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Year 2005

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Monday, 20 July 2015 14:45

Ginnie's Scallop Shell

May Camino 2003

There are some people you never forget! Virginia and George Havens traveled with us 12 years ago in May 2003 along the Camino de Santiago. They formed part of a special group that came together as strangers and ended up sharing many wonderful moments and developing friendships that still endure today. I have a photo of that memorable group taken at the Camino’s literal high point – la Cruz de Ferro (the Iron Cross). Looking at each face brings back a flood of memories. Some of them went on to travel with us two or even three times. Others we have kept in touch with via email and holiday cards.

One such special couple is Virginia and George. At the time they were a spry 78 and 79 and they are still going strong! Jose and I fondly remember how beautiful Ginnie was always lovingly cared for by George. Ginnie’s a birder and I can still remember hearing about her work with birds and building birdhouses. As we walked she’d point out birds I couldn’t even see. Many times over the years I have wished she were along on other walks to keep teaching me!  On that trip we also discovered that Ginnie and I and another woman on the trip, Nancy Grandfield, are all Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters. That was a great coincidence! At the end of walk, during our final dinner at the Parador in Santiago de Compostela, George got up, ordered champagne for the group and gave a very special and meaningful toast! What a couple!

Over the years we have kept in touch and George sent me an email telling me about Ginnie’s continuing education through Case Western Reserve University. He wrote:

Her latest [class] was Sports History which required writing a short paper on an object related to some athletic activity (baseball bat, football, etc.). Ginnie chose her scallop shell and we thought you would enjoy seeing her report to which she attached a copy of the Camino certificate that you gave us.

We did enjoy seeing her report and asked if we could have permission to publish it here with a photo of Ginnie. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did! We greatly enjoy seeing how the Camino continues to evolve in people’s lives and can inspire projects such as these 12 years later! Buen Camino, Ginnie and George!

The Scallop Shell
By Virginia C. Havens

The symbol that evokes memories of achievement, endurance and adventure is the white scallop shell hanging on a cord at my desk. This type of shell was first worn on the hat of St. James, patron warrior saint of Spain, and today it signifies a completed pilgrimage walk on the Camino de Santiago across Spain.

Virginia Havens 2015First, a brief history of St. James, a disciple of Jesus, and this 500-mile trek to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. James came to Spain shortly after the crucifixion to spread Christianity. On returning to Jerusalem, he was beheaded by Herod and his body sent in a casket by the other disciples back to Spain for burial. After some 800 years, the burial spot was forgotten and unknown, but on a certain night the field was illuminated by the stars and with this guidance the burial casket of St. James was unearthed and discovered. This startling discovery resulted in a sacred pilgrimage to this holy site that drew pilgrims from all over Europe.

The Camino starts in eastern Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains that separate France and Spain. It descends through Roncesvalles (a historic location where Charlemagne once fought the infidel Moors) then on to Pamplona. Logrono, Burgos, Leon, Bierzo, Arzua to Santiago to be blessed in the great cathedral there. In the middle ages, pilgrims walked the 500 miles across Spain seeking redemption and a spiritual encounter with St. James, and receiving forgiveness for their sins. This walk along this ancient road became a venerated tradition and Santiago became a popular pilgrimage destination. Last year over a million individuals were reported to have traversed the Camino and then received the scallop shell to reward and verify their experience.

In my years of reading I would come across references to this famous “road” and I would think “Oh the experience of walking it...walking, thinking a and meditating” with all of Spain stretching out before me, all open, no restrictions, no time table...just me and the world.   

In 2003 my husband and I decided to tackle the Camino, at least a part of it. We would do 100 miles in 12 days in an arrangement that extended across the entire road, but avoided the less interesting parts. It was for me a magnificent experience and the shell recreates memories of golden wheat fields filled with red poppies, impressive ancient buildings, bridges and churches, warm and kind mountain people, owls and great beech trees and exotic foods. And then the memory of walking 8 to 10 miles each day on weary, weary feet, then the last demanding push for 12 miles up an almost unending mountainside on a never-to-be-forgotten day.

