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Pilgrims of León: Byron from USA

(#POL) We continue to interview pilgrims that are passing León on their way to Santiago. Today we sat down with Byron from the US.


Why did you choose to do the Camino?

– I saw the movie ‘The Way’ and ever since that moment I wanted to come here. I wanted to start in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port but when I came to Pamplona it was snowing. I offered a taxi driver 200€ to drive me, but he refused because of the snow.

What surprised you the most about the Camino?

– The number of Koreans, which is interesting because I speak Korean. I think I spoke more Korean yesterday than English. For a lot of Koreans, the Camino de Santiago is an important Christian pilgrimage.

Is religion a motivation for you to do the Camino?

- I would not say that I am religious. I am spiritual, I used to teach philosophy. But when I’ll arrive in Santiago and they’ll ask me in the pilgrim office: religious reason or not? I will pick religious, yes.

How is your experience with the people on the Camino?

– I am positively surprised how friendly people are here. It is a big difference with the US. Also, the pilgrims are a real community. We dine together every night in the hostel, or we go out for dinner. It is really unbelievable how many interesting people I have encountered on the Camino.

Will this Camino experience change you?

– I did a lot of hiking already back home in the US, but those hikes are more in nature, you don’t encounter so many people. But this experience is definitely going to change me. I want to be a better man, I want to talk to people more often. For example, I can introduce you now to my friends because I remember your names! I used to forget people’s names. The Camino is like a reboot for me.

Did you regret packing anything?

– Since I am an experienced hiker, I packed in a very efficient and light way. The only thing I didn’t use so far are my sunglasses. :-)

How much preparation did you do before coming here?

– I am retired, so I walked 500 km with my backpack in total as preparation. Also, I am very used to doing hikes and marathons in the US.

Are you coming back to Spain for another Camino?

– I am definitely coming back yes. I like to trail run, so I will be coming back and run the Camino Francés.


Thank you so much, Byron. We wish you a "Buen Camino"! Read more about the Camino and find your way to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.