Today I leave…

It’s 2am here in Sydney.

I can’t sleep.

In twelve hours I fly out of Australia and head to Spain.

When does a pilgrimage start?

When you put your first foot on The Way? But when does The Way start? In Spain? In Portugal? In Mudgee? Or in your heart? Wherever you might be…

This time last year I left Australia for my first Camino.

I remember I was scared. Genuinely scared. I had no idea what the future would hold for me. I didn’t know whether I’d make it to Santiago. The sensation of being scared was new to me. I’d not been confronted like this before. I felt alive. I felt exhilarated. Because I felt scared.

This time I don’t feel scared. But I feel no less exhilarated. No less alive. I’m bursting to get back. Back onto The Way.

It will be different this time. I’ll be with others. I’ll be with my wife. I’ll be sharing my Pilgrimage. But haven’t I been sharing my Pilgrimage ever since I left home twelve months ago?

I wear a silver scallop shell ring on my finger. My wife gave it to me on my 60th birthday, in memory (in honour?) of my having completed the Camino Frances last year.

I wear that ring with pride.

My Compostela is still in its cardboard tube. I’ve barely looked at it. I never framed it. It’s stayed in the tube. But I wear that ring with pride.

So much has happened in the past year. The Camino changed my life profoundly. I’m a different person now to the one that set off twelve months ago.

But am I different?

Or do I need this coming Camino as much as I needed it last year?

Soon I will find out.







49 thoughts on “Today I leave…

  1. Bill,

    I believe we all walk a Camino, whether at home, in Spain, in Portugal or wherever we are. As for needing the Camino, I will say that I “NEED” it. Once we begin walking on the 7th of April, I will be on Camino for my 3rd time, and as you know my 4th will follow this August.

    Oh my friend, I am fearful that you too, have been bitten – and remember what I always say “Once bitten”! It is glorious, no?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Arlene,

      I believe so too. You will be the veteran of the group!!

      (I better make these replies short and sweet because Jen and I will be off. To the airport soon!)



      • Bill, Jennifer and everyone in your group. Have a safe journey and I hope that your Camino experience is all you hope for and more. It will start on our Dad’s (Jim) birthday 7th April, and he was a “saint” to us. Buen Camino

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Fran, thank you! And pleased to see your post didn’t get swallowed by Word Press this time. My response to your question about your camera is on the other page here… Will be in touch via the blog! Bill


  2. Godspeed my friend, I cannot wait to see the photographs, and another book? Buen Camino!


    • John,

      Thank you! I’m very much looking forward to the photographic possibilities over there!

      Let’s hope we get good weather and good light!



  3. Buen camino, Bill … and to all the others who are joining you!!!
    Can’t wait to hear your stories 😄
    Take care,


  4. Bill, so happy for you and Jennifer. Whatever is mend to happen will happen, you know that. Remember, go with an open heart, listen to your body, see and hear with your soul, not just your ears and eyes. Touch the earth gently ,slowly and reverently.

    For all of you who are again pilgrims on the Camino, here is a poem prayer by Jan. L. Richardson, from her Painted Prayerbook, called: For those who have far to travel. Something I read each time at the beginning of a Camino talk.

    If you could see the journey whole
    You might never undertake it;
    Might never dare the first step
    That propels you from the place you have known
    Toward the place you know not.

    Call it one of the mercies of the road
    That we see it only by stages as it opens before us,
    As it comes into keeping step by single step.

    There is nothing for it but to go
    And by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes:
    -to be faithful to the next step;
    -to rely on more than the map;
    -to heed the signposts of intuition and dream;
    -to follow the star that only you will recognize;
    -to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path;
    -to press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue, beyond what would tempt you from the way.

    There are vows that only you will know;
    The secret promises for your particular path
    And the new ones you will need to make
    When the road is revealed by turns you could not have foreseen.

    Keep them, break them, make them again:
    Each promise becomes part of the path;
    Each choice creates the road that will take you to the place where at last you will kneel

    To offer the gift most needed
    The gift that only you can give
    Before turning to go home by another way.

    I wish you and your PGS family walking with you a Blessed Buen Camino and when you reach Santiago, Por favor, please hug the Saint for me. Abrazos Y Besos a todos.


