31 May 2023
The People of GO are truly remarkable! This is the story of Stefano, who recently returned from his pilgrimage, the Camino de Compostela. This sacred historical and spiritual journey traces its roots back to the Middle Ages, and to this day draws pilgrims to the landscapes and treasures of northern Spain.
Stefano had so many stories to share about this transformative experience, that has surely left a mark on his life. Join us as we delve into the depths of his pilgrimage, uncovering its challenges and rewards. Through his lens, we’ll explore the preparation and planning required for the pilgrimage, and the experiences Stefano and his group faced along the way.
Lace up your boots, grab your pilgrim’s passport, and join us on this journey along the Camino de Compostela, where every step taken leads to a greater understanding of oneself and the world around us.
Who is Stefano?
I have been working with GO for the past 17 years. I am passionate about technology and ensuring our customers have the best solutions to cater for their needs and invest their time at growing their business. Through my current role as a Business Relationship Senior Executive, I get the chance to see our customers grow and I feel great pride in seeing them succeed.
Outside of work you’ll find me jogging or looking for a new destination to visit. I enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures a lot.
What inspired you to take part in the Camino de Compostela?
I remember a few months ago a friend of mine mentioning SiGMA Foundation’s Camino de Santiago challenge, and it got me interested. Apart from a goal to walk 120km, the group aimed to raise funds for those in need in Ethiopia and successfully managed to reach approximately €50,000. This experience was a great opportunity to challenge myself, try something I have never done before and explore new places.
How did you prepare for the journey?
To prepare for the Camino, we were training at least 3-4 days a week with short walks between 10km to 12km, and roughly between 16km to 25km during the weekend. What helped the most was the fact that we were a group, and we were able to make it a fun experience despite how tiring it sometimes was.
What was the most challenging part of the Camino?
We walked approximately 120 kilometres, covered over a period of five days. I think despite all the training, the consecutive days of walking and the elevation of height in just five days can be really challenging.
Did you encounter any memorable or interesting characters along the way?
Whenever possible, we tried to interact with everyone along the way. I am sure we’ll be keeping in touch with a few of them in the future.
What were some of the highlights of the Camino experience?
A highlight worth sharing was when we arrived at Portomarin on the 2nd day of our journey. The view of the bridge and whole city behind it was memorable. I couldn’t not mention the scenery and passing through the small villages along the route. Finally, the standout moment for me was the arrival at the Cathedral after completing the challenge.
Did you face any unexpected difficulties during the pilgrimage?
Undertaking a pilgrimage of this magnitude is not without its challenges, however, despite the journey, we were fortunate enough to avoid one common obstacle that affects many pilgrims—blisters. Instead, my determination was what pushed me forward, even with a sprained ankle.
How did you find the overall sense of community and camaraderie among fellow pilgrims?
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Camino de Compostela is the sense of community along the route. We were 27 of us in total, and while everyone had their own pace, we formed smaller groups to tackle the path together, share stories, and have fun doing so.
Did you have any significant moments of self-reflection during the Camino?
The Camino de Compostela has long been regarded as a transformative pilgrimage. Through this experience I learnt that with proper training and the right mindset, anything can be accomplished.
Would you recommend the Camino de Compostela to others, and if so, what advice would you give them?
Definitely! Training, having the right equipment, as well as preparation, is key to ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable pilgrimage.
How did GO support you?
GO sponsored part of the donation campaign, and through the efforts of Elaine, Senior Manager – GO Business, my colleagues managed to raise a significant amount of funds. This unexpected support was immensely appreciated and will go a long way in assisting in the construction of a new school for children in need.
The funds raised will support SiGMA Foundation’s ongoing charitable missions, and will focus on the Women Empowerment Project in Jimma-Bonga, Ethiopia. Further details can be found here.
As we reach the end of this blog, we want to take a moment to thank our colleague for sharing his remarkable journey along the Camino de Compostela. Through the many stories we’ve heard and seen online, what stands out are the resilience in the face of unexpected obstacles, the deep sense of community among the pilgrims, and the ability the Camino de Compostela has on people’s lives.
Stefano, your bravery, determination, and willingness to embrace this adventure have inspired us all!