In 2007 when I was traveling to Bordeaux from Lisbon by train, a Portuguese man in his 70’s and I shared a compartment. He told me all about his journey, how every 5 years he would walk the Camino in search of a future direction. That the 800 km walk allowed him to explore his life and that he would return with clarity and conviction on how he should live. This was to be his 8th time across Spain. I thought about that man and his journey over the years and promised myself I would take the journey into myself and see where it led.
I began my first walk on the Camino de Santiago on April 20th 2014 from Saint Jean Pied De Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. It began by training for a couple of years, after knee surgeries and two-foot surgeries I was out of shape, overweight and felt really old. I needed to feel like an athlete again, so I began working out daily, walking along the waterfront and transformed myself. I walked the Camino because I can!!
When I began the walk I met people doing it for the second, third or tenth time. I thought they were nuts! By the end of the 4th week I understood, this was something I would also continue to do. So, I walked the Portuguese Camino beginning in Porto in 2016. In 2017 it was the Via Algarviana, from the Spanish border to Sagres in Southwestern Portugal. Next, more of the Portuguese Camino between Lisbon and Porto, the Le Puy from a small town in Provance to SJPP and others around Europe.
Since 2014 my life has taken a few twists and turns. I realize how little I actually need to be happy and fulfilled. For 35 days I carried everything I needed in a 26-liter backpack. I lost over 20 pounds and came back healthier than I have been since my 20’s. I continue to walk about 30 miles a week.
Additionally, walking is spiritual. Guided by my interest in the world, history, and the built and natural beauty. Feeding an obsession with architectural history and stone ruins. I am photographing my walk between the medieval villages along the way, take their images and tell their stories.
The sectional map shows the various stages of the Camino Francis and the elevational changes along the way. I’m glad I live in Seattle and climb hills frequently!