on my hike next week you’ll call me a “Peregrina”

 this post is dedicated
with much love and heartfelt thanks to Mr F and my kids
whose love and encouragement helped me go for it….
A pilgrim walking on an journey to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The Camino

Until now I’ve walked once a week on day hikes of five to twelve miles. Next weekend I’m going to Spain to walk two hundred kilometers over eleven days.

Although Mr F and Monte Carlo have been my hiking buddies all year, they aren’t coming with me.I’m going, as I learned to say a few years ago, “with” myself.

I fly there via two cities  beginning with “M’.

I seem to gravitate to cities beginning with “M”…

Manchester, Marseilles, Milan, Monaco
Miami, Montreal, Maputo, Maseru, Mbabane…

Next weekend I’ll add Madrid to my list.

me and my shadow

But I’m not flying about thirteen hours to an airport called “MAD” just to add another “M” to my list.   I’m not that crazy. Or perhaps I am.

A few months ago a Shaman told me my animal totem [according to North American Indians],was a horse.

“A horse?” I exclaimed, “but I’m scared of them. I can’t ride.”

“That’s why the horse is with you, to show you how to face your fear,” she said. “The more you understand your totem, the more you’ll understand your own often hidden abilities.”

Appaloosa horse

I’ve wanted to walk the pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostella for about twenty years, but motherhood, money, and moving countries (more “M‘s”) kept getting in the way of my plans, until about six months ago when my aching limbs reminded me I wasn’t getting any younger, and though Mr F declined the invitation to join me, and my monkey-mind filled my head with fear (such as that I would be doing it alone, and how could I, a person with fibromyalgia even think I could do such a walk blah blah), I knew I couldn’t-shouldn’t-wouldn’t put it off any longer…

The Camino de Santiago (“The Way of Saint James,”) follows a thousand-year pilgrimage route west across northern Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela  where “it is thought” the remains of Jesus’s Apostle Saint James are buried.

  • The word Pilgrimage comes from the Latin ‘pereger‘ for “one who traverses a region.”
  • People journey to pilgrim sites “for the purpose of discharging a religious obligation, or to get some supernatural help or benefit.”
  • In 1189 Pope Alexander III declared Santiag0 de Compostela a Holy City, along with Rome and Jerusalem, and Santiago the patron saint of Spain.
  • Only pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela could result in a plenary indulgence (to free a person from penance due for sins).
  • Pilgrims who arrived in Santiago de Compostela during a Holy Year (when the Dia de Santiago – July 25 – falls on a Sunday) could bypass purgatory.

Pilgrimages were very popular in the middle ages.

Remember Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales?

Written at the end of the 14th century the tales were part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims traveling together on a journey to Canterbury Cathedral.

Chaucer as a Pilgrim from the Ellesmere manuscript.

No American goes to Europe without a Rick Steves guide-book.

His video on the Camino:

You’re wondering why I’m spending all this money to walk along a route I could apparently drive in 2.2 hours (at 55 mph), especially as I’m not Catholic?

I don’t know. I just know I have to do it.

According to the Canadian writer Sue Kenney‘s memoir, “My Camino“:

It is said that pilgrims have been chosen to walk without a clear understanding of why they are there, often guided by a higher source.

There are many routes to Santiago. To walk the seven-hundred-and-fifty kilometers of the Camino Francés (above) the most popular route,  takes about four to six weeks.

As I only get three weeks leave, I’m walking the last part of the French route with a group led by Sue Kenney (whom I haven’t met).

my hiking boots

A few days ago a hymn that I haven’t thought of since I sang it at school over fifty years ago entered my head. I remembered the tune and thought I was mistaken thinking the song included a line “To be a pilgrim.”

Maddy Prior sings a beautiful version ….

John Bunyan’s hymn ‘To Be A Pilgrim’ – also known as ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’ – is sung here as ‘Who Would True Valour See’ by Maddy Prior accompanied by The Carnival Band recorded circa 1994.


“To be a Pilgrim”  the only hymn written by John Bunyan, first appeared in Part 2 of Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan wrote it in 1684 while he was serving a twelve-year sentence in Bedford Gaol (for re­fus­ing to con­form to the of­fi­cial state church). The hymn recalls the words of Hebrews 11:13: “…and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

The hymn’s refrain “to be a pilgrim” has entered the language and has been used in the title of a number of books dealing with pilgrimage in a literal or spiritual sense.

Of course I’ll be singing it while I walk.

