¡Buen Camino!

Dear Friends,
It has taken three tries and nine years, but as of July 2012, I have finally walked the entire Way of Compostela from my former home in Leuven/Louvain, Belgium, to Santiago de Composela!
My first pilgrimage experience from the French frontier with Spain to Santiago itself took place in 2003. You can read the details of this first walk along the famous Camino across Spain in my book, To The Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2008). (You can order it from the publisher, from Amazon.com, or from your local bookseller).
In the summer and early fall of 2007, I walked from Belgium most of the way across France, with the hope of at least making it to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port near the Spanish border, where I began the first pilgrimage. I didn't quite make it. A bad case of plantar fasciitis took me down in the Bordeaux village of Sainte-Ferme. I continued on to Santiago by train and bus, but the "defeat of my feet" and those last 175 miles or so that were left undone, gnawed at me over the ensuing five years. Happily, I was finally able to wrap up this grand pilgrimage with a third walk from Sainte-Ferme to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port this past summer (2012). It was a joy to have completed all 2,370 kilometers between Leuven and Santiago.
My adventures and misadventures, my thoughts and prayers of both the 2007 and 2012 pilgrimages have been shared in this blog. I will leave the blog and its archives open for some time to come; if you want to read bits and pieces of it, feel free, but remember that the beginning is at the bottom and the end is at the top.
My contact e-mail remains the same: kacodd@gmail.com; I am always happy to receive mail!
As the pilgrims in Spain greet one another, so I greet you, my reader: "Buen Camino!"
And as the people of France greet their pilgrims along the "Chemin", I also wish to you: "Courage!"

Grace and peace to you all!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


"So what do you think about all these hours that you are on the road?" I've been asked that question several times over the past weeks; almost as often as "Why are you doing this?" I must admit that very often I don't think about a lot; my body and mind go into a sort of "overdrive" and I just walk, walk, walk. But even that "overdrive" experience can lead to extraordinary pilgrim moments. I had one today. I had gotten out of La Coquille at 8:00 am and though under heavy skies, didn't have to contend with rain, or even worse, the lightning that was again predicted for today. After about an hour or so, I was passing through the midst of one of the chestnut and oak forest that are abundant here in the Dordogne. I was in "overdrive", walking, walking, walking... Then in the midst of this rather dark and low woods, the road before me, my feet and legs working in tandem like a finely oiled machine (for the moment), life on the road feeling very good, and there it was: a feeling more than a thought: "I'm walking into God... God before me, around me, God enveloping me, God in the trees, God in the light, God in the road under my feet, God above, God below, God around, God about, God within, God alive, God laughing, God beholding, God caring, God crying... God in us... God in my family, God in my friends, God in our saints, God in our poor... I am walking into communion... I am walking into God..."
Well, those are a lot of words to describe a feeling, a sense, an awareness that lasted just a few moments; but its the best I can do right now. These things are so fleeting, as is most everything associated with the pilgrimage; you can't hold on to these things or the people you meet, but you can remember them and be grateful long after they are "over." Later, I will search out better words for that moment this morning; for the time being, I just am grateful and feel privileged to be here: alive, walking, experiencing so much more than just "thoughts."
Tonight, I am staying in the B&B of a Dutch couple here in Thiviers, Jeanine and Jos; though they also welcome tourists, they "specialize" in hosting pilgrims like myself. Jeanine is preparing a "healthy pilgrim dinner" for us right now. It is always a wonder that such people commit themselves to ministering to us pilgrims; how great is the great gift of hospitality. They make the pilgrim's world a lovely world to be a part of.