UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ADRIAN CHU REDMOND

When local artist Adrian Chu Redmond told me she was heading to France, Spain, and Greece this summer, naturally I was jealous.  Then she told me she was hiking 700 miles and I was no longer jealous but a little worried why she would do that to herself.  After seeing pictures of her trip hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage from France to Spain I can now see why one would choose to do this excursion and hopefully someday I will as well.    IMG_1403

“Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.” – Antonio Machado

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As the Spanish poet suggests, we make our paths in life by paving our own way. Hence, my decision to take the spiritual journey on the ROAD TO SANTIAGO this past June. The El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) commences in St. Jean Pied de Port (French Pyrenees) and travels 700 kilometers to the Spanish city of Santiago where it is believed that the ornate granite cathedral there houses the remains of the Apostle, St. James.

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This ancient Christian pilgrimage, which dates back to the 11th century, offers a modern day retreat that provides an opportunity for spiritual growth while walking for weeks on foreign land. With the mountainous terrain, aggressive distance, a 22lb backpack, and blistered feet, I found inner strength to push ahead and embrace the mental and physical challenges of the unknown road ahead.

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For me, living out of a backpack, hiking the beautiful Spanish countryside and walking through small hamlets with pilgrims from around the world has taught me much about myself while providing an adventure away from the bustle of day to day life.

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Each pilgrim’s walking journey culminates at the magnificent cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. All pilgrims, regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs, share in a most special Mass. The message of the celebrant’s homily focused on art and painting as a metaphor for our life’s journey. We cannot live our life as a blank canvas. We must celebrate life by embracing both light and darkness, bright and subdued, for it is only in the contrasts that we can truly appreciate the colors.

As an artist the message was clear.

There are valuable lessons to be learned on the Camino:

  • Take time to pause – You can’t appreciate the present if you are not in it.
  • Trust yourself – It is important to honor and trust in one’s self. This allows you to be confident in anything you choose to do.
  • Be open- This is where there can be a never-ending supply of what one searches for or needs- love, energy, support, guidance, learning, nurturing, etc.
  • Share yourself- Give freely of your time, your heart, your wisdom and your hopes.
  • Believe in what you do and you will do it better.
  • And most of all, IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS!

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Buen Camino,
Adrian Chu Redmond