The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that has been walked (and sometimes biked) by countless people since at least the 9th century. Some pilgrims (known in the local language as peregrinos) make the journey for religious and spiritual reasons, others do it for reasons of culture, heritage, fitness, and probably more. I would assume that many people do the walk for a combination of reasons.
Over the past three years I have had three friends journey on the Camino. Two have completed their certificate (compostela) and one is doing the journey in stages. To be awarded the compostela you have to complete at least the 100 kms into Santiago (62.14 miles), having collected stamps at lodgings, churches, etc to verify your travels.
I would love to do the Camino, any of the routes. My two friends who have completed it have done much more than the minimum journey, spending weeks and weeks walking, averaging 10 to 12 or more miles a day. But while I would love to do this, it isn’t realistic for my life right now given my kids ages and other situations. Maybe someday! But in the meantime I have decided to create my own camino in Nashville (expanding to other locations in middle Tenn as needed) during this semester of my sabbatical.
The main reason I want to do this ties in with a class I teach each semester, a macro practice class where a main focus is on community assessment and organizing. I have good theoretical understanding of Nashville and the broader metro area but my time is mostly spent in Bellevue, Green Hills, and Edgehill: a combination of where I live, work and worship.
So, at a minimum this semester (and into the summer if needed) I will be walking 62.14 intentional miles. (Intentional means that I am going to a particular area and trying to learn about it before, during and after my walk.) Hopefully I will get to more, but this is the minimum goal.
In teaching this macro class each fall, one of the resources I depend on is the Community Tool Box, https://ctb.ku.edu/en. It has a wealth of useful information in it, especially related to the importance of listening, collaborating, and seeking to understand rather than assuming you (an outsider) know what is “wrong” in a community. I also teach students how to use Census data to get some understanding of certain metrics important in understanding a community, but that they also have to use eyes and ears and be present in the community to really get an accurate picture.
Stay tuned for highlights of my camino, and for additional macro resources I use in class!