Support Camino Cleanup

I am happy to share a special guest post by Camino angel and bestselling author Karin Kiser.

Support Camino Cleanup

During my first Camino in 2011, I was disheartened by the amount of trash I saw along the route. I was determined to play a part in leaving the Camino in better condition than when I found it. Unfortunately, for all my good intentions, the last thing I wanted to do while walking all day fully loaded with a backpack and trekking poles was stop and collect some rubbish. Bending down with a full pack seemed a Herculean task. So my cleanup efforts were limited to areas where I was already resting without the load of backpack.

Last year when I was volunteering in Galicia, I was finally free of the backpack and could begin to pick up trash in earnest. During those two-weeks I took responsibility for the 3 km stretch on either side of the albergue and rounded up a dozen bags of waste.

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St. James Day Presentation in Piedmont, CA

I’m happy to announce the 2nd annual St. James Day Celebration held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Piedmont, California.  This year, we are honored to have guest speaker Alexander Shaia give a thought-provoking presentation on the topic:

St James: The Despairing Evangelist Who Becomes An Inspiring Pilgrim –  A Story for Today

Have you walked, or ever had the calling to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain? One of the three major Christian pilgrimages together with Rome and Jerusalem, the Camino follows various ancient paths to the tomb of St James located in the crypt of the Santiago Cathedral. Santiago de Compostela is in the province of Galicia, Spain’s Northwest corner.

Alexander ShaiaJoin the Northern California Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino for a special presentation by Alexander John Shaia, internationally sought speaker, author and guide who annually mentors a small band of pilgrims walking the Camino.

Alexander will give an overview of St. James’ life and spirituality as well as speak of pilgrimage as a contemporary rite of passage and an extended practice of mindfulness. Alexander’s most recent book, Returning From Camino released (2018) in English, has already been translated into Spanish, German and Hungarian. It is the first book to address the spiritual and psychological needs of a pilgrim upon returning home.  Alexander’s books will be available for purchase (cash or credit card) after the talk, and he will be delighted to sign them. 

Presentation will be on Thursday, July 25, 2019, 8:00 – 9:30 PM
Schedule:
6:00 PM Potluck for Northern California pilgrims and guests  (Details have been sent to Northern California email subscribers)
7:45 PM Doors open to the public
8 – 9 PM – Presentation by Alexander Shaia, book signing to follow

RSVP required by July 24 at: https://forms.gle/hR2t2iQxkX2z5bjT6
Or by emailing laurie@thecaminoprovides.com

322 St. James DrLocation:
Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Gibson Center
322 St. James Drive, Piedmont, CA 94611
A free parking lot is located at the Corpus Christi school behind the church at 1 Estates Drive. As always, we encourage carpools, public transportation and Lyft or Uber.

Share the event: Download St. James Day Presentation Flyer (PDF)

See latest books by Dr.  Shaia and learn about St. James Day special offers below.

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St. James Day Special: 7 patches for $25

It’s that time of year! 7 Camino patches for $25 and free shipping through July 25, 2019.

2019 Camino Provides Patches

www.etsy.com/listing/630904397/7-for-25-st-james-day-special

Free shipping US (Reg $3.85)
Free shipping International (Reg $5.85)

Choose 2019 or original design (no date). You can mix and match! Just write quantity of each design in order note.

Order at: www.etsy.com/listing/630904397/7-for-25-st-james-day-special

About the patch: I design the patches to put on my own backpack and to share with other Camino enthusiasts. There has been a different patch for each year since 2016, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. I only do a special once a year. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events July – August

Dear Friends,

July is a special month for the Camino de Santiago. The Apostle James, the reason for the Camino pilgrimage, is celebrated throughout the world on July 25th, his designated saint’s day. In Santiago de Compostela, Saint James is honored in a spectacular way on July 24th, with fireworks and a multimedia show in the Praza do Obradoiro. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our chapter offers unique events to celebrate St. James.  See below for the lineup of Camino-related events and hikes in July.

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, July 6, 10:30 AM

Lake Merritt Walk June 2019

Join our popular and easy walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. Meet at the Pergola (aka “The Columns”) on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and start walking by 10:45 AM. It’s a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.) Stay for lunch after the walk at a local restaurant, location TBD. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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Back Home From 4th Camino

Santiago

I just returned home from another relatively short Camino. Two travel days, one night in Rabanal, one night in Ponferrada, ten days of walking, and two days in Santiago.

