The Journey

When Ted Reed sets foot on the Camino de Santiago  on September 6, 2015 at St. Jean Pied-de-Port in southwestern France, he will be taking the first step of a journey of nearly 1,000 kilometers. It is a journey about enriching life and honoring death.

The Intention

Ted’s pilgrimage along this medieval Christian path is a matter of life and independence for his young friend Christian DeRiemer  who suffers from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, a challenge that has made Christian’s own path in life more difficult than most.

How You Can Help

Ted’s walk offers all who are interested an opportunity to participate in the journey by donating funds that will directly benefit the Christian DeRiemer Third-Party Special Needs Trust.  This fund has been established to ensure that Christian has the care and equipment that he needs to live a productive and independent life.

The slides above were shot by Ted during September, 2015,
as he walked the first hundred or so miles of the Camino

Ted’s pilgrimage is also the fulfillment of a dying wish and a promise. As he walks, Ted will be spreading the ashes of Christian’s mother, Karen, who died in March of 2015. During the final days of her battle with cancer, she asked Ted, with the help of her husband Neil and a close circle of friends, to ensure that Christian was provided for and that he would be able to find his own independent path through life.

Ted's route from St, Frances Pied to Santiago de Castella and Muxia.

Ted’s route from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Castella and Muxia.

Finally, Ted’s pilgrimage will be the fulfillment of a longtime goal. Ted has known about the Camino for years, and he has long thought about treading the ancient path. After seeing Martin Sheen’s 2010 movie “The Way”, the story of a father who walks the Camino de Santiago with his son’s ashes, Ted realized that he had an opportunity to add meaning to his pilgrimage.

“If you had asked me at the end of last year why I wanted to walk the Camino,” says Ted, “I couldn’t have said why.” But Ted, an active Buddhist, who has developed the self-discipline to go on annual two- or three-month meditation retreats, knows that the trek will be more than just a long walk or a sightseeing tour. He is embarking on this 600-mile, 1000-year-old Christian path with a purpose, but also open to any possibility. It’s what Buddhists call “beginner’s mind.”

 Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella by Zoe Rimmer

Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella by Zoe Rimmer

Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki has said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

For centuries, Christian pilgrims have walked the Camino to find their god, to find themselves, and/or to find purpose in life. Many have found meaning in the companionship of those they have met along the way. “They say that ‘no one walks the Camino who doesn’t walk away with something,'” says Ted. “I am well prepared physically and emotionally, but I’m going with no expectations. For me, this will be a solitary walking meditation.”

Ted will follow the “Way of St. James”  from St. Jean Port du Pied to Santiago de Compostella, a trip of 800 kilometers or approximately 480 miles. He will add a side trip to a World Heritage monastery in San Millan de la Cognolla, and he will finish by walking beyond Santiago to the Atlantic coast town of Muxia, a pilgrimage of around 1,000 kilometers.

Muxia. Photo by Gabriel González.

Muxia. Photo by Gabriel González.

This blog will not only chronicle Ted’s progress from Saint Jean Pied-de-Port to Muxia, but it will also be offered in a spirit of quest and inspiration.

The authors hope you are inspired by the purpose of Ted’s journey and that you will be moved to support Christian by making a donation to the Christian B. DeRiemer Third-Party Special Needs Trust, which has been established to provide for Christian’s future.