Camino Couple Giving Back as Hospitaleros

I am pleased to share a guest post by Francis Kim, the voice behind Our First Date All Over Again. I got to know Anna and Francis Kim at our SF Bay Area pilgrim events and training hikes over the last two years. We trained for our 2016 Caminos around the same time and recently attended Hospitalero training together in Los Gatos, California. They will make an excellent team at an albergue some day! Below is Francis’s take on serving as hospitaleros.

Francis and Anna Kim are ready to serve! They prepared these delicious tapas for our pilgrim blessing and potluck on March 18, 2017.

Francis and Anna Kim are ready to serve! They prepared these delicious tapas for our pilgrim blessing and potluck on March 18, 2017.

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Leave No Trace: Ethics for the Camino

Valerie Hartmann’s Camino made a big impact on her, as did a Leave No Trace training that she attended a few years ago.  Both experiences instilled a “tread lightly” mentality of stewardship toward our world.  Valerie put her thoughts into action by writing the report, “Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for Camino de Santiago.” She recently shared it with us NorCal Chapter coordinators, and I am happy to help spread the word.  I completely agree that some people can be more respectful to the environment and fellow pilgrims. Her report is full of common sense and good tips to be a mindful pilgrim and keep the Camino litter-free. Add this reading to your pre-Camino checklist and consider treading more lightly on your next Camino.

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What it means to be UC Berkeley Wellness Ambassadors

One of my intentions for 2017 is to serve as a wellness ambassador to help to create a culture of health within the workplace by promoting staff participation in UC Berkeley wellness programs, services, and events.  My colleague Veronica and I were recently featured on UC Berkeley’s Be Well at Work Newsletter and you can read our interview below. Yes, the Camino does come up in one of my responses. It seems that lately more things are a ripple effect of the Camino!

Be Well at Berkeley – March 2017

Veronica and I posting flyers in English and Spanish

Posting flyers in English and Spanish

Laurie and Veronica have always been advocates for fitness both at home and in the workplace, so it was no surprise when they decided to become Wellness Ambassadors for International House. Ever since Laurie started at I-House in 2005, she rallied co-workers to join lunchtime hikes on trails around campus. The camaraderie within this informal hiking club formed many friendships over the years. Last October, Laurie started teaching yoga to staff at lunchtime on Mondays. Veronica joined I-House in 2015 as a Human Resources Assistant. She is often the first person a new employee will encounter, and she makes everyone feel welcome with her positive attitude.

We recently chatted with them to learn how their advocacy for health and wellness have inspired and made a real difference in the lives of others within their department.

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Francis and Anna Kim: Our First Date All Over Again

Our First Date All Over Again

By Francis Kim

I recall a quote from singer/songwriter Jason Derulo: “the biggest challenge is to continue on the same path. It’s easy to become complacent from the success you’ve had.” It captures the spirit of our Camino, as well our relationship with each other. But more on that later.

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Pilgrim Interviews: Four Men from Malta

I am happy to share another collaboration with James Portelli, the guest blogger who wrote route reports for Camino Inglés/Finisterre among many other insightful posts. For this one, James interviewed four friends from Malta who walked the Camino Francés in September and October 2016.

From left to right: John, Alex, Raymond and Pierre

From left to right: John, Alex, Raymond and Pierre

James and John, one of the peregrinos mentioned in this piece, had participated with other Maltese pilgrims on earlier Caminos raising over € 100,000 to support local charities.

Below is the interview, ‘Ultreya Pellegrini Maltin,’ which translates to ‘Onward Maltese Pilgrims.’ Enjoy!


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Camino and Hiking Events in March 2017

There are always opportunities to train for or learn about the Camino. Below is the roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of March 2017.

Lake Merritt Walk

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Ideas for Lent that don’t include giving up chocolate

For the first time in my life, I plan to practice Lent. I decided to attend Ash Wednesday service at UC Berkeley’s Newman Hall tonight on my way home from work.  I figured I wouldn’t get weird stares all day about the smudge on my forehead. Why would I do this? To make a long story short, the Camino brought me closer to God, and I decided to be confirmed as a Catholic. I am going through all the ceremonial rites and attending the adult confirmation classes at my parish. You may recall from a previous post, that I was a bad Catholic through my first Communion and a skeptic thereafter. But events in the last year encouraged a change of heart. This has all been part of my “inner Camino” which I will write about in due time. For now, let’s get to some ideas to consider for the 40 days of Lent.

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A Pilgrim Love Story

Loni & Kjartan on the Camino

A Pilgrim Love Story

By Loni Bergqvist

I’m from California and walked the Camino Francés in 2013. On my way into Burgos, I met Kjartan from Denmark. We started talking and spent the next day together. We ended up walking to Santiago and he proposed when we arrived. 🙂 We were married six months later, and we now live in Denmark with our daughter and a baby due next month. The Camino continues to provide our little family with surprises, love and happiness.

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Beyond the Way, A Camino Film Series

I have been wanting to share Andrew Suzuki’s excellent film series for a while, but it didn’t seem complete. Now the missing episode, “Some Assembly Required” is free and online!

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Love is in the air

The Camino Provides

Calling all Camino couples! You know who you are. Perhaps you met on the Camino and fell in love. Maybe you were newlyweds who walked the Camino for a honeymoon. Or an established couple who wanted to mix things up and test your relationship. Perhaps you walked alone and came to the conclusion that someone back home is your true love. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say.

I wonder how many marriage proposals happened as a result of the Camino. It seems the Camino works in mysterious ways.  Is it something in the water or the Spanish wine?  I think there’s something in the air.

Love is in the air

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