PGS – The Way

In April 2013, I walked the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrim’s route called The Way of St. James. For me it was a profound and transformative experience.

I’ve since written a book called The Way, My Way. It seems to have become required reading for anyone wanting to walk the Camino, or for those who’ve walked it already, but want to relive the experience through my often humorous writing. Here is the book:

The Way, My Way – Amazon

This blog is called PGS – The Way because I walked the Camino intuitively.
Let me explain:

I believe that we each have within us something like a GPS in a car, which tries to guide us through life. I call it a Personal Guidance System, or PGS. I walked the Camino allowing my PGS to guide me, and I’m now making a film about intuition.

In April 2014 my wife Jennifer and I led a tour along the Portuguese Camino – from Porto to Santiago. We all had an incredible time, and for some on the tour it was life changing.

In May 2015, we took a tour group along the Via di Francesco, the St. Francis Way, from Florence to Assisi. And in October 2015 we led a spiritual tour to India, visiting the major spiritual sites.

We’re doing more of these tours, and if you want information about upcoming tours, then visit the Gone Tours website, gonetours.com or check out the Upcoming Tours page on this blog.

As for me – I’m 62 years old, a filmmaker based in Sydney. I’ve made movies, won awards, been feted and ignored – I love books, I love writing, I love photography, I love walking, and I try to find the humour and humanity in all things.

I’m a member of the Directors Guild of America, an Adjunct Professor at one of Australia’s leading universities, and an Accredited Member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers.

Bill Bennett

Bill on track

64 thoughts on “PGS – The Way

  1. Fantastic Bill – gonna be following with interest. I think I’m with you on the intuition thing – let’s see how it pans out for you!

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  2. I hope everything is going well Bill as you journey along. Be sure not to miss any of the yellow arrows along the way. 🙂 -Talo

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  3. Hi Bill,
    Enjoyed your posts and they have been very inspirational! I will start the walk May 13th with my husband and daughter. We are starting in Burgos and praying for a finish. My husband will retire on May 3rd, working since he was 14. This walk will be our transition into our retirement life. My daughter is 28 and I’m not sure she knows what she signed up for. She is a photographer and will be documenting our trip. Your blog is straight forward and insightful. I can see the change you are encountering already. I’m concerned for your physical condition as I too have knee problems. I’m praying for you and your journey. In His Peace.
    Nancy in Denver
    Buen Camino

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  4. Thanks Bill, going to get our equipment today! Excited for our adventure. Blessings and keep an open heart! Nancy in Denver

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  5. We are enjoying Your writing and insights and observations. It is bringing back memories of our trip. Your Pictures are also stunning. Buen Camino! Kat in California

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  6. Thanks for sharing your Blog Bill. I love checking in to see how you are going and the photos are wonderful. How’s the weather been? Looks like you haven’t had anything too bad at all. I’m interested and a little nervous as I will arrive in Pamplona in 9 days.
    Buen Camino mi amigo
    Debbie

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  7. Hi Bill
    Glad to see you’re still hanging in, despite the problems you had with your knee, when I last saw you in Los Arcos☺
    Will enjoy reading your blok, and looking forward to being able to complete the Camino myself;-)
    I think the talks you have with the people you meet is a big part of what makes the Camino speciel. That’s what I miss from going home early.
    Take care Bill

    Buon Camino
    Mette (Denmark)

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    • Hey Mette, how lovely to hear from you! How’s your back now? Is it better? No permanent damage I hope.

      Yes, even though we only met a couple of times I very much enjoyed our chats. I met up with Dwayne yesterday, and then again today. He’s a lovely bloke. He didn’t come through to Leon today. He’s a pussy! 😜

      Yes, when we last saw each other I was still in a lot of pain, but the knee has self-righted now. I have shin soreness on the other leg, and blisters which come and go, but it’s all manageable.

      When you come back and complete the camino, it will be all the more special for your having done the sensible thing and stopped when you did. Backs are not something you mess with.

      Please keep in touch, and hope you enjoy the future posts!

      Bill

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      • Hi Bill.

