By: Neil Howland
Going into the Camino de Santiago, I had low expectations for the difficulty. After spending 24 days fending for ourselves in the Wind River mountain range, five days of walking and staying in hostels with showers and food that was cooked for us seemed like it would be a cake walk. On the first day we walked 23 kilometers, approximately 12ish miles in a downpour of freezing rain. I only brought shorts and tee shirts and my rain jacket. That was a day where I questioned what I was doing and why we were even still in Spain after completing the classes. But over the next four days the weather cleared up and what I thought was just going to be a long hike turned into an eye opening experience. We met people from all over the globe all with one common goal in mind. Some were religious; some were not and were just doing it as an attraction. What I thought was going to be a long five days turned into something that flew by, and before we knew it we were hiking into the cathedral. I had never been to church in a foreign country but it was remarkable to me how similar the services were just in a difference in language, I found myself responding in English because I knew to flow of the service so well. For me the Camino was the perfect capstone to the Elon Gap Experience. We all went in not knowing what to expect and came out with a newfound sense of respect and pride for not only ourselves but the world around us.