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The Way

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The Way movie poster

 

Directed and written for the screen by multi-talented Emilio Estevez, while based on stories from the book by Jack Hitt  “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain“, The Way is a touching, moving, powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the ties that bind us and challenge us while following the Camino de Santiago.

Tom, played by Martin Sheen, flies from California to St. Jean Pied de Port, on the French side of the Pyrenees, to collect the remains of his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez), who died in a storm in the Pyrenees just one day into the Camino. In lieu of returning home, a heartbroken Tom decides to honor his son by setting off on the Camino and complete Daniel’s journey.

 

The Camino de Santiago – or The Way of Saint James – is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the town by the same name, in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. There are several routes leading to Santiago, and they have been traveled by religious pilgrims for centuries, but perhaps the most famous and traveled to this day is the one that goes from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela via the Pyrenees and across northern Spain.

The Camino is about eight hundred kilometers and takes between six to ten weeks to complete, or even longer depending on the hiker’s physical preparation. In the past fifteen years the Camino has seen a surge in popularity, and tens of thousands set out to walk the path, often as a a hiking or traveling adventure,  but mostly as a spiritual experience that offers a time-out from the stress of modern life and a way of reconnecting with the truer part of our Self.

The Camino is now so popular that it is inspiring the creation of other “Caminos” in other countries. Just today I found out about one that crosses the middle of the Italian peninsula from Rome to the tomb of Saint Thomas Apostle in Ortona, in the beautiful Abruzzo region. It is called “Il Cammino di San Tommaso” (The Way of Saint Thomas) and is only about three hundred and thirty kilometers long. There is a bit of copycat thing going on, with the stamped passport and all, but it seems this one happens at set dates in the summer, like a race or a tour, as opposed to the Camino de Santiago which you can start and end whenever you like, though the favorite period for it is summer.

Here you can watch a preview of The Way, which is then available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon and Netflix.

 

Another thing I found out today is that there is another documentary-movie that came out early in 2013: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. I am trying to figure out if it is available in theaters, or on DVD. Even the release date is unclear: one site says March 27, 2013; Hitflix says March 7, 2014. Watch a preview trailer here.

Famous Camino walkers, who have written about their experiences, are author Paulo Coelho, who shares his story in “The Pilgrimage“, and actress and author Shirley MacLaine, who writes about her experiences in “The Camino“. I have read both of these books more than once and I absolutely recommend them.

Renown spiritual teacher and author Sonia Choquette also walked the Camino recently, and she shares her personal journey across northern Spain, as well as the dramatic events that preceded it, in her new book “Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed.” Sonia’s book  is just coming out and will be available in stores and on-line tomorrow. It is definitely on my reading list.

 

Another book I have thoroughly enjoyed that is inspired by the Camino is The Journey, by Elyn Aviva. Unlike the previous three, this is a work of fiction that will take you on an archetypal spiritual journey that will include modern-day Druids, starting from the Camino de Santiago, traveling across Europe, then all the way back to the forest of Brocéliande. A truly well written, entertaining and inspiring novel. Actually, mentioning this book reminds me that it is time to read it again.

If you google Camino de Santiago, you will see several blogs about it as well as websites offering detailed information and related services. This just in case the movie inspires you to find out more and maybe walk the Camino. Reading the books and watching this movie about twenty times has certainly inspired me, and the Camino is on my short term bucket list. Maybe we will meet along The Way.

 

 

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  • Carley Biblin10/03/2014 - 3:28 pm

    I remember seeing this in the theater when it came out. I totally cried, at least once.ReplyCancel

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