Guest Post – Rachael

Rachael has been a regular on this blog from very early on.

She and I have jousted on several occasions. I have always respected her point of view, even though at times I have not agreed with it. We’ve sometimes had very vigorous and spirited debates, and I’ve enjoyed that.

She’s kept me honest…


I asked her to do a guest post – and for her to choose any topic she wished. So here’s what she’s written –


In my real life I have a reputation for being strongly principled, but often the last to enter a conversation and usually somewhat tentatively.
On this here blog the strongly principled becomes “opinionated” and the tentative nature of my discourse is lost – if you say *anything* it is (sometimes) understood to be “forcing your opinion on others.”

My real life friends expressed bewilderment when I revealed this online persona! This is the only online place (either blog or forum) that I experience being the stirrer.

I wondered why (mostly because it does not sit well with who I really am, but also because it intrigues me that I can have ended up with a reputation in this place so different to anywhere else I “hang out”).

I think it’s a) partly the nature of online communication (short, without gesture or facial expression or audible tone, and somewhat surface – I don’t mean that deep and real things are not shared here, because that clearly would be wrong – it’s more as opposed to the early American politicians who would debate for hours at a time, or even the preachers who held their audiences captive for over two hours –Neil Postman provides an interesting discussion on how the medium itself restricts or allows a particular depth of dialogue to occur)….and it’s b) mostly because I hold ideas that are different to the majority here.

But that’s not what my guest post is about!

When Bill invited me to share, I wanted to say yes as a participant of this community. Having only walked 300km, I don’t feel “expert” in things Camino, but I wondered if there was some part of my experience that might encourage this community. And there was my word. Community.

Very often, people insist that a camino is a personal thing (and it is) and it must be done your own way (and it can be) and it’s not about others (I struggle to agree with that). My feeling is that we live in a very individualistic society and rather under-value each other, the concept of community, of togetherness, of reliance on anything/anyone apart from ourselves.

This is one area of life that my husband and I decided to be intentionally counter-cultural about. Although we live in suburbia, we wanted to create community around us – we got to know our neighbours and made an effort to serve them (whether it’s feeding their cats when they go away on holiday or sharing a cup of sugar when someone runs out or looking after each others’ kids or lending a trailer so not everyone needs to own one).

We try to serve those beyond our immediate neighbourhood too – having the old lady in her eighties who lived in India for forty years over for a meal or taking her a one-person portion from our dinner….. inviting a lady recently widowed to come to the Christmas Carols in the Town Hall with our family…. having Grandpa over for dinner every night…. offering respite for a friend who is a foster carer…. inviting others to join our family holidays… running a couple of organic food co-ops so that people can afford to buy healthy food…..

These are little things, but they say to our kids, “Life’s not about us, we were made to live in community with others, we are not to just look out for ourselves.”

And so perhaps it is no surprise that we took those sentiments on our camino too. Inviting Grandpa was an honour and a blessing to us. Walking with little kids and teenagers who are supposed to not get along with adults was a treasure.

Did we experience conflict? Yes. It took us a couple of days to realise that Grandpa needed to be walking at the front of the group in order to feel like he was not falling behind – and so then we made sure that is where he stayed. Small people sometimes had their moments, but we were able to offer them encouragement and assistance.

I always would have been more comfortable walking a bit faster than we were, but we were in this together and I happily adjusted my wishes to suit the weakest members of the group.

We met people who had split from their partners because they could not – or I humbly suggest *would* not – make any changes that would inconvenience them as individuals. I am not saying it is wrong to reach such a conclusion, but I do think that not having that as an option gave us a greater understanding of each other and meant that we ended up creating shared memories.

Of course we did not walk constantly in perfect formation – our group stretched out and “rubber banded” back together – we made sure that the last person to reach a rest stop was the one to determine when the rest was over….these are little considerations that can be helpful when walking as a group.

Some of you will be walking with Bill’s tour next year. Again, I do not expect you will all walk together all the time, but as you are travelling as a group, I would encourage you to live community along the way and be sensitive to each other. It might inconvenience you, but I can assure you it will make for a richer store of memories for you all.


58 thoughts on “Guest Post – Rachael

  1. Rachael,

    What a perfectly wonderful post! It resonated deeply with me on two levels. First, there is the problematic nature of e-communications which has taken me an awfully long time to overcome at the most basic level. Then there is the balancing act of the “individual” and the “social” aspects of the Camino.

