As this chapter of my life is slowly drawing to an end, I embarked on a life changing study abroad trip. It was meant to be ‘going out with a bang’ and a trip to Europe would certainly do the trick. When I signed up for this particular study abroad, as a second choice behind the Madrid trip that would have completed my minor, I didn’t understand that a pilgrimage was anything more significant than any old hike. Not relating to my degree, it made no sense for me to go on a Department of History led trip. But I have always loved hikes and thought perhaps it’d be good as a last ditch effort to branch out of the science field I fell into as a high schooler. I’ve never known anyone who has gone on a pilgrimage, so I went in with a media-shaped perspective of pilgrimage consisting of a faith strengthening religious journey.
But the lessons I learned along the hike were not spiritual. Instead they centered more on social interaction and my personal identity troubles. The brief month made it clear that I need to accept myself. Along the Camino, I began to confront deep-rooted issues I have always had. I know that one of the goals of this class was to whet our appetite for travel and personal pilgrimage. And it did.
Although this time I often felt rushed and distracted, I plan on taking a pilgrimage alone so I can really disconnect from all the distractions and social drama and move forward with my future by slowing my pace. I know it will be hard. It will be hard moving every night and not having the comfort of my own bed. But I think that struggling by myself and building on what I took away from this Camino, I can begin to find contentment in any circumstance, will make it possible to be happy in every circumstance, as a matter of control over perspective.