        Hi Bill
        My back is much better now ☺
        I think, I just have to accept the fact that my back is my weak point, due to an old injury. I have to train more before next time, and also start out with shorter days. I guess I just have to start out being, what you in Australia calls a pussy. Probably for several days ☺
        I think there might be something right in what you said about all the people who have walked the Camino for more than a thousand years, have somehow made an imprint along the route, making this a special place.
        The other day I heard on the radio, that a Japanese researcher, Masaro Emoto, has made some tests with water.
        He took perfectly clear mountain water. He froze it and took pictures of the molecules/crystals. Then he placed the water in a room with different sounds. Ex: classical music, heavy metal, poems, prayers and he also yelled bad things to the water.
        Between each sound, he froze the water and took new pictures of the crystals. It is remarkable how different the crystals look. I’ve seen the pictures on the internet. The crystals are very beautifull after classic music, poems prayers and so on. After heavy metal music or the yelling it’s not beautifull at all.
        It must mean that we do influence the things that are close to us, not only living creatures, but even material things.
        If you then think about the Camino, and all the people who during the years have walked here, thought here and prayed here, – each time changing the molecules a little bit, it might explain why the Camino, to some people, feels like a special place, and maybe why it attracs some people without them really being able to explain why.
        Glad to hear your pain disappeared ☺ There must have been a lot of praying on the Meseta during the years;-)
        Mette

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        • Hi Mette,

          So pleased to hear your back is better. Sometimes these things can be emotional, too. I firmly believe now that pain exists in tension. That’s one of the things I’ve learn on this Camino.

          I’ve heard about this bloke in Canada, and the work he’s doing. It really does prove that the physical plane at a molecular level is affected by emotion.

          Imagine the power or love, and how that can change things?

          bb

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          • Hi Bill.

            Emoto actually also did a little test with rice, to prove the power of love. With an interesting result ☺
            I think you’re right. The power of love, and having mainly that feeling in your thoughts, is the most powerfull of all. But also difficult to maintain, even when you are on a path (read: the Camino) where you’re actually focused on being in a state of ”love, peace and harmonie”. Just as it was for you on day 23 😉
            It takes a lot practise☺
            Mette

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  8. My friend Michelle & I are planning to do the same walk middle of May 2014, so will be watching your blog.

    Enjoy

    Tania

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  9. Finished reading I’m Off Then by Hape Kerkeling and got on the computer looking for more on the camino and found your blog. I hope I can find it again tomorrow. Doing the camino in late September-October (40 days).
    Will keep you in my thoughts.

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      • Hi Bill.
        I’m fine. My back is still giving some problems, but I’m back at work, and I will definitely come back and finish the Camino. I do want to finish the last part in one go though.I don’t feel like breaking it more up to pieces. I would really have liked to finish the Camino with all the people I started out with.
        My youngest daughter actually wants to come next time. She still has school, so I think her and I can walk together the first week. Then she can go home, and finish her Camino at a later time. I also think it’s good to walk at least some of the Camino on your own.That has always been what I wanted to do. For some reason.
        Just met with Dwayne in Amsterdam. We had some great days, and from reading your blok and listening to his stories from the Camino, I’m just longing to go back and finish it. But realistically it wont happen until earliest spring 2015.
        I did like reading your reflections of the Camino. I think it was beautifully written and can only agree:-)
        Heart from Dwayne that you were continuing to Portugal after Santiago, to walk the Camino from there with your wife. I hope you had some good experiences together:-) Maybe less crowded.
        Take care, and I hope you have a nice journey back to Australia.
        Mette

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        • Dear Mette – good news on several counts! That your back is better, that you’re already planning your continuation of the Camino, and that you and Dwayne had a wonderful time in Amsterdam!

          Do pass on my best wishes to him – and can you tell him from me that….

          I BEAT HIM! I WHUPPED HIS ASS!

          ha ha

          Just kidding.

          Dwayne was an incredibly strong walker and always left me spluttering and coughing up his dust.

          I got in on the Friday and I heard he got in a day or two later – that he’d taken it easy the last few days. It’s a shame we never got to meet up in Santiago, but I remember him, and our walks and talks together, with great affection. So pease do pass on my best to him.

          My wife and I have been in northern Portugal on holidays. Just winding down from the Camino. I’ve seen a lot of pilgrims here walking the Portugal route.

          I think if I was to do another Camino, and already I have a hankering to, then it would be from le Puy. I’d like to do a long one next time – over 1000 kms. The last one was too easy…

          😝😝😝😝😝😝😝😝

          I think it would be a wonderful thing for you and your daughter to walk together – but yes, I know what you mean about walking alone. There is a simple joy in that.