What are the lasting, indelible effects of such an experience? First of all, I am always aware of having the gumption to do such a trek at a senior age. Then having the courage to cross the ocean, plant my feet on strange soil and move out on a 100-mile effort, and accomplish it. It was a singular decision in my life – that produced a bold, unique and highly satisfying experience that confirmed my commitment to an adventurous life. It reinforced my love and appreciation for Spain. It left me with regrets that we were not able to do the tough trek to the Everest base camp at 18,000 feet in Nepal (which we had planned) and on to the Antarctic in the footsteps of Shackleton.

05-01-15

Published in Latest
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 13:08

On Foot in Spain

"You have led one of, if not the, most profound experience in my life - taking me on a physical journey and also assisting, in many ways, my soul searching quest."
Dick, Compostela April 2005

Nancy and Jose - You are a "dream team." Our sincere thanks and appreciation.
Bob and Marilyn, Camino May 2015

Nancy and Jose

Cultural anthropologist Nancy Frey PhD, and writer, mountaineer Jose Placer!
Both Nancy and Jose have always held both walking and learning close to their hearts.
Their paths crossed while Nancy was conducting her doctoral dissertation research on the Camino de Santiago in the hamlet of Roncesvalles (Navarre) and Jose was just beginning a 450 mile walk across Spain.
Their paths rejoined a month later in Santiago de Compostela and since then have not diverged.

Together they co-authored the chapters on Galicia, Cordillera Cantabrica (Picos de Europa) and the Camino de Santiago for Lonely Planet’s Walking in Spain (1999 and 2003) and co-authored Lonely Planet's 1st edition of Walking in Scotland (2001).
Nancy and Jose started On Foot In Spain Walking & Hiking Educational Adventures in 1999. They have three children, Jacob (8), Marina (3)and Sam (born 11/27/06), and live on the Galician coast.

Nancy L. Frey, PhD

Nancy on top of Mt. Dana, Yosemite circa 1978Nancy’s love of hiking grew from annual summer trips to Yosemite led by a Dad who always knew the name of every tree and who reveled in leading his children to inspirational points. Thus it wasn’t too surprising that when she selected her subject material for her doctoral dissertation in cultural anthropology (UC Berkeley) one very attractive element of it was the prospect of traversing the north of Spain on foot.

Since her first walk in 1993, Nancy has walked the Camino de Santiago numerous times and cycled it as well. In her book on the modern day journey, Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press, 1998), Nancy brings to life the contemporary way by discussing pilgrims' motivations, mishaps and discoveries while walking as well as providing insights into why the route is so popular today.

Nancy has also lectured for ElderHostel and Smithsonian Institution on their educational tours in Spain, Portugal and France. She has also taught a course on the Camino de Santiago at the University of Santiago and is currently researching the relationship between landscape and experience.
In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, SCUBA diving, kayaking, tending her flower garden and cooking savory pies and tarts.

Jose Daniel Placer
Jose Daniel PlacerA native of Santiago de Compostela, Jose received his law degree from the University of Santiago and then made a 180 degree turn away from lawyering and back to his real passion: children and the outdoors.
He has taught outdoor education and coaches soccer, basketball and volleyball.
With Europe as his backyard, Jose has hiked extensively both within and beyond Spain since he was a teenager.
Despite having enjoyed the Italian Dolomites, and hiking in the Alps while studying law at the University of Passau in Germany, his favorite stomping ground continues to be Spain’s Picos de Europa.
Jose especially enjoys writing short stories, carpentry, restoring furniture, working his garden, kayaking and mountain biking.

OUR PHILOSOPHY
on Foot in SpainEach time we set out on a trail we go with the idea that to walk is to learn. Slowing down to the rhythm of your feet inevitably brings more to your immediate attention and consequently allows for greater speculation and wonder.

On our journeys into northern Spain’s exceptionally beautiful back roads we want to give you the opportunity to challenge yourself physically (without overdoing) and at the same time pique your curiosity by pointing out the not so obvious as well as providing insights into the wonders of the everyday.

