Michael is a Hispanist. The first time he heard about the Camino was in the years 84-85. He was in Castellón de la Plana, he had just completed his teaching practice and he decided to travel with his wife through Spain. On their journey they passed through Zamora and there they were told about the Camino. They were, in any case, going to the city of Santiago but they did not know anything about the Camino. Since hearing about it, he began to toy with the idea of doing it and he did not stop thinking about it until, finally, in 1995 he did it with his wife.
He did not arrive on the Camino because he was a Spanish teacher because his studies were not linked to the Camino or even to the history of Spain, because his thesis was on Latin American literature, particularly on Cortazar. However, his interest in Spanish culture was one of the elements that motivated him to do the Camino, although what weighed most at the beginning was his interest in hiking, which he practiced in the natural parks of the United States. His idea was to walk a lot and see Spain: nature, art, monuments, architecture.
He made his first Camino from Roncesvalles with his wife. They loved it so much that they did it again, making a second Camino -again from Roncesvalles- with their son of only 1 and a half years of age. It was possible because they were in a group, with a support car. That son, by the way, is called Jacobo. Later they had more children and their return to the Camino was postponed almost 20 years, until 2016, when he returned to walk from Saint-Jean-Pie-de-Port. This year, 2018, marks his fourth Camino and he travelled this time from Astorga.
The French Way is more interesting than other routes because of the weight of its history. But he is also interested in people, in meeting with people of all types from all over the world. On his first journey, he spent a lot of time with a chicho, someone who had had legal problems because of drugs, someone from a world very far from his own, and one that he would never have met outside of that context and with whom he established a deep connection. That was 1995, there were still not so many pilgrims as now, and those who walked frequently stayed in shelters along different stages of the Way.
Concerning the idea that some people have of the Way as being a means of escaping from reality, he believes that it is rather the opposite: it’s a way of getting back in touch with reality, a return to reality that we often lose sight of. Doing the Camino puts one in relation with time.
He is interested in the experience of opening up that exists on the Camino. The fact that people open up there and talk about important things. With the Way and other experiences, he has learned what is important for him in life, something of the order of seeing and finding, places, people. But it isn’t easy to live always in accordance with what is important, so repeat, the way can reveal what really what matters to you.
He would like to do the Camino with his children, but at the moment they prefer to make their own great, adventure trips. He believes that the time has not yet come, but they will eventually do it.
He knows that he will do the Camino more times. The combination of walking and meeting people you meet there is not to be found elsewhere. That is for him the essence of the Way: have the time and walk, let go of all information and propaganda in which we are immersed, walk, talk, let your brain go where it wants, let Something arise from within that is outside our control to a certain extent.
Back in his country, he talks about the Way in his classes at university during his Spanish civilization courses. And he knows that several of his students have done the Camino. Believe it or not, what has contributed more than anything to Americans coming was the movie ‘The Way.’ For example, two years ago he did the Camino with his brother. They used to hike together but had never wanted to do the Camino, however, when they saw the movie they decided to do it.
In addition to walking the Camino, Michael also had a very special experience when he travelled the Camino from Le Puy to Santiago by car with two pilgrim friends, playing and singing, and walking some stretches of the way.. His idea was, above all, to play and sing. It was fantastic.
Maybe something will arise from his experiences on the Camino … he has been working on writing for some time, something of a fictional nature, he will probably publish a novel.