Why people join a Camino is motivated by many different reasons. It can be as a way of bonding with a few friends over a few days away from family, worry and stress, or for a break from the daily grind, or a way of experiencing nature or a personal challenge, or it can be a way of meeting new people or seeing new places. For some they may want to reinforce their own spiritual practice by being present in the natural wilderness. For others there may truly be a personal pilgrimage to reconnect to the soul within.
Regardless of your intention, the Plett Camino offers you amazing scenery, sounds, scents, fauna, flora and incredible tranquil views high above the buzz of Plettenberg Bay. It offers a unique ability for you to embark on an inner journey towards presence and peace, of reflection and gratitude. Some may just want to come along for the walk, and this is your prerogative. There are no rules, just free choice.
There is no better way of journeying into presence than through rigorous exercise, kinship with a tightly knit group and a well-deserved pampering after a hard day’s effort. On many Caminos pilgrims may travel 20 or 30 kms a day. Our daily routes are shorter to be more manageable and achievable for people of varying degrees of fitness and experience. Make no mistake, there are some tough days to keep the heart rate up and the pilgrims honest!
What is a pilgrimage or pilgrim? The word ‘Pilgrim’ from the Latin ‘peregrinos and per agora‘ means ‘going through a field or through a land’. It conveys the notion of a specific destination as opposed to just wandering around the in wilderness. There is a goal, a mission, an achievement to be accomplished.
Many of the traditional pilgrimages infer the goal of ultimately reaching a shrine or religious artefact of some sort. They imply a period of sacrifice and personal suffering along the road to achieving the ultimate religious goal.
In our Camino experience, we encourage pilgrims to set their own goals and intentions before embarking on the journey, whatever these may be. There is no greater journey for a person to embark on than the journey to self.
When you compare a pilgrim road on the one hand to hiking trail on the other, they are essentially the same. There’s a trail, you walk, you carry some stuff and you meet other people. There may or may not be a shrine at the end which may impart a religious context.
But the main difference is much more personal. It’s all about what happens to you along the way – how you navigate the continuum between outer and inner experiences – how you balance your inner and the outer journey – ‘the way within and the way without’.
Another interesting aspect is the impact that an experience like this has on your life afterwards. In many cases, the delicate balance between the physical hardship and the accomplishment of an end goal becomes engrained in your mind like a photo album. It’s where the real pilgrimage starts.
The walking is merely the introductory part of it because then you have to deal with your experiences in your life afterwards. Depending on your intention, the pilgrimage has the capacity to change the actual fabric of your existence.
For many, there is a very clear-cut line before and after the Camino. In our Camino, if you have merely discovered a sense of presence and carry that forward into your old life, you would have achieved what has eluded so many for so long.
! BUEN CAMINO !