El Camino: Craving Community

It’s amazing how many parallels the Camino has to life. Every day you walk and walk, and it’s like the decision to keep on living another day. Each step is a breath you take, and each injury or battle is like an obstacle of life that either tears you down or makes you stronger. The people you meet along the way come and go, just as friends do in real life. Sometimes you meet people and you make it all the way to Santiago with them, and they’re like the people you’ll be with your whole life. With each Camino lesson along the way, I’ve been able to see how God is working to challenge me in greater ways that are applicable in my day to day life outside this pilgrim lifestyle.

Now that I am officially done with the Camino, I just wanted to share one more of those lessons, and how it can apply to your life too!

It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you’re with the people you love. 

For context, let me just explain how hostiles work on the Camino in case you’ve never heard of Albergues before. Albergues are the places you sleep in along the Camino and they are basically comprised of loads of bunk beds, showers and sometimes a kitchen. There are municipal Albergues which are run by the government, nonprofit ones run by volunteers, and private ones usually owned by a family. As you walk and meet new people along the way, groups tend to form and stick together. Lizzie and I were a part of two different groups, one during the first half of the Camino that eventually disbanded and another one during the second half that was comprised of a few people from the first group with some new people added on. The larger a group is, the harder it is to agree on an Albergue to stay at night. Some people prefer staying in a unique Albergue while others would prioritizing walking further even if it means staying in a crappy one further down the way. It wasn’t always easy to keep our group together and there was often disagreement amongst the diverse opinions, but one thing remained the same. It didn’t matter how cool your Albergue was (and we stayed in some pretty cool ones!), it was never as fun if I didn’t have my friends with me. It was more rewarding to spend time with the people I was building relationships with then sleep in a building that was hundreds of years old.

I think that really applies to how we decide where to be in life. Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about how big the world is and where I want to live, given how much there is to see and do! But the Camino has really taught me that those things don’t matter as much as being around a community that loves you and cares for you. Of course, there is so much value in taking time to grow on your own and be ok by yourself, but I really believe your relationships with friends and family matter that much more.

Thank you guys for following this #LizzieandChelseataketheCamino series! As I said, God really taught me a lot this month and I’m super grateful for all of the experiences I had. Want to experience them with me? You’re in luck! Stay tuned for vlogs from the entire Camino, they’ll be up on my YouTube channel soon! Until then, here are some photos of my good friend Amelie and I from when we finally got to Finisterre, the end of the Camino!

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