The symbol of my ‘2020 pilgrimage’ arrived in the mail today. At last, I could see all the 480.9+ miles I walked since September in a form of a medal.

My purpose of my pilgrimage was not only a personal challenge. I chose to start it in September because September is childhood cancer awareness month. Childhood cancer brought so much anguish to our lives but it also taught us to rely on faith, to have hope, and build on strength. I had a shirt that I kept for years but I hardly wore it and I thought today would be a good day to bring it out. The hundreds of miles I walked represented all the suffering my son had lived through-—from all his treatments in the past ten years to the pain we all had endured.

My last virtual postcard

Hope, a word used a lot during our family’s cancer journey, is also an appropriate word to describe my feelings for what is going on in the world today. I have hope for covid to end. I have hope that we learned our lessons along the way and we shall not easily forget the hardship that came with this pandemic. I have hope that the world will be a better place and we become better people as a result of it.

I am hopeful that someday I can experience walking the real Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. But I am happy I was able to do it virtually. I am thankful for everything I met along the way (everyday was an experience) and also every creature—the geese, ducks, birds, the lost turtle, even the snake I came across once—and to my walking buddy: my dog and my soulmate! Without them, all 480+ miles would have been a monotonous and uneventful journey.

The Conqueror also have planted five trees on my behalf, one of the good reasons to do this challenge.

See you in my next pilgrimage, hopefully in a real setting! Buen Camino!

I was excited when I finished the last mile of my challenge! A well-deserved selfie 😁

P.S. the movie, The Way, starring Martin Sheen is a good movie to start learning about the Camino and Paulo Coelho’s book The Pilgrimage (I haven’t read but saving it for when I do the real Camino).