I devote most Fridays to a day-long walk through Toronto’s extensive ravine system with about 25 fellow devotees. What are we devoted to? We are devoted to walking and to the Camino de Santiago. All of us have either walked (sometimes many times) or are preparing to walk the Camino. We share stories, tips, and memories. We can’t shake the Camino, nor do we want to. Our Friday walks are one of the ways we keep this powerful experience alive.

This past Saturday, more than 200 eager people showed up to an all-day, semi-annual meeting of the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims. Most were over 60 years old. The energy of the gathering was an additional boost to my anticipation of returning to the Camino this June. The keynote speaker, Gian D. Cecatto was a local man who not only walked the Camino for the first time at the age of 71 but filmed himself along the way. He spoke of his very moving film, “¿Es Usted un Peregrino?” (Are you a pilgrim?)

I am having great fun sifting through various short readings on the themes of pilgrimage and of walking to select what we will discuss before dinner each evening over wine and cheese. One book I like a lot is Joyce Rupp’s Walk in a Relaxed Manner. At the conclusion of her wonderful Camino account, Rupp says:

“When I came back home from the Camino, I observed how rushing and hurrying and pushing are evident everywhere. Over-achievement, competition, comparison, addiction to work and duty, unreal expectations of needing to do more, the obsessive pursuits of having more—all these fall on us as heavy cultural and self-imposed burdens…. There is far too much hurry and sorry in most lives … I still have a tendency to run but I am slowing down more often. I even walk slowly sometimes. Every day is a day to walk in a relaxed manner. I’m getting better at it.”

Pilgrims return from the Camino with many lessons. This one seems common to everyone. I, too, am getting a little better at walking in a relaxed manner.

There is so much I could say about the Camino, but more important, there are those who are curious and are full of questions. Amanda, a Worldwide Quest Travel Planner would be happy to answer questions about the tour: Camino, Taking Your Soul for a Stroll: 160 km on the Camino de Santiago. Please request a detailed itinerary or contact Amanda directly: amanda@worldwidequest.com or 416-633-5666/1-800-387-1483.