ultreia-1Hi, I have not been around, although many posts are in draft mode. And then there are the book reviews that got “lost” under drifts of snow and blasts of cold during the winter, the ones that had me seeking refuge on my sofa. Where exactly have I been since the warmer days came along? Well – I’ve been walking and walking and walking. And then I walk some more. Yes, me. Really!

From early on,  I was a big walker. Having grown up in a place with a downtown and sidewalks, and then having lived near and worked in NYC, I always walked a lot. Then I moved here, started grad school at night and a new career during the day. Walking was the short distance between house and attached garage, parking lot and office, and so forth. Grad school ended in 2013, but somehow I could not get my walking – or exercising in any form – groove back, except for when on vacation.

walkinarelaxedmannerlrgSo what’s up now? The summer after graduation, I read Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp. Long ago dreams of making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, specifically the Camino Francés were reawakened. Now that dream is becoming reality scheduled for September 2016, a date chosen about one year ago when my friend and fellow pilgrim Sue and I decided to try to follow up on this seemingly impossible dream.

This is truly a quixotic quest. Am I really going to leave home and work for 6 weeks and walk from France into Spain, over the Pyrenees, and then across Spain, a distance of about 800 km, or 500 miles? Where will the money come from? And what about my aching old, overweight 57-will-be-58-then body? Hence my walking every day; it was time to get serious and see what would happen.

Bleachers to train upon - my "pretend" Pyrenees!

Bleachers to train upon – my “pretend” Pyrenees!

In May, training began, and today my body is stronger, thanks be to God, not to mention shedding a few pounds. That said, I have a long way to go.

Me in my "camino hat," which I purchased one year ago...

Me in my “camino hat,” which I purchased one year ago…

On Saturday, the Feast of St. James, I started a GoFundMe page; one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done – because who wants to ask for help? Financial help at that. It feels terribly challenging, embarrassing, and so much more. If nothing else, a religious or spiritual camino carries with it a need to surrender, and that I must do. If I am honest, I will publicly admit that I do not have the money to cover the entire trip. The American work ethic ethos in me says, well, then you can’t go. The pilgrim urges me to let go of pride and put it out there. If you are moved to donate, I thank you. If you can’t, please consider sharing it with others via social media. No matter what you do, I ask you to make the greatest “donation” of all – please pray for me. Be assured that I am doing the same for you.

Entrée_à_Saint-Jacques-de-CompostelleSo that’s where I’ve been. I am also making a lot of notes for what I hope will become a book (because the world needs the 1,935,252th book about the camino) which I feel compelled to write. Now that I have “outed” myself as a potential pilgrim, hopefully I will have more to say. We know that when we write down our prayers and dreams, and then speak them aloud, they have a greater chance of becoming reality. In the meantime, I simply pray that God continues to push this little effort forth, and that I cooperate with God’s efforts, no matter how they turn out.



7 thoughts on “Ultreya!

  1. This is too cool, Fran! Prayers and blessings on your training and preparations. Ultreya! 🙂


  2. I am so excited and a little bit jealous for you! I will pray for this year of training, and for your pilgrimage to be reality next year. You have already inspired me to go back to my reflections and potential book of what I consider my own pilgrimage in Wales and see it through. Blessings and love for your adventure and journey. ❤


  3. Pingback: There is no path | There Will Be Bread

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