We all know the physical health benefits of walking, but did you know that it’s also good for the soul? I have come to that conclusion after walking nearly 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago. There is just something about the physical act of long distance walking day after day that allows God to speak to you in a tangible way, working deeply into your spiritual being. Just think about it. Christ was a long distance walker, traveling on foot from village to village for three years as he ministered to and proclaimed the kingdom of God to the people of Israel.
For myself, walking the Camino for 35 days provided me both the time and space each day to listen to the voice of God, which was one of the main purposes for my Camino pilgrimage. Walking the Camino provided the opportunity each day to experience the beautiful Spanish landscapes, to share in conversation with my fellow peregrinos with whom we shared a common destination of Santiago, to pray, and to reflect. It was all a very spiritual experience!
Since returning home from the Camino 3 years ago, I continue to walk as often as I can, though not with the daily consistency or distance that I was able to go on the Camino. My daily work and family life just won’t allow for that. Nevertheless, walking continues to be an important part of my physical and spiritual life. As much as I can, I find a local trail that I can hike; it is a time for me to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, to reflect and pray, and to just enjoy being in nature. But even when I can’t do that, I’ll walk wherever I can, both for the physical exercise and for the spiritual connections – walking is good for the soul.