A movie called The Way is a big reason Kathy Zurla wants to walk the Camino de Santiago.
“About eight years ago I saw Martin Sheen in The Way, a movie about a trek through the Camino. I had never heard of the area before seeing the movie. It was just amazing – the terrain, the country you go through, the people you meet along the journey. I thought, ‘One of these days I’m going to go there.’”
Since putting El Camino on her bucket list, Kathy was thrilled to hear that her high school friend and co-founder of The Divine Destination Collection Allison Frame was organizing a trip to walk the Camino. “I always wanted to do a trip with Allison. And this was a two-fold treat – going on one of Allison’s amazing vacations and fulfilling one of my bucket list dream items. I said I’m going on this trip no matter what!”
Kathy and Allison met at high school in Tokyo, and now it looks like two other high school chums will also be joining them on the El Camino next May. “This is a trip of friendship. I’m looking forward to being with lifelong friends – and making new friends,” she says.
The spiritual aspect of the trip is a large part of the appeal to Kathy. “The movie with Martin Sheen was about spiritual awareness – it will allow me to experience new feelings and learn about a new part of the world. I’m excited to leave my other world behind and open my heart and allow myself to be totally vulnerable.”
It’s a good thing that Kathy also loves to walk. For the last 13 years she has participated in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, a two-day 40-mile walk to raise funds for breast cancer charities. “Training for the walk was not just for exercise, but also to challenge myself with endurance, set goals to go longer distances, and a way to clear my head after a long day at work. It was so cathartic.”
To train, Kathy walks five miles a day, and will soon start walking in hiking boots to get her feet used to wearing that type of shoe for the Camino terrain. “You are going to get blisters so you have to toughen your feet. Word of advice – don’t get a pedicure right before you leave, as it’ll make your feet too soft. You want the calluses to toughen up your feet for the days when you have a lot of miles to walk.”
A group setting:
Jenny Grajpel also wanted to travel with her long-time friend Allison. “It just hadn’t worked out for a number of reasons, but this trip really spoke to me.”
Not only did the Camino interest Jenny, she liked the idea of a group adventure. “I like the group energy, the group perspective. There are things they’ll give to me – and that I’ll give to them.”
It was also the spiritual aspect of the El Camino that really called to Jenny. “I don’t know exactly what it is – but there is a reason for me to go on this trip at this time.”
Jenny says she’s always been highly connected to the spiritual side of things throughout her life, and she often finds clues that guide her along the way. “I knew this was part of my journey.”
So instead of having any expectations for the trip, Jenny says she just knows she is going to get exactly what she needs. “I’m open to what will happen. It’s about trusting, and knowing that I’m supposed to be doing this.”
The physical experience:
Visiting Spain has always been on Victoria Worley’s bucket list. Then she heard about the Camino a few years ago and knew she wanted to go.
“I had friends who did the backpack thing – but I had no interest in roughing it and staying in hostels,” says Victoria. “This trip was very appealing and was the right time frame.”
The physical experience of walking 100 kilometres through varying terrain is what’s pulling Victoria towards El Camino. “If people tell me I can’t do it, I’m sure I can,” she laughs.
Victoria says her only fear is of injuring herself. So to prepare for El Camino she walks every day and takes in a boot camp, and is set to walk a half-marathon in February.
“I’m not sporty by any means,” she says, but four years ago, in 2014, she signed up to walk 2014 kilometres and enjoyed the challenge.
“This will actually be the first time I’ll be doing something just for myself, responsible for just me, not a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, or friend – just concerned with only my well-being and making myself happy – without fretting or worrying about anyone other than myself. Should be quite an experience!”
The Divine Destination Collection blog will catch up with all three women next year after they return from the Camino. Find out what they thought of the journey, which will take them through the last 100 km of the Camino Frances (French Way) to the iconic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
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