500 miles on foot. Bunk-beds. Blisters. Stunning landscapes. World-class snorers. Hot searing sun, freezing cold rain. Kindness from strangers. Debilitating injury. Unexpected romance. No toilet paper when you really need it. Profound grief and deep doubt. Hunger. Laughing with new friends. Total exhaustion. You are guaranteed to experience all of this when walking the ancient pilgrim path, the Camino de Santiago.
Across Spain, this sacred path stretches westward to the city of Santiago de Compostela where the bones of the apostle St. James are said to be buried. The Camino is world-renowned; UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site and the Council of Europe declared it the first European Cultural Itinerary. Millions of people from all over the world have traveled this trail for over 1,000 years – in 2010 alone, over 270,000 people attempted the arduous trek – each one a seeker of something.
In the Middle Ages, pilgrims sought forgiveness of their sins and admission to heaven. The Camino remains, for many, a quest of faith. Others begin with no spiritual impetus in mind, but nevertheless are drawn to examine their personal beliefs and life purpose. And others are in it simply for the intense physical challenge. Whatever their motivation, no one can predict just how their path will unfold, who they will meet, what personal demons or angels they will face, or what transformations they will undergo by the trail’s end.
Walking the Camino is an up-close look at one of humanity’s most time-honored traditions. By following pilgrims from all walks of life as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, each pilgrim throws themselves heart-and-soul into their physical trek to Santiago and, most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.