I started travelling the Camino in June 2010, after a moment of personal crisis. I was ruined financially and my girlfriend had thrown me out of her apartment. I had a car and slept in that by the river, in Hamburg. I had no more than 500 euros left, I had lost everything, one life. At that moment I thought: what can I do? Should I throw myself into the river?
In the end I decided to go to Lourdes, in the south of France. I was there for 3 days, with less and less money … Someone had left me Paolo Coello’s book, an audio-book, and I knew the Way of Saint James so I decided to look for the beginning, that place called Saint-Jean-pie-de-Port. I arrived there and looked for a place to park the car and, with a promise made in Lourdes, I decided that I would walk to the end and reach Fisterra.
When I arrived at Puente la Reina I had no money left, then I thought I could not go back, the lack of money also did not allow me to move forward but my desire to reach Fisterra was stronger, I had to continue. I remembered that my ex-wife – 20 years before! – had taught me to do massages and decided to offer them to the pilgrims in exchange for some money to cover my expenses … It worked, I could continue walking for weeks.
Finally, on July 9th I arrived in Santiago and on July 12th in Fisterra. I was loaded with a backpack of 38 kilos, 32 at the end of the Camino. And as the backpack was losing kilos as I progressed, so too was my body was losing weight. I felt much better at the end. He finally got money through a credit card and was able to return to Germany, with what I had achieved I knew that I could start my life there again, although at the beginning I had to return to my parents’ house.
I started a new job with an organization that helped older people with their documents and bureaucratic procedures, to pay their insurance, fix their pensions, wills … There were always problems because some institutions were trying to hinder our work and I thought it was a good time to return to Road.
It was 2012 when I started my second Way, again the French Way. In my first Way I was depressed, but not now. Now I could live a very different experience. I thought about joining my Way to a cause, it was the year after the privatization of water in Spain and that cause for water touched me. I thought it was a good cause to claim the right to free water for all. It was in support of that cause that I walked from my house at that time in Stuttgart … and then I kept walking for that cause. I thought about walking from the North Cape of Norway, but everyone told me: Impossible! But it was not impossible, I did it in 2013.
I started on June 28th, 2013 from the tip of the North Cape and on December 22th I arrived in Fisterra. And as soon as I finished I started thinking about another adventure. I did not want to stop walking, so I continued walking roads, for example in 2016 I travelled the St. Martin Road in Germany, a part of the Camino de Santiago and then the Via Francigena, from Stuttgart to Rome, and there, in Saint Peter’s square, I could take a selfie with Pope Francis! It was amazing, he approached me because he saw that I was a pilgrim and we talked about the green encyclical, about climate change …
Back in Germany I continued with my projects and, as I had a lot to do with water, I decided to do something in Africa linked to that topic. I launched projects related to ecology and decided to walk again to obtain funds for the donation of an engine for a water source in Egypt. This time I walked from Fisterra to Istanbul through roads of Santiago and roads to Jerusalem, raising money for the fountain and its engine …
Life went on and finally this Christmas came, a very special Christmas that I spent on the Camino. I arrived exactly on December 31st in Santiago and now I will go to Fisterra where I will spend time organizing my future life … Because my idea is now clear, I want to live in Fisterra, finally come to Fisterra and settle there, create a business and buy a flat there. With all the journeys I have always taken, I finish up in Fisterra and I have realized that it is there that I feel at home. I found it on the Way, I have found another possible life, I don’t need any more.