If you had to do it again, would you?

If you had to do it again, would you? This was a question that several people asked me many times since I arrived. My answer will be immediately; "YES!".

I had been listening about this walk or rather this pilgrimage for a few years now. I knew many who done it from various youth groups and I was always tempted, but to be honest it seemed something relatively strange to me; because to walk all that distance (about 120Km in 6 days) with the things you need on your back is not so common. Doing such an experience for the first time on my own would have been difficult and I wanted to find a youth group that I could join and do this experience as a community.

Fortunately, the details of the camino experience from Augustinian Youths reached me. Of course, I have immediately accepted this opportunity so that I accomplish one of my desires and check another thing from the "bucket list". At first it was months away and although I was eager I was not worried about this challenge that there was in front of me. But as soon as the weeks approached I felt like I wasn't ready and I was a little bit scared; I started to realize how much I might not have prepared enough although we had walks, meetings and even live-ins to get to know better the idea of ​​the Camino and doing this experience together as a group.

In the end, although you practice hard, you will never feel the same experience of the Camino. It was something surreal to wake up in the morning and know that you will pass through the countryside, forest, villages and fields. You meet all kinds of greenery, nature and beautiful views. I felt like I was living in a children's storybook, apart from that phrase "Buen Camino", which you and walking people you have never met end up giving you this wish.

In a beautiful scenery we ended up meeting other pilgrims, who were walking with us and over time we started to develop this friendship with each other. People come from every corner of the world, everyone with their own goal and personal experience.

There are many reasons why these pilgrims were doing this walk: there are those who like me, perhaps go for such an experience for curiosity, those who perhaps would like to take it as a personal challenge from the physical aspect. But I think the Camino is capable of surprising you in a way that you are not expecting. Although it was curiosity and the desire to experience something different that helped me say yes to the walk, I wasn't expecting other things.

The Camino can be considered a great metaphor for life. The route includes long walks with steep climbs and descents, stretches of nearly flat ground, smooth and rough terrain.  Forests and even "highways", sun or rain were also part of our walk! Along the way I started to pay attention to what before perhaps did not think about. It will be you and the silence, you and your thoughts. The place will help you reflect and do an examination of conscience and continue to discover what God wants from you.

It was a Pandora's box that was opened during the walk. I allowed myself to get lost in the Camino experience, both physically but also spiritually and mentally. I will never forget the moment when after all those days of walking we arrived at that square in front of the Cathedral of St. James, an indescribable emotion that left me speechless. Joy because we have arrived, after the sacrifice and pain we experienced during the route, but at the same time sadness that the experience has reached its climax. In the end great gratitude to have been one of the pilgrims who experienced the Camino de Santiago.

I would like to encourage those who, even if perhaps out of curiosity, go for it and embark on this unique experience. I am sure it will certainly have an impact on their lives. Finally, I would like to thank especially Fr Terence Spiteri and the Augustinian Youths for the opportunity, for this unforgettable experience. If you want more information on the Camino experience for summer 2024 and other activities you can go to Augustinian Youths facebook/instagram or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ryan D'Amato

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