It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway
I’ve always been a wanderer. My parents can attest to it. They love to tell the story of how I, at about four years-old, went running into the woods behind my grandparents’ house. When my parents laughed and asked me where I was going, I turned, sighed a very grown-up sigh, and said “Don’t worry. I’ll be right back.”
I’ve used that line many times since.
No matter what was happening in my life, how busy I got, how focused on school, I needed my moments of wandering, moments of running into the woods and discovering something new. I craved a journey beyond my comfort zone. I once left college at 4am to drive towards the mountains because I had writer’s block. In the outdoors I felt an inspiration I couldn’t find in my rented house near campus. I hiked about 8 miles that day and completed the first draft of the script. I guess you could say that for me, God has always lived outdoors.
I first heard about the Camino de Santiago my sophomore year of high school, and though I wasn’t Catholic, it fascinated me. Here was a modern-day quest. A God-search for hearts willing to wander out their front doors towards… new life? Revelation? Whatever they sought, it couldn’t be merely a certificate of completion handed-out at a cathedral.
It wasn’t the end result that interested me as much as the journey itself.
I went to college for filmmaking. There I discovered others compelled to wander. As I talked of future adventures with Brittni Moore and Lauren Martinez, I kept thinking about the Camino de Santiago. Why was that road always in the back of my mind? Maybe there was a film waiting to happen. Maybe we were the people meant to make it.
Meeting these friends was the beginning of my journey towards Santiago de Compostela.
There are so many preparations to go through before we can leave for Spain… fundraising and scheduling and LOTS of paperwork. The filmmaker in me knows that this is all part of the process, but the wanderer in me gets frustrated. 4am drives to the mountains can’t happen when there’s so much to do.
They say that the hardest part of the Camino de Santiago is the Meseta, this stretch of trail that seems to go on forever with nothing in sight except for flat land and sky. It’s the part of the trail where the most pilgrims give up. But it’s also the place where the most people find revelation, both personal and spiritual.
Right now fundraising feels like the Meseta of pre-production. I have to keep focused, remind myself that the fruits of this greater responsibility will be greater freedom.
All journeys require perseverance, and let me tell you, just setting foot on the Camino de Santiago for the first time will feel like a mountaintop, the reward at the end of a long journey.
I can’t wait to be there, to feel that. But I’m learning that this current place in the journey has its more immediate rewards. The feeling of accomplishment as our community surrounds us, supports our hard work as we aim for the Camino de Santiago is a greater encouragement than I think any of them know right now.
I’m learning to enjoy this part of the journey, too.