Getting Ready

We compiled our lists of necessities based on good advice from the books we had read. We won’t have to carry tents, sleeping bags, or cooking utensils so that will certainly lighten our load. Peregrinos (pilgrims) typically stay in albergues, rustic shelters with bunkbeds in large shared rooms. And the Camino travels through small villages, farmland, and cities, so we will be able to shop and pack what food we need for the day.



Guidebooks suggest carrying only 10% of your body weight, pack included. That means we can include only clothes, rain gear, tiny or inflatable pillows, a journal, camera, books, technology (Ipads and cell phones), and personal toiletries.

A comfortable backpack is a basic necessity and the hardest purchase to make.  The pack must rest on the hips to support the weight of its contents, and choosing just the right one requires trying on pack after pack and making multiple adjustments. Another difficult decision is walking shoes or boots that can handle cobblestone, gravel, and hot city asphalt streets. The right choice is critical. For clothing we have to plan for the heat of day and the cool, possibly cold, of the night. To accommodate the ranges of temperature, we will be bringing clothing we can layer. The Eastern Mountain Sports stores in Concord  and Manchester were our biggest suppliers of these necessities. Their knowledgeable and helpful staff counseled us well and made difficult decisions seem easier.

Books are heavy, so each one would have to be chosen with acute discretion. A Pilgrim Guide to the Camino de Santiago by John Brierley is a must for both of us, plus a slim volume of carefully selected verses from A Course in Miracles for Judi. A borrowed IPAD mini for Judi and a borrowed Ipad for Barb will provide us with access to email, maps, and a built-in camera. We’ll both carry refurbished Iphones, and Judi will bring her regular digital camera as a backup. (Huge thanks go to Barb’s son Chuck for his generosity and expertise with all tech issues.)

Today we’re about a week and a half from the start of the trip, and Judi will be off to California tomorrow to attend her daughter’s wedding. She’s spent a summer chock full of adventures to begin her retirement. So packing and unpacking are progressing apace, and the excitement level is escalating for your two peregrinas who are eager to be their way!

About Us – Judi and Barb

Judi –

Who Am I?

That’s a very large question! I like to think that I am an ever-awakening spiritual being, capable of loving more and judging less – curious about the world around me. I’m earnestly trying to apply these concepts more every day.

But if I had to put it in limited material, temporary terms, or descriptors in time and space, it might look something like this:
• Native of Escanaba, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula (UP – Yooper).
• Formal education from Grand Valley State College – BS in Arts & Media (It is where I discovered photography!)
• Married my husband Jim (now an insatiable researcher of Candia history!) in 1979

• Two grown children – Nate (architect in Detroit with wife Mariwyn), Jesse (Santa Rosa, CA with wife Laurie and grandkids –Oscar and Juliette)
• Transferred from Grand Haven, MI to Merrimack, NH in 1982 with Jim’s Gardner-Denver job. So began our love affair with NH! Kayaking, enjoying the outdoors, making great friends.
• At 40 it became obvious to me I wanted to be a teacher so I went to Rivier College, Nashua, to earn my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.
• Joined the Moore School family and Candia community in 1994. Taught Chapter 1 Reading/Math, 6th grade Science/LA/Social Studies. Then created the Minds in Motion program (Enrichment/Challenge for all students), which became my fulfilling career position for the last 23 years.
• Retired in June from teaching. Continued on as a student of life long learning…


Barb –

Whatever you can do, or dream you can; begin it.
Boldness has genius power and magic in it.          

  – Goethe

My 92-year-old mother introduces me this way, “Barbara is my daughter who runs marathons,” or “This is my number 1 daughter,” meaning oldest, not favorite. (My sweet Mum loves all of her daughters very much.)

But how would I introduce myself? I’d say I am a person who makes decisions and sticks to them…teacher and reading specialist for 35 years, runner and vegetarian for 40 years, resident of Candia for 45 years, and wife for 49 years. I’m retired now and savoring all the benefits of ample time to read, run, and enjoy my husband and family.

I’m nearly seventy and still love the same things I did when I was eleven: reading books, sunny days outside, and sweets. I’m a joyful and appreciative daughter, sister to Bett and Peg, wife to Dick, mom to Meagan and Chuck, mother-in-law to Vasu and Kelly, and grandmother to Jaitin, Anjali, and Rory. How lucky can one person be?

Judi and I taught together in Candia, and she has been my treasured friend for many years. I’m blessed to have her accompany me on this trip, which will be a true test of perseverance for both of us as peregrinas, pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, following in the footprints of hundreds of thousands and making our spiritual journeys.


The “Why”

Judi –

Why I’m Making This Pilgrimage

Let’s just say it was Barb’s idea!

For several years, Barb talked about this thing called the Camino De Santiago. A Pilgrimage walk in Spain on ancient Roman trade routes. An opportunity to walk and discover new spiritual insights and meet people – discuss philosophies and ideologies.

My traveling excursions up to this point tended to be nature oriented – jungles in Belize, sea turtles in Costa Rica, gray whales with an Earthwatch Expedition in Baja CA assisting scientists

But the moment Barb said she was willing to go it alone – that’s when I decided to climb on board. Heck – I like to walk. I’ve never been to Europe. Those seemed like reasons enough to join her. This could be fun!

Suddenly my sense of travel DID include people, foreign culture and an opportunity to explore.

In the words of Cat Stevens
“ …so much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out!”

Barb –

Let’s Call It an Obsession

Have you ever been totally captivated by a book or movie? So captivated that it borders on obsession? I became obsessed with the movie The Way about four years ago. I’m not a movie buff like Judi is, but I’ve watched this one countless times, memorizing dialogue, dissecting the plot, and being enthralled by the scenery.

In The Way, the main character, Tom, played by Martin Sheen, has chosen a safe life of work as an ophthalmologist, of golfing with his friends, and of the lonely life of a widower. His adult son, however, has tired of books and study, quits his Ph.D. program in anthropology, and sets off to live a life in the wide world, walking the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago in Spain. On his first day, though, he is caught in a sudden storm and dies along the route. Tom flies to Spain to claim the son’s remains. In an uncommonly spontaneous move, Tom sets off with the son’s backpack, gear, and cremated remains to make the pilgrimage himself and to understand his son. Through the nearly 500-mile journey, Tom undergoes an enormous transformation. He becomes more trusting, open, centered, daring, self-confident, and strong.

The lure of personal transformation motivates me to make my own pilgrimage along the Way of Saint James. So now, just before I turn 70 years old, I’m off on my quest.