Kyle Maloy joined the Travel Light crew last weekend to share his experiences hiking the Camino de Santiago. Kyle is an International Trade and Development student from Encinitas, California.
Travel Light: How did you first hear about the Camino?
Kyle Maloy: I spent a semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain in spring 2012. David (my eventual hiking partner and friend) is interested in traditional Catholic pilgrimages and asked me to join him on his camino. We hiked from Sevilla on the Via de la Plata. It is the longest route at approximately 1000 km; it’s also the most boring.
TL: What made you decide to walk it?
KM: David talked me into it. Hiking the Camino isn’t like me, I’ve never done something like this and I wanted to prove I could-- it was a maturing thing. It was time to do something significant for myself.
TL: What part of the pilgrim life was hardest to get used to?
KM: The first day was the worst. It was 105, there was nothing to see, we didn’t bring enough water. You get used to the distance but I had no idea how far we’d actually hike. Along the Camino, people were excited to see us. They would stop their work to point us in the right direction, I wan’t expecting that. The ladies loved us too, no young guys took the Via de la Plata.
One day, kind of early on, I looked at David and said “Sorry I have nothing else to say to you.” Along the Via de la Plata nothing changes day to day. No new experiences to share. Nothing to talk about, news, anything. But that’s when I started reflecting inward. We said a lot of rosaries.
TL: Did you stop at any of the religious sites along the way? What was your experience there?
KM: There were few sites along the way but we found our way to mass every Sunday. Cathedral or chapel, they all had a lot of history.
TL: Did you end at Santiago de Compostela or Finisterre?
KM: We ended at Santiago de Compostela on day 32. It was the longest day of the pilgrimage at 64 km.
TL: How was your life changed because you walked the Camino?
KM: I have a different sense of confidence, I feel more connected spiritually. Through introspection the Camino forced me to acknowledge parts of myself I didn’t want to before. When I came back to California, and even now, I was more aware. A pilgrimage, especially this one adds extra meaning to the Catholic faith.
We’re planning to hike the northern way along the coast summer 2014.