The Camino Podcast is a program focused on pilgrimage. We talk about major pilgrimage routes, like Spain's Camino de Santiago, we share stories from the road, and we talk about more technical aspects of pilgrimage. Whether you're planning your first pilgrimage, processing your latest one, or just an armchair traveler, we hope you find this to be a good listen! (Soundtrack features "Walking in the Country" by David Mumford.)
Episode 57 - Muslim on the Camino
In 2007, Sedat Çakır set out to walk the Camino de Santiago. Before he departed, he decided to seek out a pilgrim blessing from the local bishop in Amsterdam. There's nothing particularly unusual about that story... aside from the fact that Sedat is a Sufi and the Camino, of course, has a very complicated history with Islam! While Sedat set out originally just to make a satisfying long-distance walk, his purpose evolved as he learned more, and it soon grew into a journey oriented towards interfaith dialogue. And in the aftermath of that pilgrimage, another new goal opened up before him, reforging a route from Europe to Mecca. Working with his partner, Iris Bezuijen, Sedat (sedatcakir.com) has now launched two long-distance routes, the Sultan's Trail (sultanstrail.net/en/) and the Sufi Trail (sufitrail.com), which are the first two steps in that larger objective. This episode traces his journey from Amsterdam to Santiago and onward towards Mecca.
Episode 56 - Banaras and Pandharpur: Two Indian Pilgrimage Shrines
So you think the Camino is crowded? You should check out pilgrimage in India. It holds the record for the largest single-day attendance at a pilgrimage event--an estimated 50 million people at the Kumbh Mela in 2019. This episode explores pilgrimage in India through a closer examination of two sacred cities: Banaras and Pandharpur. Dr. Diana Eck, author of Banaras: City of Light and India: A Sacred Geography, shares insights on the former, while Deepak Phadnis, author of Pandharpur Wari: A Walking Pilgrimage to Pandharpur, describes his walk to the latter. This introduction to Indian pilgrimage also offers a useful lens through which to look back upon the Camino and see some fascinating points of comparison.
Episode 55 - Beverly's Story
Beverly Chalman of Tennessee set out to walk the Camino Francés with her daughter in June 2019. Traveling from Tennessee to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port was an exhausting process, with overnight stops in New York City and London, and that first day of walking was similarly taxing. It was on the second day, though, when her pilgrimage veered in a life-changing direction. This is her story.
Episode 54 - A Pilgrimage to Lourdes
163 years ago, the Virgin Mary is said to have made a series of appearances before a young Bernadette Soubirous in a grotto in the French Pyrenean town of Lourdes. Some 200 million pilgrims and 70 "official" miracles later, Lourdes stands as one of the world's major Catholic pilgrimage sites, known in particular for that association with miraculous healing. This episode features stories from two different pilgrims to Lourdes. Marlene Watkins, the foundress of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers (lourdesvolunteers.org), has led many groups of volunteers and ill pilgrims to the town. Meanwhile, Lauren Selden visited Lourdes as a walking pilgrim, as part of a larger walk between Le Puy-en-Velay and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Episode 53 - Pilgrimage and the Environment
A major part of the power and magic of pilgrimage is how it immerses us in the natural world. While the physical shrines are human built, they're often situated in places of natural splendor. In that way, pilgrimage and the environment are inextricably connected. This episode is a deep dive into that relationship from a few different perspectives. Up first, you'll hear from Yeb Saño, a leading environmental activist in Southeast Asia who has now led multiple climate pilgrimages in the Philippines and Europe. Then, two professors--Kiran Shinde and Daniel Olson--join me to discuss their research on the relationship between religious tourism and the environment. Finally, Reverend Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, from the York Diocese in England shares her perspective from her work with the European Green Pilgrimage Network, a faith-based network of pilgrimage sites.
Episode 52 - Tales from Two Houses in Santiago
Right now, as we all long to be able to travel to Santiago de Compostela once more, many of us are thinking about our absence from that sacred place. What about those who remain present in Santiago, though--those who have organized their lives to a considerable degree around attending to pilgrims as they arrive in the city. What have their lives been like during the pandemic and what are they seeing in Santiago right now, deep in the winter (recorded late January, 2021), when reasons for optimism and pessimism seem to clash on a daily basis? This episode focuses on the people behind two well known houses in Santiago. Up first are Nate and Faith Walter, who run Pilgrim House (pilgrimhousesantiago.com) on Rua Nova. They're followed by Sybille Yates, who created Egeria House and authored Pilgrim Tips & Packing List Camino de Santiago (amazon.com/S-Yates/e/B00A9YUYQ2), and has transitioned during the pandemic into running her own little free pantry (littlefreepantry.org).
Not your typical Camino podcast
Dave Whitson is an excellent interviewer. He chooses interesting topics and asks his guests the questions I’d like to ask them. This podcast has opened my eyes to lots of different aspects of the Camino as well as other pilgrimages around the world. Thank you for your work on this podcast, Dave!
Interesting episode on Muslim on the Camino
Dave Watson touches on so many aspects of a pilgrimage with interesting guests & topics. I’m having Camino withdrawal since the lockdown & this podcast takes me back to my experience as a pilgrim.
This particular episode was specially interesting with Sedat Çakır talking about the Sultan’s Trail. I had watched the BBC series on Pilgrimage: The Road to Istanbul where I first heard of the Sultan’s Trail. This pilgrimage is amazing! I think I might want to experience at least part of it myself.
What a great podcast! Dave Whitson provides a soothing balm for these anxious times with an articulate, thoughtful, and informative podcast. I walked the Camino Frances in 2018 and this podcast has made me reflect on the experience and plan my next Camino.
For novices and veteran alike, this podcast provides a helpful staff and guide. Bravo!