Art, architecture, anthropology, folklore, history, Spanish fiestas, cuisine - we interlace them all into each day of your tour. Our carefully designed walks, combining charming accommodations in rural inns, monasteries, and hotels with the finest in local cuisine, will immerse you in the riches of northern Spain’s culture life and landscapes.

 

On Foot in Spain Family On Foot in Spain Family
2010                                                                                             2017

To read about the On Foot Family story, please read here.

 

Find out more about On Foot in Spain......contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Latest
Sunday, 28 December 2014 12:34

Year 2014


On Foot in Spain Tours 2014…the helping hands when the going got tough…

Such a special time!  … The sights, the sounds; the misty morning light and starry sky at night at Axpe; the picnics, and idyllic settings; the going up and the going down of the trails; the enchanting forests and the panoramic rural and coastal views; the history, the myths, the saints, the culture and even the jokes!; the storytelling, the card games and the camaraderie of the group; and the helping hands when the going got tough.  And so much more!

Lesley, Melbourne, Australia (4th time On Foot in Spain traveler!)
Sept 2014, Basque Country

this Pilgrim’s journey was deeper, fuller and richer from the gift of On Foot in Spain

I will write something down the road on Facebook or the website for On Foot in Spain because I want others to know the gift of this journey from Nancy’s & Jose’s incredible knowledge shared about the special places on the Camino and the hikes designed to bring the Camino alive for each of us. Who could forget the wonderful picnic lunches each day unique to each region we traveled through (how I missed the picnic the day after I left you).  All in all this Pilgrim’s journey was deeper, fuller and richer from the gift of On Foot in Spain and the love and commitment of Nancy and Jose to the El Camino de Santiago and to each of us on our pilgrimages shared.

Pat, Shingle Springs, California, USA
Sept 2014, Camino de Santiago

On Foot in Spain Tours 2014the group’s collective experience was enriched by the expert facilitation…

Nancy and Jose possess this wonderful talent of bringing people together in their trademark and subtle and gentle way. Meeting and getting to know this fantastic group of people was one of the many highlights of the walk. I am convinced that the group’s collective experience was enriched by the expert facilitation of Nancy, Jose and Sam.  Thank you for making this such a fantastic experience …and for your skill and thoughtfulness.

Lisa, Sparta, Michigan, USA
Sept 2014, Basque Country

the warmth and friendship of your wonderful family

On Foot in Spain Tours 2014We not only survived your well planned walk through the beautiful Basque country but also really enjoyed every minute of it.

What did we enjoy the most? The trails were wonderful, the accommodation in the comfort bracket and sometimes really interesting, the universally proclaimed lunches, (carted and prepared by Jose,) the history and culture of this amazing Basque country and its friendly people and its special food and wine (especially Pinchos) the unforgettable lunch at Etxebarri and even your jokes all bring back great memories. However it was the warmth and friendship of your wonderful family and the amazing camaraderie of an eclectic walking group that stood out.

Suffice to say we had a wonderful time!

Barry & Maureen, Melbourne, Australia
Sept 2014, Basque Country

On Foot in Spain Tours 2014It was magical.

What a beautiful note, Nancy.  It sums up well the tremendous experience of sharing the Camino with this very special group of people.

We all have much to look back on.  You provided us with a marvellous, varied, and rich experience.  Even without the small miracle of a highly compatible group of merry folk, it would have been a wonderful trip.  WITH them -- and you and Jose -- it was magical.

Dale, Toronto, Canada
May 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour

Your love for this magical walk shows in everything you do...

I can’t thank you both enough for the wonderful time you gave me in showing me your Camino. Your love for this magical walk certainly shows in everything you do, and it is something that I will always remember and draw strength from.

Maureen,  Sydney, Australia
June 2014, Camino de Santiago

On Foot in Spain Tours 2014Taken to the next level!

There's a saying in San Diego:  "You can't have a bad day at the beach!"   I would suggest that you can't have a bad Camino.  I believe that anyone who travels the Camino will be positively changed either physically, mentally and/or spiritually.

