In the movie "The Way", Jack from Ireland is taking a survey of his fellow pilgrims to chart the various reasons why they are walking the Camino. He says he found many reasons given: health, religious, cultural, historical, looking for a miracle, etc. (Jack says he is walking to cure his "writer's block".)
We find it to be a bit of an odd question. Does anyone ask why you are going on a particular trip? Mexico? England? Seattle? Glacier Park? We know some travel does have specific purposes, such as visiting family or friends, or charity work, or missionary efforts. Those are great, and there is a time for those.
But much travel is done for something that we broadly refer to as "the experience". This term can mean almost anything. Will you have fun? Will you make new friends? Will you deepen existing relationships? We you overcome challenges? Will you see beautiful scenery or classic works of art? Will you visit important religious sights or worship in ancient churches?
For the Camino, the answer to all of these questions is, hopefully, yes. Our walk in 2012 definitely gave us a taste of all these things.
But this trip is different. We are in a different place. We are closer to each other. We feel closer to God. We feel more a part of the world community, rather than just Americans or whatever.
One of our fellow pilgrims was given this advice as she began the walk in 2103: "You will not know why you are walking the Camino until you have completed the journey".
For now that is the only answer we have.
Jack from Ireland asks Joost "Why are you walking?"