Gifts Discovered from Walking the Camino de Santiago

At our February Adventure Uncorked, Beth Jusino and Ruth Dickey gave an inspiring presentation to an enthralled packed house about each of their unique experiences walking the Camino de Santiago. We wanted to share a few of the gifts they told us they received along their pilgrimage.

Beth Jusino is an award-winning writer and editor, as well as an active member of the American Pilgrims on the Camino. She and her husband Eric have spent more than 100 days walking different sections of the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, in both France and Spain. When they're not on pilgrimages they live in Seattle, where Beth regularly offers talks about the Camino and teaches classes on writing, publishing, and marketing. The following excerpt comes from Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino by Beth Jusino (published by Mountaineer Books):

"Practically every day, the Camino threw me something unexpected. The train platform switch. The cow on the wrong side of the fence. The castle on the hill. The miracle sheep. The entire town that was “closed for rest.” The missing woman. The river perfect for swimming. And the people … the many, many people.

Somewhere I read that each person who walks the Camino de Santiago experiences it in three stages. Regardless of how far they go, what shape they’re in, or why they think they’re there, the first third of their journey will be a test of the body, the second a test of the mind, and the final third a gift to the soul.

Seventy-nine days gave us a lot of time for tests and gifts.

When we got home, people would ask, “How was your trip?” How does a person answer that? It was beautiful. Painful. Perspective-changing. It taught me that there are some things I just can’t prepare myself for.”

Ruth Dickey spent seven weeks in 2018 walking 400 miles to the field of stars of Santiago de Compostela along the Camino del Norte.  By day, she is the Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures (, which champions the literary arts by engaging and inspiring readers and writers of all generations in the Puget Sound region. She is a voracious reader, a nonprofit capacity building nerd, an ardent fan of urban hiking, and has taught poetry workshops in soup kitchens, drop in centers and the DC Public Schools. Along with some poems that helped transport us to the Camino, Ruth shared five gifts she received:

  1. Walking the Camino makes you part of something historic and powerful. The sense of fellowship is real.

  2. Rituals can transform how you see and experience things.

  3. We are all carrying something bigger than ourselves.

  4. Laughter (at blisters & bug bites & the world & ourselves) improves everything.

  5. I am, and we are all, capable of so much more than I ever realized.

If you feel inspired, (as we do!) to lace up your hiking boots the Camino, please join Explorer X on a Muddy Shoe Adventure led by Maria Baltazzi in September 2019!

Travelers listening intently to Beth Jusino at Adventure Uncorked at the Adventure Hub & Winery on February 7, 2019. Hosted by Explorer X.

Travelers listening intently to Beth Jusino at Adventure Uncorked at the Adventure Hub & Winery on February 7, 2019. Hosted by Explorer X.

Michael Bennett