          Take care, would love to keep in touch, and tell Wayne that when I get back to Australia next week, I’ll send him some photos of himself.

          Big hug mate,
          Bill

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          • Hi Bill.

            I’m impressed that you’re already now planning on another, and even longer Camino 🙂 On the other hand, even from walking only 8 days, I think walking the Camino can get to be kind of addictive. I felt almost a small depression when going home. Leaving the solidarity you feel so strong when walking:-) 🙂
            Glad that you and your wife had some nice days in Portugal. Hopefully with a little more luxury than on the Camino;-)
            I spoke with Dwayne yesterday on the phone. Yes, he did get to Santiago a day or two after you. He really enjoyed the mass, was lucky to experience it with the potofumero. He’ll look forward to the pictures, told me to send you his best wishes. He’ll visit Denmark in July. Looking forward to that:-)
            I would like to keep in touch as well. You can use my e-mail: mette_bastholm@hotmail.com
            If you ever pass by Copenhagen, let me know, maybe we can catch a “pilgrims menu” 😉
            Hope you and your wife have a nice trip back to Australia
            Mette

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  10. G’day Bill – glad to see you’re getting close … met you many years ago by overlapping at the ABC in Adelaide – pleased you’ve put your filmmaking skills to excellent use ..I hope to be walking the Camino with a mate in September/October – would look forward to swapping a few words-maybe pics? during my autumn-walk c.f. your spring-walk ..hope I find it as illuminating as you have – go well – stay well – buen camino! Terry McEwen

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  11. hi bill, remember me??? it’s sigrid from austria! i walked with you on the camino… we met for the first time in o cebreiro, then in samos and walked together closely to the 100 km mark??? i took your picture there! remember???
    i am terribly sorry we didn’t meet again… 😩i enjoyed very much talking to you!
    i arrived in santiago on last friday and thank to your hint i had the most wonderful mass WITH the potofumero in the cathedral! i am back home now and, to be honest, quite exhausted! hope you are doing fine!!! yours, sigrid

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    • Sigrid, I have no copy of the reply I sent you – did you receive it?

      If not, then…

      Of COURSE I remember you. We had a great talk that day, then you took my picture at the 100 km mark!

      It’s remarkable, your walk, from Seville. A real achievement. But you must be glad now to be home again.

      I’m starting to think Le Puy for my second Camino. But first I have to get this knee fixed.

      Are you going through Camino deprivation?

      Bill

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  12. Bill,
    Larry here, the Canuck you encountered in north Portugal and then again in Porto.
    You have quite the resume there – intrigued by your latest, cause my girlfriend and I are huge fans of Toni’s, seen several of her films.
    Hope it comes out here.
    May have to dig aound a bit on Amazon to catch some of your other titles.
    A couple of questions…
    Was the Camino a personal challenge on turning 60? I did something similar two years ago, biking from Paris to Bordeaux (a reprise of an earlier ride, wrote about it for The Globe and Mail if you are interested).
    Also, intrigued by PGS. What happened in New Orleans?
    I have a feeling I had a similar experience while biking in France – something told me to get my bike and butt off the road chop chop and literally a second later two huge transport trucks passed in opposite directions; I had seen one of them approaching, so that was a bit of a tipoff, I guess.
    I’m convinced I was a goner had I not pulled off then and there.
    Cheers to you and Jennifer and enjoy the rest of your European adventure – you’ve earned it.
    Larry Humber,
    Toronto.

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    • Hey Larry, great to hear from you. You’re back in Toronto now?

      We’re in Braga right now – tomorrow to Barcelos for the famous Thursday markets, then back to Australia Monday.

      Re DEFIANT, the Indian movie. Based on a true story of a “double honour killing.” Very powerful. And yes, Toni Collette is a great actress.

      Re PGS – what happened to me is very similar to your tale with the trucks. Go onto the website: http://www.pgsintuitive.com. I explain it all there.

      Can you send me a link to your article or articles on your bike ride to Bordeaux? Love to read it.

      And as for doing the Camino because I’ve turned 60 – hurumph. I’m actually 59 yrs and 9 1/2 months. Technically I’m still a youngster.

      No, nothing to do with age – more a very strange calling to do it. I think a lot of people are getting that same call.

      I think you might be getting it too…

      😜

      You can contact me directly at –

      bill@billbennettfilms.com

      It was good meeting you, and good that we met up in Porto again.

