The Beast from the East

So… there’s a snowstorm here in Ireland! It’s great because it makes me feel at home. But, also not great because the ENTIRE country has shut down! I believe this is the worst snowstorm to occur in Ireland in 36 years. Which is crazy, because I don’t think we’ve gotten even a foot of snow yet. However, the snow is still falling and Ireland doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with it like they do back home. I grew a new appreciation for the way Iowa tackles snow clearing and prepping for any snowfall with the treatment of roads and whatnot.

We were driving to a house where another NET team is staying (in Cork city) last night, and they live right next to a university, I started reminiscing about being back at Iowa State my sophomore year when classes were cancelled for a snowstorm. It was so much fun, because everyone on my floor in my dorm went out and we had a giant snowball fight on Central Campus. It was class (that’s Irish for awesome!). As we were driving to their house last night, there were college students everywhere playing in the snow, making snowmen, and just enjoying the rare weather. I didn’t try counting, but I’m pretty sure we saw at least 50 snowmen in every shape and size, and those were just the ones we saw, I’m sure there were more!

The last couple weeks have been pretty crazy. Last I wrote, I believe we were getting ready to leave Wales. That was quite the adventure! Our ferry was set to leave at 5ish in the morning, and so some of us were up all night driving/navigating to get there. However, one of the cars (Petunia, the Ford Galaxy), was having some issues getting started, keeping the battery charged, and just making a lot of noise. Well, we were about 20 minutes away and she decided to really break down- some sort of belt broke. So we had to quickly figure out a new plan and then get on our way. So we were driving as fast as we could to make our ferry, but didn’t quite get there in time to get on it. So we missed the ferry, and spent the next few hours figuring out a new plan and getting breakfast at McDonald’s.

We made it on the next ferry out, in the late morning, and made it to our host home in Dublin. We got the rest of the day off to recover and relax from the long night. After that, we headed over to Dunshaughlin to do a confirmation retreat with the Bohermeen NET team. I absolutely LOVE confirmation retreats. The activities we do for them are so much fun and they are “secret agent” themed- so we get to wear all black, have nicknames, and it’s actually super cool. After those couple days, we headed back to the Dublin area for a couple days of ministry prep and team time. We hiked Bray Head, which is a small mountain hike with a gorgeous view of the ocean. I really enjoyed the hike, it reminded me of last summer on the Camino and it made me miss it a lot.

After the couple days in Dublin, we went over to County Galway to stay at Esker Monastery- where we had the first two weeks of training. We were to do a retreat there, but it unfortunately got cancelled because they didn’t have enough students signed up. So we got a surprise day off, and ended up staying there for a few more days doing different things like ministry prep, having some time off, many of us took advantage of the required silence (because there was a silent retreat going on while we were staying there) to pray. The girls had some time to spend together just hanging out and goofing around, it was so much fun. I got to do some reading and finish a video I was working on that highlights our time in the Middle East. (If you would like to see the video, check it out here!)

From Esker, we went to County Cork, staying in a town called Mitchelstown. I got to stay on a dairy farm with a wonderful lady. There we did two half-day retreats for two days. I was at an all girls school, and I had so much fun with them. They were amazing and excited and I wish we could have been there for longer. Half of the team were at an all boys school on the first day. The second day got kinda crazy with people getting sick, so our team was only at the girls’ school, while the other half of the team was away sick.

For now, I am in Cork until tomorrow with two other guys, and then we will join the rest of the team in Rossnowlagh for the rest of the weekend. I will have access to internet, so if anyone wants to FaceTime or Skype, please reach out!


Well, Well, Wales

I had so much fun during our two week stay in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland a couple weeks ago. We got to know a lot of the youth in the community in a couple of the schools. To end our stay, we had a Celebration of Light, where we invited people of all ages in the community to join us for praise and worship, story sharing, and prayer. We had a good handful of youth come to the evening- on a Friday night- and they even hung out with us for a couple hours after the event was over! I am so excited for the youth in Downpatrick, I know we helped “set a fire” in their souls and helped them get excited for their faith. I can’t exactly explain it, but I have a really good feeling about the youth in the Downpatrick area, especially the future of youth ministry there.

