Sanjiva Wijesinha -writer and physician

Short stories, Travel and Health Information

El Camino de Santiago – Some Reflections

Recently, I was asked this question about my journey on the Camino:
What words would I use to describe the feelings I had while trekking through each of the three distinct regions of the Via de Frances through northern Spain – the Pyrenees/Basque Country, the Meseta, and Galicia?
It was a very apt question that made me reflect on the journey that I made along the Camino with my son in April/May 2011 and my thoughts during that time. After contemplating on this thought provoking question, I decided that I would share the answer I gave with readers of my WordPress site.
In the Pyrenees, it was Apprehension, wondering whether I was trying to do something beyond my capabilities.
Along the Meseta, it was Wonder at what I was seeing and experiencing, plus a gradually increasing sense of confidence.
In Galicia as we neared our destination, it was Gratitude that I was nearing the end of an amazing journey and had been granted the privilege of experiencing this.
So there you have it: Apprehension, Wonder, Gratitude.
And these could well be the descriptions of a person’s life, if one were to divide a human lifetime into three parts.
During the first third of one’s life, one is unsure of oneself, apprehensive and uncertain perhaps lest one fails to utilise the talents and opportunities one has been given.
During the middle third (which sounds so much better than referring to this period as Middle Age!), if one has used one’s opportunities and worked at one’s tasks, one begins to see and experience the Wonder of this world – and to appreciate the human beings and natural beauty with which one shares one’s existence.
And as one enters the third and final phase of one’s life, one begins to feel Gratutude for the good things one has had. Rather than dwelling on the not so good things one may have had to face, this is a time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labours, to feel grateful for what one has received and achieved.
So the Camino can be a  microcosm or a metaphor for Life itself.

For anyone who would like to read about my thoughts and views in greater detail, may I suggest a look at the book I wrote a year after my pilgrimage: Strangers on the Camino. It is available on and and as an ebook or paperback.

Or have a look at the video of my son’s speech at the launch of the book

photo_walking theCamino1


3 comments on “El Camino de Santiago – Some Reflections

  1. sunanda
    September 21, 2015

    Dear Sanjiva,
    Well written and thoroughly enjoyed, must read slowly to grasp the details.


  2. Mary J Howell
    September 21, 2015

    An interesting question, to divide reactions to the Camino into various regions. Indeed the country side is totally different and Camino does present metaphors for life all along the way. I hope your questioner was satisfied with your well reasoned response.


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