The Scallop Shell

If you’ve ever been on the Camino, or seen movies about it, or watched Busted Halo® videos about it, or even purchased the Busted Halo® Camino hat, then you know that one iconic image associated with this popular pilgrimage is the scallop shell.

the "mile" marker from kilometer 86 of the Camino

Why? Well for starters it’s prevalently found on the shores of Galicia, the part of Northern Spain that contains Santiago de Compostela.  And though there are heavy mythologies surrounding it’s association with the pilgrimage, it may have nothing more to do with St. James than just simply being a convenient (and practical) tool for travelers a thousand years ago.  Because of it’s shape, it could be utilized as both a plate to hold food, as well as sort of a cup or glass to hold aid a pilgrim in drinking water from nearby streams or rivers.  And today, it’s most conventional usage is probably as a nifty souvenir for modern pilgrims, (watch out family and friends, you may have some shells in your future.)

But here’s something weird.  Knowing about the Camino symbol, and greatly anticipating my upcoming journey to northern Spain to take the hike, the day I departed for Madrid I began seeing this symbol everywhere.  Here’s a little taste…  Buon Camino!

at the dollar store picking up a cheap pair of sunglasses the day I left (which i subsequently lost as soon as i arrived in Spain)
walking past some garbage on the streets of Brooklyn


even on my walk to catch the subway to the airport