Jill Momper is an extraordinary lady who, at the tender age of 70, is going to walk the Camino for the first time next year.
She lives in a small town north of Atlanta, Georgia. Here she tells us a little bit about herself, and her thoughts and feelings in preparing for the Camino.
JILL MOMPER –
I’ve never lived more than 50 miles from where I grew up, although I’ve traveled out of the country many times. I belong to a local hiking club and we hike frequently in the North GA mountains near the start of the Appalachian Trail.
I recently started a walking group of retired women. We call ourselves ‘the street walkers’ as we carry out our walks around town on city streets. I can tell you the name raises some eyebrows 🙂
I retired 5 years ago after working in marketing and advertising for 30 years.
I’m not sure what first sparked my interest in the Camino. I’ve gathered together all the articles and books I’ve collected for more than 10 years, and can find no beginning. Just the date of an article I printed off the internet of September 16, 2003.
I’ve mentioned the Camino in conversation a few times over the years; our church sent the youth group to Spain two years ago and they walked a few miles which brought it back to mind. But it was a chance conversation with my son, where I said I’d always wanted to go but couldn’t find anyone else interested, and he said he’d love to walk with me.
It was the last thing I ever thought I’d hear from him, being a husband and father of 4 small children. It was then I decided to pursue my dream whether he can join me or not.
In February of this year we both attended a meeting about walking the Camino at an REI in Atlanta conducted by Tom Beck, founder of the Atlanta chapter of Americans on the Camino. He has graciously offered to help me plan my way.
About myself. I’ve always been a walker, my family were walkers. All the trips I’ve taken in the last 15 years involved hiking. Perhaps my PGS has been preparing me for this?
I am married to a man who hates to walk, which is funny because I plan our vacations and that’s what they revolve around. On our last trip, he said he was finished with hiking. So, that gave me permission to go this one alone. And isn’t the Camino a solitary experience anyway?
I don’t know why I’m going, I just am.
Everything I’ve read says the countryside is beautiful and it is a life changing experience. What I’d like to do is rediscover the essential Jill, unencumbered by monikers such as wife, mother, grandmother.
Currently, I intend to walk the Frances in September 2014 starting in Leon, but it will depend on how I’m feeling as to how far I can walk. If not Leon, then Ponferrada, or at least Sarria.
What I fear is that I may have waited too long. At the age of 70 any kind of health issue can arise without warning. I am fairly fit, but my age definitely weighs on me.
I don’t fear the journey, just regrets for not going sooner.