    At the outset – I’d say the first 4 – 7 days – I was an “angry pilgrim”. It was really unclear to me what I was doing there yet … there I was. I really, REALLY just wanted to be left alone to figure this whole “Camino thing” out for myself.

    I am not saying that I was not helpful or sharing as the need arose, it is just that I was not happy about it. Over time, I began to grasp that maybe (just maybe) that my entire reason for being where I was, at the time I was there was an attempt by Someone way smarter than me to instruct me on how to create the balance.

    The lesson came neither easily nor fast. I was surprised to find that it was not the “Camino thing” that was a problem – it was me. It took me until mid-Meseta before I figured that out. It was somewhere around Astorga that I finally made peace with it.

    Had I known the merest sliver of what you have written so well, I would have made a much better pilgrim.

    Thanks for your thoughts,



  2. Excellent post, Rachael! I will keep your words of wisdom in my heart when I return to finish my Camino. Your commentary on the pitfalls of e-communications resonated with me as well. I have so often been misinterpreted because the nuances of face-to-face communication are just not there! Thanks so much for sharing. Julie


  3. Rachel,

    You never disappoint. You are always interesting, and you seem to always put an edge on things a little different than I would, but that might be what makes it interesting to me. It is definitely what makes you you and me me.

    Unlike you, Brendan, and Julie, I do not feel that on line communicating is that deficient. I have never thought much about it so that must mean that I have never found it lacking. Any form of communication can be lacking, whether on line, on the phone, a letter, or a personal face to face conversation. I have often found that on line can be more meaningful because most people are not as reticent to express their true feelings with the cover of not being seen. I know that has worked with some folks that I have had very intimate and personal dialogue with over the years. But, any communication is only as good as the person being able to articulate what they want to say, and the other being able to receive it. Both are always filtered through their own life experiences and that has nothing to do with the form of communication.

    To me, you come across a little too forceful for my taste. Does that make you wrong? Of course not, and I am not passing any judgment, but it might be why I can’t get warm and fuzzy with you. That might not have been the best way to communicate that :-). At times, I feel that you might be speaking down to the rest of us or should I say to me. Yes, I should only speak for myself and that is what I am attempting to do.

    Case in point:

    I commend you for the way you and your group handled walking on the Camino. Those seem like common courtesies to me. I think most of us would do the same. But why you felt it necessary to encourage those who walk with Bill (and I might yet be one of them) “to live community along the way and be sensitive to each other. It might inconvenience you, but I can assure you it will make for a richer store of memories for you all.” Of course that is absolutely the truth, but do you not think that they/we might have enough sense to know how to get along in community without you directing us. That is a perfect example of the edge that I find offsetting in your writings. I don’t point this out to be unkind or to embarrass you, but to explain why at least one person finds you a little offsetting. I gathered from your post that you were perplexed by it. And, this is not the opinion of the blog family, only of me, and it is offered with the kindest thoughts of you.

    BTW: If you walked 300 km you are definitely qualified to be expert in “things Camino”. The overall distance is not nearly as important as the experience, and it sounds like you had a truly dynamic and exciting experience. Don’t sell yourself short.

    And in closing, I speak only for myself, and it is just another way of looking at things, and if it is of any value, great, and if not, feel free to discount it, and I will still love you either way.



  4. Very good post. Over 50 years ago, my Grade 6 teacher wrote on my report card that “Clare tends to be opinionated at times.” I have had that reputation forever, and have had to work hard to restrain myself in my online comments. Not always too successfully.

    Anyway, I have noted and admired your comments, because I tend to get uncomfortable in a mutual admiration society. I was amazed that your mild comments got you a “reputation”, and it was a warning to me that I should be careful. Deep inside, I suspect that I don’t belong here and I was wondering if I should fade away, until you posted today! Now I am encouraged.

    I disagree with Steve about you being too forceful, and I did not interpret your comments as “directing” us. I thought the comment was reflective, and an extension of what you had said about your personal commitment to community.

    Steve had some excellent observations about the advantages of online communication and I’ve agreed with many of his other comments.

    By the way, I walked just 264 km (from Astorga) and I did it with a family member whom I love but who is eccentric. Therein were some valuable lessons for me.

    – Clare


    • Clare,

      You both belong here. We do not all have to see the same set of circumstances the same way, and that does not make one party right and another wrong. Just makes for some interesting reflection. This is not a mutual admiration society, but a collection of interesting people who take the time and effort to keep up with this blog and the people on it. And it does take both time and effort. Because this blog is so open and safe, I feel free to disagree with Rachel and you feel free to disagree with me, but that is the way it is supposed to be. Otherwise it would be a mutual admiration society. I admire everyone who posts or comments, but I don’t feel compelled to agree with them.

