There are many ways to honor a loved one after they pass. Some people keep a special item to remind them of their loved one. Some people get meaningful tattoos. And some people look for ways to bring them closer to their loved ones even after their passing. One of the more common ways this is done is through commemorative travel.
What is Commemorative Travel?
Commemorative travel is a way to honor someone by visiting a location significant to that person. It can be visiting somewhere that person dreamt of traveling to, a place with a fond memory of that person, or a destination of great significance to their loved one. It invites an opportunity to feel deeply connected while processing grief.
How Does One Embark on a Commemorative Trip?
In 2010, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez starred in The Way, a film about a father taking a commemorative pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in honor of his deceased son. The Camino de Santiago is a spiritual and physical journey in which travelers, or pilgrims, walk through Spain. Many paths lead to Santiago, with the most popular covering 500 miles. People take to the Camino de Santiago for many reasons, but in memory of a loved one is a common theme amongst pilgrims because of the opportunity for quiet reflection and meaningful connection.
The Impact of Commemorative Travel
“I walked a Camino in 2016 for my daughter Lindsay who had breast cancer,” Shared Patti H. “She fought it for 12 years before we lost her. She was amazingly strong and smart. She and I bought glass hearts which I carried to [a sentimental place on the Camino de Santiago].”
“I walked in memory of my sweet husband who died of brain cancer at just 58,” Katy B reflected. “He was the funniest, kindest, and best guy – loved by everyone, especially me. I passed out cards with a photo of a tree growing out of rock. It had the caption ‘You Can’t’ shouted the rock, ‘Just Watch Me’ whispered the tree. I wanted to encourage people to remember that even when things seem impossible, like moving forward in grief, we’re stronger than we think. Just like the tree.”
“I walked part of the Camino in honor of my husband who passed away from pancreatic cancer,” Patrice A shared. “His name is on my Compostela [certificate of completion] under mine.”
“I walked in memory of my mom who passed away from cancer,” Carolyn B said. “I arrived in Santiago one year to the day after I last talked to her and saw her smile. The Camino was for her, but I dedicated each day to family and friends who helped me through the incredibly painful year.”
Consider a Commemorative Trip
Commemorative travel allows those grieving a unique opportunity to process their grief and commence their own healing journey. Whether this meaningful travel is across the ocean to the Camino de Santiago or a quiet beach just down the road, the opportunity to pause, reflect, and accept can undoubtedly be life-changing.
How Your Commemorative Trip Can Impact Cancer Research
Fill your frequent flyer account with miles that make a difference! Gifts made through NFCR’s Fly to Find a Cure program help accelerate research that benefits cancer patients. In return, you will receive airline miles to help you book that commemorative trip! The result is a beautiful tribute that honors a cancer thriver in your life in more ways than one.
Visit the Fly to Find a Cure webpage to view NFCR’s airline programs and make a donation.