The Camino called me.
In 1987, I spent a semester in Madrid. Almost every weekend the director of our program took us to other regions o to fully educate us on the historical, cultural and culinary highlights of Spain. My favorite field trip was to Galicia and specifically to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As we were learning about the cathedral's history, I noticed several people walking in with backpacks. I asked my professor what they were doing and she explained that the Camino was an ancient pilgrimage where people from all over the world across Spain on a spiritual journey. I remember feeling my heart leap out of my chest. That day I made a promise to myself to someday return to Spain and walk 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago.
Then life came. It is a beautiful life; but marriage and motherhood consumed my life. The busyness of raising four teenagers contributed to the loss of my identity. I had lost sight of my own goals.
I had forgotten my own dreams.
Fast forward 20 years.....a dear friend invited me to a movie called The Way. When the movie ended I sat in my seat with tears streaming down my face. I told my friend that I would be walking the Camino within the next few years.
Walk 500 miles across Spain?
Who was I to think I could do something like this?
I was probably be the LEAST likely person to take on such a lofty physical endeavor.
In elementary school I was usually the last person picked for sports teams. In high school, I would usually skip gym class to go hang out in our town Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.
But I felt a call to do something bigger than I ever I thought I could do.
So a few years later in January I started doing research. I invested in good shoes, bought a backpack and started walking everyday. In June the next year, I flew to Madrid and started my journey to walk 500 miles from Saint Jean Pied du Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
It was hard.
But it was the most soul-filling activity I have ever accomplished.
I felt so empowered.
The day I walked into Santiago, I let go of all those stories in my head that told me that I couldn't accomplish big things.
I was transformed.
I loved my Camino so much I went back to Europe the following summer to walk 500 miles from Swiss border to Rome on the Via Francigena.
During these walks, I had friends tell me "I want to do that someday."
"Take me with you next time."
This is how Women Who Walk the World was born.
-Sue Skelly, Founder