      You, and Rachel, both belong here, so please don’t fade away.

      Most respectfully, Steve


  5. Rachael,
    I have resisted commenting on your guest blog, because like Steve, I felt you were and are somewhat condescending. You don’t seem to post on the blog often, but when you do it often times is with an air of superiority.

    However, that is your style and your comments do certainly entertain. My style is different, not to say better or the correct style. Your’s is simply a style that is not to my taste.

    I think it wonderful that you try to live community daily by helping others, more of us should do the same. And the fact you walked the Camino with your family and Grandpa is another wonderful blessed thing. How many families have the opportunity or resources to be able to do so?

    But, please Rachael do not try to foist your feelings of “living community” on those of us who will be walking the Portuguese Camino with Bill during the Spring of next year. Every peregrino walks his own Camino and takes from that pilgrimage what is most important to him.



  6. Thanks for the replies. It’s a hard one. Bill invited me to write about anything. I thought it should be about the camino, and I especially wanted to say something that might encourage. When I considered my own camino experience, without a doubt the single most common conversation we had with other pilgrims was based on the question “how on earth can you manage to walk as a group?” and so I thought perhaps discussing that slant here might be beneficial and lead to learning from each other. Yes, Steve I wrote about obvious common courtesies – on the one hand I was trying to steer away from anything that might be antagonistic and thought this a safe topic (BIG FAIL), on the other hand on the camino I realised that not everyone has been brought up to consider others (the number of early morning bag rustlers and light-turner-onners that we encountered are testament to that) and so it didn’t seem a completely pointless issue to raise. I expected that this group WOULD be thoughtful and hoped that others might have their own tips to add to what I started. I actually didn’t realise that even the choice of topic (community) would be controversial. I am disappointed that it is perceived as me foisting my sanctimonious opinions on others. I am sorry.


    • Rachael,

      I am only speaking for myself here as you know. I don’t think the topic is off limits or controversial, and I think you are missing the point that I was trying to make. It has nothing to do with the topic, but the delivery. I join Arlene in summing it up, as I also more often than not, hear your comments to be condescending. You are the only blog poster that I feel that way about.

      Perhaps it is just my own filters, and you should only consider the possibility if it makes sense to you. I don’t need you to see it from my perspective. I have no desire to judge you or to censor you, but as you have pointed out from time to time in your on posts, perhaps I have given you something to consider. Perhaps not. Either way, it is offered without offense or judgment, and keep doing what you are doing and being you. And do not hesitate to post in fear of someone not agreeing with you. As Bill says, that is what keeps it interesting. It is easy to go with the crowd, and much more difficult to take a different path. That is where integrity and courage come in. I think you have both.



    • Rachael –

      It is very nice of you to apologize but I have no idea why you should feel compelled to do so as you did nothing wrong. I found the essence of what you said to be true, good and useful. Maybe that is because I really did not have your particular frame of reference on my Camino…. not rude but definitely standoff-ish for many early days.

      In any case, the “full contact” responses mystify me. I’m guessing it is time for me to find another oasis for my occasional spare moment, my professional life contains more than enough acrimony as it is. And that is despite my best efforts. I find nothing to sustain the spirit in witnessing more.

      Warmest regards,



    • Rachael,

      I have just re-read your post. I am sorry to say, my interpretation has not changed from my original comment.

      But don’t feel you have to apologize, you are Rachael and this was your guest blog. You said what you felt important to you.

      As an adult you must know everybody is not going to agree with what you say. And sometimes people may become offended by your position and the manner in which you state it. This is the risk we all take when posting our thoughts and feelings.



  7. Brendan,

    Given the respect I have for you, I had to go back and read my comments. Acrimonious, I hope not, but like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. Never intended that to be the case, and I still do not believe it is, but sorry if I have offended you are Rachael. I simply view some things differently than you do, and likely will continue to.

    Don’t let me push to other pastures. That would be a shame.

    Best to you, Steve


    • Brendan,
      I surely didn’t intend my original comment to be “full contact”.

      Rachael has always spoken her mind, often times in my opinion very condescendingly. I only commented to her post after mulling it over for some time. If my comments offended, I am sorry, but they were and are my feelings.

      It surely would be a shame if this blog were to lose contributors such as Rachael, Clare and yourself over something as simple as personal interpretation.