      Bill

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  13. Hi Bill, really enjoy your blog and your thoughts. My wife and I are walking the Camino Frances in April/May next year. Appreciate your comments and information. They will help us on our “journey” next year. Ciao, Peter

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  14. Hi Peter – many thanks.

    I hope you get the good weather I had. Just before I started, the weather was foul – snow and very cold. Then shortly after I arrived in Santiago the weather turned lousy again! It seems like I had a window of terrific weather – only about 2 days of rain the whole trip – so fingers crossed you get the same!

    Bill

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  15. Hi Bill, I found your blog while researching the Camino and really enjoy your thoughts and wisdom. My wife and I are walking the Camino Frances in April next year and getting very excited. By the way, I want to start a blog too and had a look at WordPress, but I’m not finding it all that simple to adapt one of their templates. Any hints would be very appreciated. Kind regards, Peter

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    • Hi Peter – April is a fabulous time to walk. Hopefully you’ll have good weather, like I did. I walked from April 10th to May 10th, and hardly had any bad weather at all.

      WordPress – ah, it’s a tricky beast. I bought a WordPress Theme – Twenty Eleven I think it’s called – and I paid I think $40 for it. I got that one because it was simple and elegant.

      I am not a tech-head at all – but I just followed the Help and Support resources WordPress had – and most importantly I trialled it several months out before I left.

      Once set up, I then used an Apple app called Blogsey to post while I was on the Camino. (from an iPad.) It made the whole thing so much easier. I think there are some YouTube help videos too.

      If you keep it simple, then it’s relatively easy to set up – but WordPress can be unnecessarily obtuse.

      Good luck!

      Bill

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  16. Bill, I wanted to thank you for your Camino blog. In January of this year, I started to seriously consider honoring the ever-present “tug” on my heart that I felt from the Camino Frances since last November. For a while, I nearly “overdosed” on reading everything I could get my hands on, YouTube videos, you name it. I eventually pulled out of info-overload and focused on your blog and a few other sites. I realized I wanted everyone else to guarantee that I wouldn’t be anxious (ha!), that everything would go perfectly, you know- lots of nonsense like that. I decided I could have hopes and fears, and that they were all blessings.

    Your blog was informative, realistic, and humorous. Your pack list was great too and I didn’t need to make too many adjustments as I am a 54 year old male.

    Thanks again for the inspiration. I leave for Paris-St JPdP on April 10th!

    With a grateful heart,
    Jonathan (Virginia USA)

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    • Hi Jonathan,

      thank you for contacting me and telling me this. It’s wonderful to know that the blog is being helpful. Sometimes I write and think that it’s going out into cyberspace and it will never be seen or heard of again! So it’s fantastic to get this kind of feedback from you.

      Strangely the day you leave, April 10, is twelve months to the day from when I set off from SJPP.

      If you’ve done the level of research you have, and if that tug is as strong as I suspect, then I believe you’ll have a transformative and profound experience on your Camino.

      Please feel free to use this blog to let us know how you’re going. And if you’ve started up your own blog, please let me know, because I’d love to follow your progress.

      Again, thank you for this post. It has been a great start to my morning here in Australia! Bill

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  17. “It’s wonderful to know that the blog is being helpful. Sometimes I write and think that it’s going out into cyberspace and it will never be seen or heard of again! ”

    Bill
    I Know that the movie “The WAY” has influenced many people to do the Camino. It did for Dale and I. BUT, those that stumble across your blog are immediately hooked and reeled in. After reading your account of the journey I’m sure that those “on the fence” are now planning and saving for their camino. You greatly made a difference in our Camino. Over the last year you mentioned a couple times, the number of hits that your blog has. I think from those numbers you can deduct that you are reaching many people with your thoughts and feelings. Once “hooked” by you we don’t leave. You have a very large Camino family following that

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    • Partr 2 – it cut me off.
      You have a very large Camino family following that has been greatly enriched by you and your blog. Your response to Jonathan about wondering if it will be seen or heard of again ? Yes, we are all still out here following you and enjoying every minute of your writing. You have reached thousands of us with your humor and enticing writing. Just a simple “thanks” for brightening our days!
      Lynda

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    • Well thanks Lynda. And the book is selling nutzoid too. Very strange. And what’s strange about the book is the number of people who are paying twice as much to buy a print version, rather than an ebook.

