Walking the Camino

I had the extreme pleasure of viewing a short documentary film, as part of the Palm Springs Documentary Film Festival, this past weekend. The title was simply Camino Documentary. The film did so much toward refilling my creative and spiritual well, which had about run dry.


For those who don’t know about the Camino, it is an ancient pilgrimage, a five hundred mile journey from a small town on the border of France, to Santiago, Spain. The cinematography was excellent. The individual stories of each person (all strangers and from different parts of the world) who made this pilgrimage were touching and inspirational. With only a backpack, a pair of boots, some walking sticks, and an open mind, each person took this journey to themselves.


There was something magical, spiritual, about making the pilgrimage with these six people, even though I was seated in the comfort of a movie theater with air conditioning. Yet, I did feel that I was on the journey with them and could feel their physical pain of blisters, sore knees, and tendonitis. I could also feel their joy of accomplishment. I’m not a religious person, but definitely spiritual. I gain sustenance from nature, so I shared in their amazement at the scenery, and enjoyed the peace and calm of the rhythm of their footsteps as they made their daily kilometers goal.

Church Spire in Barcelona

There is a saying that nobody makes it to Santiago alone. The journey brings out the best in human nature, and unexpected kindnesses of strangers abound. If there is one lesson to be learned it is in the power of giving and receiving. I loved how each person tapped into strengths they never knew they had, and how the simplicity of living out of one backpack and sleeping in hostels next to total strangers, and relying on the goodness of strangers, helped each person to grow. While they started the journey for a different reason: some religious or spiritual, some to “find” themselves, others to grow or strengthen their physical body, others to connect or find the meaning of life, the end result was that each person came away from the experience stronger, physically, and emotionally.

The film’s producer, Lydia B. Smith, gives backstory on the making of this film on the website. Her crew of twelve, with four cameras, followed the adventures of six strangers and shot over three hundred hours of film. They are in the process of gaining donations to fine tune their film, which is scheduled to air on PBS nationwide, but first it must be cut to a one-hour long version. That costs money.  Even a “like” on their Facebook page helps, as that will gain recognition and sponsorships.

To view a wonderful trailer go here:  www.caminodocumentary.org


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16 Responses to Walking the Camino

  1. Skye Hughes says:

    Hard to imagine walking that kind of distance for any reason. These must be highly committed people! That said, I can see how it would be life-changing to go on such a pilgrimage. It sounds fascinating.

  2. robena grant says:

    I agree, Skye. What started out as a religious pilgrimage for people of the Catholic faith has now caught on with people of all religious/spiritual understandings. I’d love to do it but know that my knees would never make it past the first day. : )

  3. Susanne says:

    I was very moved by this. It’s a challenge that in theory I’d love to do, but my Camino will be finishing my book 🙂

    Thanks for the link.

  4. Robena Grant says:

    Me too, Susanne. : ) Glad you found it interesting though.

  5. Sam Beck says:

    I love when someone feels so strongly about a story, she finds a way to tell it, even without a bazillion dollar Hollywood budget or an A-list celeb attached. I’m not so high-brow that I don’t enjoy the bazillion dollar blockbuster with the A-list celeb too, but sometimes a small budget “labor of love” leaves a bigger impression.

  6. Robena Grant says:

    Yes, Sam. Exactly. The producer had such passion she put the icing on the cake. The film itself won me over, but I really want to help in my own small way to get her word out there.

  7. Kady Winter says:

    Lovely, Roben. As a documentary film producer, I am always moved by the miracle of a fully-realized documentary. This film makes me want to take that walk, though I, too, consider myself more of a spiritual than religious person. Thanks for sharing this!

    • robena grant says:

      I don’t think that I knew you were a documentary filmaker, Kady. Did I? Ha ha. Anyway, lovely to know. This particular film has stayed in my mind for days, which is rare for me. I wish I could see it again. : )

  8. I love documentaries like this. I will definitely make sure to like it on facebook. Thanks for sharing.

    • robena grant says:

      Oh, thanks Judy. That is lovely of you. Anything to get the word out for these people. I so want PBS to pick it up. Have to see it again. ; )

  9. Hi Robena – Sounds like a wonderful journey to take (from the comfort of my theatre seat) with six people. I’d love to see the documentary. I will go LIKE it on FB. Thanks for sharing it. Love the line, “nobody makes it to Santiago alone”…that speaks volumes.

  10. Maria Powers says:

    I’ve always wanted to take that walk. I’ve also always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Not sure that I will ever do either, but I think I might be okay doing a little of both. “Nobody makes it to Santiago alone.” is a great metaphor for life. I need to paint that on a wall someplace.

    • robena grant says:

      I also loved that line, Maria. : ) It’s like “no man is an island,” and I get that. Wish my knees were stronger, because I do miss hiking, and jogging.

  11. Julie says:

    Oh I love this! I want to share the message too, I’ll link back to you on tomorrow night’s post.

    • robena grant says:

      Thank you, Julie. I did think about sending you an email as the next stop for the film is Ashland. However, the producer said all five theaters had sold out. Good for them, eh? : )