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El Camino

February 20, 2012

Seven years ago I accidentally read the book Singular Pilgrim by Rosemary Mahoney. It is a non-fiction account of one travel writer’s attempt to undertake six different sacred pilgrimages. If you know me, you know I love to travel and I approach each new adventure as its own sacred journey. I believe travel is the greatest learning experience of all, and if we approach travel, any travel, with the heart of a pilgrim God uses that journey to expand our hearts and touch deeply the lives of others. I think when we travel we have two choices: we can be tourists selfishly taking from and only superficially experiencing our new environments, or we can be pilgrims honoring and deeply experiencing our new environments. I prefer to be a pilgrim. Reading Mahoney’s book all those years ago made me eager to experience certain specific pilgrimages. In 2006 I was lucky enough to get to go to Varanasi, India and set foot in the Ganges, one of the holiest pilgrimages in that country. My dream is to one day walk the 800 km Camino De Santiago, a journey from France across Spain to the believed burial site of James the apostle.

Recently, actor Emelio Esteves wrote, directed, and produced a movie, staring his father Martin Sheen, about El Camino de Santiago called The Way. I had wanted to see it in a theater, but the nearest place it was showing was in Louisville. This weekend we on demanded it from the satellite and I finally got to see it. Regardless of whether or not you have had a seven year obsession with El Camino de Santiago, I highly recommend this movie. It is thoughtful, touching, humorous, and character driven. Best of all you get glimpses of the gorgeous Spanish countryside, the vivacious Spanish people, and the camaraderie of the pilgrimage.

I realize this post doesn’t have anything to do with farming, but in a way our journey to Kentucky and our attempts to build Good Life Ranch is a pilgrimage of its own. So, whatever pilgrimage you find yourself on during this President’s Day 2012, buen camino!

Ganges River, Varanasi, India

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