      • My goodness –

        I hop on a plane and leave you guys alone for 24 hours and look what happens!!


        I feel like the parent that goes away for a weekend leaving the teenage kids to look after the house, only to come back and find they’ve held a little party, and.


        Okay, if I can just throw my two bob’s worth in here —

        I know Rachael to be a very sweet caring lady with a huge heart.

        I also know she has the most amazing way, a truly incredible way, of getting up my nose really really easily. And I’ve come to realise she doesn’t mean to! Often it’s the last thing she means to do –

        I now know that it’s just Rachael. She means no malice. And she’s not trying to put herself in any kind of superior position. She’s just a woman with strongly held opinions who has the courage to voice those opinions.

        This is why I gave her a guest post. And why I didn’t place any restrictions on what she should write about. (Can you imagine if I HAD placed restrictions? She would have accused me of censorship again, and trying to get her to “follow the party line.” 🙂

        One of the big lessons I learnt on the Camino was not to be so reactive. I’m still learning that lesson. I used to flare up at what I perceived to be injustices. I only saw things as right or wrong, proper or improper.

        I hope now that I am seeing things with a little more compassion, and empathy for the other’s point of view, whatever that might be.

        The thing about this blog, I hope, is that we can all feel as though we can voice our opinions and not have someone jump down our throat – similarly, if someone does react humanly, and by that I mean with all the foibles of being a human being on this earthly plane, then we should see that for what it is too

        Let’s remember that each day, we all try to do our best. We all try to be the best people we can be. We’re all just trying

        If I were to put Rachael, Arlene, Steve, and Brendan all into a room together right now, you know what I think would happen? I think they’d all hug one another



      • Arlene, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

        And I think this little dust-up shows perfectly why this blog, for some crazy reason which I don’t fully understand, continues to be important.

        This discussion we’re having right now is not about Rachael, or you or Steve or Brendan or Clare, it is about US. Each of us. How we react, why we react.

        Rachael has strong views – you have strong views – I have strong views. Those views that we each hold don’t always align.

        That’s ok. As Steve says, how boring would it be if they always did?

        You had every right to state your interpretation of Rachael’s post in a forthright way – just as she had every right to state her original views in her manner.

        For every force there is always an equal and opposite force. It’s a fundamental rule of nature.


        • Bill, you hit the nail on the head! You just gotta love this crazy blog family!

          Rachael, come on you are the Mom of a big family, you must know sometimes the big sister (or brother) must speak up when the younger sibling says something they are offended by.

          Rachael – Hey, Sis – I love you still – you are part of this big PGS family. I’m offering an olive branch, will you accept it?



  8. Steve, for you, this had nothing to do with the topic. For Arlene it did. She asked me not to force my views about community on others. Some confusion may have arisen, as I was replying to all commenters at the same time. I understand *you* have no problem with the choice of topic.
    I understand, too, that not everyone is going to agree about all things at all times. I believe in healthy debate – but I’m not sure that’s always what happens here.
    While I am without a doubt that no one intends any maliciousness, I do sense acrimony (meaning ill-feeling as opposed to bitterness). Disagreeing about content or delivery is different to discussing a person’s failings. Saying “I am offended by what you say or how you say it” is quite different to saying, “You are condescending, offputting, you speak down to me, you have an air of superiority and don’t foist your feelings on us please”. At the same time there are words of kindness and I am not ignoring those – but I am just showing that there are some sharp stabs too if you are on the receiving end of them.
    Arlene and Steve, I want to explicitly thank you for sharing your views when they clearly were ones that I might not necessarily like. I have read them over and over – and re-read the post too. I guess I’m having difficulty stepping outside what I know is my motivation of humility and encouragement and finding the condescension, the forcefulness. I don’t discount what you say and I am trying to learn from it. I’m having difficulty working out why some people interpreted my intent – reflection out of my experience, and yet for others of you I was and continue to be clearly outspoken and aggravating.
    If I were to leave this blog, it would not be “over something as simple as personal interpretation”.
    I ask myself how I can stay as a contributor when I am constantly thinking “will this come across as condescending?” “will this be seen as foisting my ideas on others?” “why can others say what they want about me, but I am asked to not share what I am thinking?” “why can other share their feelings, but if I share mine it’s condescending?” “person A will think this is OK, but will person B?”
    Clare’s words resonate with me: Deep inside, I suspect that I don’t belong here and I was wondering if I should fade away. This is not written as a teenaged Facebooky plea to have you tell me I’m valued. I know I’m welcome, I just need to re-evaluate whether I have the energy for overthinking everything and trying not to offend. I don’t like upsetting people.