However, if you are able to travel the Camino with Nancy and Jose that experience will be taken to the next level. You will come away with a much deeper understanding of what the Camino is truly all about.  Nancy and Jose LIVE the Camino.  It is their life's passion to instill in each of us their love of the unique history, the beauty of the natural surroundings, the fabulous foods, the vintage wines, the authentic culture and the genuine people who make up the Camino.

I have been taken to the next level, and would highly recommend this journey to you.

Joan,  San Diego, CA , USA
Compostela, April 2014

You brought the best out in everybody and allowed us to be ourselves.

The tour  had many dimensions for me – not in any order. Weather  was fabulous, loved  all the local  wines and food. The variation of accomodationn.  It was  phyiscal, it had  spirituality  and history, we had a great group, it was fun ,relaxed  and organised without being too structured_- congratulations to you both, you  brought the best out in everybody and allowed us to be ourselves.

Jillian,  Queensland, Australia
May 2014, Camino de Santiago

….warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit….

On a personal note, thank you for guiding us through this remarkable journey.  It was a privilege for us to have you accompany us and share in your warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit along the Camino.

S & B, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 2014, Camino de Santiago

On Foot in Spain Tours 2014There are not enough thanks in the world!!!

Even after being home for only two weeks I am still processing the entire experience. It was more spiritual than I had expected, and I can see some potential long-term effects in how I view "Life" and my place in it. How wonderful that you are conduits for providing such experiences! Northern Spain was even more breathtaking than I had expected; the scenery, food, and most of all people! We had an exceptional group (your best, remember?) led by two dynamic and passionate human beings. There are not enough thanks in the world!!!

Colleen,  Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
Sept 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour

Set the bar very high….

Nancy, we are reminiscing of our happy holiday with you ALL the time.   You have set the bar very high for any future tour guides.   It was the best.

Mary-Anne and David, South Australia, Australia
May 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour

Published in Client's Feedback
Friday, 07 November 2014 11:21

On Foot in Spain endorsed by Lonely Planet

Published in Latest
Friday, 03 January 2014 14:38

Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve

In December 2013 the BBC aired a three part pilgrimage documentary with adventure traveler and writer Simon Reeve as the presenter. I was consulted by the BBC for their film preparation as an expert on the Camino de Santiago and then interviewed by Simon Reeve in Santiago de Compostela in June 2013. A small part of that interview appears in Episode 2 of Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve in which Simon covers pilgrimage in northern France, along the Camino de Santiago, and then, finally, in Rome. In this clip from Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve, Episode 2, I answer Simon’s questions about Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage city, about Santiago or St James as a multi-faceted figure (Apostle, Pilgrim and Warrior) and about the sticky issue of whether or  not the bones of the Apostle James are really in Santiago de Compostela or not.
For more information about the full episode, please see the BBC website. This segment in which Nancy Frey appears with Simon Reeve is reproduced with permission from the BBC.

Here is the direct link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01kqjg3/episodes/guide.

Published in Latest

Boots Marina de Almeida PradoBrazilian photographer Marina de Almeida Prado joined us in June 2012 along the Camino de Santiago.
Here she shares with us and comments on some of her favorite photos from her pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. To see more of her work, please visit her website.


Marina de Almeida Prado's Photo Essay on the Camino (2012)

In September 2010, exactly on the 14th, I woke up thinking about the Camino. I knew absolutely nothing about the Camino. I only heard of a few people who had already done it. I eagerly started researching. But a few days later I was completely discouraged, because in my current life with a son, husband, job and home, the thought of leaving everything for 40 days off was just impossible.

One day, just because I couldn’t get it out of my mind,  I posted the word "CAMINO" on Facebook  and immediately a friend  asked: Did you do it? I said no and that I would love to do it but 40 days was not feasible. And she told me, there were other ways to do the Camino and told me about the website www.onfootinspain.com.

She told me: “Choose which way and how many days you want to do it.  I recommend it!”
My contact with Nancy began on the same day, but due to lack of vacancies, I waited until June 2012.

And on June 3 I left for Spain. This would be my first trip all alone after 12 years.  A very special moment.  I chose the route "On Glory Roads," The Camino de Santiago From Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela in 12 days.

