Little more than a month has passed since the IV edition of Fairway 2021 and this weekend another similar event has taken place, although with its differences. The Gate of the Way, or what is the same, the Thefirst International Online Pilgrims’ Meeting, which was held online on December 10th and 11th of this Holy Year. As an initiative of José Mari Ardanaz Ezcurdia, a pilgrim from Pamplona who is passionate about the Camino de Santiago, wants to combine his pilgrimage passion and his profession as an entrepreneur and marketing expert for to bring together all those who, interested in one way or another in the Camino de Santiago, can participate and contribute their grain of sand in this such a special event for the pilgrim community. Do you connect?

Todos los viajes del Camino de Santiago en bici
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The people of the Camino

There are many of us who love and feel the Camino de Santiago as something of our own. Pilgrims, hospitaleros, guides, entrepreneurs and anyone who shares a pilgrim’s restlessness knows what we are talking about. Among them, today we want to introduce you to Jose Mari Ardanaz Ezcurdia, pilgrim, founder of the website and association El Camino People and expert in marketing and social networks.

Jose Mari, as he himself says pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for the first time in 2017 through the French Way of Saint James from Saint Jean de Pied-de-Port, an experience that, as he himself states, changed his life forever and that he prolonged it for the The Way of Saint James of Finisterre and Muxía. In fact, it didn’t stop there and he subsequently made more tracks: in 2018, the Portuguese Way of Saint James along the Coast and his Spiritual Variant and finally, in 2019, the Camino Aragonés.

We open the Door of the Way

Organized by El Camino People the Basilica Hostel Trinidad de Arre y Toxogel and with the help of numerous collaborators, this project is very similar to Fairway where we were present this year, as it gathers people related to the Fairway. The Camino de Santiago although it does not have such a commercial purpose as the aforementioned Jacobean fair. They do have one thing in common, since they both present themselves as a forum where anyone involved in the Camino, from people who walk, hospitaleros and hostel owners, businesses, volunteers and others, can discuss, contribute ideas and see what is being done well and what is being done badly in the First European Cultural Itinerary. Thus, the Puerta del Camino is an open door, a positive collaborative experience to improve things on pilgrimage.

Improving the pilgrim experience

In relation to all this, it is important to note that thefinal objective is to write a Manifesto on the spirit of the Camino. Whether you are a purist pilgrim, backpacker and hostel pilgrim, or a so-called “turigrino”, what is important when it comes to pilgrimage is the attitude that every pilgrim should carry as a flag, spirituality, solidarity, empathy, effort, generosity and other values are part of the manual of the good pilgrim.

The four “r “s

Recycle, reduce, reuse and respect. These four words are very interesting concepts of this project, and, why not, also pilgrim values. The first three refer to the care of the environment, especially on the roads, a clear premise in this initiative and that, as the good Jose Mari indicates, are “an urgency for environmental, economic and social imperative”.

Recycling on the Camino de Santiago

We have been there and we have enjoyed very much listening to the speakers and their interventions in the round tables about the pilgrim manifesto and the accessibility on the Camino. Among them, more than thirty, to highlight the diversity of people who compose it and the respect that their experiences arouse: from Francico Castro, Franciscan friar and pilgrim, through the Celtic rock band Mitago to our eventual collaborator, the pilgrim and pilgrim guide and official guide of Tourism of Galicia Lorenzo Merin.

We have been thrilled with the more than twenty testimonies of pilgrims from more than ten countries in this sort of Jacobean Tower of Babel, and in their numerous workshops we have learned a lot about photography with a mobile phone on the Camino, the preparation and training before the pilgrimage, painting on the pilgrimage routes, etc. Of course, there was also no shortage of exhibitors, a total of fifteen who were able to forge alliances and establish collaborations for a better future of the Camino de Santiago.

As we can see, environmental but also social responsibility. Another of the objectives is to raise funds to implement a new system of electrical self-sufficiency for the entire hostel of the Trinidad de Arre (Navarra), with solar panels and accumulator batteries recycled from vehicles. With very high aims and a lot of positive ambition, it is intended that this project is replicable and implementable in, why not, all the hostels on the Camino de Santiago.

“And here I am, making that dream come true and, if I can, making yours come true.”

That’s how generous Jose Mari is with his dream, and as he says, also yours. On the main page of the web of the event you can have more information, as well as enjoy the exciting video that he has prepared for us. You can also follow him at Instagram and Twitter where you can find out more about the project and those that are sure to come from his hand in the near future. We are already looking forward to participating in a second International Online Pilgrims’ Gathering. As Jose Mari says, “anyone is welcome at the Puerta del Camino”.

Do you enter with we through our Puerta del Camino?