    • Rachael,

      I think this has about been beat to death, but let me assure you that you did not upset me, but I also felt compelled to respond the way I did, but objectively, not emotionally. No lack of respect from me to you whatsoever, and it would be a shame for you to leave the blog because you feel misunderstood at times. Perhaps you are, but so what. As I said, we all give and take based on our own experiences and filters. Don’t think so much about how others might perceive what you say. Just say it, and let others handle it as they may. i.e. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. And, don’t over think yourself or your posts. No need for that. I hope to continue to see your provocative 🙂 posts come along to keep the rest of us on our toes. You have a place here, for sure, just as much as any of us. So, from me to you…………Don’t leave………..Please stay.



    • Hi Rachael –

      don’t change.

      You are who you are. I accept you for the way you are. I don’t always agree with you, but I accept you and respect you.

      You provide lessons for us all to learn from. This is why you are an important member of this community. This is why you have to keep a presence here.

      Steve said the blog is not a mutual admiration society – and he’s right. It’s the provocations and the jousting, as I said in my intro, that provide a different refraction on the issues that are being discussed.

      That’s important. That’s REALLY important. We all can’t be like those side-show clowns with our mouths open in a perpetual grin, our heads turning from side to side in unison, waiting for the next ball to dropped down our throats.

      And if I can also add – strong views elicit strong responses. Arlene responded strongly, yes – but just as you and your views have to be respected, so does she and hers.

      There is no right or wrong in all of this – there is just life lessons for us all. We have to pick through the reasons why we have attracted this into our lives at this particular time. It’s for no other reason than for us to see how each of us, each of us, can become better human beings, and spiritual beings.



    • Rachael,

      First let me clarify my statement to you. I said “I feel”, my feeling, my perspective “is that you are condescending in your remarks”, I clearly said it is my feeling. I then went on to say that you are you and it seems that is your style, not my style. Not a style I am comfortable with.

      Please I meant no ill feelings. I simply stated how I felt, similar to how you comment at times on this blog.

      I did take offense to your comment about those of us who will be on the PGS tour should try to live community along the way. Rachael, we are all adults and just because you and your group walked the Camino in that fashion, does not mean that it is the only way/the only correct way to walk the Camino.

      I have walked the Camino twice, recently completing my second Camino which I found a need to walk alone, last year I wanted community to walk with and found it. Maybe “foist” was too strong of a word, but it was what I felt after I read, re-read and then again re-read your guest blog.

      I believe it would be a sorry day if you should decide to leave the blog. I don’t want that to happen. Please don’t leave, and please continue to comment uncensored as you usually do.



  9. Bring Clare and Julie too! Then I’d send you back to the censorship conversation, Bill, to see the conclusion I reached – which was in complete harmony with your own views;-) Remember? Feeling misrepresented for a good cause! Dare: give me a topic you’d like comment on and I will oblige without a murmur!


  10. And, BTW, one undisputable face that it is obvious that I learned throughout this exchange. No one who reads this post and comments can deny this. It is absolutely true and a lesson well learned.

    I learned there is a second “a” in Rachael. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Ain’t it so……….. Steve


  11. Oh, my, my. Since I am in Pacific time, I have decided that I am allowed to comment further. The rest of you have all gone to bed. Rachael – I do that second-guessing a lot and it is very stifling. But Steve says to let it all hang loose, so I will! (I won’t, really – this is actually very carefully crafted!) I have found this group of people to be very interesting, and I would love to meet up with you. That said, I have observed and been uncomfortable with some things…

    (1) There is a lot of self-congratulation about this being a “safe” place. I don’t know what that means. It is only safe if you toe the line, and it is a continuing struggle to see the line. All social groups are like that, so it is OK, but don’t go on about it being “safe.”
    (2) I am at times, a judgemental, conceited, self righteous person. I see that in others here, as well. Some challenges and humour help to keep us all humble.
    (3) I do not “love” any of you! We are just internet acquaintances. I do love that interaction and am even developing some affection for some of you. But I don’t love you! You will have to excuse that crustiness in me.
    (4) Further to point (3), I do not want my surname used on this forum. I am not fanatical about my privacy at all, but there are good reasons to be discreet. This is not hiding behind a pseudonym. See point (1) about safety. If that disqualifies me from this forum, I accept that.
    (5) I was thinking (with some sinful glee) about Bill flying innocently around the world on a pilgrim mission, and I was anticipating what his reaction would be when he logged onto the blog! That provided some much-needed comic relief.

