On November 10, 2018, the Northern California chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino held its annual Pilgrim Welcome Home Event in Oakland. We had a great turnout of 84 people, and everyone enjoyed celebrating our returning pilgrims, hospitaleros, and volunteers.
Our chapter committee likes to have a Camino presentation at these events, which also includes a potluck and sharing of Camino stories. This year, we wanted to present something different. Everyone talks about preparing for the Camino, but what is said about returning home? Re-entry can be a challenge, but nobody prepares for it. What happens if you have a strong case of the PCBs (Post-Camino Blues)? Our Board liaison, Emilio Escudero to the rescue!
He suggested the topic of “Returning Home” originally presented by former APOC board member Cheryl Grasmoen at the 2018 National Gathering in Menlo Park. Emilio writes, “The highs of the Camino are often followed by lows that many experience as alienation, disorientation, loss, even anger and depression. The presentation on this topic also included ways to help pilgrims move forward, continue their Camino and extend insights and lessons learned into wherever they are in the moment and into the future.”
Emilio delivered the thought-provoking presentation with distinct sections: Preparing for our Camino, Experiencing, Returning, Path Forward, and Continuing the Spirit of the Camino. Everyone was captivated and the topic struck chords for many. I filmed his presentation and added some section titles, so you can watch it yourself below.
Emilio provided the materials as well, to help you “unpack your Camino.”
Just like in our 2017 welcome home event, we ended our welcome home gathering with a recitation of the poem, Caminante by Antonio Machado, in both Spanish and English.
by Antonio Machado
Thanks to everyone who participated in making it such a wonderful event.