TomWeber& Jo Risch
¡Ultreya! -We‘ll be ﬁne!
Two friends on theirCamino to Santiago
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Text,Lektorat,Buchsatz& CoverDesign: ©2019Tom Weber
Text: © 2019 Jo Risch
Coverfotos: © 2019 Philippe Bourhis
BoD - Books on Demand,Norderstedt
Wededicate this book to all ofthe
wonderful people we have met during
Miguel,Viser and all ofyou whose names
we unfortunately didn‘t catch:
this one is foryou
TheWayof St.James is one of the most famous pilgrimages in the
Christianworld and yet,aswe havefound out,you can still surprise
people by deciding to walk it.Afteragreeing to go on this journeyto-
gether,the reactions of ourfriends and familieswere quite diverse to
saythe least.In fairness to them though,we haveto admit that even
both of us had trouble believing thiswas actually happening until we
landed in Porto.In the end (SpoilerAlert!) we did manage to reach
Santiago de Compostela and right nowyou are holding the testimony
of this journeyin yourhands.
What didweset out to do by walking the Camino? First of allweboth
had of course ourown personal reasons and motivations.It is safe
to saythat especiallyin ourtimes it should come as no surprise that
pilgrimages like the various Caminos to Santiago are rising in popula-
rityeach year.Itseems that humans do more than everbefore,but get
less and less out of it.There is awish to escape,a longing for somet-
hing that a lot of people feel even if theydon't talk about it very often.
Tothis day the title of German entertainer Hape Kerkeling's book
about his pilgrimage on the Camino Francés“I'moﬀthen“,through its
beautiful simplicity,connects with a lot of us living in today's society.
In ourcase we decided to add anotheraspect to our personal motiva-
tions by making charity a part of ouradventure.Through Instagram
& Facebookweinvited people to join us on ourwalk to Santiago,from
theveryﬁrst preparations right to the steps of the famous Cathedral.
Weset up a fund-raising page and throughout our 12 dayjourneyen-
couraged people to donate in support of the International Rescue
Committee.The IRC helps refugees all around theworld and to us
it seemed like the obvious cause to support through a journey that
would make uswanderers in a spiritual sense.Seeing the support
coming in aswereached destination after destinationwas incredible
and to havebeen able to raise this much moneyforcharity through
ourpilgrimage still ﬁlls uswith humility & contentment to this day.
Finally a few words about this book:what is it supposed to be?As
mentioned earliermainly& simply a testimony of our pilgrimage to
Santiago.Tom'sjournal notes retell the journeyin an immediate and
raw style,describingbasic everydaylife on the Camino aswell as
attempting a metaphysical narrativeof this moving & thought provo-
kingwalk.Incombination with the countless pictures and little com-
ments here and there we hope that this book can convey maybe just a
tinyspark of the joyfull wildﬁre that this experience represented for
us.Ifyou are thinking about doing a pilgrimage yourselfwesincerely
invite you to do so.Don't think too much aboutwhich route and how
manykilometers in how many days,these are all of no importance.
There is no“right“or“wrong“way to do the Camino,there is simply
doing it ornot doing it at all.
Wewant to thank ourfriends & families fortheirsupport of our
project,fortheirdonations and their kindwords of encouragement.
Aheartfelt thankyou also goes to Dorothy,Nora,Milena,Ricardo &
Alemaozinho forall the moments of joy,laughter,pain & sweat that
wegot to share.Youwill alwaysremain ourpilgrim friends through
the memoryof this most peculiarjourney.
¡Ultreya y Suseya!
Tom & Jo
Tom & Jo‘s Camino forCharity2019
Herewe are.It is the daybefore ourdeparture to Porto and forthe
ﬁrst time during this journey,I am trying to squeeze thiswhole ex-
perience inwords and sentences.Justyesterday wedid our“ﬁnal
rehearsal“,22 km from Echternach to ourhometown Grevenmacher.
It went quite well,butas someone who has performed in playsbefore,
I know that you usually want the“ﬁnal rehearsal“to go completely
pear-shaped.But hey,that‘s just superstition,right? In general,I do
believethatwedid a prettygood job preparing forthis trip.We plan-
ned it in Octoberof lastyear,booked the plane tickets and hotels in
Porto & Santiago in advance and read a ton of advice from formerpil-
grims.We bought ourbackpacks in January so thatwecould get used
to them fora few months and we went on regular hikes around our
hometown,slowly increasing the length and theweight of our back-
packs.We even spokewith ourlocal Dean about the spiritual aspect
of a pilgrimage.Nearly perfect preparation,right?
