He felt amazing physically, full of energy and joyful as could be as he made his journey to the top of the hill. When he got to the top, his spouse left him and encouraged him to mediate. Sixty seconds later, Martin was sitting down in deep thought and tears began to run down his face.
“There was something incredibly therapeutic about this. I didn’t realize that those things were weighing me down, I’ve been just so happy,” Martin said. “Just, at that point, sitting down to mediate was enough to bring up a ton of things and that happened over and over again although that was probably the most powerful experience.”
Martin went through this chilling experience during one of the three separate occasions when he took a summer trip over the Atlantic Ocean and hiked the Camino de Santiago, a various group of pilgrimage trials in Spain and all across Europe that dates back thousands of years. Along the way, he was able to take photos of countryside’s, cathedral’s and everything in between.
Martin first heard about hiking the Camino while finishing the Appalachian Trail about five years ago. About a dozen or so hikers raved about the experience, so Martin finally decided to make plans to see what all the fuss was about.
“I figured after about a dozen, the universe was trying to tell me something,” said Martin. “But I didn’t know when I was going to do it. It was during a time of, I don’t know why, a lot of personal stress… Some things came together and it was actually during meditation that I felt called to hike it the following summer. It was a very powerful call. I just knew the time had come and after I decided to hike, which was in fact that very same day. I felt this sense of peace that never left me. I knew anything else in my life might fall apart, but I knew I was going to hike the Camino. There was something really wonderful, really assuring about that.”
The hike gave him a chance to add in another one of his passions, photography. He knew the Camino would offer great chances for him to capture some breathtaking views, even calling it a photographer’s dreamland.
“I discovered photography about nine years ago now. It took me by surprise,” said Martin. “It was a passion. An unsuspected passion that just exploded in my life when I bought my first DSLR camera. It hasn’t left me since and I am still travelling all around the world taking pictures of everything.”
In May and June of 2016, Martin finally hiked the Camino De Santiago, the English equivalent to the “Way of Saint James”. He hiked what is the most popular trail, the Camino Frances, sometimes known as the French Way. He started out in a town called St. Jean Pied de Port in France and eventually made his way across northern Spain. The 600-mile route turned out to be life changing.
“Hiking the Camino were five of the most truly joyful and enlightening weeks of my life on so many levels,” said Martin. “Actually, I met my soul mate on the second day of the Camino (in 2016)… She was called just as powerfully as I was. It just seemed like destiny brought us together.”
Martin, as well as his soul-mate, have gone back and hiked four more trails of the Camino. In May and June of 2017, they hiked the Camino Primitivo, Camino San Salvador, and Camino dos Fors. A year later, they completed the northern way, the Camino del Norte.
The feeling of a higher level of being that it creates for individuals and the revelation of inner parts of being that they didn’t know existed keeps hikers coming back year after year, said Martin. Additionally, the hike allows you to be with others without the interruptions of the many things people see as necessities in today’s day and age.
“It’s really cool that people from totally different backgrounds can all come together and break bread and drink wine together. It’s like this microcosm of world peace,” said Martin. “You know, you spend long hours without the distraction of TV or anything else so people get into deep conversations. It’s amazing how quickly intimacy can flourish between total strangers.”
Starting on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., the extra weight of the tripods and filters he carried around will be worth it, as 40 of his photos will be displayed at the Center of Innovation and Growth. The exhibit will be open until the end of February.
One individual who is looking forward to the display is Dr. Denise Kohn, chair of the English Department.
“I’m thrilled that Terry’s new work will be on exhibit in the spring. His photography captures the intricate and lush beauty of nature, allowing me to see the world afresh in startling ways,” said Kohn. “His work combines both image and text-his descriptions are prose poems that add further meaning to the photographs he creates.”