The Abbey

The photos last week caught my attention. The chapel, covered in snow. The lone pilgrim, covered in a poncho but soldiering on. I knew this place, and the people who guarded pilgrims along this stretch of road. Although when I’d passed by, the sky was grey and full of rain, not snow. From Walking to … More The Abbey

The Ugly American

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a story that will be in Walking to the End of the World. Linda, my developmental editor who was generally right about everything, expressed some concern about keeping this anecdote in the final book. She worried that it would make me seem too critical and would turn readers … More The Ugly American

Is There a New American Pilgrimage Trail?

A few years ago, if you’d asked me about pilgrimages, I would have had to dig back into history. The word pilgrimage seemed archaic, more appropriate for Chaucer than the twenty-first century, and carrying a backpack for days wasn’t my thing. After I fell in love with the Camino de Santiago, though, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon* … More Is There a New American Pilgrimage Trail?

Cows of the Camino

When our thousand-mile Camino trek ended, Eric and I took a train east, from Santiago to Irun. The hills of Galicia and then the plains of the Meseta sped by in a blur of landscapes without details. This was the only way I’d seen the world for years, I realized, from moving metal boxes that … More Cows of the Camino

The Surprising Story Behind the Sculpture on Alto del Perdón

Twelve kilometers after Pamplona, past the fields of grasses splashed with red poppies (or the fields of dry dirt, depending on the time of year), the crumbling monasteries, and the towering hay bales, and up a steep set of switchbacks, the Camino Frances arrives at Alto de Perdón, the Mount of Forgiveness.   I’ve stood … More The Surprising Story Behind the Sculpture on Alto del Perdón

My Camino Miracle

Happy 2018! I’m so excited to finally be able to say “my book releases this year.” To celebrate, I want to share one of the most meaningful memories of my Camino journey. It happened on the infamous Day I Walked Over the Pyrenees. As soon as we crossed the Nive River, the road started to … More My Camino Miracle

The Monastery of Light

Laurel and I stopped for the night in Azofra, a tiny town between Logroño and Burgos. The town’s major claim to Camino fame is that the municipal albergue has two-person cubicles AND a fountain in the courtyard where pilgrims can soak tired feet. When we arrived, our new friend, John, mentioned that Azofra offered another … More The Monastery of Light