I love to walk. I walk for health, for relaxation, to get outside, to get away, and to socialize. I walk every day. Well, almost every day. I tell myself “I take a daily walk”. By saying a “daily” walk I’m affirming that this is an important part of my life and not to be missed. If I do miss a walk, then it is no big deal because I have already walked lots of days and there is always tomorrow. The more I walk the more I crave walking.
My father is a walker. As a teenager during the Depression it was his only means of transportation. As a busy physician, an evening walk helped him decompress from that day’s cares. Pre-cell phone days, when he got a phone call, my mother would turn on the front porch light signaling him it was time to come in from his walk. He would make the phone call and then resume his walk. Now my Dad is ninety and still walking, still spry, a truly remarkable man. Dad taught me that walking was the real “Fountain of Youth”.
For many years I was a faithful walker. Then due to stresses of life I stopped regular walks for several years. I realized what a toll that the lack of exercise had taken on me. So I resolved to make walking a part of the rest of my life. With a history of diabetes in the family and with many risk factors myself; I know that walking is my most important way to keep healthy. So I walk, with my IPod or not, early on summer mornings, in the middle of winter days, with friends or by myself, at the park or just around the neighborhood.
As a pilgrim I want to walk some of the traditional pilgrimages. I want to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I want to walk around Mt. Kailash in Tibet. I want to walk to the Vortexes in Sedona and hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most of all I want to walk the Camino in Spain, a thousand year old, five hundred mile walk from the Pyrenees to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela: “The Cathedral of St. James of the Stars” My daughter and I have plans to walk the Camino. So with this goal in mind I walk every day, trying to increase my stamina, preparing myself to be one of many of the pilgrims transformed by the experience.
Books I’ve enjoyed about the Camino:
The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine
The Trail: A true tale of the Camino by Elizabeth Sheehan
What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim by Jane Christmas
The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
The Way – a movie by Martin Sheen.