Santiago de Compostella, Spain

Marcia Whitney-Schenck, Author

Santiago is important as the terminus of three journeys in my lifetime. In 1999, my husband, Bob Schenck, learned about the ancient pilgrimage route in Northern Spain from the novel Therapy by David Lodge. He arranged for us to walk segments of the last 150 miles to Santiago, supported by a guide and a car. Our initial introduction was more of a vacation than a pilgrimage, but it whetted my appetite.

When my magazine Christianity and the Arts closed in 2001, I needed to take a pause in my life’s journey in order to get my bearings. My husband was still working as a hand surgeon, so I asked my sister-in-law Christine Whitney to walk 300 miles of the pilgrimage with me, starting in Burgos. The final journey was a solo effort in 2014, starting in Roncesvalles. I completed the 500-mile walk the day before this picture was taken.

When I arrived in Santiago, it was pouring with rain, so I went straight to my hotel to rest and dry out. The next day, under a cloudy sky, a British pilgrim took this picture of me with my trusty rain jacket, impermeable waist pack, and a multi-coloured skirt that I wore when I was not wearing my one pair of hiking trousers. Obviously joyful and feeling youthful at the age of 63, the picture, which was taken near the cathedral, illustrates my realisation that it is not the destination that makes for a fruitful life but the journey.

My Place is a section where people share places that are significant in their livesIf you would like to take part in My Place, simply email your photo and a text of up to 250 words to johnbrucemullin@hotmail.com

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