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Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Story #7: Patti, aged 59, from Maryland, USA

How many times have you walked a Camino? And which ones?

Patti on the CaminoOne walk — the Camino Frances.

When did you walk?

April 12 – May 16, 2015

What caused you to decide to walk the Camino?

It was something my husband Abi and I could do that was completely outside of the box, but still manageable. I learned of the walk through the blogging community and then we saw the documentary, “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago and it sealed the deal. We knew we had to make the journey. Two years later, we started walking.

What were some of the highlights of your Camino?

Oh gosh, there are so many. The people one meets, the historic villages, the locals who are so kind and ready to help, the amazing beautiful and diverse scenery, and just the walking. It becomes your life. Get up, walk, eat, shower, sleep and do it all again the next day. It’s extremely powerful. But mostly, just being together. There are moments in ordinary days when we see or hear something and we’re instantly back on the Camino. It’s a memory we will treasure always.

Abi on the Camino

What were some of your biggest challenges on the Camino?

For me, it was the blisters. I was plagued by them in the first two weeks. But then we met an incredibly giving man – who owns a sports gear store in Leon – and he spent 30 minutes with us teaching me how to treat my blisters. He had walked the Camino 4 times. I followed his advice and we spent 4 days in Leon so my feet could heal. He literally saved my Camino.

How did the Camino change you?

I don’t know that it changed us, but it definitely opened our eyes to what we are capable of when we set our minds to accomplish something. We didn’t walk the Camino because we were looking for answers or a deeply profound spiritual journey, we walked because we wanted to and because we wanted to walk together at this point in our lives.

Camino de Santiago

What is the one thing you wish you had known before the Camino? Advice?

The one thing that proved to be the most helpful to us was the elevation map we picked up at the Pilgrims’ office in SJPP. We used that map every single day. On the map there are villages that are not in guide books so it made plotting our course that much easier. And we knew what to expect (somewhat) during the day’s walk as far as terrain.

Anything else you would like to add?

Walking the Camino is hard. It will test you in more ways than you can imagine. But even on day 8 when my huge blister burst and I was in so much pain, crying and had to wear my flip flops for the last 3 miles of the day, I didn’t give up. And I think that’s the best advice I can give anyone – don’t give up. If you need to stop to rest, do it. If you need to skip a section, do it. Make it work for you. It’s your Camino. No regrets.

Thank you to Patti from OneRoadAtATime.com. Patti, and her husband Abi, wrote a detailed 15-page FAQ about their Camino experience, which is offered as a free download on their site.  

If you’d like to share your Camino story, please do!

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