If you’re still interested to know more about the Camino, the following is a short documentary by Joel Addams on what it means to hike the Camino.


By the way as I’ll be carrying my home on my back during my pilgrimage, for obvious reasons my backpack won’t include a laptop, which means my blog will  be dark for the few weeks I’m away.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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51 Responses to on my hike next week you’ll call me a “Peregrina”

  1. Mahalia says:

    What a beautiful announcement of your pilgrimage! I love the pic of you and your shadow. Yes, to going “with” yourself. And, buen camino!

    • dearrosie says:

      You’re the first person to wish me buen camino! Muchas gracias Mahalia.
      Very glad to know you like the photo of me and my shadow. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to “read” it.

      Going somewhere “with” yourself gives you permission to talk out loud.

  2. Boris says:

    On the journey of life we open gates and choose a path whose end we can not see, not knowing fully the reason for our choice, only that we do so with bravery and hope and belief in a cherished destination.
    Brava, Rosie la Peregrina!

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you dear Boris for your lovely message. You’re the first person to call me la Peregrina,. I must say I like the sound of it.

      We are always opening gates and choosing paths on our life’s journey. I’m grateful to have your support that I’ll reach the finish line.

  3. Good luck with this adventure. I’ve been to Santiago de Compostela but I didn’t walk there!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Andrew,
      My goodness you’ve been all over Spain and have shared so much about your travels with us that it’s a thrill for me to know I’m going to be doing something in Spain before you.

      I believe Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful city.
      I loved your post about Plaza Mayor!

  4. Lynn says:

    You are amazing, my friend! Good Luck and enjoy your adventure.
    I would be so happy if indeed your next pilgrimage will be to Jerusalem!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for your nice wishes dear friend. I hope-hope-hope to come to Jerusalem next year. Please and thank you….
      Funny that takes me right back to my childhood because every year my father would tell my Mom “Next year in Jerusalem….” When I went with them to Jerusalem they’d been married almost 30 years.

  5. magsx2 says:

    I have never heard of this walk, how fascinating, and good on you for wanting to do this. It sounds an amazing thing to do going by the videos. I’m sure you are going to thoroughly enjoy yourself, and I just know you will meet some wonderful people as well.
    I wish you all the very best in your adventure, and will be looking forward to hearing about it all when you get back. 😀
    Oh and I love the dedication you put at the top of the post as well, very nice.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Mags
      I’m amazed and delighted that you hadn’t heard of the Camino. It’s not often that you don’t know something. Thank you for your nice wishes.
      If I find an internet cafe I’m not going to spend the afternoon writing a blog! I’ll write ALL about the Camino when I get back.

      Thank you for noticing the dedication. I am a very lucky wife and mother.

  6. E fullstop says:

    There are major “naches” being felt for you from Down Under right now. Go forth and relish that unexplainable urge! You are inspiring to us all, and I know that there is a special group of your friends and loved ones who will be there with you even when you walk alone. What a beautiful and sublime way to connect with the past, present and future, with the land, with whatever that higher existence is…and most of all, with oneself.

    I will think of you as J and explore New Zealand during the same time you are on the Camino.

    From Sydney with love.

    • dearrosie says:

      To Sydney with love 🙂

      Muchas gracias for your very lovely message e fullstop, I didn’t expect a comment from you all the way from Australia and I thank you taking time away from your vacation to write here dear friend.

      After reading Shirley MacLaine’s book on her walk on the Camino I’m ready for anything and everything! Oh my…

      Happy tramping in New Zealand.

  7. Kathy says:

    This is truly amazing! So inspiring! Honoring your pilgrimage so much. May the divine guide your feet deeper into yourself. I am thinking about how I was taught that a horse represents power and freedom. The power to awaken, to find one’s way to the freedom which we already are. May the horse guide you on the path the sacred beckons.

    • Kathy says:

      Wishing there was a “love” button to push.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Kathy,
      Thank you for this beautiful comment. I love your sentence “may the divine guide your feet deeper into yourself.” wow that’s powerful. I will think of those words while I’m walking.
      And also love that the horse represents power and freedom! Beautiful. I’m ready. I feel as if I’ve been asleep all these years and am slowly waking up. With the help of the horse I accept all that beckons…

  8. To accept a challenge is what life is all about. Had you not done this, I imagine the regret would outweigh overcoming the fear of going alone or the worry of the pain. I sit in awe of your commitment to see this to fruition and wish you the very best along the journey.

