Love Stories from the Camino

About 5 minutes to read

Love stories from the Camino fascinate me.

Last year as I walked, I heard epic tales of people who had fallen in love along the Camino as we walked together or in previous years.  I wondered where they found the energy for romance or to put their best foot forward, so to speak.

Nevertheless, as we say, the Camino gives us what we need, so who am I to argue.

I can understand why people could fall in love even amongst the pain and suffering of a long pilgrimage.  Those who have walked understand the magical presence of love, kindness, compassion and all those good things found along the Way.

At the start of this year, I set the intention to make 2015 the most loving year of my life.  I have decided that I want to experience more love and give more love than previously in my life.

Yesterday I personally experienced three different love stories at San Anton that I would like to share.

Coming here as a hospitalera was unplanned and unexpected.  Three weeks ago, I saw a post from Rebekah Scott on Facebook looking for an emergency volunteer in Spain and I offered my help.  As it was the middle of the night, I had no firm details but felt excitement at the possibility of returning so soon to Spain this time to serve.

I stumbled into bed, shook my partner awake, and grandly announced, “Sweetie, we might be going to Spain.”  I received a grumbled, “shut up and sleep” in reply and the next morning was grilled for more detail.

In our relationship, I am the one that will dash off into the unknown without a firm plan so when I started speaking rather airily about volunteering and demanding immediate and unconditional support, this did not go down too well.  At first, she did not want to accompany me, as this is “my thing” but after speaking to Rebekah there was a change of heart, we decided that I would serve and she would walk.

Yesterday morning after cleaning the Albergue, I walked to the street to drop off the garbage.  Coming down the road, I saw a familiar face.  Sweetie had arrived.  It was much earlier than expected and obviously she had changed her plans but I felt overjoyed to see her.

Not everyone has a partner that supports his or her decisions or passions.  Not everyone has a partner who believes in them and allows them to be their imperfect, perfect selves.  I do and am reminded why I love this soul and how incredibly blessed I am to have her in my life.

She had a certain euphoria about her and although it was early in the second morning of her brief Camino, I could sense that already the spirit of the Camino was hers.  She did not want to consume too much of my space or interfere with what I need to do at San Anton and after a brief coffee I sent her and her fellow pilgrims on their way with much love.

In the late morning, a French Polynesian pilgrim walked into San Anton.  I was on the road earlier and had seen her coming from a distance and the thought entered my mind, “she’s coming to you.”

As she rested on a bench, I greeted her and she engaged me in conversation.  We spoke randomly about the way and she spoke of the weight we carry in our packs.  I said to her that sometimes the thoughts we carry are heavier than any weight in a bag and she began to cry.  She apologised profusely for crying and said she does not know why she was crying.  A fountain of words and tears burst forth and she repeatedly apologised for her behaviour and for wasting my time.  She told me that she felt compelled to stop at San Anton and could not understand why she could not stop speaking to me.

My heart filled with the fullness of compassionate love for her and I knew that I was there for the sole purpose of sharing love with her.  She shared her life dream with me and I asked her when the last time was that she felt truly happy.  Through weeping tears, she replied, “This morning as I walked along the path and saw the strange colours of the way and I was filled with complete happiness.”

She felt her confession was stupid, insignificant, and wept further but I only loved her more.  I remembered how many tears I cried along The Way in absolute joy.  Feeling oneness and love for all that is and all that can be and being unable to prevent myself from being happy.

I encouraged her to allow herself to be one with all that is and all that wants to be.  I encouraged her to allow the joy and love that is hers to come to her.  With insufficient words, I simply loved.

Months ago, I fell in love on one of the Camino Facebook forums.  His name is Ibrahim Cȩlebi from Istanbul and I seemed incapable of preventing myself from loving him.  For an inexplicable reason he entered my heart and I simply loved my faceless online friend.  As he prepared for his Camino he asked me many questions and each time I answered I felt so much excitement and love for what he was about to do.

One afternoon I received a random message from him.  “Angie,” he wrote, “When I get to Cruz de Fero I am going to pray for you.”  This message struck me like a bolt and I asked him why he wrote that.  He explained that I was on his mind and he needed to tell me of his intention.

Little did he know that I was having a moment of doubt about the very things I had laid down under the Iron Cross.  I sent him a chapter from my upcoming book Letters From The Way  where I wrote about the experience and felt grateful that the universe was using my friend in Istanbul to remind me not to be afraid, that all is well.

As I sat outside San Anton yesterday afternoon enjoying the shade of the poplar trees, I saw a face I knew from Facebook walking towards me.  My friend had arrived, Ibrahim had walked 37km from Burgos to stay overnight in San Anton and meet me face to face.

As we fell into each other’s arms, we cried and laughed with joy.  I asked him how he is and he burst out, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude and grace, every day I die a little on the Camino and come alive again.  This place is crazy!”

Last night my friend and I took crazy selfies, laughed together, and shared our hearts with one another.  I do not go around telling strange people that I love them but under the moonlight of San Anton I told my friend, who is not strange, that he has been in my heart since we met.  He said the same is true for him.  I cannot explain this love, do not need to, I simply cherish it as it is.

The challenge I will leave here with as I return home on Saturday is to continue making 2015 the year of love.  Yesterday reminded me that it is not the Camino that makes me loving but the choices I make.

I was created in love, I am a part of love, and therefore I must give love.  This is not selective but it is to all people, loved ones, strangers, and friends.  How blessed am I to have almost seven billion possibilities to love.

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