Photo Credit: “The Milky Road” by Larry Landolfi
The Camino is also known by a nickname, La Voje Ladee. The Milky Way. At night the galaxy hovers above as if to point peregrinos towards Santiago de Compostela. Medieval myth held that the celestial Milky Way was formed from the dust loosened by pilgrims’ boots as they walked. And though disputed, it’s said that the word “Compostela” may come from Latin campus stellae, “field of stars.”
When I was a kid, I was sure I’d become an astronaut. I had it well planned. First I’d pilot the space shuttle, and then I’d be the first person on Mars in 2029 on a nuclear powered ship. All very reasonable, no? Eventually rationality won out and I became a visual effects artist instead, which has been rewarding. But the cosmos isn’t any less awe-inspiring now; love for the universe isn’t easily lost. I look forward to kicking up some stardust on the road to Compostela.
I’m only a few days away from the beginning, and I’m almost done preparing. I’ll leave for Florida to see my family there. And then I’m bound for New York where my sister and brother-in-law live, and my niece who will be born later this year, and also cousins and close friends. And then I’m off again to Madrid, and by train to France. St. Jean Pied de Port — Saint John at the Foot of the Mountain Pass, where I begin my walk. And before all this I’ll say goodbye to my chosen family here in Los Angeles, though some of them no longer live here.
Soon I’ll share with you some of the details and history of the route, and what I’ll carry with me.