Annie O'Neil

Walking to Santiago with Annie O'Neil

Lots of us who have dreamed of walking the Camino think of ourselves as lucky when we are actually able to walk it. I know I did in the Spring of 2009 when I started in St. Jean Pied de Port heading for Santiago as part of the documentary Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. It took a few years to finish that film, and in the meantime, The Way was released. What a blessing, since it brought the Camino to a whole new audience and left them hungry for more. Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago ended up being just what they were looking for, and I had the pleasure of traveling with the film, doing countless Q&A sessions around the country and Canada.

One of the most significant parts of the Camino for me was leaving a rock at the Cruz de Fero. The tradition is to leave a fear, worry or prayer there, and continue on to Santiago unburdened. I am lucky that I can relive that moment again and again through the film. Along with my rock, I left behind the need to be anything other than who I am. It came to me in that moment, and I don’t even think I knew then how significant a statement that was. When we release the need to be anything other than who we are, we open the floodgates of creativity, joy, and allow our true selves to emerge. I was able to write my book, Everyday Camino with Annie, and even direct my first film, Phil’s Camino, since returning from that first Camino. Phil’s Camino is my short film that debuted at last year’s SXSW festival about a man with stage 4 cancer who dreams of walking the Camino. I have screened Phil’s Camino for thousands of people and never cease to be amazed at how deeply that film touches people’s hearts.

I am delighted to be partnering now with Duperier’s Authentic Journeys to lead two 9 day tours from Leon to Santiago in Fall 2017 (September 21 and October 1). Authentic Journeys and I share the same intention for these tours: to bring people on a cultural Camino as well as a spiritual one. On both tours, I will be inviting guests to morning meditations before we start walking for the day. I will also read from my book and I have some other surprises planned. On the October tour, we will be joined by Fr. Tom Hall, a dear friend and one of the spiritual advisors for Phil’s Camino. So if you have been dreaming of the Camino, come walk with me. I would love to share this trip of a lifetime with you.

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