Winter Way guidebookI was craving a less crowded walk, so decided to do the Camino Invierno, aka Winter Way,  from Ponferrada.  This is definitely a less-trodden Camino, but little did I know that I wouldn’t see a pilgrim until the third day! This was by far the most challenging Camino for me because some of the stages were very long, and a few days there were no places to stop. But, I walked through incredibly beautiful landscapes, connected with some locals, and survived some unforeseen challenges.  In short, it was a Camino of solitude at the beginning, a test of my fortitude in the middle, but throughout it all, left me with a feeling of extreme gratitude. I will write more about it later.  I did some posts on Instagram and Facebook if you want a sneak preview of my adventures and a few pilgrim hacks, see:
Instagram.com/CaminoProvides
Facebook.com/CaminoProvides

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Giving Back on Camino

Hola from Ponferrada, España.

I just started walking the Camino Invierno! I will write a detailed route report upon my return. For now, I am excited to share a cause that I am supporting and ask for your help pitching in. During my Camino, between May 17-28, $2 from every patch sale will be donated to Egeria House in Santiago to support the work of Sybille Yates and the volunteers who help pilgrims in need. My patches can be ordered for $4 each at: Etsy.com/shop/caminoprovides

I met Sybille in Santiago after my last two Caminos and witnessed how she has helped many pilgrims. Sybille is a busy woman! After seeing her at the 10 am mass, handing out hymn sheets and helping pilgrims to find a seat, I saw her again at the hospital visiting a friend of mine from the Bay Area who became critically ill while walking the Camino. Because I have seen her kindness in action, I want to show support for what she is doing in Santiago with Egeria House. She is one of those Camino angels I will write about when I get back home.

Learn more at: Egeria.House

My patches can be ordered at: Etsy.com/shop/caminoprovides

I will give Egeria House the patch sale contributions when I get to Santiago on May 27th or 28th.

Thank you for sharing the Camino love!

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Sharing the Camino Light through Service

Note: This article was published in the March 2019 La Concha newsletter for American Pilgrims on the Camino. (See page 8).

The notion of walking the Camino first came at a time in my life when I was looking for a more meaningful way to travel and feeling the desire to serve. I became consumed with researching, training, packing, repacking, blogging, and chatting with pilgrims. This happened a few years before I turned 50—and to some of my friends and family, it appeared I was going through a midlife crisis! Perhaps I was, but I couldn’t have picked a healthier addiction, because the Camino ultimately led to a variety of ways that I can serve.

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Returning Home: The Journey Continues

On November 10, 2018, the Northern California chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino held its annual Pilgrim Welcome Home Event in Oakland. We had a great turnout of 84 people, and everyone enjoyed celebrating our returning pilgrims, hospitaleros, and volunteers.

Our chapter committee likes to have a Camino presentation at these events, which also includes a potluck and sharing of Camino stories. This year, we wanted to present something different. Everyone talks about preparing for the Camino, but what is said about returning home? Re-entry can be a challenge, but nobody prepares for it.  What happens if you have a strong case of the PCBs (Post-Camino Blues)? Our Board liaison, Emilio Escudero to the rescue!

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Finding Community Among Tribes of Pilgrims

Note: This is the full version of the article published in the September 2018 newsletter for American Pilgrims on the Camino (See page 14: La Concha).

I was a little nervous when I attended my first Camino chapter event in the spring of 2015. That was when the idea of walking the Camino was daunting, yet surprisingly appealing. Out of my comfort zone, I drove through a tunnel and suburbs to get to a church where the Northern California chapter’s annual shell blessing ceremony was to place.  I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would be the only newbie, and the activities would be overtly religious. To my surprise, there were a few of us Camino “virgins” there, and nobody preached! But just in case it were to start feeling like a cult, I picked a table by the door.

After lunch, there were presentations and Q & A's about the Camino

My first Camino event on March 28, 2015

The food spread in the potluck brunch was outstanding. Wine, of course, helped break the ice, and there was plenty of it. I learned quickly that pilgrims like to party! After the potluck came the shell blessing and the sharing of stories. These stories were inspiring to me. That was my initiation into the NorCal tribe of pilgrims, and I was hooked.

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Pilgrims Share How They Pack for the Camino

I am delighted to feature another post by the vivacious red-headed wanderluster from the UK, Sheree Hooker, author of Winging the World blog.  She was one of 21 pilgrims interviewed about packing for the Camino by the Packing Goods website. You might remember Sheree from her guest post last month, Camino Reflections by an Awkward British Wanderluster. Read her tips below, one of which I disagree with (can you guess which one?). But this is a lesson about choice of gear—what works for some pilgrims, doesn’t necessarily work for others. When a pilgrim is planning what to pack for their first Camino, the options and advice can be overwhelming. In the end, it’s up to each pilgrim to decide what he or she will pack. Still, it’s good to take a sneak peak into the backpacks of other pilgrims!

How I packed for the Camino
By Sheree Hooker

Sheree at a Santiago entrance sign

Sheree at a Santiago entrance sign

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