Raphael Rowe is a reporter for The One Show on BBC One. He joined the BBC in 2001 as a reporter for BBC Radio 4’s news programme Today and went on to report on BBC One's flagship current affairs television programme Panorama for many years.
What were you hoping to experience travelling the famous medieval pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago?
I wanted to experience a challenge like I have never encountered before. The physical and mental ask of walking the Camino provides just that and the restrictions, in terms of belongings and accommodation, made the adventure an exciting and bonding experience. I also wanted to see and feel what many others had felt and seen travelling this pilgrimage.
The one thing that really surprised me about myself was my ignorance about religion and faith and its historical importance
What was your favourite moment of the journey?
There were many moments where I enjoyed the company of my fellow pilgrims - like the night we slept in an open field. But it was the chance encounters with strangers that provided my favourite moments. Hearing their stories of why they had embarked on such a challenge gave me hope and inspiration.
What was the most challenging aspect?
The long-distance walks uphill proved to be the most challenging. Carrying all of my belongings from pillar to post also proved hard and tiring. For someone who enjoys their own solitude it was also quite a challenge to remain positive and determined alongside my fellow pilgrims for the duration of our journey together.
Did the pilgrimage impact on your own beliefs about faith?
The pilgrimage reinforced my belief that faith is a personal journey that comes in many different shapes and sizes and is not only about one's religious beliefs. The journey left me as confused about religion and faith as I felt before I started the journey.
What was the most surprising thing you learned - either about the people you met, the places you visited or yourself?
The one thing that really surprised me about myself was my ignorance about religion and faith and its historical importance. I was inspired by the many different people I met along the way and the many different reasons they embarked on such a journey. I was empowered by the stories of those who were forced to travel the pilgrimage many years ago and presently, be they convicts, searchers of faith, spiritual enlightenment or simple fitness.