I’m a photographer and I took all my equipment with me. But I wanted to photograph every second of the journey  and by the third day I opted to take pictures with  my Iphone 4S so I could use the effects of Instagram and immediately post all my emotions to the world.
There were places and people during my journey that touched me so much. During my time on the path, away from my daily life, I realize what a very privileged person I am. What a great life I have and that I am a truly blessed human being.

One thing I can say for sure: after 12 days in the company of 11 wonderful Australians, 1 American (Nancy), and 2 Spanish guys  (Jose and Sam), something very special was born inside of me. Unforgettable!

I’ve attached some of my favorite photos. Click here to follow the link to the gallery. Here are my comments about some of the photos:

Romanesque bridge of Puente la Reina
I couldn’t believe how gorgeous this bridge was. The water reflection was just amazing! The most beautiful bridge I’ve ever seen!
 
Pueblo
The second most beautiful view of my path. I felt like standing there, time stopped.
 
Camino
This moment was my favorite, because this view is the winner! I could feel the immensity, the liberty. My freedom!!
 
Stones
On the path, lots of stones piled up. These really impressed me.
 
Jose’s Picnic Bar
The picnics were always a pleasant surprise, with different kinds of cheese, cold cuts and salad every day. A moment we all look forward to! And,the pilgrim bar, long-awaited throughout the path by all of us!
 
Real Monasterio San Zoilo
Another very special moment in my path...The deepest blue sunset of my journey. The view from my bedroom window.  I think I could grasp the meaning of blue.

Cruz de Ferro
I was very touched when I arrived at the Iron Cross. One of the simplest and most meaningful moments of the Camino.
 
Iron bucket
For a moment, this iron bucket made me go back to my childhood at the farm.
Close to Cebreiro. A very special place.
 
Botafumeiro
The mass, the smell, the people and the place. Pure emotion.
 
Marina de Almeida Prado
Fotógrafa -  MAP . PHOTO
https://www.marinadealmeidaprado.com
+ 55 11 999102932

Published in Latest
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 21:18

Happy New Year 2010

People wait in line to enter the Holy Door gate that leads to the Holy Door. January 1, 2010.First blog. First day of the new year 2010. A good day for firsts. Today the Holy Door of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain was reopened ritually  marking the beginning of the 2010 Holy Year (An/~o Santo). Holy Years occur in a cyclical pattern of every 11, 6, 5, 6 years when the feast day of Santiago/St James the Greater, July 25th, falls on a Sunday. The last Holy Year was in 2004 and the next one will not occur until 2021. Pilgrims from all over the world will walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage this year and end their journey by passing through the Holy Door.

The first time I walked through the Holy Door was in 1993 after I finished my first pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago/Road of St James. Little did I know how much would transpire between walking through that door the first time and this latest passage 17 years later. In 1993 I entered with my pilgrim companions on a very hot July afternoon after waiting in line to enter for nearly an hour. The cathedral was packed and I felt overwhelmed with the emotion of the arrival. Today, I also, unexpectedly, found myself overwhelmed with emotion by the journey through that doorway. This time I was accompanied by my partner of 16 years and our three children. Gratitude was the prominent feeling. As we walked through the door and got on line to ‘dar un abrazo al santo’, ie, give a hug to the saint, all those years, and how much I have to be thankful for, came rushing through me. It was an ideal way to start this new year.

On this blog I hope to tell part of this story – what led to that first initial crossing and what transpired in between. Little by little.

Published in Blog

Nancy’s Book Review

Walking Your Blues Away. How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being by Thom Hartmann (Vermont: Park Street Press, 2006).

A pilgrim on the Camino has marked the way with an arrow pointing towards a heart. Things of the heart are ahead.I was gifted this book by a body worker[1] who walked with us along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2005. After sitting on the shelf unread for at least a year, the right moment finally arrived to crack open the pages. It’s a quick read and easy to access. The most compelling parts are when Hartmann discusses how walking is a potentially healing activity for emotional trauma. This concept immediately began to resonate with my own anthropological work on the contemporary reanimation of the medieval pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which culminated in my book Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press, 1998). In the late 1980s people from many different backgrounds, countries, walking experience and belief systems (and frequently without a religious motivation) began to take up the traditional symbols of the Santiago pilgrim, the scallop shell and staff, and set out on demanding journeys walking westward across northern Spain (and even the far corners of Europe) to reach the tomb of the apostle James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela. Every year since then, more and more people undertake this walking journey and come home with positive stories of self-discovery, personal triumph, transformation and, even, change.