    I deleted points 6 and 7, thinking that discretion is the better part of valour. I will keep them in reserve for the future.

    – Clare


    • Welcome back to the frey Clare. Just when I thought everyone was happy.

      Reading the blog you now have the benefit of seeing Bill’s posts.

      Who knows, crustiness may be a virtue. But I hope it is OK if I said that I will love Rachael either way. There are all kinds of love and I, for one, think it adds a nice touch.

      Your opinions are as valuable as anyone else’s, and frankly, I have never seen the line you speak of and I have been following this blog since April 22nd. Perhaps it is imaginary and like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder.

      Let’s all call it a day and get on with the rest of our lives. Good night to all.


    • Hi Clare –

      I don’t know what your surname is, nor do I care.

      But if you were to do a guest post on my blog, then I would need to know your identity.

      As for the rest of what you’ve said in your comment, my response is : Good for you mate…



  12. Had to take son to podiatrist…had to wait a long time….had a think over the comments here and got the sense I should come back and re-read everything in spite of my instinct to call it a day….so glad I did, because I had missed your olive leaf, Arlene. Absolutely I accept it. I strive to live in peace and so I am grateful.
    One last question from me – are you guys able to accept that I am not looking down my nose at you or trying to provoke or assuming you’re stupid or forcing my opinions? Can you understand that if I propose one way of seeing things it does not mean that there are no other ways or that I think all other ways are wrong? When my husband and I were doing some post-grad study together, one lecturer always talked about “biasing for the best”, and this is an idea we have carried through life – both in the sense of setting people up to succeed and expecting the best from others (ie if there is a positive and negative interpretation of some behaviour or situation, then presume the positive one to be true until proven otherwise) This is what enabled me to return, despite feeling a bit hurt.

    I’ve already said sorry;-)
    I love you,
    I thank you.

    (why I am not seeking forgiveness will have to wait for another time!!)


    • Rachael,
      Have a good night. There is no need to explain yourself anymore.
      I look forward to seeing you here again and again and please don’t temperr your comments. Stay as you are!


    • Rachael,

      There is nothing to seek forgiveness about. Of course, all of your “demands” will be met so long as we get the same. I have no doubt we will butt heads again, but that is what keeps it interesting. Glad you are hanging with us. Why, we are just now getting acquainted.



  13. Good morning (from Canada) all,

    I must say I do not know what all the fuss is about.

    As far as I have gathered from reading the experiences on the Camino of those who post here, most of you have walked alone, and have chosen to do so,. You have said the Camino is all about an individual experience, about ME. And in one way of course it is and can only be.

    None, or few, of you have walked in a COMMITTED community. Yes, you have enjoyed and perhaps contributed to others along the way, but for the most part, the commitment was to yourself only.
    Rachael has described how she and her group walked the camino in a community committed to one another for the whole distance. This is a very different experience than that of most others. Several of you are planning to walk in a group in April, I think it was very kind of Rachael to share her insights and gently remind us all that it takes sacrifice to commit to others and have a positive experience and intact relationships at the end. I think we all know that.

    All this talk about “foisting” and “condescending” is in my opinion contrary to the spirit of the Camino. Rachael has been attacked for “daring” to remind everyone not to behave just like the behaviour demonstrated here!!! Instead of a “thank you” she got “who do you think you are?”
    I also agree with Clare. There is not always a welcoming spirit on this blog for any opinions that are not either completely in agreement or offer “strokes”.

    Bill, I was very dismayed when I read your post on rule-breaking. Not because of the opinions you proffered, because they are yours therefore valid, (though I don’t like f-words) but because it felt like it was really an attack on Rachael and a macho defense of your opinion. I had no background to know what Rachael had “done” but shouldn’t have had to read a whole attack on her person. At the beginning of the post I started to think, oh-oh Bill, your Peregrino cloak is slipping off your shoulder. By the end of the post and the various comments, I saw it lying in the dust. The comment: “How people respond to this post, to me, gives me a fairly accurate definition of what kind of person they are” made me feel judged before the fact. So, no it doesn’t feel like a safe place for opinion. I felt that was unfair and not worthy of the spirit of camino so I did not then respond. but now, with yet another attack I feel the need to speak up.