Well let‘s just say that I am well awareof the nature of a pilgrimage.
Itis verydiﬀerent from going on a hike.Hikes are clean,professional
sports activities that are takenvery seriouslyby people who practice
them.Pilgrimages on the otherhand are raw,dirty and hityou from
anglesyou didn‘t even know existed before.All sorts of people go on
pilgrimages:young hippies,old Catholics,desperate Casanovas loo-
king fora quick shag in the confessional,couples who don‘t know that
they are going to ﬁle for divorce halfway through the Camino...
And of course,nowthere is us two.Who exactlyare these twoyuppies
seeking to reach Santiago de Compostela?
Tom‘s Journal, 18.06.2019
We really did everything we could to
prepare ourselves. But can you actually
really prepare yourself for a pilgrimage?
First training hike
Our favourite bar deﬁnitely has our backs,
they even gifted us hats with their logo on
it to protect us from the sun!
This was actually a charity hike!
Really ﬁtting for our project
JoRisch is 20years old and from Luxembourg.He enjoysall things
expensive,especially watches and clothes.Regularly he spends lu-
dicrous amounts of his moneyon material objects and uses them
to boast his status on social media.He is also awomanizerlikeyou
couldn't imagine and his thousands of loveadventures alone could ﬁll
a series of books.Politically he leans conservativeand during argu-
ments has a habit of relying on provocation to get his points across.
On the otherhand,you haveme:TomWeber,22years old and also
from Luxembourg.I am a writerwho published his ﬁrst book at the
age of 16.My interests besideswriting include spirituality in all sha-
pes and forms,languages and cultures aswell as the appreciation of
whisky,wine & Chinese style tea.I am also an introvertwho experien-
ced severeanxiety that ultimatelyled to a burnout last year.I lean left
from a political point ofviewand would describe myself as a critic of
capitalism aswell as a cosmopolitan.
Iwouldn‘t hold it against you ifyou questioned this partnership after
reading this short introduction.Believe me,a lot of people were very
surprisedwhenweannounced this project.However,in a weirdwayI
have this feeling that Jo is the only person that could possibly join me
on this pilgrimage right now.Regardless ofwhat happens in the fol-
lowing two weeks,I believethat we will get to know each other even
betterthan we alreadydo and who knows,maybewe‘ll even reach this
damned cityof Santiago.If nothing else it would deﬁnitelymake fora
good story and as awriterthatwould be a win in mybook.
Btw don't worry,I've shown this description to Jo
and he thinks it's very funny. Self-awareness is
one of his better qualities
Going the Camino de Santiago has been a
dream of mine for several years. It is a weird
feeling now that the moment has come, but I
am very excited at the same time.
Look, we even put ourselves
#joke (please don‘t sue us)
Are we really sure about
this? Whatever, we‘ll be ﬁne!
Distance walked during training:
Wedidn‘t alwayskeep track,but about 100 km
Distance from Porto to Santiago:
About 260 km
Catching ourﬂight to Porto!
What have we learned so far?
Weare just as surprised as prettymuch everyone else that this is
Jo & I have never been on holiday together.
Is it madness to take someone like him with
me on the Camino? Probably, but then again
most people already think I have at least
some degree of madness and as a writer I
have always considered this a compliment
In terms of ﬁrst daysI think wehad one of the best possible.The
ﬂight to Portowent really well and at the airportwe were greeted by
the ﬁrst friendlyface of this pilgrimage: Miguel,ourdriver.Hewas
supernice and told us a lot about the citythat he clearly holds dear
in his heart.Even during this ﬁrst interaction,I began to understand
what people meant,when theytalk about the openness & friendliness
of the Portuguese people.Thiswould be proven to me again laterthat
evening,when we dined at“AEscola“restaurant.Our mainwaitress,
Sarah,was such a delight and immediatelyI felt a warmth towards
mysurroundings that I hadvery much missed these last couple of
years.Porto as a city