Life is too big to walk it alone.
Last night something happened, something profoundly compelling. Only hours earlier I felt no desire of any kind to ever walk more than 5 or 10kms in a day, let alone walk for days on end to the tune of 800kms. It was just a quiet night in and yet I’ve now added at least a month or two to my future travel plans. If only I hadn’t
watched “The Way”. Now, granted I’m a big Martin Sheen fan and have been for some time. He’s often considered one of the greatest actors to have never been nominated for an academy award. This movie was certainly no exception. It was brilliant and inspiring and will probably remain one of my favourite travel movies of all time.
“The Way” is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his “California Bubble Life”. Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On his journey, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick Van Wageningen)… Written by The Way – IMDB
I also now plan on taking The Way. I’m still not exactly sure how Estevez was killed in the film – it’s said he died in a sudden storm – but the trek doesn’t seem all that taxing and people of all ages do it every year. Millions of people have walked the route and in modern times your only concern would generally be sore feet.
So, in just under two years, if my plans remain similar to where they are now, I’ll head to Spain for 2 or 3 months and embark on my own pilgrimage of sorts. The more traditional route starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ending in Santiago de Compostela is 500 miles and incredibly safe. It can be done in only 30 days and cost as little as $10-$20 a day. If you stay at Refugios instead of Hotels and don’t spend too much on food and wine, it’s quite reasonable. Nowadays the Camino de Santiago is walked less for religious purposes and more as a journey of self-discovery.
I highly recommend you watch The Way, but be careful, you too may find yourself wanting to fly to Spain to walk 500 miles. A great site I found with loads of information on The Camino de Santiago can be found here at 30 Days to Santiago.
What is your favourite Travel Movie?