Video: Northeast Mississippi Man Completes 500 Mile Spiritual Pilgrimage

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – As Max Holman prepares for a teaching job in Madison, he will be taking a few items for his classroom. A framed map shows the path he took on the Camino de Santiago.

“The walk literally means the Way of St James. The point of the entire walk is to reach where the body of St James is believed to be resting, underneath a big cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain,” Holman said.

Holman began the 500 mile walk June first in France and completed the pilgrimage June 30th.

Along the way the 24 year old stayed in hostels, saw reminders of Tupelo’s most famous son, and made a lot of friends.

“There’s thousands upon thousands of people who make this pilgrimage, from all parts of the world, at all different stages of life, so you’re bound to run into a lot of people,” he said.

For much of the walk, Max was alone. Although he excelled at track in high school, the Camino de Santiago was much tougher than he expected.

“The first week or so was very rough, because physically I hadn’t done anything like that. Walking, half a marathon is one thing, but then when you put 15 to 20 pounds of crap on your back, and start walking like a turtle it changes things, so when you are packing your bag, you think, do I absolutely need this, or do I not need this,” he said.

Max learned the importance of packing light, taking only a few changes of clothes, food , water and a guidebook.

He says he discovered valuable life lessons along the way.

“I learned that even the best prepared plans can go to crap, and to really focus on what’s important life. Back home, before doing this I might get really annoyed and mad, if I lost something and I had to be like, ok, as long as I have these most important things with me, the other stuff is just trivial,” Holman said.

Holman, who is Catholic, says the walk also strengthened his faith. He will be teaching high school Spanish at St Joseph Catholic School and would like to organize a pilgrimage for his students.

“I think it’s a great thing, regardless of what religion, ethnicity you come from, it’s a great time, to really think about things going on in your life,” Holman concluded.

Holman began researching and preparing for his walk back in December.

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