About The Camino Letters Project
Walking the Camino to Santiago is a powerful experience. On the Camino pilgrims meet others from different countries, we eat different food from at home, we have the opportunity to walk on our own or with others, to talk or be silent. We walk through exquisitely beautiful countryside and we are welcomed by local people. There are also challenges to be overcome: language, bad weather, hills, blisters and strains. But in the end, most pilgrims walk into Santiago with a huge sense of achievement and, for a lot of us, a bittersweet feeling of joy on finishing tinged with regret that the wonderful journey is over.
One of the challenges we face after our Camino is how to describe the experience to others. We try to do this by recounting stories of our experiences and showing people our photographs. We impart our hard-earned knowledge with others and on social media, we give advice about what kind of boots to get, what to pack, what to read, how to prepare. And we often talk about the “impact” the Camino has had on us but it is very difficult to describe what that is.
Of course the “impact” is the whole experience but we also know that part of the journey is the time we had whilst walking step after step to ponder much about our lives past, present, and future. In these quiet moments we often reviewed the past, relived hurts we suffered as well as caused, and although we thought about some regrets, we reflected on the joys as well. Some pilgrims make their Camino to mark a change in their lives or to take time to decide on their future course. We can all relate to the conversations we have had in our heads as we have walked along.
This project is all about these very conversations. It is about finding a way to describe to others the deep, reflective, meditative power of walking the Camino and the lasting impact that it can have. It is about honestly sharing the power of the Camino with others – safely and anonymously.
We invite you to think about your Camino and to write down your thoughts in the form of an imaginary letter – the letter you should have written or have always wanted to write. If these thoughts led to a change in your life when you returned home, please tell us about it. It could also be a letter written – after your journey – to your pre-Camino self.
Letters should be about 500 – 600 words and you can send them (anonymously, if you wish) to:
We will publish them anonymously on our website so that others can benefit from your experience. A selection will be published in a book at a later date.
By submitting your letter, you pass copyright to The Camino Letters Project which reserves the right not to publish or to edit material submitted.
As examples, here are some of the topics of letters submitted so far, on the “A Letter To…” page.:
Some of the topics suggested:
The letter I have always wanted to write to:
God, who has let me down very badly
My child, who I think is gay
My partner, who I am thinking of leaving
The boy, who bullied me in school
The girlfriend I hurt and never said sorry
My unfaithful partner
My arrogant boss
My pastor, who thinks I’m perfect
NB: All submissions are completely and totally confidential and anonymous. We will acknowledge receipt of your submission, but your name, your location, and the route you walked to Santiago de Compostela will not appear anywhere. This is a hallmark of the Camino Letters Project.
Anne Born and Johnnie Walker are both well known in the Camino world. They have set up The Camino Letters Project so that pilgrims can openly share with others some of the most private and personal issues they reflected on whilst on the Camino.
As well as being immersed in the world of the Camino to Santiago both Anne and Johnnie are published authors. Anne runs The Backpack Press https://thebackpackpress.com/ and Johnnie has written a number of guidebooks for pilgrims published through the Confraternity of Saint James and two Spiritual Companions for Pilgrims.
Thank you for joining us in this exciting new project. We look forward to reading your letters.
Ultreya y Buen Camino!
~Anne and Johnnie