Pilgrim Profile: A Camino Dream

Pilgrim Blogger

The Basics

Name: Arik Zeevy

Country: USA

Which route did you take: Camino Francés

Where did you start your Camino: St. Jean Pied de Port (SJPD)

Where did you finish your Camino: Finisterre

When did you walk: April-May 2012

Miles traveled to get from your home to where you started on the Camino: 1,800 kilometers, 1,110 miles (from Berlin, where I was living before starting the Camino)

A tired, happy peregrino.
A tired, happy peregrino.

The Questions

1. What drew you to the Camino?

I was twelve years old when I first read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The story of Santiago, a young shepherd boy following his dreams, resonated with me at my core. Whenever I felt uninspired I would pick the book back up and follow Santiago on his journey to fulfill his Personal Legend. Soon after I read The Pilgrimage, Coelho’s personal account of walking the Camino, and learned that the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was what inspired Coelho to write The Alchemist and pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an author – at forty years old! “One day I will do something big like that,” I told myself. Life continued and the Camino dream got hidden under layers of class, work, and relationships.

Walking through a snowstorm atop the Pyrenees

After graduating college in the United States I found myself on a nearly year-long journey that culminated with me living alone in Berlin, Germany. My impulsive decision to travel alone to Berlin without any semblance of a plan was the scariest decision I ever made in my life, and it unknowingly triggered a period of deep reflection and self-exploration. What was supposed to be one month of fun turned into three months of inner pilgrimage, and it didn’t take long for the Camino dream, a seed that had been planted ten years earlier when I was just twelve, to come knocking. And of course as all pilgrims know, the only way to silence the call of the Camino is to go for a long walk.

Along the beach at Finisterre, the end of the Camino, the end of the Earth
Along the beach at Finisterre, the end of the Camino, the end of the Earth

2. What was one of the biggest lessons that you came back with?

That happiness doesn’t come from learning, but from living. I realized that the things I did learn were all common sense – ideals that were already part of me and had been all along. Living in the moment, finding inner peace, the value of shared happiness – these were all things I had heard before and even seen on bumper stickers and Facebook walls. But now I had lived them, and so I finally understood them.

3. Advice for another pilgrim who is going to walk the Camino?

Let go. The Way will provide exactly what you require – all you need to do is walk.

Finisterre – The End of the World, The End of my Camino.

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