It has been a while since I blogged last. The exploratory meeting for Tucson’s chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino has taken place and it was attended by 43 local pilgrims, some who have already been on pilgrimage and others who have future plans of pilgrimage.
I gave a 30 minute PowerPoint presentation on the Parent Organization http://americanpilgrims.com/; the benefits of becoming a chapter and my experience on the Camino. At the end of the presentation, I asked for volunteers to help co-coordinate this local chapter. I’m so happy to say I have identified a co-coordinator for the chapter and will be submitting his name to the parent organization so that we can formalize the creation of the “Old Pueblo Chapter” of American Pilgrims on the Camino. Many of the attendees offered suggestions for future meetings and there were many volunteers to lead hikes, give lectures and help in any way possible.
It amazes me how the Camino washes away all the differences in people; everybody is the same no matter social status, education, financial situation or heritage. There were many people from the academia world attending the meeting (Tucson is home of the University of Arizona), there was a dentist, several people from the medical field and a few artists. But everyone was just a simple pilgrim who wanted to share his/her experience on the Camino. One gentleman articulated “aside from my marriage and the birth of each of my children, the Camino was the most inspiring and important experience of my life”. And that single statement summed up every accomplished pilgrims sentiment toward their experience on the Camino.
The Camino is a commingling of kindred souls in a vast community of pilgrims, a strange community that is not fixed in space but flows ever westward toward Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Yes, the Camino gives to each pilgrim a special gift that remains long after returning home and maybe that is why local chapters flourish.
We concluded the meeting with some Spanish chorizo, lomo serrano, cheese, olives and a wine tasting of 5 varieties of Spanish wine. I believe the exploratory meeting was a success.
If you have never dreamed of walking the Camino or have not already walked the “Way”, let me extend an invitation, either to join the new Chapter or contact me, I would love to share my enthusiasm for the Camino with you.
P.S. Another thing I believe the Camino does is to instill the desire to return for another pilgrimage. I am planning to return to Spain in the fall of 2013 – if not sooner!