Camino de Santiago
For another Art Adventure, Jaime travelled to France and Spain to do the famous walk to Compostela de Santiago, called El Camino de Santiago. On a five week trek, Jaime experienced the religious and spiritual effects of a modern day pilgrimage and was able to record them with a paint brush.
Like her previous projects, the journey had an enormous impact on the pictures produced. After the walk she stayed at the Spanish Artist Residency, called Joya + Arte y Ecología.
Read more for a personal refection from the artist herself.
We started walking on a Sunday. I cried the first day because I was so happy. I was in the mountains and to me it feels so good just to be surrounded by nature, to be able to let go of everything else and just be in the moment. Walking that first day was difficult; it was a long trek both in distance and in elevation climb. It was hard, but it was over before I knew it. I really didn’t think the journey would change me at all because I already loved walking and being outside, but it did. Everyday I got up and walked to another town. I walked through villages and cities, fields and mountains. Everyday was exciting, but also a challenge. When every step was painful, whether it be the bottom of my feet, or the ache in my back, pain became the constant comfort in a journey where everything was changing. The people you walk with change, the surroundings change.
In a lot of ways, I look at the Camino as an extreme example of life itself. When I woke up, I didn’t really know what was going to happen that day, what and where I would eat, where I would sleep, or even how far I would walk. You could try to plan it out, but often the day would reveal itself. This really forced me not to worry so much about everything. I was so surprised that every time I really needed something I would find it. I would pray for something and it would appear. Other than that all you could do was keep walking, and it would work out. This obviously can be taken as a metaphor for life. When you make life decisions you research your options and plan out the best version, but in the end the circumstances may or may not change. In the end we all end up where we need to be.
This makes the friends you make and the strangers you meet extremely important.The kind of common suffering on our pilgrimage made a wonderful community. It makes me want to help others, to be with others, and enjoy their company while I have them. On the walk I’d get very close to people very quickly. It was odd however because I would either see them again every night for the rest of the trip or suddenly I would realize that I was never going to see this person again, and they’re already gone. In life this can be immediately connected with death. We never really know how long we are going to have people in our lives. Things are changing all the time, and unfortunately things happen sometimes. This is something that we already know about life, but for some reason this new understanding had a huge effect on me, maybe because they were personal experiences, or maybe because I was in a foreign country far away from home. Its impact has changed me.
The way the Camino affected you during the walk was strange also. You were always in this state of being very tired, and then when you get up and just walk and let your mind wander, it almost feels like a dream state. The dreams that you were just having seem to come and go, then memories come flooding in. You have all this time to just think, because you’re just walking. There wasn’t any kind of distraction out on the trail because there’s only so much music on your phone and there’s no wifi. You kind of get confronted with your own demons, and then you have to deal with them. Ultimately it helps you get through stuff though because you become very aware that “this old situation,” whatever I was thinking about so much, is not helping me move forward. I realized that it’s literally in the past behind me, and on the Camino, you never walk backwards.
For me the Camino came at a very interesting time in my life. I’m 25 this year. For much of the trip I thought about how everything had led me to this moment in my life, and where I wanted to go next. This reflection time made me realize that I needed to say goodbye to my childhood and to really start working towards my goals. It gave me the time to reflect on the amazing things, and the not so great things, and to let it go. It helped me to be excited about life again.It made me realize how great my passion for painting is.
If I could do this, I could do anything.
Maybe it’s that I want to be different. After 38 days of walking, and literally living moment by moment, I realized that everyday should be like that. I will never be in this day, experiencing these things ever again. My life will change, people will change… Life is crazy. All I can do is just keep going, and enjoy it along the way.
Some days will be better than others, but we’ll all end up where we need to be.