After we were done in Downpatrick, we headed back to Rossnowlagh, in County Donegal, which is in the Republic of Ireland, but in the Northwest area. Rossnowlagh is close to Ballybofey, which is where the NET Ministries Ireland Offices are located. We went there because we had a visit with our supervisors. Basically, they watched us perform a couple retreats, we had a lot of meetings, and check-ins to see how we are all doing. It was a really good visit that I think our team benefited a lot from. We learned a lot of things and are getting back on track. Once that was over, we went to Delvin, in County Westmeath for a couple days. We had a Confirmation retreat that we put on, and it was agent themed and the students were around 11/12 years old. It was the first one I’ve done, because I was sick for the only other one our team put on in the fall. I absolutely LOVED that retreat. The students were great and we had a lot of fun putting it on with the theme and different activities we got to do.

Then, on Saturday night, we boarded a ferry to Wales! We have been in Wales for this last week, at one school- a 6th form college, which in the states is like the last two years of high school. In Wales, the school structure is fascinatingly different. I think because I was a teacher, I am interested in the difference in the structure and how it is beneficial (or not) for the students. Basically, they have high school, but it only goes until they are about 16 years old. After that, students can choose to be done with school and start working, find an apprenticeship, or they can go to college. College is an extra two years on top of high school and is required in order for someone to be elligible for university. So, they have high school, college, and university, and each of those is a different level of schooling. At the school we were at, because it was just a college, it seemed like it was organized similarly to a community college back home- at least that’s the easiest way for me to think about it.

At this school though, we had the theme of life choices everyday this week. I gave a talk two of the days, where I shared part of my story of how I made different choices after high school and university, and  a lot of the story I share has to do with how I got to be on NET. I think with my story, and one of my teammates who shared their story the other three days, the students realized that we are just the same as them. We were there to share who we are, our experiences, and how when we let God into our lives, our lives changed for the better. Also, we do a lot of activities when we put on retreats, and just about every student came into the retreat not knowning what to expect. So, many of them were surprised that we weren’t just sitting there and praying all day long. We had about 60-80 different students each day, so we got to know a lot of people. I love being in one place for a few days because it allows us to make connections and to talk to people over a few days time, rather than being in and out and gone. I like the chance of follow up we have had for the last couple weeks, since we’ve been many places for multiple days.

Tomorrow/Sunday morning, we are going to hop on the ferry back over to Ireland. I am excited to go back but I will miss the people I have met here in Wales. I don’t know where we are headed next, but I’m learning to let go and try to embrace that I don’t need to worry about it! 🙂

Long Time, No See

Hey folks! I’m so sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve last posted! But it’s a new year and I’m going to re-commit to posting on the blog (at least while I remain out of the states!) It’s been a few months since I’ve last updated, and I just want to give you all an update on what all has happened in the last six months.

After my birthday, Micah and I headed out all over Europe to see amazing things, meet wonderful people, and eat a lot of good food (and ice cream/gelato). It was a whirlwind of a trip and I barely had time to sleep, let along blog! So, here’s a quick rundown of where we went:

  • Stockholm, Sweden (by cruise ship!)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark for a night to catch a train to
  • Krakow, Poland for two days to see Auschwitz, and unfortunately missed the salt mines
  • Italy
    • Florence ~2 days
    • Rome ~4 days to see all the typical sightseeing things including: the Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica/Sistine Chapel
    • Naples ~1 day, to horse ride up Mt. Vesuvius and tour Pompeii
  • Greece- we spent one day and two nights there, but the day was spent on the black sand beach enjoying the crystal clear waters and warm sun!
  • Paris for a couple days to see many sights including: Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and much more!
  • London for several days to see all of the touristy things! My only regret was not doing the Harry Potter tour, but we didn’t have enough time or money for 🙂 We did see the big landmarks, a show on the West End, and did a lot of walking in the Kensington Gardens

From London, we flew to Dublin and since arriving back in August, I have joined NET Ministries Ireland as a missionary to help spread the good news to the youth of this beautiful country. We started with a two-week long retreat that had an amazing impact on my faith. My faith was strengthened ten-fold, and I learned a lot about myself. We had our retreat in a place called Esker, in County Galway and after that we continued our training in County Donegal, in a retreat center owned by the Franciscan Friars in a town called Rossnowlagh.

We trained for about another month, and about halfway through that time, we were put on teams. I was put on the Road Team, along with nine other people. We are from all over the world- the USA, Canada, England, and Ireland. I will introduce the people on my team on a different post, because they are so amazing it would make this one way too long! 🙂

After training, we got started with ministry- basically what we do is we put on day-long retreats for youth (high school aged students). Our goal is to meet people wherever they are. We don’t come in judging or anything, but we find out what they do have, connect with them, and then try to help them open up their minds and hearts to what God has to say to them. We get to teach about God in a fun and inspiring way. I can’t begin to tell you the number of eyes I have seen opened up day in and day out.

We have ministered to thousands of youths all over Ireland, in England, and the Middle East (Oman and the United Arab Emirates!). Currently, we are spending two weeks in Northern Ireland on a Parish Mission, working in the schools in the area, attending masses, and being a presence of Catholic young adults. We will get to go to Wales in a few weeks I think for another parish mission, but I think just for a week. I really don’t know, because we only know our schedule about a week at a time.

I will be back with more information soon! Please send/comment and questions you have or anything you want to know more about!

God Bless!

A Finnish Birthday

For those that don’t already know, Finland is one of my favorite countries. I’ve only been there twice now, but both times I had a wonderful trip!! So, when Micah and I were planning out the backpacking portion of our trip, I was very excited to see that I would be spending it in Finland and with some good friends. Nichole and Antti are two wonderful hosts and they gave us a great Finnish experience.

We flew into Helsinki and Nichole picked us up from the airport and we made our way to Turku. Because we got in so late, we went straight to bed and got to sleep in the next morning- which was glorious! We putzed around for most of the morning, and then went on a tour of the Turku castle. Antti had to work during the days, so it was girl time all day long, but we are all huge history/museum nerds, so the castle tour was right up our alley. We also got to try on some costumes, which was one of my favorite parts! After the castle tour, we got some lunch and went shopping. I needed some more clothes and other little things we ran out of- I finally was able to get some conditioner for my hair which made me very happy! After shopping, we stopped for waffles with ice cream, and then walked around town and saw the Cathedral. It was formally a Catholic Cathedral, but one of the kings or lords or something got greedy and reformed Finland to Protestant, which is how it remains today.

We were tired of walking around after the Cathedral, so we headed back to the apartment for a rest and then headed to their summer cabin that’s right on the Baltic Sea! We got there a bit late, but because it’s summer you can’t really tell the time because the sun barely sets. We did a sauna and swimming in the sea and then had a late dinner (at midnight!) but it didn’t feel late because it was still so bright out. Last time I was in Finland, it was January so I had the opposite problem of it being dark most of the time.

The next day, we lied around all day. It was so wonderful! As much as I wanted to go swimming and kayaking, the weather was spotty (raining off and on) which gave me the perfect excuse to lay inside all day and rest and relax. It was exactly what I needed after walking for so long. That night after Antti got back from work we did another sauna and swimming and then we had my birthday dinner and cake. I requested Mexican food and to make my guacamole with cake for dessert; and boy, did Nichole deliver! We had enchiladas, the guac was great, and I had the most beautiful cake ever!

On day three of our Finnish adventure, we headed back to Turku in the early morning, which of course gave me a reason to nap later in the morning! ☺️ We explored around town, there was the Tall Ships Race going on while we were there, so we got to try some great food and look at some really cool ships! Naturally, we had to take a nap later in the afternoon and watch a movie! We also had a typical Finnish summer meal of sausages- which were like a combination of hotdogs and brats- it’s a bit hard to describe but they tasted great! We also had a lot of strawberries, there are so many strawberry stands, we couldn’t resist buying and eating all we could! We even got some to go when we left on Friday.

Friday was another good day of relaxing and checking out the Tall Ships festivities. There was a parade of sailors, music, and all sorts of activities going on. The really awesome part is that Antti and Nichole live right where it was all happening so we felt like VIPs all week! Friday evening we left for Stockholm via cruiseship. It was my first cruise, so that was a fun experience with many beautiful sights, but I think I’d like to try it somewhere warm next time!

Once again, I want to thank Antti and Nichole for being so generous and opening their home to us and being the “hosts with the mosts”! We had a wonderful time and I know I can’t wait to come back again someday!

Day 33 + Finnisterre

Day 33

I know this is more than a week later, but I really needed some processing time after the Camino. Walking into Santiago de Compostela was so very exciting for many reasons. I was excited to be done walking constantly, I was ready to not be tired and just feeling overwhelmingly exhausted all the time, I was excited to see the Cathedral and experience the pilgrim’s mass with the incense, and I was just happy to have accomplished this crazy goal.

As excited as I was, actually walking into the city was not as exhilarating as I thought it would be. We walked through the city for at least an hour before arriving to the main area where we would be for the weekend- close the Cathedral. I found myself annoyed with other pilgrims who clearly didn’t walk as far as I did, and I just wanted to be done. Then, as we got to the Cathedral, the entire front of it was covered because they are restoring it. It is an extremely old building and deteriorating quite a bit, so I understand the necessity for preserving it, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t see the front or walk through the main front area. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to let all those things ruin what I had worked so hard for, so I tried my best to set them aside.

Before going to the Cathedral for mass, we ran into a woman we had seen for the last few weeks and she told us to get our “Compostela”- our certificate that shows our completion of the Camino. She said the lines were hours long the day before and since we got into town late morning there was only a 15 minute wait, so we went and got those first. After getting those, I really felt like my Camino was complete. I felt accomplished, and it felt good!

We decided to head over to Cathedral for pictures before mass, and ran into more pilgrims from earlier in the journey- which was exciting because we didn’t think we were going to see anyone else we knew. They gave us advice to fight for a seat at mass and to go early, and that was some good advice! We had to check our bags because of the sheer number of people, there is no room for backpacks or luggage of any kind inside the Cathedral. We got there around 45 minutes before mass started and you would have thought we were late! It felt like we were attending church on Easter or Christmas! We ended up finding some steps to sit on, but I couldn’t believe the number of people they squeezed into the church!

Mass was longer than normal because they had a few pilgrims come up and talk briefly about their journey which I thought was pretty cool. Also, the procession alone had to have taken 10 minutes because I counted at least 50 priests! (The only other time I have experienced mass with that many priests was at NCYC!) There were priests from all over the world. One of my favorite things about the Catholic Church is that it is so universal- Mass is the same no matter where you are in the world- and I can respond in my language and I know (for the most part) what is going on at any point during the service.

Of course, the reason it was so packed was because everyone wanted to see the incense swing. Fun fact from Micah: the reason for the incense and its large size is because they used to use it to mask the smell of pilgrims who stayed in the upstairs of the church! Before the dismissal, they did the incense. It is definitely one of the coolest things to watch and if you have a chance to go to Spain, I would highly recommend going to the pilgrim mass and experiencing it- totally worth it! It was pretty comical to see the sea of phones, cameras, iPads, etc. go up to record it- even some of the priests on the altar had their phones out to record it!! 😂 

Once mass was over, we explored the Cathedral a bit and made our way over to our hotel. We had been waiting for the hotel for weeks and were so excited to be “pampered” with our own (dark) room, fresh towels, our own bathroom, and not being bothered by snoring or lights at 4am or any other typical Camino albergue issues. After we got cleaned up and napped, we went out shopping! We needed some more clothes for variety and because laundry will be more limited in the next couple weeks. I can’t explain to you how nice it is to have a new piece of clothing after wearing basically the same things for a month!



We had an extra day until our flight to Finland, so we went to Finnisterre on Sunday. We decided to go with a tour, so we got to go to a few different places which I thought was pretty interesting. We went to Muxia, Finnisterre, a waterfall, and another town that has the 2nd largest grain holder. Muxia and Finnisterre were my favorite parts of the day. Muxia was just beautiful, right on the sea and had some interesting history. In 2013 there was a crazy thunderstorm where the waves were (probably) a couple hundred feet high and destroyed the church that was on the coast. Some pilgrims who were there at the time stuck around to help rebuild and they built a monument for them. Finnisterre was my other favorite part of the day, and it used to be called “the end of the world” before the Americas were discovered. It has the “official” end of the Camino, where the 0 kilometer mark is located. Most people just go to Santiago de Compostela, but some do walk on to Finnisterre for a little extra journey. The waterfall was cool to look at, but I really just wanted to swim at the bottom of it, and I could have gone without seeing the grain holder…but overall the day was good!


The days leading up to my last day and while walking into Santiago, I reflected on my journey over the last month. I truly learned a lot about myself in terms of listening to my body. I built a lot of self-confidence. I relearned to push myself when I didn’t want to because I wanted to take the easy way out. I relearned how much God is right there next to me all the time, not just when I choose to see him.

To be honest though, I thought I was going to do a lot of self-discovery during the walk. That didn’t really happen. It’s not that I don’t know who I am, but I’ve done a lot of learning who I am over the last several years. It was more of an affirming who I am. I didn’t learn a lot of new things about myself, but I became more comfortable with myself. I became more confident. And I realized it about half way through. Which I think contributed to my feeling of being “let down” walking into Santiago. When I first set out on this journey, I was convinced it was going to be a one-time thing. A great experience I will have and be able to tell stories about for years to come. But after finishing, and even now a week later, I think I would really like to do it again. I don’t know when, or who I will go with, or even which route I will do- I just know that I want to go back. I guess I’ll leave you with one of our mottos- I guess we will find out!



One Day More

Wow! I can’t believe we are almost done! It’s crazy for me to think about where I was two weeks ago, let alone 30 days ago! Tomorrow I will be in Santiago de Compostela!!

The last few days have been a whirlwind. We have our routine down, get up, get ready, walk, break, check in to an albergue, shower, eat, relax, repeat. We have been trying to cook more, which is saving us money and makes us feel better. Unfortunately, one bad habit I have picked up in the last 10 days or so is that I have a coke everyday. I find that the sugar gives me a good boost of energy to get me through walking and is a nice, cook refreshment to enjoy after walking. I don’t normally drink a lot of soda, but I figured it was okay because we were definitely going to be burning off the calories later. I’m afraid I’ve gotten so used to it that I am going to be craving it after we are done walking so I am definitely going to need to kick this habit!

Also in the last few days- probably 3 or 4- a large number of new pilgrims have joined us in walking. Technically, to get your certificate for walking the Camino, you only need to walk the last 100K. There are many people who do only that amount. I know it is not my place to judge how much another person walks and what they are capable of, but it doesn’t stop me from being frustrated with the increased amount of traffic on what was a formally a peaceful walk. Where I was once lucky to see another pilgrim in an hour, I can no longer go even 5 minutes without seeing another pilgrim. Also, there are a number of school groups that are walking with us now, so every so often we will see a group of 20ish high school girls and/or boys, and they are just as loud as you think they would be. Overall, the increased number of pilgrims doesn’t bother me too much, it’s just another adjustment I have had to make, but they do bother many other pilgrims because they haven’t learned the “ways of the Camino” yet- being respectful when others are sleeping and napping, some wear full make-up, etc. I find I have had to remind myself more often that everyone does the Camino for their own reasons and everyone is on their own journey.

Back to the walking… the sights have been beautiful lately. We are in the middle of the other set of mountains now. Several days have begun with lots of clouds, mist, or fog, but by the afternoon the sun is always shining. It really hasn’t rained on us since the beginning of the week so I am grateful for that. We walk through many small towns, with populations anywhere from 200 to 60,000. We walk by corn and cows everyday, and the smell comes right with it! I am going to miss the Iowa State Fair this year, but I know where I can go to get part of the experience! 😆 But with the beautiful sights, my allergies are in full gear. I’m not sure where or when it started, but they have come into full swing the last few days and it makes it slightly difficult to enjoy walking outside. It’s okay though, because all of this is worth it.

Oh! And we found a souvenir shop that has my t-shirt- one that has a saying of “no pain, no glory” with a picture of bandaged feet! I was so excited to find another one, and of course I got it!