    Yes discussion is good and useful and can and should be very enjoyable and edifying, but there ARE rules, like it or not.
    If we can’t say “Thank you for sharing” but rather feel the need to beat another up in order to “win a contest”, then in my opinion we have a long way to go yet.

    Perhaps another few Caminos will help.

    You can take this all for what it is worth.
    Or leave it 🙂



    • Debra,

      As perhaps the principle antagonist to Rachael yesterday, I am sorry that you might have thought me on the “who do you think you are page”. I don’t judge people and I don’t think I judged Rachael yesterday. I have no right to judge anyone, but I have every right to disagree. Judging or censoring was not my intent, and I still do not believe that is what I communicated to Rachael. I don’t think she feels that way either, based on her continuing comments yesterday, but I could be wrong. Again, never my intent. Rachael, feel free to correct me. I can take it. Having said that, I would not change what I tried to communicate, but I would again apologize to you if you felt I attacked your person or character.

      Bill has maintained a blog where free speech and legitimate disagreement can be processed, but honestly those disagreements are few and far between. More often than not, it is more like a mutual admiration society, because everyone seems to agree. I am in no position to judge Rachael or you, for that matter, or anyone else, but I do have the freedom to comment on this blog as I see fit. If one does not want the honest feedback and comment, one should not blog or post comments.

      Bill does not need any of us to tell him what the rules, or the lack thereof, on the blog should be. It is his blog; he created it on April 10th for an entirely different purpose than what it became; he has devoted hundreds of hours to it; and it continues to exist at his pleasure. He has been very generous to allow anyone to comment in any manner whatsoever. If you don’t feel safe, then you should not post or comment. It is simple as that.

      Bill has my utmost respect and admiration for all his achievements that I have personally witnessed since starting this blog and the evolution of his thinking, and in my opinion, he needs no advice from any of us on how to manage the blog.

      Debra, you believed you had the need to speak up. Because of Bill’s openness on here, you have that right. You have the right to disagree with me or to disagree with Bill. That is what makes this blog special.

      I have never been part of a blog before, and am amazed at the time I devote to this one and have since April 22nd. I must get something from it or I would not carve out the time.

      My best to you, and I honestly mean that, Steve


      • You might be right Debra –

        maybe it’s time for me to close up shop on this blog.

        It takes up an inordinate amount of my time.

        And it seems I get no thanks for it.



        • Bill,

          I thank you and I know a lot of others do also, and don’t let the few detractors take away from what you are doing. If they want a different blog, then they should start one. Please don’t let them get you down, because for every one of them you have many, many more who love and support what you have created. People tend to forget that this blog only exists at your pleasure, and it needn’t be run democratically.

          It is obvious, if Debra feels that the “Camino cloak has slipped into the dust” she should leave the blog as it is not living up to her expectations. That is a simple decision and does not make her wrong. But, it is the obvious answer to her dilemma.

          The detractors are free to detract only because of your openness on the blog. Just ignore them and know how many others appreciate you. For God’s sake, just look at the following. There will always be people in the world who want to tell others what to do.

          Keep on doing what you have been doing.

          I love you Mate, Steve


          • Ah Steve –

            you should be careful using the word “love” mate.

            But thank you. I appreciate your sentiments.

            I think if Debra were to read the totality of the correspondences between myself and Rachael and Brendan, she might take a more informed view.

            But then again, she probably won’t. Either way, I don’t care.

            I don’t wish to defend myself, or my blog.

            I don’t believe I have to.

            And I actually have other more important things I could, and should, be doing with my time



          • Bill,

            Please count me in as one of your staunch supporters!

            I would like to echo every word Steve has said here. Rather than rewriting his comments, let me simply add an AMEN, hopefully it is loud and clear.

            And I love you, my friend!!



          • Arlene –

            you are gorgeous. thank you.

            But “one of your supporters” by definition means there are detractors too.

            Do I deserve to have detractors? Maybe I do.

            I’m not fussed.

            However, I think there is too much time being wasted on talk which is really unnecessary and goes nowhere.

            People can have divergent opinions on this blog – absolutely.

            But let’s not confuse the expression of those divergent opinions as being a personal attack.

            Invariably they’re not.



          • Bill,

            I don’t mean to imply there are detractors, I surely hope if there are any they are not on this blog.

            As far as enough is enough with this topic, I’m in total agreement.

            As you well know, and hope the other members making comments now know, my use of the words “foisting” and “condescending” were not meant as a personal attack on Rachael. It was purely and simply my interpretation of her post and some of her previous comments.