      It’s very pleasing , I have to admit, to know that what I’m doing is making a beneficial impression…

      More importantly, it’s the Camino, and the spirit of the Camino, that binds us all…

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  18. Thanks Bill. I forgot to share that your timing in 2013 connected to mine in 2014 was part of the draw for me as well.

    I know I should be packed/prepared for any kind of weather, but that does add significantly (cold weather gear) to my pack weight. I suppose better be safe than sorry. I’m still getting used to hiking for a while, increasing body heat and then needing to de-layer.

    Also, your Camino “audits” were VERY helpful. It’s a great reminder to see that you were open to the many unexpected “lessons” of the Camino.

    It is strange for me to embark on an adventure with so much up in the air and subject to change and yet I have hungered for down-time and unscheduled time for so long. (I can easily get lost in busyness).

    I thought it would be years before I would actually get to go on my Camino and then, voila!- I asked my boss for 5.5 weeks off and he said “yes”! Didn’t see that one coming.

    Thanks again for your inspiration!

    Ultreya,
    Jonathan

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  19. We have both just read your book as part of our preparation for our Camino Frances starting in June. Jolly good read, thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously your knee problems didn’t put you off as you are doing another one. We are trying to get the weight of our packs down after a few training walks. What did yours weigh? Planning to carry an SLR after you said you wished you had. Heavy but think I will regret not taking it. Cheers, Gary and Linda

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    • Hi Gary and Linda – so pleased yup enjoyed the book- thank you! Can I aske: would you mind putting up a review on Amazon? It helps getting it out there.

      My knee is still an ongoing issue – the surgeon said it was inevitable I have a knee replacement. I don’t buy that. I’ll keep walking until I can’t anymore.

      I got the weight of my pack down to 7.8kgs, without water and food. At that weight it was manageable. I think first day though, going up to Roncesvalles, it came in at about 12.5kgs with all the stuff I thought I needed, and with food and water. When I got to Pamplona I posted a lot of stuff ahead to SdC.

      You’ll have fun in june. Good weather I hope, not too hot – and hopefully not too crowded. Good luck with it. Let me know how you go! Bill

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  20. Hi Gary, I wouldn’t take a 3kg camera. That’s way too heavy. I’ll be taking a small mirrorless camera – the Fujifilm X-E2. I also recommend the entry level Nikon D3200/3300. Both have an APS-C sensor with a 1.5 crop – big enough to get great results. Both cameras are very small, and come in under 1kg including charger. The Nikon has a beautiful 24MP sensor. Unless you’re using the 3kg DSLR for pro work, like a book or stock shots, then I’d highly recommend using a smaller light camera.

    I am actually preparing a blog and a book on taking photos on the Camino – the blog is called PhotoCamino, and it’s at http://www.photocamino.net. I’m still building it, but if you begin to follow you’ll get photo tips on shooting on the Camino.

    And thank you for the review!

    Bill

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    • Joan – lovely to hear from you!

      How wonderful you’re doing the Le Puy route. I believe it’s very beautiful.

      Do say hello to Bob for me. I think of you both often – and with great affection for the time we spent together.

      Best of luck on this next adventure –

      Bill

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    • Dear Carol, welcome to the blog! And thank you for your kind words.

      Please feel free to comment and put your point of view on stuff I post here. It’s a bit of an eclectic community on this blog, (some would say nutzoid!) but we all have enormous mutual respect for one another.

      Again, thanks for following my crazy ventures!

      Bill

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  21. Bill,

    I left St. Jean Pied de Port on April 7, 2013, three days after my 61st birthday – our paths must have crossed several times on the Camino. A friend recently gave me your book and it took me back to the pilgrimage that I now miss so much.

    Like you, I wrote a book shortly after my return. For me it was an attempt to hold on to the Camino and the lessons of The Way. I would like to mail you a copy and return the sharing. You can send me an email to nsk3@bellsouth.net with any address that works for you.

    Like you I keep walking. For me it is the mountains of North Georgia (USA) and on trails near Atlanta but I also long to return to the Camino and take my wife.

    Best regards and Buen Camino!

    Ken Kendrick

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  22. Hello there! Firstly, you got our attention by the photo of you wearing a Swannies cap. Thumbs up!

    Secondly, we are thinking of walking Camino Portuguese in the next few years having done Camino Frances from StJPdP in Sept/Oct of last year. We stumbled across this page and the tours you run have caught our attention. Will head over to your website now to check it out…

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