians cook pasta with a group of Koreans. Two Japanese Pilgrims boil eggs with a man from Ireland. A Romanian sautés chorizo as a Russian and Lithuanian chop onions and peppers. Each culture teaches one another about the rich flavors of their lives and the bland mundane nationalism is seasoned with international flare.
When I walked the Camino in 2016, Brexit was decided, Trump would soon be elected, and nationalistic movements were on the rise. Each of these campaigns were won on the basis of instilling fear of “the other.” This bigoted idolatry cuts humanity off from one another and segregates our world into flavorless voids. Siloed by our fear, we neglect any possible for hospitality thus disregarding any chance to “greet others as Christ.”
As we each walk our own personal Caminos, how might we expand our circles to include richer diversity?
As we meet people along the way of life, what might we be able to learn from the immigrant, gay, transgendered, black, or minority person?
As we find ourselves siloed by fear, how might we lean into the transformative power of love and lower our walls to welcome others into our hearts?
Regardless of our country of origin, religion, gender or sexual identity, we all have a place, not just on the Camino, but together in our one shared home, Earth.
In no particular order, here is an incomplete list of the country of origins of people we’ve met thus far:
- United States
- New Zealand
- Isle of Man