I’ve just completed my walk on the Camino Portugues from Porto to Santiago, my mind still occupied with the many lasting impressions and chance meetings along the way.
The Camino Portugues is one of the less well-known medieval pilgrimage routes that all end in the north-western Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of St. James – an apostle of Jesus lie interred in a silver casket.
In ancient times some pilgrims travelled by ship to the Portuguese city of Porto from where they walked the 280 km along the scenic Atlantic coastline to Santiago.
Every Camino I have walked has been different. This one was by far less of a physical challenge and I would recommend the route to anyone wanting to walk the Camino the first time. I did the walk in 11 days. At this time of year the main Camino Frances is very busy because August is the main vacation time for France and Italy. There can be a problem finding accommodation.
Since I walked my first Camino in 2007 there has been a steady increase in the number of people taking time-out in reviving this ancient tradition. Some 300000 were registered by the Pilgrims Office last year – a record number.
I was impressed this year at the high number of millenium generation pilgrims and I had some wonderful, insightful conversations with some of them. There is a deep yearning for soul purpose and finding an inner spirituality beyond the confinements of organized religion. They have seen their parents living exhausting lives in the breathless rat-race of modern capitalism and don’t want the same.
We are seeing many signs of the raising of human consciousness on a high road that is non-divisive, holistic and more tolerant. This is happening at a time of appalling leadership failure, xenophobia and divisive nationalism. Extremes are a hallmark of transition.
Yet, I am optimistic that we are seeing the signs of upcoming young leaders, who are self-reflecting, creative and thinking out of the box.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant