The Camino Club on Sale for $1.99!

For a limited time, my award winning novel, THE CAMINO CLUB, is on sale at AMAZON and KOBO!

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The Camino Club – Synopsis

After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselors. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the unlikely friends try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but they may not make it to their destination—the Cathedral in Santiago. If they do, will they each find what they’re looking for, and will their newfound friendships endure?

Make sure to pick up your copy today while it’s still on sale! Here’s the LINKS:






THE CAMINO CLUB is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Spoiler Alert! It has a meetcute! Give it a look while the sale lasts!

Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route – Shoulds and Shouldn’ts PART THREE

You’ve made it to Pontevedra! And, yes…it does have a city sign like most of the city signs peppering the world today awaiting Instagram fame!

The ubiquitous city sign, spelled out for everyone to see and snap selfies at! Now found the world over…

Should I watch my step when walking the trails between towns?

Only if you care about wildlife in all its forms. Yes, please watch your step! Our little friends are down there…

Should I stop at A Pousada do Peregrino for a snack and a drink?

You’ll come by this little oasis shortly after leaving the town of Pontevedra. Click Link for their website.

We stopped here and you can’t go wrong in doing so. It has a lovely outdoor patio with a pergola trellis. Grapes hang above your head, offering a cool relief from the sun on a hot day. The food was good and there’s always cafe con leche!

The outdoor patio at A Pousada do Peregrino.

You will walk through a lot of vineyards at this point of the day. There are even quite a few places where you’ll need to duck to avoid grapes. Very picturesque day…

Should I stay in Caldas de Reis?

Now, obviously this all depends on your schedule. Caldas de Reis may be a halfway point to a day. In our schedule, it was at the end of our day. We felt it a good place to stop in case we needed any supplies at this point in our journey, as it was a bigger town and they would have more amenities. I would say AIM FOR IT. It was a lovely town.

It actually saved me a little. Once we settled into our home for the night, we went out and found me some sandals. At this point in our journey, my blisters were bad and my toes were bad. My feet were just completely breaking down and I knew if I didn’t find sandals I’d be in trouble. I never once had blisters on the Camino Frances. This Portuguese way was murdering my feet in every way possible. I found a nice man at a shoe shop who dug through boxes and found me the perfect pair of sandals that would save the trip for me. Another trail angel came through for me!

This is a good town for stocking up on whatever you need.

Should I eat at O Encontro Gastrobar in Caldas de Reis?

I REALLY enjoyed the food here. They were one of the first places we found with a pilgrim menu, and they were almost next door to where we were staying. At the end of the day, proximity has a lot to do with where you decide to eat. But also, it was good food! The service was a bit slow, but they could have just been having a bad day. Otherwise, I’d recommend this place. It hit the spot after a long day. My first Caldo Gallego (Galician Soup)!

Should I set out before on my walk in the dark?

I am of two minds on this one. Ultimately, my answer would be YES, sometimes. It is the only true way to get to see the perfection of a sunrise…when you are well and truly in it. To be walking when it happens assures that you will not miss it. And the sunrise in Spain is a thing of beauty. So, if you don’t want to (or won’t) do it for the sake of the bed-race…do it at least once to enjoy being inside the sunrise.

Scenes from a September Spanish Sunrise…

It’s all you really need…

Should I stay in Pensión Glorioso II in A Picaraña?

This might be the only time I suggest the answer as a NO. I wouldn’t even stay in this town, if I were to do the Portuguese again. Not that it’s a terrible town, but there were few options. It was just kind of along the highway. It’s a place you would only stop for gas if you were driving through.

Pensión Glorioso II in A Picaraña

Does it have what you need? Mostly. Were the rooms clean? Yeah. Did the WiFi work in the pension? NO. The food options nearby were very limited and you had to navigate the highway outside the pension. We went from one side to the other, hoping to find other food options. I just wasn’t happy with this night’s location or lodgings. You might find it’s what you need. I was looking for more.

This was our last stay before Santiago de Compostela, and my least favourite.

We walked in darkness on our last morning. As the sun came up, it all began to feel a little like we were walking to OZ.

Another perfect September sunrise…

Should I stop walking now?

No…you’re almost there!

Even though I’m almost there, should I have a break before reaching the Praza do Obradoiro where the cathedral is?

Yes. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you need stamps on your last day! Stop for a cafe con leche on your way into town and grab a stamp!

Should I be prepared to be amazed?!


About to enter the Praza do Obradoiro and the circus of the arrival!

Should we take selfies of the cathedral once we arrive? Yes, after you celebrate, dance, laugh, cry, etc…

WE MADE IT! 10 days from Porto to Santiago de Compostela!

Should I go directly to the pilgrim’s office and sign in for my spot in line to get my compostela certificate?

If this matters to you, then absolutely yes! This process is changing ALL the time. I’ve been to this point 3 times now, and it’s been different every time. Last time, we scanned a QR code at the office and were given a number in the line. We came back when we were close to our numbers and then went inside and lined up. Please look into how it is when you’re going, because they streamline the process all the time.

One more SHOULD to go.

Should I do the rooftop tour of the cathedral?

Absolutely yes. If you have fear of height issues, maybe sit this one out…but it’s fabulous!


This concludes the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts of the Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route. Hopefully you find some helpful information in these posts.

If you want to see our 10 day journey in full, here is the link to DAY ONE. At the end of every day, you will find a link to the next day. After those, you will also find a couple of posts on what to do in Porto before and after the Caminho.

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.


Dame Daphne Sheldrick and the Legacy of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust…

I recently finished reading the fascinating memoir of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the Kenyan woman of British descent who saved orphaned elephants in Kenya for decades. Her husband, David Sheldrick, was the founding warden of Tsavo, Kenya’s largest National Park. Dame Daphne was instrumental in setting up the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization still thriving today. Click here for the DAVID SHELDRICK WEBSITE. Individuals can foster elephants in the foundation’s care, either for themselves or as gifts for others. You can choose among the elephants in their care.

Dame Daphne, through a series of heartbreaking trials and errors, discovered the one formula that orphaned elephant calves can live on. Cow’s milk is incompatible with the elephant’s digestion system. Part of the fostering money collected goes toward purchasing the formula needed for the calves, which is brought in from the UK. By fostering an elephant, you are literally helping to save its life. And it’s only $50 USD a year.


Dame Daphne’s memoir of her time with the animals and her life with her husband, David.
The alternative cover for the same book.


I’m going to link a documentary that was made about the ivory trade and Dame Daphne and David Sheldrick. Before I do, however, I have to warn you that there are several instances of on-screen euthanasia of animals. Poachers would shoot elephants with poison darts that would cause them to suffer long and terrible endings… they could at times suffer for months before they would finally fall dead from the lethal dart injection. David Sheldrick and his team often came across wounded elephants that they would need to take down in order to end their sufferings. This documentary was made in order to force change and enact protections against poachers in Kenya. It is necessarily graphic. You will see dying and dead animals, and partial elephants that were taken down and destroyed for their tusks. Be forewarned before you click on the link that there is some graphic and disturbing footage in this documentary.

There are also some very touching scenes of Dame Daphne nursing animals, and of her menagerie of orphaned animals all shapes and sizes playing together alongside one another. Keep an eye out for the elephant running and frolicking with the ostriches!


If you foster an elephant with David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you will be allowed to visit your elephant at the orphanage. They open for visitors and anyone can go, but if you have a fostered elephant you get to stay behind when the public leave.

I visited the orphanage in 2009 when I was in Kenya for a writing retreat. It was magical to see the elephant calves at play. I took some footage… it’s not very good (I promise you it gets less shaky after about the one minute mark!), but it captures what you will see if you happen to find yourself in Nairobi and able to pay a visit yourself.

Here’s my footage of the orphanage from 2009…

You can meet the orphans individually (bios and photos) on the DSWT website at THIS LINK. For as little as $50 USD, you can foster one of these beauties! Sadly, they are still in as much danger today as they were when Dame Daphne was alive and out there every day bringing abandoned orphans back to life.

I highly recommend Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir, Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. It’s a touching heartwarming and heartbreaking read. The Sheldricks’ legacy is phenomenal…what they did for both elephants and rhinos is nothing short of miraculous and the world is eternally in their debt for it.


Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route – Shoulds and Shouldn’ts PART TWO

You have made it to Spain!

Once you arrive in Spain, there are subtle changes. Eventually it will feel a lot like the Camino Frances, but when you first arrive in A Guarda the changes are less pronounced. Also, you’re still walking mostly alongside the ocean.

Should I stop and reflect on my Caminho thus far?

Not when you first get to Spain and wave goodbye to the boat driver. First, just get up into the path and be on your way. After about an hour–give or take (it might be 1/2 an hour and it might be 2 hours)–you will come across this monument…

This is a perfect resting spot to contemplate the journey behind you, to contemplate the Portugal you have just left behind!

These chairs, and the vistas they look onto, are worth the stop!

Should you be constantly alert on this stretch?

The answer is yes. There is quite a lot of highway walking on this day. Not only should you always be on the alert for motor vehicle traffic when walking this way, but we also encountered a LOT of bikes this day. I don’t know if we didn’t notice them on other days, or if they’re just so much more noticeable when you’re walking in a straight line alongside the highway. We encountered a few on the boardwalks previous to this day, but today was the BIKE day. We even saw one group of about 30 bikes travelling together…electric bikes. Just be aware of your surroundings both ahead and behind you.

You will do a lot of walking on this dijon mustard coloured walking path on this day as you make your way away from the boat launch in A Guarda. Keep checking behind you, as bikes sometimes sneak up. This is not a disparagement of bikes…the Camino is for everyone. Just a warning to look out.

Should I be prepared for a mountainous climb at this point in the Caminho?

The answer is YES.

Once you complete that dijon mustard yellow walking track, be prepared for a climb. It’s not insanely high…but it’s one of the first big climbs you’ll face. You should be prepared.

Should you stop near the top and celebrate your victory with a selfie or two?




If I’m staying in Baiona, Spain, should I stay in Apartamento Vila do Mar?

Again, I can only recommend the places that we stayed. This apartment was found on Booking Dot Com, and it’s in an awesome location and it’s very spacious. 3 bedrooms…book it with friends or fellow pilgrims!

Click Here.

This one is a no-brainer. If you need a bigger place for more pilgrims than just yourself, this is the place. It even has a clothes washer.

Should I even bother trying Padrón peppers?

Maybe the reason I keep going back to the Camino is to eat more Padrón peppers. Find them. Eat them. Repeat!

Should I start to call the café com leite its Spanish equivalent of café con leche?


Truth, it’s better once you start calling it café con leche. For real!

Should I be prepared for a little big city culture shock when I hit Vigo, Spain?

It’s big, but if you’re from a big city it’s not overwhelming. You’ll enjoy being out in the city in the evening. Lots of restaurants, shops, etc. It is a bit of a shock after walking through small towns and nature, but I also found it welcoming.

Should I eat at Peregrinus Vigo Pulperia/Restaurant?

Click Here.

We really enjoyed our meal at this restaurant! The waiter was a bit standoffish, but if you’ve ever eaten in a Paris restaurant you won’t notice.

The food was terrific and it was a great night out on the town! The street it was on was quite lively and filled with shops. A stroll in the neighbourhood wouldn’t hurt, if you’re up to walking in the evenings.

I could also picture Vigo being a Rest Day stop, if you have any days worked into your schedule for this.

FYI: The morning you’re leaving VIGO, you will have an uphill journey for a bit as you leave the hustle and bustle of the town. But the views once you’re in the higher ground make the climb well worth it!

Should I eat lunch at Don Vinarius cafe in Redondela, Spain?

We enjoyed it. Sometimes the simplest meals are the best meals. We had some great sandwiches here that made us ready for the rest of our walk to Ponte Sampaio!

And BEER always tastes better on the Caminho/Camino! I swear!

Should I find the Instagram places IRL and get the photo ops?

I did! 🙂

Should I stay at Hostel Albergue O Mesón in Ponte Sampaio?

This one’s a no-brainer. IF you happen to end up in Ponte Sampaio at the end of your day’s walk, this albergue is FANTASTIC. Whether you’re a lone walker or a group. I saw the single dorm spaces and they were super clean and nice. We stayed in an apartment on the top floor and it was exceptional! And there’s a kitchen on the ground level with communal spaces and coin laundry facilities. CLICK HERE. Here’s pics of our quarters for 3 people:

This one comes HIGHLY recommended. Even though there is a communal kitchen downstairs and a kitchen in the upstairs private apartment that we had, there is an excellent restaurant on the same street that is affiliated with the albergue. About a block down on the same side. I recommend it as well. The restaurant has its own page on the same website as the albergue. There is also a fairly large market attached to the restaurant. CLICK HERE FOR RESTAURANT.

Should I stop at Igrexa da Virxe Peregrina in Pontevedra for a pilgrim stamp?

Translated from Galician, this becomes Church of the Pilgrim Virgin. This is a scallop shaped chapel! I won’t get into the history of this church, but it has a storied past that connects it deeply to the Portuguese Way. Construction began in 1778 and is houses an image of the Virgin Pilgrim, who is the patron saint of both the province of Pontevedra and the Portuguese Way. Here’s the Wiki. You should pay it a visit. Be forewarned, this is a stop for tour buses filled with tourists who just may stampede the chapel at the same time as your arrival. Have patience, it’s busy.


If you want to see our 10 day journey in full, here is the link to DAY ONE. At the end of every day, you will find a link to the next day. After those, you will also find a couple of posts on what to do in Porto before and after the Caminho.

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.








Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route – Shoulds and Shouldn’ts PART ONE

There’s a lot of things to consider when planning your Senda Litoral Route walk of the Caminho Português. There really are no Shoulds or Shouldn’ts. I debated calling this Dos and Don’ts. In the end, this is just some advice you can either take or not take. Always remember… Your Camino, Your way!

But there are things to consider…

One of the very first is: Should I walk out of Porto on foot or should I take the street car?

I can only offer my own personal take on this, as I only walked once and we chose to walk the entire way out of the city… from the famous Dom Luís I bridge all the way to the lighthouses at the mouth of the River Douro where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Myself, Michael, and his sister Jenifer…with the Dom Luís I Bridge in the background. Where we began our Caminho…

There is nothing wrong with taking the streetcar along this portion of the route. Many, many pilgrims do it for various reasons. The streetcar travels alongside the river and takes you to the mouth. It will save you a few kms on your first day and it’s YOUR Camino/YOUR choice.

We walked and really enjoyed the views.

Arrábida Bridge, the last bridge on the River Douro prior to its convergence with the Atlantic Ocean. This bridge actually has a Bridge Climb. You can walk on the braces under the top spans. Check Viator or other tourist sites for info. CLICK HERE.

Once you pass under the Arrábida Bridge, the River Douro opens up and you’re well on your way to the lighthouses and the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s a lot to look at along the way. The walk up to the lighthouses, though, is the crown of the journey. It’s spectacular to see the waves crashing against the catwalks…and you can walk out on those catwalks and get some great shots, too!

This shot was taken from the catwalk of the bigger lighthouse, looking back at the smaller lighthouse.

So, to answer the first question… my answer would be YES. Take the walk out of the city. It’s spectacular. Again, though, it’s your walk. If you know this first day is going to be super long and you need to somehow shorten it, taking the streetcar out of town is how pilgrims have been doing so. YOUR Camino.

Should I stay in HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude in Vila do Conde?

Obviously, I cannot recommend albergues we haven’t stayed at. But I can suggest ones we stayed at that were amazing. And, depending on how you organize your daily walks you may not even find yourself staying in the same towns that we stayed in. With our crazy 10-day schedule, your trip may not align with ours at all.

I can highly recommend the first albergue we stayed in during our September 2022 Camino. Our day one brought us to Vila do Conde. Pousada de Juventude translates from Portuguese to YOUTH HOSTEL. On the surface, this gave me cause for pause. But trust me, it’s gorgeous. And they offer a great breakfast too. If you come to Vila do Conde–on your first or second or third day–you couldn’t go wrong staying at HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude. My suggestion is YES. Do it. Click this link.

HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude


Excuse the backpack explosion in this shot. This is what the rooms look like in this youth hostel. They’re clean and super cute. They have singles and, for our purposes, 3-bed rooms. Worked out perfectly. Nice first day ending.

Should I stop at the Caminho Beach Bar?

This is NOT a bad idea. We thought there would be more options on the route. We ended up leaving the route for a few hundred feet when we spotted a place later and worried there was nothing else coming. So, when you see this sign…

…take it as a sign. Unless you’re okay with leaving the boardwalk and walking a few hundred feet into a small town further along. We had a great pit stop, don’t get me wrong. But if you don’t want to leave the path, this bar is the place for you. If you keep walking, keep an eye out for the place in the next photo. It’s a little town a little ways away from the Caminho Beach Bar…on your right-hand side. Looks like a parking lot that opens to a small town. There is also a very tiny grocers, should you need supplies.

Should I enter this ocean-side haunted house prior to Esposende?

Probably not!

Should I stay at the Esposende Guesthouse?

This may have been one of my favourite albergues on the Caminho Português. The level of trusted hospitality here reminded me of the Camino Frances. A woman greeted us for check-in and gave us the lay of the land. Once all were checked in, she left for the night and the pilgrims were on our own.

The gorgeous and fun Esposende Guesthouse

I don’t know why I fell hard for this one, but I did. It was cute. Click here.

Cash Jar.

There was a cash jar on the kitchen counter, beer in the fridge, wine on the counter. It was all honor system and prices were marked.

There was a kitchen, if you wanted to save a bit on costs and make your own meal. Everything you need is there. The town filled with restaurants is just outside your door, too, should you decide to taste the local fare.

The rooms were clean and cute, and the bathroom was a dream. Towels on the beds. It was an amazing place to end the day!

There were communal crash places aplenty, either indoor or out!

Should I stop to look out across the ocean and snap a selfie after the rain?

An emphatic YES. Stop and smell the roses. You are walking alongside an immeasurable vastness. Take it in. Immerse yourself in it!

Should I stay in HI Viana do Castelo – Pousada de Juventude in Viana do Castelo?

There are options in this bigger town. We chose the first ‘albergue’ once you cross the bridge into town. Should you stay there? That’s entirely up to you. This one lives up to the name of YOUTH HOSTEL. Click Here. The rooms were clean. It had breakfast on offer. It had a large communal room where you could eat an evening meal, should you bring one in. We got a pizza from a local pizzeria…using UberEats to get it delivered.

HI Viana do Castelo – Pousada de Juventude

It was one of those ‘what-you-need’ places, whereas the Esposende Guesthouse was a ‘what-you-want’ place. This place had everything we needed and it was cheap and just inside town. Should you stay here? Entirely up to you and your expectations. WiFi was great, no issues. I believe their pilgrim offer was 14,00€. Link above.

I really wish I could recommend our next stay! It was in Caminha and it was an apartment and it was BEAUTIFUL! Sadly, I noticed that it is no longer on offer. It was a definite SHOULD. Very close to the town circle where the restaurants were and only two minutes from the boat launch in the morning. I would live there if I could.

Should I use Xacobeo Transfer to get from Caminha, Portugal to A Guarda, Spain?

Yes. Absolutely. It was a breeze to book the evening before. The boat met us and the driver had a manifest of passengers and consulted the manifest for our names. We didn’t even have to show a ticket on our phones or anything. Just get on the boat and get off at the other side. It was a quick 5-8 minute ride.

Here’s the link to their website: Xacobeo Transfer.

Tip to remember if your phone doesn’t automatically change, or if you don’t use a phone: A Guarda is ONE HOUR AHEAD of Caminha. So, though the ride takes a few minutes, you lose an hour. A Guarda is the beginning of Spain and they are an hour ahead of Portugal.

This ends Part One. Click here to JUMP TO PART TWO.

If you want to see our 10 day journey in full, here is the link to DAY ONE. At the end of every day, you will find a link to the next day. After those, you will also find a couple of posts on what to do in Porto before and after the Caminho.

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.

The Camino Club

The Long Walk! Listed: Books on Walking…

There’s something about walking. When I’m unable to put feet on the ground and get myself lost in jungles both concrete and tropical, or in forests or fields, I like to read a good book where others are willing to do it for me. Walking is something that connects us with the Everything. It’s one of my favourite pastimes. Reading is most definitely a solid tie for that title. Reading about walking became a natural progression of things for me.

I thought I would compile a list of the books on walking that I’ve enjoyed the most. I recommend ANY of the books on this list. And don’t get me wrong, these are not books about putting one foot in front of the other and finding yourself moved from one place to another. Although that motion does indeed happen in each and every one of these stories. These are books about going inside while going outside. I’ll start with a few of my favourite quotes on walking…

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~ John Muir

“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think, when I’m exhausted and afraid and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks.” ~ Jim Butcher

“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.”~ Wendell Berry

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

“You don’t walk to kill time but to welcome it, to pick off its leaves and petals one by one, second by second.” ~ Frédéric Gros

“Sometimes, leaving the road, I would walk into the sea and pull it voluptuously over my head and stand momentarily drowned in the cool blind silence, in a salt-stung neutral nowhere.” ~ Laurie Lee

“As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.” ~ Rumi

“If you are in a bad mood go for a walk.If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” ~ Hippocrates

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I could go on forever, because so many people throughout history have echoed the same love of walking and its benefits to the soul, the heart, the body, and the mind.

This list is going to begin with my favourite Camino books (surprise, surprise). In no particular order, other than the one at the top of the list (which is my favourite!), here are my TOP 8 BOOKS ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO. Descriptions are from the books, as displayed on Goodreads.

Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago by Beth Jusino

In April 2015, Beth and Eric Jusino, laden with backpacks and nerves, walked out of a cathedral in the historic village of Le Puy, France, down a cobblestone street, and turned west. Seventy-nine days, a thousand miles, two countries, two mountain ranges, and three pairs of shoes later, they reached the Atlantic Ocean.

More than two million pilgrims have walked the Way of Saint James, a long-distance hiking trail familiar to most Americans by its Spanish name, the Camino de Santiago. Each pilgrim has their own reason for undertaking the journey. For the Jusinos, it was about taking a break from the relentless pace of modern life and getting away from all their electronic devices. And how hard could it be, Beth reasoned, to walk twelve to fifteen miles a day, especially with the promise of real beds and local wine every night? Simple.

It turned out to be harder than she thought. Beth is not an athlete, not into extreme adventures, and, she insists, not a risk-taker. She didn’t speak a word of French when she set out, and her Spanish was atrocious. But she can tell a story. In Walking to the End of the World, she shares, with wry humor and infectious enthusiasm, the joys and travails of undertaking such a journey. She evocatively describes the terrain and the route’s history, her fellow pilgrims, and the villages passed, and the unexpected challenges and charms of the experience.

A Hug for the Apostle: On Foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela by Laurie Dennett

Describes the author’s pilgrimage alone and on foot along the famous medieval route from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela.



Walking With Sam: A Father, a Son, and Five Hundred Miles Across Spain by Andrew McCarthy

An intimate, funny, and poignant travel memoir following  New York Times  bestselling author and actor Andrew McCarthy as he walks the Camino de Santiago with his son Sam.

When Andrew McCarthy’s eldest son began to take his first steps into adulthood, McCarthy found himself wishing time would slow down. Looking to create a more meaningful connection with Sam before he fled the nest, as well as recreate his own life-altering journey decades before, McCarthy decided the two of them should set out on a trek like few 500 miles across Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

Over the course of the journey, the pair traversed an unforgiving landscape, having more honest conversations in five weeks than they’d had in the preceding two decades.  Discussions of divorce, the trauma of school, McCarthy’s difficult relationship with his own father, fame, and Flaming Hot Cheetos threatened to either derail their relationship or cement it.   Walking With Sam  captures this intimate, candid and hopeful expedition as the father son duo travel across the country and towards one another.

Pilgrim: Finding a New Way on the Camino de Santiago by Carolyn Gillespie

When faced with an empty nest, Kari decides to spread her own wings. Giving up a job she loves, she sets off to walk across a whole country. A big one.

A contemporary take on an ancient experience, Pilgrim is an entertaining and moving memoir of Kari’s 900km walk to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In classic pilgrim fashion, she meets and befriends an array of companions along the way, from all walks of life, united by a common sincerity of purpose. Battling through sun and snow, mud and mountains, blisters and bedbugs, her real destination turns out to be “deep peace”.

Initially unsure of the difference between a long walk and a pilgrimage, Kari and her friend, are not sure what to expect as they embark on the Camino de Santiago. Sleeping in hostels and carrying all their belongings on their back takes some getting used to and they are sorely tested by the unrelenting physical challenge of the ‘great trudge’. In the early days they are preoccupied by the external journey. But soon, like a modern-day Canterbury Tales, Kari and Ali find themselves swept along by a motley band of pilgrims whose stories touch the heart and awaken the soul. Pilgrim brings to life, in vivid detail, the kindness of strangers, the warmth of village hospitality and the sisterhood of the Sturdy Girls. With San Miguel adopted as their patron saint, the Camino becomes filled with beer, laughter and a return to the carefree joy of childhood. There is an unburdening, a sloughing off of the things that don’t matter. Only what counts is left behind.

Pilgrim celebrates communitas , friendship and the resilience of the middle-aged women who keep going when those around them buckle, who bandage the broken, make them dinner and get them back on their feet. Encouraged by the ghosts of pilgrims who have walked the Way for a thousand years, and with no real choice in the matter, she finally slows down, and the pilgrimage becomes a journey to the interior. As she walks her defences are broken down and her heart opens.

On a transformational journey that takes her from the snowy mountains of the Pyrenees, through the dry winelands of Rioja, the mysticism of the Meseta, to the Green farmland of Galicia, a spiritual reawakening occurs. She revels in the utter joy of a frosty sunrise with shadows a hundred meters long, the frogs, and the cuckoo that follows them for miles. The body may be broken but nature has the cure.

Overweight, Undertrained and Terrified: A Camino Diary by Connor O’Donoghue

(My NOTE: LGBTQ Representation)

This is the entertaining and sometimes inspirational story of one morbidly obese 35-year-old Irishman who decides to walk 708 kilometres across the Camino de Santiago, an ancient Christian pilgrimage in Northern Spain one summer. On the journey, he faces a variety of physical and mental obstacles. The book is written in diary format, at turns poignant and funny in a light, pacey style.

Adventures on ‘The Way’: 1100 Miles on the Camino de Santiago by Graeme Harvey

Unfulfilled, wanting something more, and longing for a new adventure, Graeme Harvey and his wife Kirsty set out along 1100 miles of the fabled El Camino de Santiago fully kitted out for all eventualities…Or so they think! What actually follows is a picturesque, joyous, painful, pain au chocolat fuelled journey that will change their lives forever… “Inspiring!” “Very entertaining”, “Fantastic read”. Nominated for running book of the year in The Running Awards 2019.

Trail Mix: 920km on the Camino de Santiago by Jules Torti

(My NOTE: LGBTQ Representation)

For many, walking the Camino is a decision predictably triggered by death, divorce, or a career crisis. It’s not Everest and it ain’t no walk in the park, but the Camino ‘family’ continues to inexplicably grow. In 2018 alone, 327,342 pilgrims were received at the pilgrim office in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Pilgrims worldwide are attracted to the gilded mystery and hope of the Camino. Like the Ouija board, magic 8-ball and Ann Landers, it surreptitiously provides answers.

There is snoring. Sleep apnea. Threadbare patience. Frayed nerves. Sour socks. A lot of salami. Shifting from a walk-in closet to a walking closet of just 10 pounds, Jules and Kim decided to walk the historic Camino before their lower backs (or any other body parts) decided otherwise. Jules learned all the essential Spanish they’d need — luckily everything that was necessary ended in ‘o’: vino tinto (red wine), queso (cheese), corto (small beer), chorizo (sausage), baño (bathroom).

Trail Mix is the open, frank, and funny story of one Canadian couple voted most unlikely to agree to such a daunting social experience.

There’s Something Going On!: Walking the Camino de Santiago by Simon Donlevy

Simon Donlevy was nearly 50 and had worked for a high street bank for 30 years when he embarked on an incredible personal journey. There’s something going on! takes us through his candid thoughts and emotions in the periods leading to the decision to take a sabbatical and live the life of a pilgrim as he walks nearly 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago.

The magic of the Camino soon reveals itself. He learns that he’s never really alone and that he needs nothing else in life other than those he can throw his arms around. What starts as a book about a walk, soon becomes a beautiful story told in an engaging and humorous way about people, love, adventure, escapism, charity and friendships.


Now on to some of my other favourite books on WALKING…

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
Camino Child by Brien Crothers
Rebirth:  Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart by Kamal Ravikant
Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed by Sonia Choquette
Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, and More by Christina Henry De Tessan
The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter
Camino Maggie: Teen Rebel Series by Joy Llewellyn
Another ‘Way’: The Camino Portugués by Graeme Harvey
My Camino by Sue Kenney

You didn’t think I’d curate a book on walking list without at least mentioning my own books on the subject, did you?

I wrote a young adult novel set on the Camino, as well as a short story set on the Camino…

The Camino Club

My Amazon Author page can be found by clicking here.

Light Near the End of the World – A Camino de Santiago Short Story

If you’re a wanderluster who loves to get lost in the words of others who wanderlust, any of the titles mentioned above will get you on the right path!

If you have a favourite book on walking and it’s not listed here…feel free to mention it in the comments. I’m always looking for another book on the topic.

A NEW Camino Book Releases Today! Walking With Sam by Andrew McCarthy

It’s CAMINO TUESDAY again! What a perfect time for this highly anticipated book release!

I’ve been waiting a while for this book. Ever since I first discovered Andrew McCarthy’s travel writings (and one YA novel), I’ve been hooked! Last year, I tracked his journey across the Camino Frances with his son Sam through Instagram and Facebook posts. It only took me a few minutes to put two and two together and figure out that a book would be born from their adventure.

Today, that book is released!

Walking With Sam by Andrew McCarthy


I am always on the lookout for new Camino books and McCarthy is a great writer. At this point, he’s an auto-buy author for me.

Walking with Sam is available wherever books are sold. You can read all about it at the web-page linked below on the Hachette Book Group’s website:


Here’s a screenshot of McCarthy’s book tour:

Can’t wait to read this one!



International Literary Seminars Fiction and Poetry Contest Now Open!

Why a lion photo for a writing contest? I went to Kenya with the SLS in 2009 on a partial fellowship after entering ‘this’ contest…

The International Literary Seminars Fiction & Poetry Contest is now open for entries!

A little backstory…

Once upon a time there was an organization called Summer Literary Seminars (SLS)(1998-2019). There is now an organization called International Literary Seminars (ILS). They list SLS as their parent. From their ABOUT page:

“Our mission as a not-for-profit organization is to amplify the literary and cultural visibility of Nairobi and Lamu within an international context and with a particular focus on showcasing the vibrant and complex voices of emerging East African writers.”

I entered the SLS fiction contest and went to the Kenya seminar in 2009 after being awarded a partial fellowship to attend.

Me and my two 2009 SLS retreat besties, Jennifer and Manjula. Lamu, Kenya, December, 2009.

You can click the link below to go right to the contest page for entry and prize details:


The prizes are substantial. First place will win full scholarship, which includes tuition, accommodation, and an airfare stipend. You can see the other prizes by clicking the above link.

The program is an excellent experience. The itinerary will be different than the one I had when I went through SLS, but it’s also essentially the same. You will go to both Nairobi and Lamu, which were the settings I experienced through SLS. This was a life-changing retreat for me in more ways than one. They have an excellent writing program, and it is perfectly balanced with the cultural experience of place.

Nairobi, as seen from a hilltop looking into the city.

You should enter this contest!

Lamu was such a wonderful laid back experience after the whirlwind tour I had of Masai Mara and Nairobi. We had writing classes on an open rooftop with views of the Indian Ocean.

For more on my own personal experiences on Lamu Island, visit THIS LINK: THE WHITE RABBIT OF LAMU AND TIME MARCHES ON

A baobab tree. And me.

Here’s a link to a detailed rundown of this year’s ILS program, which begins in Nairobi. It runs from DECEMBER 5th – 20th, 2023>>> 2023 PROGRAM

It looks like the entry fee is $19.00USD. ILS is a not-for-profit organization.

Other things to know: Submissions are capped at 1,000. They had over 450 entries last year. Fiction can be a short story OR a novel excerpt—unpublished at 6,000 words or less. Poetry is up to 3 poems. Entries are accepted until AUGUST 25th, through Submittable.

Good luck! May you fall in love with Kenya as I did!

With participants of SLS 2009 with some of the Masai on Lamu, Island.

RIP Gordon Lightfoot – Canada’s Troubadour

Canadians are waking up today to the sad news that we have lost one of our most iconic children. GORDON LIGHTFOOT, the indefatigable folksinger loved the world over has passed away.

Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s Troubadour – November 17, 1938 – May 1, 2023

Born in Orillia, Ontario, Lightfoot became an internationally renown folksinger. He virtually shaped the folk genre throughout the 60s and 70s, alongside such legends as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Lightfoot’s first public appearance–I love this story–was in the 1940s, over the PA system at his elementary school during a Parents’ Day event. Lightfoot sang the Irish lullaby Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral. It was just a glimmer of what was to come. He never stopped singing…

Back when I worked in a record store (Target Tape & Records) in the 70s, Lightfoot’s music could always be heard throughout the day as we priced vinyl and helped customers find their next great obsessions. Quite often, it was Lightfoot’s records they were taking home. This was the case whether they were hard rockers, disco enthusiasts, country, reggae, or pop fans. Kiss fans would pick up the newest Kiss album along with a Lightfoot. Engelbert Humperdinck fanatics would also have a Lightfoot in tow at the checkout. There are just some artists who refuse to be pigeonholed into a single lane in the music world. Lightfoot was one of them. Even throughout my punk and new wave phases in the early to mid-80s, Lightfoot was there. His records sat comfortably alongside Leonard Cohen, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Cure. There’s no explaining how some artists get to stay in the rotation throughout one’s life, other than the fact that their iconic sound never sours. It is eternal.

Lightfoot was one of those artists. His eternal sound never lost its edge. One of his most iconic songs, If You Could Read My Mind, was recorded by well over 100 artists, including Liza Minnelli, Olivia Newton-John, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Don McLean, and Barbra Streisand. Viola Wills made it a disco hit, while Stars on 54 kept the trend going.

Lightfoot walked in every lane. Whether you loved him or not, he probably had influence on your favourite artists. His songwriting skills earned him a forever place in Canada’s (and the world’s) music universe.

Lightfoot considered The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (1976) and Early Morning Rain (1966) his crowning achievements. The former, of course, was a song commemorating the sinking of the bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. The entire crew of that ship (29 souls) was lost in the accident. Lightfoot wrote about things that happened around him. He captured Canada and the world in his lyrics.

My own personal experience with Gordon Lightfoot took place in 2007. This was the year of my very first MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON experience. I wrote the 48 hour novel writing marathon that year. I left before the 72 hours was up. This was an option…you could either do two days or three. I wrote a really tumultuous story about a boy (Sebastian Nelson) growing up in the Beaches district of Toronto, in the 1970s, with his younger brother and his broken father. I had a folksinger character who came into the boys’ lives to pick up the slack where the father was failing. This folksinger was fashioned after another iconic Canadian…Montreal’s Leonard Cohen. It was a barely concealed homage to Cohen.

I wanted an epic closing chapter to my first MNM novel attempt, so I decided the Cohen character would go to Gordon Lightfoot’s 1980 benefit concert for Canadian Olympic athletes at CNE Grandstand here in Toronto. Lightfoot was actually a character in this final chapter. Lightfoot invited my character, Teal Landen, to join him on the stage. The two then sang a duet of If You Could Read My Mind. It was EPIC (to me)!

I really dove in to that story. I was possessed. I raced that story through the 1970s and I did not look back until I finally made it to the stage of that concert in 1980! I couldn’t wait to get Teal onto that stage at the CNE Grandstand and to that event hosted by none other than the great Gordon Lightfoot.

As I wrote that last chapter with tears in my eyes and excitement in my heart, I felt this great crescendo escalating with every word that raised to meet the ending. It was the denouement to a story that was often hectic and scary. It was the moment when my child character, from the wings of the CNE Grandstand stage, was finally able to exhale after a treacherous ride through a difficult childhood. It was the culmination of a full 48 hours of writing the same story start to finish and it was simultaneously electrifying and exhausting.

After writing that story the way I wanted it written, I didn’t want to risk anything. I didn’t know about copyright laws or what you were or were not allowed to do in fiction. Once the marathon was over, I immediately sought out both Leonard Cohen’s management and Gordon Lightfoot’s management. I wanted to secure permission from Lightfoot to use him as a character in my novel. And I wanted to secure permission to use Leonard Cohen lyrics. I had no idea if this was necessary or not. I just didn’t want to shop this novel around only to find out I’d have to scrap the last chapter (WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVED!)

Leonard Cohen’s management gave me permission on the lyrics almost immediately. The information I had for Gordon Lightfoot was a fax number. I meticulously created a cover letter explaining my request, and I added my final chapter to the fax. I imagined them being HOPPING MAD receiving all these pages at once. I envisioned them throwing the ‘junk mail’ fax into the bin with a curse.

That’s not what happened. About an hour after I sent the fax, I received a phone call from Barry Harvey…Lightfoot’s manager. Harvey was thrilled about my request. I could here his legitimate excitement as he spoke to me. He was happy that Lightfoot would be memorialized this way. He didn’t care if Sebastian’s Poet would become a bestseller, or even get published at all in the end. He was happy that I did it, period. And in the background, I actually heard Lightfoot talking. Harvey passed on a few comments that I had already heard in the background. They were happy to give me permission and they wished me luck with my endeavor.

Soon after I got off the phone, I received the signed permission. I still don’t know if this was something I actually needed or not. I just didn’t want to change a word of that last chapter. I was protective of my baby and doing everything I could to ensure it stayed intact. Lightfoot delivered tenfold! Barry Harvey passed away a couple of days later.

I’m sure there are as many Lightfoot stories as there are fans. He was a giving and generous person who interacted with his fans. He will be sadly missed. His music sneaks into the soundtracks of our lives when we least expect it. It always will. We are, after all, Canada… and so is he.

Gordon Lightfoot – November 17, 1938 – May 1, 2023



Pilgrims Who Start Their Camino in Sarria…

35% of all pilgrims who receive their compostela certificate (this is the certificate that authenticates the fact that you completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain) in Santiago de Compostela begin their pilgrimage in SARRIA.

My compostela certificate, issued to me in September, 2019, after I walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela.

That’s AWESOME! Good for them! So THRILLED they had this experience!

Michael and I waving our tubed compostela certificates in the air in front of the Cathedral in September, 2019. Victory!

There is a lot of talk in Camino groups around the internet that disparages this 35%. They even give them derogatory names likes Touragrino and suggest that they are destroying the Camino. Peregrino is the Spanish word for Pilgrim, so those who walk the Camino are known as peregrinos (peregrina is the feminine word, but en masse peregrino refers to all…much like actresses are also grouped in to the collective of actors). Calling pilgrims who only walk the last 100km Touragrinos suggests that they are merely tourists out for a stroll, and that they don’t experience the ‘actual’ Camino. Don’t listen to these people!

Michael, Jenifer and I in front of the Cathedral soon after arriving from walking the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Portuguese in September, 2022.

What the Camino snobs either ignore or don’t seem to take into consideration is that a LOT of people don’t have the option to take the amount of time off work that it would take to walk the entirety to the Camino Frances (or any of the other routes that take 30 or more days to walk). They have their heads stuck so firmly up their arrogant asses, that they don’t realize that others are not as privileged as they are when it comes to having free time away from their workaday lives.

A pastoral scene somewhere around the 50km mark between Sarria and Santiago de Compostela.

Walking from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela does not make a pilgrim any less of a pilgrim. It doesn’t mean these peregrinos appreciate the Camino less than those who begin in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France. Quite often it means they would much rather walk the entire Camino, but that their circumstances will not allow it. That the ‘true pilgrim’ snobs add insult to their injury is just deplorable.

Michael and I, at the 100km milemarker on the Camino Frances. September, 2019.

The Camino should be a place of no judgement. Sadly, that’s not the case. Those who have the privilege to walk the entire walk often mock those who cannot. So not cool. Each pilgrim makes their own way. Your Camino, your way.

A collection of old walking sticks left behind at the old pilgrim’s office in Santiago de Compostela. May, 2014 from my Camino from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.

If you can only take a week (or two) away from your world, you have a couple of Camino options. ONE is to walk the last part of the Camino, where you get to experience walking to the Cathedral and all that that uplifting experience can bring you. ANOTHER is that you can walk the first part of the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, get all your stamps and come back the next year to continue where you left off…doing a portion every year until you get to the end. ANOTHER is that you can walk any ole part of the Camino you wish to explore. The choice is yours, not some loudmouth internet troll’s who is trying to tell you you’re not a pilgrim if you don’t walk the entire pilgrimage route. You don’t need those people in your life.

There are a myriad of reasons that not everyone can do a full Camino, and it’s nobody’s business but theirs. If you’re considering doing a Camino pilgrimage and can’t do the whole thing, please don’t listen to naysayers! DO YOUR CAMINO YOUR WAY. Enjoy every minute of it! Don’t let them steal your joy.

There is NO SHAME in not doing the entire pilgrimage route. The joy is in experiencing what you can of this unique path. Whether you do it for religious reasons, spiritual reasons, or just because you want to go for a walk…all reasons and all distances are valid. ENJOY!