When I came back from my first long hike on the Camino de Santiago, friends and family would politely ask, “how was your trip?” If you, too, have walked part of the Camino or come home from some other big adventure, you understand the dilemma. I could give a short, trite, insufficient answer. It was … More Why Your Friends at Home Don’t Care About Your Camino
Need something to listen to on these long winter nights (especially for those of you in the Pacific Northwest, facing another week of being snowed in*)? My interview with Out There Podcast about walking a thousand miles on the Camino de Santiago released this week. Last December, a radio producer came to my apartment and held a … More New Podcast with Out There: On Being a Secular Pilgrim and a Non-Outdoorsy Hiker
I’ve written about a lot of things on this blog over the past three years, but I’m not sure I’ve ever gone back to the basics and explained how I got here in the first place. (Or if I did, it was so long ago and is so buried in the archives that it’s worth … More Why I Walked the Camino de Santiago
When people ask me why I took a three-month sabbatical from my life in 2015 to walk the Camino de Santiago, I try to describe the sense of burnout and mental exhaustion I was feeling. Postmodern adulting had burned me to a crisp, destroyed my attention span, and left me far too attached to my … More Is Walking the Camino Going to be the Status Symbol of 2019?
The 13th-century stone bridge of Hospital de Órbigo is 200 meters long and boasts twenty arches, which now mostly rest on bare ground now that a dam blocks much of the Orbigo River, but the bridge survives because of the Camino-worthy legend of Don Suero de Quiñones. … More The Bridge of Hospital de Órbigo
Pobeña to Castro Urdiales: 15 km Castro Urdiales to Liendo: 25 km “I’d forgotten this part of Camino life,” I wrote in my journal on the 9th day of walking. “When the magic becomes normal, the feeling that walking is the way that I live now. The steady pattern of walk-eat-sleep-repeat. Take care of your feet. … More Camino del Norte, Days 9-10: Cantabria
Bario Ibiri to Monasterio de Zenarruza: 27 km The final stretch of trail to Zenarruza was steep and paved in what’s called the “original road,” which may look pretty, but any Camino pilgrim will tell you is the absolute worst thing to walk on. Cobblestones are uneven, sinking over time into an ankle-breaking, knee-destroying obstacle … More Camino del Norte, Day 5: The Monastery
After 21 days (and 21 beds) of travel, I’m home from my third trip to the Camino de Santiago, this time along the Camino del Norte. I’m brutally jetlagged after the 10-hour flight from Paris, but wanted to share some initial impressions before I get lost in the madness of re-entry. (I also need a … More Camino del Norte: First Impressions
On the Monday after Easter three years ago, Eric and I arrived in Paris after an overnight flight. We took a train to Lyon, and then another one to Le Puy-en-Velay, one of the oldest starting points of the Way of Saint James, according to the twelfth-century guide for pilgrims—considered one of the earliest travel … More Le Puy-En-Velay
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?