An Answered Prayer

If you don’t already know, I have been accepted to be a NET team member with NET Ministries in Ireland this coming school year! I will be putting retreats on for high school youth- something that is right up my alley and that I love to do! I applied for this position months ago and was praying for it constantly while walking. I had my interview a couple days ago and it went very well and they accepted me just about right away! If you know me, you know how passionate I am about youth ministry. I am so excited for this opportunity to grow deeper in my faith and to help the youth of Ireland grow deeper in theirs.

All this being said, I am going to put in a shameless plug for help. Technically, to be a part of the NET team, you are a volunteer. So I won’t be getting paid, but my living expenses are paid for- everything from housing to food to medical coverage. Because it takes quite a bit of money to provide for someone to live for a year, I am required to raise at least a portion of that amount. The office calculates that it costs $17,000 to provide for one team member for one year, and I need to raise funds for about a third of that. So my minimum fundraising goal is $6,500 but I can raise up to $17,000. I would like to shamelessly ask you if you would be willing to sponsor me financially, even if it is just a small, one-time donation amount. Every little bit will help. NET Ministries is nonprofit if you are looking for a tax benefit 😉.

If you feel so inclined to help me out financially, please know I am perpetually grateful. To sponsor me, please go to this link: Choose the “support a specific missionary” option at the top and put my name (Sarah Sheerin) in the comments.

As always, thoughts and prayers are always welcome if you do not have the financial means to support me. If you have any specific prayer intentions that I can return, please message me and let me know!

Day 28

Today was a good day. the last few were tough with the mountains and all the hills. I haven’t taken a rest day since I chickened out in the cold, so I have been feeling it the last couple days just because of exhaustion. My legs are tired, and then with the up and down of the terrain on top of that, my pace slowed down quite a bit. But I am very proud of myself for pushing through and keeping going.
Yesterday was particularly frustrating because we left the last bit of a steep hill for the morning under the impression that the rest of the day would be fairly easy and flat. That was NOT the case, there were many unexpected hills so I was pretty grumpy about it because they slow me down so much. But today was good, we got back to our quicker pace and didn’t need to stop as much. I felt good about today.

Ponferrada (Day 24)

After today’s walk, we are now in the single digits in terms of time left on the Camino. If you asked me at the beginning if I could picture where I would be on this day or how I would feel, I would not be able to tell you. But I can tell you now that I am in a good place. I feel happy, I know I am where I’m supposed to be right now.

We have been making a lot of friends the past few days- most of them from America. It feels like the further along the Camino we get, the fewer people we meet from other countries. We have met many people from other countries, but we have been traveling with them for a long time it seems. There are some people we meet and see for a few days, some we meet once, and some we travel most of the way with. Everyone is on their own timeline and I have learned to truly appreciate the present. Sometimes we don’t know if we will see certain people again and some we know they are taking their time and we probably won’t see them again. It’s sad, but it makes me that much more grateful for what I do have.

Speaking of gratefulness- we FINALLY got Mexican food tonight. We have been craving it for weeks and it worked out that we were hungry and the restaurant was open. When we got there we saw several people we knew so we joined them and had a wonderful time. Before dinner we had the opportunity to tour a medieval castle, which was awesome!!

However, the best part of the day was spending sunrise at Cruz de Ferro. I brought a rock from my home in West Dea Moines to leave there. I also got to spend some time just praying and enjoying and reflecting on this experience. While at Cruz de Ferro we met a new friend James and after talking we got yelled at for the second time today because we were being too loud. The first time we were yelled at today was because we didn’t drink the milk from our cereal bowls at breakfast. So it was a bit of a rough start but the day was beautiful so I was determined to not let those things bother me.

Most of our walk today was down the mountain. I get nervous walking down the mountain because I am very prone to tripping, falling, and twisting ankles, so I took my time and was careful. Thankfully I tripped only a handful of times (without falling!) and I bumped my head on a branch because I was too busy looking down trying not to fall. But I’m alive and that’s more important!

If anyone wants an update on my blisters, they aren’t doing too well. I just keep trying to fix them up and working on them. The important thing for me is to keep ahead of the pain, so I can focus on the scenery while walking. Which is gorgeous by the way. I’ll try to post a couple pictures but if you follow me on Facebook that is the place to go for pictures! I also plan on making a video when I’m done!

