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  • Writer's pictureDiem Burden

Walking the Camino de Santiago

Updated: May 11, 2023

Since 2012, I have lived in Viana [vee-AN-na], Navarra, Spain, where the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) passes straight through the heart of the village. For the first 9 years, I was far too busy working in the nearby city of Logroño [le-GRON-yo] to pay any attention to the weary pilgrims as they hobbled up into the old, fortified town I now call home. That all changed in 2021, when I found myself working from home and single again.

I began to hang out in a local café called The Pilgrims' Oasis in Viana, which is focussed on serving pilgrims and their needs. They also offer christian advice and support. As an avowed and uncompromising atheist, I made it clear that I wanted no part of any God speak!

Author Diem Burden on the Camino de Santiago
Author Diem Burden

Over that summer, my life was turned upside when God came after me. Over a three-month battle, I eventually gave up and accepted Jesus as my Saviour, something that is, in itself, a miracle. That these events 'coincidentally' occurred along the camino in Navarra between Pamplona and Logroño is evidence of God's hand in all of this. During those three months, I walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port in France (the traditional starting point for pilgrims on the Camino Francés route) across the Pyrenees into Roncesvalles [ron-sess-VAI-yes] in Spain, stopping for the night at Orisson up in the mountains. This two-day hike gave me a taste of the camino and a desire to continue walking all the way to the ocean 'at the end of the earth'.

A year later, I was able to escape for another week and so headed to Roncesvalles, where I picked up my camino and walked home. I walked with an action plan: God was in control. As a 55-year atheist, I was used to wearing my own crown and doing what I wanted to do. It was hard for me to give that role up and hand it over to God, so that is precisely what I did. And what a week it turned out to be! So much so that I have decided to write a short, free ebook of that week walking with God, called GET UP AND WALK.

In 2023, I was able to walk for another week, so I set off from home in Viana and walked to Burgos, some 145km (90 miles). I again set an action plan. This time it was to pray with people/over people/for healing, as this is something I shy away from doing. I camped for the first two nights, struggled with colder and colder nights, wild boar visits, and dreadful blisters, and when I finally reached the stunning city of Burgos for (Semana Santa) Easter weekend, God set in motion an amazing ending to that arduous week-long pilgrimage. What an ending that was! So much happened over that week that I decided it would be another ideal short book to write, adding it to the series GET UP AND WALK. So you'll have to wait and see just what happened!

I'm planning to do my next section in September, picking up from Burgos and walking to Leon. I need an action plan for that week too, and have yet to come up with an idea, but I'm sure God will show me what I need to do for that week.

Meanwhile, I have decided to use this blog to write about events and experiences on the camino as they happen in my daily life.

Feel free to check in and see what it is like to live on the Camino de Santiago!

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