I have been very fortunate through my travels to have hiked volcanoes in Indonesia, the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal, and the various peaks of the UK. Yet what set forth this enthusiasm for the outdoors was the film 'The Way' by Emilio Estevez.
This deeply moving film involves a Californian doctor named Tom (Martin Sheen), whose son Daniel dies while attempting to complete the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James), a centuries-old pilgrimage over the Spanish mountain country to the Cathedral de Santiago. Daniel was religious. Tom is not. Yet when he flies to Spain to identify his son's body and oversee its cremation, he decides on the spot to equip himself with his son's gear and scatter the ashes along the Way that Daniel planned to trek. Throughout his journey, he builds incredible bonds with those around him as well as his son.
It is transformative, soulful, emotional, and simply brilliant.
From the moment I first finished the movie I knew that one day I wanted to walk the Way to Santiago, meeting the peregrinos along the way and undergo a moving journey just as Martin Sheen did.
I am proud to say, that day has come.
Of Land and Sea
In no less than four months, I, along with 35 others, will be embarking on a two-week venture across land and sea from Fowey to La Coruna and then on to Santiago via the Camino Ingles, a lesser-known but deeply rewarding route of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. What makes this journey so special is that to get to La Coruna, we will be embarking on an 8-day sea voyage as crewmembers of the Morgenster, a Tall Ship which will be the first to sail to La Coruna for pilgrimage since the late Middle Ages.
This is all thanks to the work of three pilgrims from England – Simon Jenkins, Ned Spencer and Peter Hore who developed the idea and found a company (Fair Ferry) willing to carry pilgrims to Galicia.
The route was traditionally used by pilgrims from Northern Europe, particularly England and Ireland. A source from the 15th century notes:
In his Itineraries William Wey noted that in Coruña harbour (1456) English, Irish, Norman, Breton and other ships, eighty in all, of which twenty-two were English, with license to carry pilgrims, some 20, to 30, 60, 80, 100 pilgrims.
The pilgrimage way to Compostela enjoyed widespread fame throughout medieval Europe. Land and sea alike were furrowed with routes rich in spirituality leading to Santiago de Compostela. The maritime routes drew pilgrims from Scandinavia, Flanders, England, Scotland and Ireland on their way to destinations such as Ribadeo, Viveiro, Ferrol and A Coruña. Blessed by an exceptionally strategic location, the latter two coastal enclaves are the starting points for the two alternative itineraries that make up the English Way.
Yet, I will not be walking alone. As we disembark and disperse, some of whom will stay in La Coruna or venture to Ferrol whilst others continue to Santiago, I will be accompanied by Glen Travis, a phenomenal filmmaker who will be producing a documentary about the Camino Ingles.
Whilst I had hoped to document my journey and the stories of others whilst I walked for my YouTube channel, I can only thank Andrew Christensen for connecting me with Glen as this opportunity feels as though the stars are aligned. The three of us spoke and exchanged our ideas on what we were hoping to achieve individually and it seemed as though, spectacularly, we were on the same page in creating a film which stood at the crossroads of history, spirituality, and stories. As such, Glen and I will walk the Camino, hear the stories of others along the way, and (of course) ramble on about some of the history behind the Camino.
Armed with cameras, microphones, and the support of the Tall Ship company, the Confraternity of St James, and various others. Glen and I will be embarking on a truly once-in-a-lifetime journey of both land and sea to document the Morgenster's voyage and our travels to Santiago.
From this, I am currently pursuing book deals to write a tale based on this adventure. This book will offer a one-of-a-kind narrative by combining the historical significance of the Camino Ingles with the adventure of sailing and walking. Backed by collaboration with Glen and support from the sailing company and the Camino, it ensures exposure through the accompanying short film documentary. Readers can expect a visually captivating and emotionally resonant exploration of both land and sea, making this a truly immersive journey.
This unique combination of walking and sailing, along with the added visual dimension of the film, guarantees a multi-sensory and deeply engaging experience for readers and viewers alike.
Fingers crossed all goes well!
Until our voyage, I will be sharing stories, history, and behind-the-scenes work on the documentary and my pilgrimage. I will be placing all of this on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram under the hashtag:
This stands for Tall Ship Camino Ingles 2024 and will not only hold my story but also the stories of those whom I will be undertaking this pilgrimage with - from Chaplains to Historians and more.
This will be a truly spectacular journey and I sincerely hope you all follow along as there is the opportunity for you to come aboard in 2025.