“You’re doing what in Spain?” people ask when I first mention the Camino de Santiago. Most Americans I talk to have never heard of it. “It’s a pilgrimage walk through Northern Spain,” I explain.
Well, my poor explanation got some help recently. Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez have created a movie about the Camino called The Way. My first reaction after hearing about the movie was, “Oh, no. I hope the Camino is not overrun with people when I get there next May.” But then I realized that though people may have flocked to Tuscany after “Under The Tuscan Sun” came out, and though they may have flocked to Scotland in search of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts when those movies came out, I can’t imagine a bunch of people saying, “Oh! I’d love to walk 500 miles through Spain!”
So instead of worrying that the movie will give the Camino the kind of publicity that changes it from a mystical experience to something superficial, I will just say thanks to Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez for making my life a little easier. Now those of you that had never heard of the Camino will have something by which to understand what it is I’m doing.
If you can’t make it to the movies, Rick Steves has a half-hour program on the Camino that you can watch by clicking here.