I found over and over again during my research that many people were led to walk the Camino (a personal journey that can range from one day to four months depending on the walker) to work through their own personal issues. Many were at a breaking point – graduate from college, mid-life crisis, retirement – or had experienced a loss – divorce, death, employment.  Whereas many pilgrimage sites, framed within a more religious context, are sought out by pilgrims to heal the suffering body, I found repeatedly that along the Camino, as they walked, people were healing the suffering soul.  In Pilgrim Stories, I write:

The journey of the Camino can reveal wounds – loss, failure, fear, shame, addiction – left festering from daily life. Experiences along the way often act as the catalyst that allows them to be exposed. It has been, and appears to continue to be, a road for hopes and miracles of fulfillment of a different order. Some pilgrims, acknowledging this themselves, refer to the Camino as la ruta de la terapia, the therapy route (Frey, p. 45).

Through the walking experience people opened themselves up, usually without any perceived intention on their part, to a whole series of unforced emotional experiences.  Time and again, people recounted thinking of people that had not been in their conscious thoughts for years, developing a more active dream life as well as feeling ‘more deeply’ while on the road.

In my book, I discuss this process of opening as part of the elimination of the distractions/stressors of daily life. When life is reduced to its basics and your mind is not absorbed with the minutiae of running a busy  life, full of obligations and demands, all of sudden there is space for feelings, emotions, memories to come to the surface. While walking (though also many times during sleep and dreamtime), pilgrims described to me how they came to new insight, resolution or clarity regarding issues from the past. The walking became a healing process for both known and unknown or conscious/unconscious (prior to beginning the Camino) issues from the past.

In Walking Your Blues Away, Hartmann has added a new dimension to my understanding of this healing process on the cognitive level with his discussion of ‘bilateral therapy’ – the alternating stimulation of the right and left lobes of the brain ‘while thinking of a problem or issue’ (p. 30). Stimulating both the thinking and feeling parts of the brain with the bi-lateral movement, the person is able to process the experience in such a way that it is moved from the forefront of memory to the past thereby reducing its negative hold on your psyche.  Apparently most of our memories are processed during our REM sleep – another form of bi-lateral stimulation. Sometimes, though, the memories are too big/painful to be worked through in REM. Bi-lateral therapy works to simulate the same type of memory processing so that painful experiences can be worked through and moved into the past. Hartmann explains, “With the walking therapy…in most cases this recognition that the experience is in the past happens during the walk itself.  That is the key indicator that the session has been successful” (p. 13). By  applying bilateral theory to walking (an activity that requires the constant stimulation of the brain’s left and right hemispheres with its side-to-side motion), Hartmann offers an excellent way for people to heal themselves without having to resort to traditional ‘talk therapies’,  or even any kind of verbalization of the trauma or painful memories.  He posits that perhaps we have been healing ourselves, since the dawn of time before we had experts – psychotherapists, psychologists, shamans, etc. – by engaging in our most fundamental human activities: walking and thinking.

His work is strongest when discussing the history of bilateral therapies and the application of them to walking based on his own experience and practice. Bilateral therapy has its origin in the development of healing techniques derived from hypnotism first recognized as therapeutic by Mesmer in the 1700s. He describes the fascinating story of Freud’s initial usage and success with bilateral therapy and hypnotism before he abandoned this path in favor of psychotherapy when hypnotism was discredited in Europe and America in the 1890s. His middle chapter on cultural bi-lateralism is over generalized and I found it to be an unnecessary distraction to the larger theme.

