In November 2019, William & Mary University (Williamsburg, Virginia, USA) invited me to be a week-long visiting scholar due to my life's work associated with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. For my main event I wrote a play called "LIVE from the Camino" following two pilgrims as they walk the Camino with and without mobile devices. Here is the video of the talk and play.
Video of Nancy’s talk: LIVE from the Camino:
Walking the Camino de Santiago in the Digital Age
(13 Nov 2019, W&M Univ)
By Nancy L. Frey, PhD
In November 2019, William & Mary University (Williamsburg, Virginia, USA) invited me to be a week-long visiting COLL300 scholar due to my long academic, professional and personal relationship with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. During the week I was there I engaged with students in classroom situations, organized tech-free walks with different themes around campus and had one main talk at the Commonwealth Center. For my main event I wrote a theater play called "LIVE from the Camino: Walking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage in the Digital Age in 7 Vignettes" following two pilgrims as they walk the Camino with and without mobile devices to help viewers to imagine and become aware of how our dependence and relationship to tech devices significantly impact our experiences of ourselves and others. In the main talk, I was also asked to talk about my own life on the Camino. At the heart of my talk is the idea that "Life is a Camino" a journey that we are all on and walking the Camino de Santiago can be a powerful way to gain personal insight into our own life's journey. This video incorporates an Intro to my life on the Camino, the contemporary rise of the Camino de Santiago and then the play performed by Prof. Elizabeth Wiley's Presence and Performance theater class. Here is the link to Text PDF, the talk and Slide Show, and Live from the Camino Podcast.
The video is long. To help facilitate listening I’ve broken down the video into segments and themes.
0:00-:25 - Professor of Govt, Director Center for Liberal Arts, Chris Nemacheck introduction to COLL300 visitor
00:25-2:31 - Professor of Sociology and Director of Pilgrimage Institute, Kathleen Jenkins introduction of Nancy L. Frey, PhD
2:33-14 - Nancy's personal introduction, thank you to Professor of Anthropology Nelson Graburn, and discussion of her 27 year relationship with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
14:05-15 - COLL300 Theme of Human Movement, Pilgrimage and Life is a Camino
15-19:10 - Introduction and Background to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and its 20th and 21st C revival
19:10-20:54 The Power of Nature and Walking as Healing Tools
20:54-21:45 - Contemporary Angst among Pilgrims to Compostela: Stress and Anxiety
21:45-22:40 The Impact of Digital Technologies and the Loss of Restorative Disconnection in the 21st C
22:45-25:15 Introduction to the Play and Pilgrimage as a Rite of Passage
25:15-26:57 The Play: LIVE From the Camino: Walking the Camino de Santiago in the Digital Age in 7 Vignettes. Our Pilgirims
26:57- 33:10 Vignette 1: Leaving Home. "It's like you never leave home mentally."
33:10-38:28 Vignette 2: Being Where You Are - "Why do we want to be here on the Camino and some place else at the same time?"
38:30-44:58 Vignette 3: In the Albergue - Tech Time vs. Being Anchored to the Present Moment
45-49:10 Vignette 4: Getting Lost - "Getting lost can be about finding ourselves." "Both our mental legs and physical legs atrophy without use."
49:15-55:29 Vignette 5: Power of Solitude - "What appears to free us can beome our mental shackles to self-knowledge and growth as we build invisible walls around ourselves with our tech."
55:35-59:05 Vignette 6: Silently Creating Memories - "Do I have to prove I'm having a good Camino [via social media] to have a good Camino?"
59:11 - 1:02,07 Vignette 7: The Return - "If you already have created the virtual version of your Camino for your virtual audience, it is not necessary to share or remember the journey in the same way."
1:02,07-1:04,40 Conclusion - We are living in a Data Flow Tsunami. "Do you want to be the driver or the pasenger in your life?" "Sometimes life asks us to be brave."
1:04,40-1:22 Question & Answer from the Audience: Students from the audience asked questions "live" to me. This format was unusual for them as they are accustomed to anonymously asking questions via social media in this type of talk. I asked them to go live to express themselves face to face and not hide behind their screens.