That’s all for today. As always, questions, comments, and jokes are more than welcome! And of course prayer requests.

Living on a Prayer

Well, we are in León today, got in early this morning and have been exploring the city. We are over halfway to Santiago de Compostela and in less than two weeks will be done walking the Camino. Time has gone by so slowly and yet so quickly. Like I said in an earlier post, I am really enjoying my time now that I am adjusted and have stopped looking at the Camino as a whole and take each day as it is.

It has been brought to my attention that many people think I am surviving on sugar (chocolate) alone to get me through this. As much as I wish that were true, I am not. The regular meals are not as much fun to talk about and post pictures of! I have been eating a lot of pasta, French fries, chicken, bread, and drinking more water than I ever have in my life.

One of my friends had a bunch of questions for me about the logistics of the Camino. So I’m going to try to answer as many as I can so hopefully everyone can have a better picture of what I’m going through.

Basic logistics:

Everyone comes and goes as they please and when it works for them. Some people will walk part of it, go home, and then come back another time to finish. Some walk just the last part. Some start much earlier- we met a 65 year old lady from Belgium who started in Belgium and is walking all the way to Santiago! Some people have a time schedule to keep to and others don’t. It is highly recommended to walk past Santiago to a town on the coast called Finistair for a little extra Camino. There are routes from all over- southern Spain, Portugal, there is one along the northern coast- but the most popular one is the Camino Frances, the one we are walking, and a majority of people will start in St. Jean Pied de Port where we did. I think the Camino de Santiago has become much more popular because of the movie The Way (starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen). However, the movie is very deceiving and makes it look A LOT easier than it actually is. A couple friends we met said to us, “doesn’t it make you want to punch Martin Sheen in the throat?!”


When you walk the Camino you are a pilgrim. You are homeless. You don’t know when you will get water next. You don’t know if you will have a bed to sleep in that night. You don’t know what the next albergue will have to offer, if the bed is comfortable, is there a kitchen to cook in, or is there more than one toilet/shower? If you forget something at a hostel (I left a shirt in Logroño), you must accept that it is gone and move on. I’m not about to walk back and get it, so I had to make do and get another shirt a few days later to live a bit more comfortably. There are a lot of unknowns, and being able to embrace that is its own challenge.

I must carry everything I need to survive. Which means that I make do without a lot of the many luxuries we have in the states. I had to weigh the cost of having to carry something against my desire for it. For example, I really wanted to bring my nice DSLR camera because I knew I am going to see some amazing sights and want to capture them with good quality. But that would mean having to carry it, worrying about keeping it charged, and risking it being stolen. So I settled on just using the camera on my phone. Additionally, bringing a laptop would be extremely heavy, so the only electronic I brought is my phone, which is how I stay connected to everyone back home. I didn’t want to go through the hassle and expense of having an international plan, so I just stay connected through Wi-Fi, and if a hostel doesn’t have it, then we try to find a restaurant that does, and if we can’t then we just go without. It is good an bad. I like to stay connected but sometimes it’s nice to not be.

The best part:

Without a doubt, one of the best parts of this trip is the people we meet along the way. From other pilgrims to locals and everyone in between. Pilgrims are so nice to each other- generous and caring- because we are all on this journey together even if we are strangers or there is a language barrier. The only Spanish language experience I have is my four years in high school. I tried to review before I left but I got caught up in everything else that was going on that I didn’t do much reviewing. You don’t need to know a ton of Spanish because many people here speak both English and Spanish, but immersion is the best way to learn. There are phrases I have learned along the way and words that I am starting to remember that I thought I had forgotten in the 10 years it’s been since I’ve taken Spanish class. I find it most difficult to communicate with French people who know no other languages because I know about 5 French words and they are not very helpful! But people are all sorts of ages- we’ve seen kids to the elderly- and when you are a pilgrim you are there to go on your journey. Some young adults like to take advantage of the bigger cities, but we are always in bed by 8/9 and up by 6/6:30 or earlier.

Like I’ve said before, everyone does this for their own reasons, but I’ve noticed the majority are people who either really enjoy the outdoors and this type of thing, or it is for religious reasons. The Camino is a very personal journey, but I am happy to share it with all of you. 🤗