    • dearrosie says:

      Even though I’ve never met you EOS and don’t know what you look like (though I am honored to know your *real* name) you are an amazing supportive friend. I thank for this great outpouring of love, wisdom and good wishes for my journey.

      If fear keeps us from accepting the challenges that get thrown at us we’ll never grow into that person we could be

  9. Oh Rosie — I wish you a FABULOUS time on your peregrination pilgrimage!! I will be thinking of you when I’m making my own pilgrimage to Cameroon, and we’re both flying, walking, exploring … it sounds like an AMAZING thing to do and I think you are both gutsy & wonderful to go for it!! And p.s. you have the cutest hiking boots ever .. I’m so jealous!!! xoxooxox b
    AND Happy Mother’s Day — what a great gift from Mr. F & your darling kids!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Betty,
      You too are an amazing supportive friend I’ve never met, yet feel so close to.

      You’re also a gutsy wonderful woman. I’m sure you’re facing lots of fear on the journeys you’re doing this year. I can imagine that a trip to Cameroon must involve a certain amount of trepidation and what ifs… Safe travels!

      Apparently people get nicknames on the hike and I think I’m going to be called the L.A. “fashionista” because of the purple boots. They are fun eh?
      I had to try six different boots before I found one that had enough room in the toe bed and on the top for my high arch .etc etc oy vay it was a nightmare.
      Many grateful thanks to REI who take back boots that don’t fit, and the kind woman in Colorado who tried to help me find a pair of Scarpa boots (which are still made in Europe by Italians) that would fit. They are wonderful but I didn’t have enough time to wear them in!

  10. shoreacres says:

    When I quit my nice, secure, socially-acceptable job to sail from Hawaii to Alaska, I had no idea (1) what it would be like, or (2) what I would do when it was over. As it turned out, it was wonderful, and it was the beginning of a whole new life. Since part of that new life included starting my own business (a girl has to eat, somehow!) I’ve occasionally forgotten how much freedom I really do have. Your peregrination reminds me that freedom still is mine, even though I have neither the money nor time for such an extraordinary adventure.

    It’s a fact- when we’re overcome by that feeling that we “must” do something, we’d better get with it, or that regret will be real!

    • dearrosie says:

      I didn’t know you’d quit your job to sail from Hawaii to Alaska. I can just imagine what a life-changing adventure that must’ve been for you.
      Thank you for sharing the story. You have had such an interesting life Linda. It’s good to know others who have followed their heart and taken their freedom and good too to hear that you don’t regret it.

      My kids predict that I’ll come back from the Camino ready for a whole new life and one where I’ll be reclaiming my freedom. I’m ready and willing. 🙂

      I could so easily have not gone on the trip because of the “m” for money part….especially now….

  11. Corilee says:

    I’m so excited for you Rosie!! have an *awesome* trip, those beautiful boots will help you go miles 🙂 lots of love, and look forward the blog posts about it……..

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello dear Corilee,
      Thank you for your comment. I’ll be taking you good wishes in my back pocket!

      Ah my beautiful boots. As I mentioned to Betty (above) I have a feeling I’m going to be known as “la fashionista from California” because of my footwear 🙂

  12. sybiln says:

    Have a wonderful adventure !

    I look forward to hearing all about it.

  13. How exciting Rosie! Have an absolutely wonderful time…of course you will! You are quite the adventurer. You will have wonderful things to share when you come home, and I will be so eager to see photos. You are quite a surprise 🙂 Good for you! Debra

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Debra,
      Thanks for your lovely encouraging wishes. I bought a new memory card for my camera, and I’m charging the batteries now – I’ve got two because I’ve heard it’s not easy to get “plug” time in the hostels where pilgrims stay and I hope that’s enough. When we were traveling in South Africa last year I missed wonderful photo ops more than once because my camera battery died 😦

      I think when I get back from my adventure it will be time for us to meet. Don’t you think so?

  14. I wish all the best in your pilgrimage. I believe all of us should experience one at least once in our lifetime. It’s a great way to reconnect to our faith. To feed our soul. To experience a religious journey of faith, love, simplicity and humility. I’m happy for you. beautiful post with amazing images. Thanks.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello IT
      I really appreciate your words of wisdom and support in your comment and will take them with me on my pilgrimage. Thank you.
      It is, as you said, so important to feed our souls and experience a journey of faith even if we’re not religious, but most of us don’t realize that in time.

  15. Priya says:

    This is absolutely awe-inspiring, Rosie. I am so very happy for you. I kept wishing you a happy Spanish sun and little did I know that it’s going to be just that — you won’t even have to try.