The last three chapters provide concrete advice on how to utilize his technique not only for resolving past trauma or negative feelings around a nagging issue but also as a means to increase creativity, motivation and physical health.  His technique is thoroughly described and is easily accessible to the lay person.  It consists of five steps very briefly summarized here (pp. 62-67):

1 – “Define the issue”. Figure out what’s bothering you and picture it in your head.

2 –“ Bring up the story”. Flesh out the issue and determine its level of strength inside of you.

3  – “Walk with the issue”. It usually takes less than 30 minutes to get resolution.

4 – “Notice how the issue changes”. While walking observe how your feelings around the issue shift.

5 –“Anchor the new state”. Review the transformation of the feelings to fix it in your mind.

He encourages a positive and optimistic viewpoint and helpfully reminds the reader: “Remember: There is no failure. There is only feedback. Learn from the feedback and continue on.” (p. 65)

His ideas resonate with my own observations of how people experienced the walking along the Camino. It was very common for those walking to come to some kind of resolution or decision. Many people wanted to do something more creative with their lives upon return home. Others spoke about returning to the Camino to ‘recharge their batteries’ – that the walking along the Camino gave them mental and physical energy that they felt lacking in their daily lives. Perhaps it was simply engaging in this process of bi-lateral movement while walking that allowed people to stumble along the path to their own healing process. In 2008 I interviewed a modern-day Camino legend, John the English gentleman who aids wayward pilgrims in his campervan, for a chapter I wrote for Lonely Planet’s 7th edition of Spain. He had a nice of way of describing the same process of healing. I asked him why he thought people were walking to Santiago today and he responded :

“My impression is that a very large proportion have suddenly been confronted with a grave problem with home, work, family, career, their physical health or love life…and they are so overwhelmed by their everyday preoccupations that they don’t know what to do about it. Walking the Camino is a unique kind of therapy. I call it ‘Self-administered Ambulatory Psychotherapy’. Troubled minds heal themselves – by walking the Camino de Santiago. (Spain, 7th edition, article: Camino de Santiago by Nancy Frey, p. 125, Lonely Planet, 2009).

John has also observed the healing quality that is experienced by those who walk this historical pilgrimage path. Intuitively people have sensed that walking to Santiago will be good for them and have heeded that call to go, once again, the ‘human speed’.

Hartmann’s book and technique will potentially be very helpful to people who walk (or those who don’t but who would like to) and who would like to more consciously make their walks productive for healing, creativity and focused thinking. While for many people the bi-lateral movement brings about the healing without realizing it, by having the technique available, it can potentially help people focus on problem solving as well as ‘anchor’ the new state so that the change is more lasting. In Pilgrim Stories, I write: “While it will not determine outcomes, making the pilgrimage can help the participant on a personal level to ‘rework the past’ and possibly ‘move toward a renewed future’ (Frey, p. 46). This sentiment is in essence the point of Walking Your Blues Away – it takes a very basic human activity and explores its great potential for healing and future well-being. Go take a walk!
[1] Thank you Erin Susan Parks for bringing this book to my attention.  Erin is the owner of LMT Massage for Optimal Living in the Atlanta area.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:41

Places

On Foot in Spain Walking & Hiking Educational Adventures specializes in small group (6 to 14 people) walking tours in northern Spain since 1999. We emphasize Spain's rich cultural heritage (art, history, folklore), its stunning and varied landscapes, flora and fauna as well as provide the finest in lodgings and regional cuisine.

Join owner-guides cultural anthropologist Nancy Frey (PhD, UC Berkeley) and writer, mountaineer Jose Placer (co-author Walking in Spain, Lonely Planet, 1999 & 2003 and Walking in Scotland, LP, 2001) on an unforgettable walking or hiking tour to one the following:

GALICIA - isolated coastal walks, abundant and varied seafood, ancient mountain villages, Celtic remains
PICOS DE EUROPA - emerald-green pastures, dense forests, soaring peaks, delicious cheeses and hearty stews
CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - medieval pilgrimage route, unparalleled artistic treasures, northern Spain's grand tour
COMPOSTELA - walk last section from León through green Galicia, earn the Cathedral's Compostela certificate
BASQUE COUNTRY & PYRENEES - Europe's oldest people, Guggenheim Museum, French and Spanish coastal and Pyrenees walks
PORTUGAL - Enchanting borderlands mixing coast and mountain landscapes, selected highlights of the Camino Portugués from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

On Foot in Spain - Rosalia de Castro, 29, 15886 Teo, A Coruña, Spain.