            Why do I continually find myself in a position of having to explain my choice of words to Rachael as yet another comment comes along?

            Why, after I extended the olive branch to Rachael and she accepted it, will some members not let the topic of my choice of vocabulary go?




      • Steve –

        just to respond to your comment here, because you’ve referenced me a bit…

        Firstly, thank you for all you’ve said here. You articulate it better than I could…

        You are a good friend.

        Let’s not forget one important point here – I don’t set myself up as being anything other than a flawed person who, like many many others, happened at a certain point in his life to walk a long way – and then felt good about having done it.

        I’m no moral or ethical arbiter – I’m no role model. I don’t have the answers. I’m just someone, again like many others, who asks a lot of questions.

        This blog started out with an audience of 25. It’s now got a fairly substantial following. I am not approaching this any differently to when I started off.

        People will come and go from this blog. That’s cool. Some may not agree with what’s being said here – that’s cool too. I am not invested in this blog. I don’t base my self esteem on it. I don’t have some grand plan whereby in five years I’ll cash in on some nifty way to commercialise all this stuff.

        I’ll say it again – it doesn’t bother me if this blog has 25 followers or 25,000. I don’t care. I’ll keep doing the same thing – asking a bunch of questions. Not proselytising. How can I proselytise when I don’t know anything?



  14. Oh, but I do love you like a brother. 🙂 And the only ones who’s opinion matters with that is either you or me. I am not easily swayed by the opinion of others about such personal things. 🙂


    • Yeah – I kind of gather that Steve.

      You don’t sway easily!!

      I like that.

      Debra – if you don’t wish to read this blog, then don’t. I haven’t asked you to join, and despite what you or anyone one else reading this blog might think, the only thing I ask for if you’re going to make a comment is civility and respect for whomever you’re commenting on. If you can’t summon up respect, and if you can’t be civil, then don’t comment. Simple.



      • Hi Bill,

        I guess just like everyone else I expressed my opinion. And you are right, I don’t need to read your blog, and I don’t need to reply to anything. There are differing opinions, and that is great, and will always be so.

        I have many times expressed my appreciation and admiration of your work and I am not changing my thinking. I have found your blog to be delightful and informative and supportive. Ultimately it is your story, and it has been wonderful to follow along with you, and with others who shared theirs too. I am excited for you going forward with your important film work. I am constantly amazed at the number of projects you have on the go!

        Bill I do not see that my comments this morning were uncivil or disrespectful. Maybe I misread the thought behind phrases that used words like foisting or condescending. I was very surprised to find that language in the otherwise wonderful blog community you have created. To me they came through as a personal attack.
        So, I am sorry if I interpreted your and others’ comments incorrectly as being an attack; I was certainly taken aback because it was not like you. However, I read Rachael’s replies and noted her dismay at the reactions to her post. She was hurt. So I responded.

        God’s blessings on all,



        • Hi Debra –

          Just to be clear here, I didn’t say you were attacking. And I didn’t say you were not civil or respectful.

          What I did say what that all I ask of people who comment is that they be civil and respectful. it wasn’t directed at you, nor at Rachael. Just generally.

          Thank you for your kind words about my work.

          I have come to London to do two things – secure the financing for a film I wish to make about the horrific practise of honour killings in india. Based on a true story, and starring Toni Collette, I believe it is a film that could make a difference. Secondly, to secure a deal with a large sales company to tie up the financing for the winner of an online film competition which I started earlier this year. The winner – a hugely talented young Philippine filmmaker, will get his break in the industry in a major way, thanks to my competition, and to the deal that I’ll do as a result of my time here. We are now aiming for an official selection slot in the Cannes Film Festival next year.

          So as you can see, I have other things that occupy my time, other than this blog and when it gets “messy,” as Ingrid so aptly put it, I ask myself why do I bother…



    • Debra,

      I bother because life is always worth living. It is an adventure, sometimes hard but always worthwhile. The struggles and hardships make us stronger. By living without expectation, I look forward to seeing what might be around the next corner and appreciate whatever comes along. Each low makes the next high that much higher.



    • Hi Debra –

      The book is ticking over. Consistently averaging five sales per day, and that’s just on kindle, which I can monitor fairly easily. IBooks and the other sites are selling well too.

      I’m not doing any marketing or promotion, so I guess it’s selling just on word of mouth. A literary agent has taken it on for more conventional publishing too.

      Thank you for asking…



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