The Way

Beaverton, Oregon, USA — April 6, 2012

El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The most popular route, the Camino Frances, runs about 500 miles from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela.

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Tom from America heads overseas to recover the body of his son, Daniel, who died while walking El Camino de Santiago.

On his way to a small town in France, Tom reminisces. Tom is taking Daniel to the airport. He doesn’t understand why Daniel is doing this. They argue. “You don’t choose a life, Dad. You live one.” Tom decides to walk the road for his son. And eventually realizes he is also walking the road for himself.

The film, written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen, touches on faith, family, friends, and the challenges faced on the road of life.

  • Jack from Ireland: I thought I was out here all alone.
  • Tom from America: You thought wrong.
  • Jack from Ireland: I think this place means something.
  • Sarah from Canada: This place means something?
  • Jack from Ireland: This place is brimming with significance. That’s the problem with this whole damn road.
  • Yoost from Amsterdam: Problem?
  • Jack from Ireland: Metaphor, man. You’re out here walking all alone. Suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, you see a dog fight near a cheese farm. What does that dog fight mean? And despite its literalness, the idea of a pilgrim’s journey on this road, is a metaphor bonanza! Friends, the road itself is amongst our oldest tropes. The high road and the low. The long and winding, the lonesome, the royal, the open road and the private, the road to hell, the tobacco road, the crooked, the straight and the narrow. There’s the road stretching into infinity, bordered with lacy mists favored by sentimental poets. There’s the more dignified road of Mr. Frost. And for Yanks, every four years, there’s the road to the White House. Then you have the road which most concerns me today, the wrong road, which I fear I must surely have taken.
  • Sarah from Canada: Well, Jack, maybe a dog fight near a cheese farm is simply a dog fight near a cheese farm.

Map of the El Caminos de Santiago
Why do people embark on long journeys like this? The film suggests because they have chosen to deliberately live their lives. They are walking their road. And, they find, they are walking the road with others. Journeys and roads are shared, but they are also personal to each person walking them.

Have you seen The Way? Tell us about your thoughts on the movie or on this post in the comments section below. Haven't seen this film? Want to watch The Way? Click on the DVD cover image above or click here to buy it. Thanks much if you do. Happy wanderings!

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