You guys know all about #MySpareRoom and how we’ve cared for vulnerable kids who’ve needed a safe place to stay. Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about the spirit of welcome. For instance, how might we embrace our guests, creating a space of acceptance, safety, and comfort? In this reflection, I’ve often thought of travelers as solitary beings. But today, I realized, pilgrims don’t travel alone.

Have you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed? I loved this book so much. She’s authentic, bold, and vulnerable while telling a personal story that is real and gritty. What’s interesting about her 1000+ mile hike is that while she embarked on it alone, Cheryl came across other travelers who became part of her experience.

Pilgrims traveling together - Emily Chang

Here’s what I realized: pilgrimage is generally thought of as a solitary act, but is in fact, a communal one. Another journeyer, Richard Frazer, walked the Camino in 2019. In his book, Travels with a Stick, he describes this shared experience: “The freedom and trust of the Camino allows real friendship to arise and develop very quickly, and can be a genuine source of blessing even if it does not last more than a few miles or a pilgrim dinner.”

Pilgrims picnicking together - Emily Chang

What a wonderful realization! Wanderers are often not alone, and actually enjoy a unique brand of companionship in their journeys. Suddenly, I find myself grateful for the fellow travelers I’ve met in life. In truth, I have been blessed by friends and companions who have shared life, helping me bear the load and celebrating the views along our way.

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Photo credit, Cheryl photo, evening picnic pic