A Passion for 'The Way' & the Camino de Santiago

Exploring Alto Del Perdón while walking the Camino Trail | Scott Kirchner
Exploring Alto Del Perdón while walking the Camino Trail | Scott Kirchner

A Passion for 'The Way' & the Camino de Santiago

We recently received a heartfelt comment on our article about 'The Way', the 2010 film about walking the Camino de Santiago starring Martin Sheen. It's from Bobbi, a high school teacher in the United States. Since this movie is renowned for having a strong impact on people and inspiring them to walk the Camino, we decided to share Bobbi's story with you.

> If you would like to walk the Camino de Santiago you can find all of our trips here

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I never knew The Camino even existed. 

It wasn't until my junior or senior year in college (located in St. Augustine, Florida, the nation's oldest city first settled by the Spaniards), that I learned about it in one of my classes. 

Pilgrims walking the busy streets on the Spanish Camino |  <i>Cathy MacAulay-Spencer</i>

I started out as an accounting major, but ended up taking a Spanish language class and fell in love with the language and all things Spanish. I took on Spanish as a second major, and graduated with dual majors in Business Administration and Spanish. I worked for a financial firm for a number of years servicing our Hispanic clients. 

After the birth of my first baby, I left the firm and became a stay at home mom. I'm sure this is probably more information than you care to know, but I want to demonstrate how all of these experiences converged to mould me into the person I've become and how it's led me to something I feel very passionate about.

Once my daughter started school, I "fell into" a teaching position at a middle school teaching both math and Spanish. It was during this period I stumbled upon the movie "The Way." 

I ended up watching it so many times because each time I watched it, I'd take away something different I hadn't realized the previous time I watched it. I guess you could say the movie had a transforming effect on my life. 

I felt incredibly inspired by the movie and became so passionate about "El Camino de Santiago" that I dove deeper into its history and created a unit for my middle school Spanish classes. At the end of the unit, I've shown "The Way" as a culminating activity (with edits). My kids have all loved it. Now I'm teaching high school and showing it again in my classroom. 

Hiking the Camino in Spain |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>

Throughout the years, my teaching unit has transformed and each time I teach it, it feels like I'm doing it for the first time. The movie has given me so much valuable insight, knowledge and motivation to break out of society's "chains" and live---really and truly live my life. The movie does an excellent job capturing the essence of the Basque people and showcasing the rich culture of Northern Spain. 

Every time I watch this movie, I feel more and more motivated to walk The Camino. 

I never make it through without my eyes welling up with tears because it evokes such an emotional response. Some of my favorite scenes are at El Alto del Perdon [The Height of Forgiveness], and one of the most beautiful quotes I've ever heard is "Donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas" [Where the path of the wind meets the path of the stars].

Exploring Alto Del Perdón while walking the Camino Trail |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i>

I love the scene of the gentleman who offers his home as a place of refuge to peregrinos [pilgrims] hiking The Camino and the fellowship enjoyed by peoples of different ethnicities around the large outdoor table (this is very typical in Spain). 

The scene at La Cruz de Ferro gets me every time as the characters in the movie leave their stones at the foot of the cross to unload their burdens. The scene at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela never ceases to amaze me as I'm astonished by its grandeur. 

The iconic Santiago de Compostela as seen from the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way). |  <i>Adolfo Enríquez</i>

The comradery shared by peregrinos on the way is a testament to how people should treat one another. I truly can say this movie is the best I've ever seen, and it motivates me to hike El Camino Frances. 

The Camino is calling, and I must go!


Walk the Full Spanish Camino (the route they take in the film)
View all Camino de Santiago trips.


Were you inspired by The Way to walk the Camino de Santiago? Or did you have a different influence? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Camino, The Way, Spain, Spanish Camino, Camino de Santiago, Martin Sheen

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