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Published: October 26th 2007
Just a smile
Thanks for reading!
Okay, so first I want to say thank you to all my friends from around the world who called or wrote to ask if I was safe from the fires here in San Diego. Thankfully I am and I could help people who were not.
Secondly, I am enetering this essay contest. It has to be "a 300-word essay on a travel experience that moved you, excited you or changed you." Obviously, I chose the Camino. Will you please read this and tell me if you think it is any good. Writing is not a particular strong point, but the prize is an assignment with National Geographic Traveler to Mongolia for a 10 day trip to see for the centuries old Naadam Festival, the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians out on the Steepes. Then you get to write an article about the trip for the magazine! Dont spare anything, the stakes are high so let me know what you honestly think. Right now the essay is exactly 300 words. Oh and a special thanks to Dominick from Germany for the last line!
this isonly a first draft so please tell me what you think.
This summer I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, known in English as the Way of Saint James. People would ask me why I wanted to walk 800 kilometers across Spain. I have no idea was the only answer I could give. Now I know that the journey without reflects the journey within.
The traditional starting point is the French village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the base of the Pyrenees eight kilometers from the Spanish border. I did not set out on a spiritual journey, but I ended up being on one. Perhaps that is the magic of the Camino. I started eagerly, my backpack full of useful items like extra socks and nutritional bars. I was going to conquer the Pyrenees and finish the Camino in record time. About three hours later I was giving away my nutrition bars, leaving socks at way markers, and thinking about what else I could leave behind. The mountain had taught me humility, and it was not even noon yet.
The Camino is a mirror that reflects the way you live. What I saw was someone who rushed ahead, never listened, and was too full of pride to ask for help. So I slowed my pace, and looked around me. The mountains taught me about strength and peace. The empty vistas of the mesas revealed the quiet beauty of solitude. The people I met shared their love and I opened my own heart. I discovered the person I really am and that person is better than I imagined. By the time I reached Santiago, I knew it was only the beginning, not the end. Each day is a continuation of my Camino and I walk it with the strength, peace, and love I found. The Camino is life, and life is the Camino.
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