When we first set out to walk the Way of St James from Le Puy, France, all the way to Santiago and then on to Finisterre, I knew in theory we would need rest days along the way. I understood that a person can’t—well, shouldn’t—walk a thousand miles without stopping to re-fuel now and then. … More The Importance of Rest Days
I started to suspect that I’d been misinformed before we even started walking. At the Pilgrim’s Welcome Gathering in Le Puy-en-Velay, Eric and I struck up a conversation with a friendly French woman who asked how far we would walk the next day. I told her the name of the town where we thought we … More Making Reservations on the Chemin du Puy (the Le Puy Camino)
What is it like to walk the Via Podiensis, the Le Puy Camino? I’m starting to gather my thoughts and my notes for a talk I’ll give at the American Pilgrims on the Camino Gathering of Pilgrims next month in Asheville, and I keep coming back to the story of this day, which happened on … More A Day on the Chemin du Puy: Saint-Côme d’Olt
Three years ago today, Eric and I woke before dawn, pulled on backpacks and hiking clothes that still felt awkward, and walked out of Le Puy, France, on what would be a 79-day, life-changing trip. And so it’s particularly fitting that today is the day I get to introduce you to the face of Walking to … More Book Cover Reveal!
“People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they … More To Saunter in the Mountains
About a week after leaving Le Puy, it starts to feel almost routine. You follow the red and white stripes of the Chemin de Saint Jacques (the Way of Saint James) along shaded paths, crumbling castles towering above. You enter a village, another one of France’s most beautiful. In this case, you’ve come to Espalion. You … More Scuba Diving the Lot River?
From Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: “Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, … More How You Spend This Afternoon (An Almost Wordless Wednesday)
The walk from Castet to Romieu was 30 kilometers (18 miles), a distance we’d walked before, but longer than I ever wanted to do in a day. We’d looked at the maps, though, and talked to our friends on the trail, and decided that a longer walk day while the weather was good was the … More 3 Camino Mantras for 2017, Part 3: Choose Your Focus
I spent a lot of time last week trying to sort through how to make 2017 into a better year than 2016. Not having an election is obviously a good start, but I’m looking for things that are a little more personal. And my most meaningful, personal lessons came from the 79 days I spent … More 3 Camino Mantras for 2017, Part 2: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose
We woke the next morning to a sound we hadn’t heard since we arrived in France: rain. Lots of rain. Our pod of pilgrims got up reluctantly and geared up for wet weather… … More When It Rains…