Walking the Camino – do you need a reason?

girl walking the camino

For over a thousand years, people have embarked on pilgrimages along El Camino de Santiago as an act of Christian spiritual devotion.

For Intrepid co-founder, Darrell Wade, the experience of walking on the Camino in Northern Spain was perhaps more on the self-gratifying or pleasurable side…

“There are some who call the walk spiritual, however for me it was a little more hedonistic than that! Walking on the Camino captured pretty much everything I love: a bit of exercise in a beautiful part of the world, the companionship of good friends and an abundance of great food and wine. What could be better?

I had few expectations as I’d heard very little of the Camino before doing it. But I’ve done many walks in many countries and it’s the best two weeks of walking I’ve ever had, which is saying a lot as I’ve walked in many superb locations. I’ll definitely be going back to complete the sections I’ve not covered.

The Camino is remarkably low key – it really isn’t a walk of highlights. There are some beautiful sections and more than a few quaint towns, but much of the appeal is organic. It’s an appeal that grows on you as you walk. The casual conversations, the people you meet, the time for contemplation, the scenery that unfolds before you…I could go on!”

camino de santiago signIf you’d like some additional reasons to embark on the Camino, Intrepid Travel has launched the Camino de Santiago Challenge, as part of its gender equality initiative, Project SAMA.

The Camino Challenge is supporting the education of girls. Around 53 million girls in developing countries are denied access to primary school. That’s 53 million great reasons to sign up for the Camino de Santiago Challenge and join Intrepid and like-minded travellers to support programs that get girls into school and help them stay there longer!

The Camino de Santiago Challenge involves walking around 116km from the town of Sarria through picturesque villages, forests, fields and pretty rural lanes to eventually arrive at the famous destination town of Santiago de Compostela. In joining, you will be committing to fundraise for an early education project in Laos, run by Plan International. We’ll help you with a Training Manual, a Fundraising Toolkit and support to set your challenge in motion.

All virtuous? Heck no! Comfortable accommodation and great local food and wine will recharge you overnight, ready for the next day’s walking challenge.

Intrepid and Project SAMA’s Camino Challenge is scheduled: 11 – 18 September 2014

For more information and to register, check here.

For more information on Project SAMA.

About the author

Jane Crouch - Jane is currently Intrepid Travel's Responsible Business Communications Specialist and writes about all aspects of how travel can bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits. Informed through travel on 7 continents, leading Intrepid trips through SE Asia, work in outdoor education, energy conservation, international development, travellers philanthropy and climate change action, plus a big love of walking, mountains and world music.

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6 comments

Jane,
What a great initiative. I’ll be working the Camino in May but otherwise would have loved to come along. Let me know if there is anything I can do to support your fundraising efforts.
Pete

We should all try a Camino in our lifetime, or any part thereof…

I walked the Camino from St. Jean Pied de Porte five years ago and plan to return to walk the Portuguese path in September. It is truly a life shifting experience, much like the Intrepid South India Unplugged tour I took last year. Five weeks on the path, away from the usual distractions, gives one a chance to reflect, to think, to plan. It’s also an opportunity to meet people from around the world, each with his or her own reason for walking. I urge everyone to make this journey, and if you can support Project SAMA at the same time, you would be making a difference in the lives of others as well as in your own.

I walked the 800 km Camino for my 65th birthday, two years ago. Started in St Jean and onto Compostela in 34 days.. If you’re looking for volunteer guides… Count me in.
Thx

If you’re going to walk the Camino, do the whole Camino! Not just the last 100 k so you technically earn your compostella. Nothing more disheartening to have walked 850 miles (yes, from the easternmost point of Spain) then run into a group of “five-day wonders” with bright white Nikes, day packs, cute little shorts, snapping photos right and left, thinking they’re really doing the “grueling Camino”! Truly experience the whole Camino!

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your comment. We agree, it would be ideal to have the opportunity to walk the entire trail. Sadly for many travellers they don’t have the time, or the funds for a much longer time and for others the challenge of the full 850 miles may be too great. So being able to take a more manageable shorter trip gives people a chance to get a taste of this amazing experience. Who knows, maybe some will decide it was so fantastic that they’ll return to complete the other 750 miles.

Best wishes,
Jane

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