    Very sweet of Mr. F and your children to tell you it’s quite the time to do it now. I read the post a number of times to find out exactly why you wanted to do this particular trek. Is there are reason, dare I ask?

    Be well, and sing the lovely hymn. How long is each walk going to be? Will you get bored alone? What will you carry for food? Gosh, I have so many questions. But I am glad you showed us the hiking boots. They look very sturdy and responsible. I can relax about that bit.

    • dearrosie says:

      I discovered there are several comments I haven’t answered. Yours included. Many apologies Priya.

      You ask why I wanted to walk along a route I could drive in a couple of hours?

      I can only repeat what I said above “I don’t know. I just knew I had to do it.”

      When you ask “How long is each walk going to be?” Do you mean how many kilometers each day? I think we walked between 15 – 25 km each day

      Food? I carried fruit and yoghurt in my backpack but ate my meals in restaurants.
      My boots were great. They were responsible and looked after me well. I hope I’ve answered your questions in the three posts I’ve done since returning from Spain

  16. bronxboy55 says:

    Please be safe, Rosie, and soak it all in. Also, remember to record some of the funny things you hear people say. You’re the best at reporting those nuggets of humanity. Can’t wait to read all about it!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Charles,
      I don’t know how I missed replying to your comment. Thank you for your good wishes. You’re right that I overheard some interesting, funny things while I was walking. Stay tuned…

  17. Cindy Battaglia says:

    Dear Rosie
    My heart is so happy for you . I am so excited for you . I am so proud of you doing this hike with yourself !!! This is truly a spiritual calling for you .
    Sending you love and strength .
    Hugs Cindy
    Ps thank you for the birthday wishes!!
    I no longer have a long distance calling plan so please call when ever you can 🙂

  18. sirigian says:

    Dear Rosie,
    What a beautiful realization of your dream, Dear. Just you and your Soul–the best “2 for the road”! I love your blog and look forward to hearing more as you progress along your Pilgrim’s Way. I am with you in my heart as you journey on.

    Lots of Love,

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Sirigian,
      Welcome to my blog – I apologize for taking so long to reply. My sincere thanks for your lovely message.

      I was so fortunate to be able to travel with my Soul. She was a great companion.

  19. Heather says:

    Hey I wish you all godspeed on your journey.
    Your hiking boots look very beautiful – I know it was with much focused research that you chose them. I hope they carry you well!
    I will be thinking of you, and those lovey roads and paths. I hope the food is great!!
    Love and hugs

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Heather,
      I apologize for the long delay in replying to your comment. It’s nice to know that you noticed my hiking boots. They did carry me well, and I didn’t get any blisters. The food was mainly simple meals served to pilgrims.

  20. Pingback: Walking in Spain: The Camino to Santiago | Wondering Rose

  21. Pingback: Walking in Spain: follow the yellow arrows on the Camino. | Wondering Rose

  22. aFrankAngle says:

    I know you’re back … but this is a great primer for the next post. The Rick Steve clip is a good one.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Frank,
      Thanks for popping in. I’m glad you started with this post, because it’s good to know the background story, and Rick Steves clip is a good introduction to the Camino and what the countryside looks like.

  23. I know I’m awfully late reading this, Rosie, but I’ve got way too many pans on the fire… Your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella made me think of the pilgrimage of a fictional character, Kristin Lavransdatter, in the Middle Ages, to St. Olav’s Shrine in Trondheim, Norway. Her journey was described in “The Wife” by Sigrid Undset, the second book of the “Kristin Lavransdatter” trilogy. The story touched a chord with me, as Kristin struggled to come to grips with many of the same spiritual questions I have. My dream is to go to Norway some day and visit the shrine, and the land and seas of my ancestors. After not flying for 34 years, since 2008 I have now flown three times to Florida and back and am hoping to face my fears enough to try the much longer flight across the ocean to Norway. Your story has helped me to rekindle my resolve and I thank you so much for sharing it!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello dear Barbara,
      It’s never too late to read a bloggers words, and it gives me an enormous amount of pleasure to know my post about my walk on the Camino, is helping you rekindle your dream of a pilgrimage to Norway.

      I think you’re incredibly brave to have started flying again after 34 years.

      Thank you for explaining the background to the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. I’d also love to read the books. Are they written in English?

      We must never give up our dreams. I also thank you for sharing.

  24. Pingback: Walking in Spain: “I just had to do it” | Wondering Rose

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