 

Published in Latest
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:33

Who We Are

"You have led one of, if not the, most profound experience in my life - taking me on a physical journey and also assisting, in many ways, my soul searching quest."
Dick, Compostela April 2005

Nancy and Jose - You are a "dream team." Our sincere thanks and appreciation.
Bob and Marilyn, Camino May 2015

Nancy and Jose - On Foot in Spain

Both Nancy and Jose have always held both walking and learning close to their hearts.
Nancy FreyTheir paths crossed while Nancy was conducting her doctoral dissertation research on the Camino de Santiago in the hamlet of Roncesvalles (Navarre) and Jose was just beginning a 450 mile walk across Spain.
Their paths rejoined a month later in Santiago de Compostela and since then have not diverged.

Together they co-authored the chapters on Galicia, Cordillera Cantabrica (Picos de Europa) and the Camino de Santiago for Lonely Planet’s Walking in Spain (1999 and 2003) and co-authored Lonely Planet's 1st edition of Walking in Scotland (2001).

Nancy and Jose started On Foot In Spain Walking & Hiking Educational Adventures in 1999. They have three children, Jacob (8), Marina (3)and Sam (born 11/27/06), and live on the Galician coast.


Nancy L. Frey, PhD

Nancy on top of Mt. Dana, Yosemite circa 1978Nancy’s love of hiking grew from annual summer trips to Yosemite led by a Dad who always knew the name of every tree and who reveled in leading his children to inspirational points. Thus it wasn’t too surprising that when she selected her subject material for her doctoral dissertation in cultural anthropology (UC Berkeley) one very attractive element of it was the prospect of traversing the north of Spain on foot.

Since her first walk in 1993, Nancy has walked the Camino de Santiago numerous times and cycled it as well. In her book on the modern day journey, Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press, 1998), Nancy brings to life the contemporary way by discussing pilgrims' motivations, mishaps and discoveries while walking as well as providing insights into why the route is so popular today.

Nancy has also lectured for ElderHostel and Smithsonian Institution on their educational tours in Spain, Portugal and France. She has also taught a course on the Camino de Santiago at the University of Santiago and is currently researching the relationship between landscape and experience.
In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, SCUBA diving, kayaking, tending her flower garden and cooking savory pies and tarts.


Jose Daniel Placer
Jose Daniel PlacerA native of Santiago de Compostela, Jose received his law degree from the University of Santiago and then made a 180 degree turn away from lawyering and back to his real passion: children and the outdoors.
He has taught outdoor education and coaches soccer, basketball and volleyball.
With Europe as his backyard, Jose has hiked extensively both within and beyond Spain since he was a teenager.

Despite having enjoyed the Italian Dolomites, and hiking in the Alps while studying law at the University of Passau in Germany, his favorite stomping ground continues to be Spain’s Picos de Europa.

Jose especially enjoys writing short stories, carpentry, restoring furniture, working his garden, kayaking and mountain biking.

OUR PHILOSOPHY
on Foot in SpainEach time we set out on a trail we go with the idea that to walk is to learn. Slowing down to the rhythm of your feet inevitably brings more to your immediate attention and consequently allows for greater speculation and wonder.
On our journeys into northern Spain’s exceptionally beautiful back roads we want to give you the opportunity to challenge yourself physically (without overdoing) and at the same time pique your curiosity by pointing out the not so obvious as well as providing insights into the wonders of the everyday.
Art, architecture, anthropology, folklore, history, Spanish fiestas, cuisine - we interlace them all into each day of your tour. Our carefully designed walks, combining charming accommodations in rural inns, monasteries, and hotels with the finest in local cuisine, will immerse you in the riches of northern Spain’s culture life and landscapes.

Find out more about On Foot in Spain......contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo credit: Katherine Peake

 Nancy and Jose's children

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