    Liked by 1 person

      • Apsolutely Arlene, it gives me goosebumps everytime I read it out loud in company… If the audience didn’t know what they are in for, they sure do after I recite the Prayer. Blessings ❤ Ingrid


    • Ingrid – this poem prayer takes my breath away. Thank you so very much for sharing it.
      Jenny x


    • What a lovely poem Ingrid. It actually made me cry because, even though it is for those who have far to travel, it could apply to life in general as well. I unfortunately look at things out of my comfort zone that I would like to do “as a whole”, make excuses to myself, and don’t even give it a try. I’m sure it is better to attempt something and fail, than not even give it a go?

      Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Bill, I did see your answer to the 5D question, but it was posted by a different Fran. Very interesting though.


  5. Hi Bill,
    Have a good flight I’m off to Eddington to photograph historic race cars and have further discussions with my legs about this camera!
    Buen Camino to you and your wife as well as your other fellow pilgrims.
    May your load be light and your path slope gently downwards.



  6. Bill, such excitement, joy, challenge and promise ahead. Maybe you have not left The Way since you left Mudgee last year. Always a pilgrim….
    Godspeed to you, Jennifer and all those walking with you. Have the most wonderful time and be open to what The Way offers. There may be a few surprises.
    Look forward to following your amazing journey.
    Anne 👣 👣


  7. Buen Camino! Bill, Jen and all the PGS Pilgrims –
    Very best wishes to you all for a completely wonderful Portuguese Camino – stay well, happy and safe.
    Take joy in every step –
    Hooly Dooly and Holy Moly!
    Jenny xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Buen Camino Bill,

    Travel mercies to you,Jen and the rest of the gang!! I sure wish I was on my way to join you! Can’t wait to follow the blog and see pictures of this wonderful walk!

    Ingrid, thank you for sharing the beautiful poem!! I will copy and carry with me on my first Camino in September!

    Have fun you bunch of pilgrims…
    Holly Dooly
    Holy Moly!!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Buen Camino! Bill, Jennifer and all the fellow pilgrims joining you on the 7th.
    Enjoy each step of The Way.
    Looking forward to following your adventures on this blog.


  10. Best wishes and safe travels to you Bill, Jennifer and all you wonderful PGS pilgrims who about to embark on a most amazing journey.
    Oh to be a fly on the wall when Bill and Steve meet up. Your banter on this blog kept me in stitches, I can’t imagine how hilarious you two will be in person. Looking forward to fantastic photos and blog updates.
    Buen Camino to all and God Bless,


      • Yeah, right, as if??!! I’m so hoping that someone with a good lens on the camera will capture the moment you and Bill slap eyes on each other – such a moment!! 🙂 Enjoy every step of this Way. We ‘Enviable Ones’ will keep you in our thoughts and wish for lots of blogs and photos. Love to you all, Britta


  11. Hi Bill, I came across your blog when I looked up ‘knee’ on the forum. Love all your insets. I noticed the date and saw that it is almost time for your next camino, and here you are telling us that you and Jen are on your merry way to Spain. Wow, so happy for you that the knees are ‘holding’ up and I trust with all your fellow perigrinos that it will be an amazing experience for you all!!!

    I am leaving for SPain on the 11th April for my first camino!!! I am sooo sooo excited but nervous too. In my 50’s and can’t believe that after many many years of just dreaming about it I am actually going to walk my camino.

    I have made contact with ‘Kanga’ a keen forum contributor. She lives close to me here in Sydney, I am hoping to meet up with her in the next week for some camino talk over a cuppa 🙂

    I’ll be watching out for updates from you before I leave.

    Buen camino to you and Jen


    • Hi Carina –
      When you meet up with Kanga she will probably mention ‘Pilgrims in Sydney’. We’re an informal group of Camigos (translate that as Camino friends) who meet up each month in the city. The next meeting is this coming Saturday at 12 noon at the Sydney RSL Club, 565 George Street, Sydney (next door to the Sir John Young Hotel). Check out the Pilgrims in Sydney website at any time. We all just bowl in and start talking about the Camino! There are veterans of many Caminos such as Kanga, people who’ve done one or two, and new pilgrims who haven’t walked yet.
      As you’re leaving on 11 April you might not have time to make it to this meeting, but you know where we are if you want to make it to one of the future meetings – check out the website for the meetings schedule.
      Best wishes for your Camino – and wow, you’ll love being part of PGS – it’s the best fun you can have while NOT ON the Camino itself!
      Cheers – Jenny


    • Dear Carina, what she said!! about the Sydney Friends of the Camino. If you don’t make it on the 5th, here’s wishing you the most wonderful trip to Spain and that your Walk will be just what you wanted and envisaged. And please, come to a meeting on your return and tell all! 🙂 Britta


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