The VF Day 11 & 12: Slow Down, Happiness is Trying to Catch You

By on June 11, 2022

2017 Camino de Santiago going into Pamplona

This photo came up on my Facebook memories today. It’s ironic and funny because without seeing that picture I asked Brian to take the picture below.

2022 Via Francigena going into Rappollo

I’m always exhausted after a day of hiking in the heat and sun. Despite the exhaustion, I am called back to the trail all the time. I don’t know what calls me, I don’t know why we are called to walk on pilgrimage at all. Maybe it’s because we love slow tourism, maybe it’s a reason we don’t need to know yet. It feels weird to say it but it’s true – I’m exhausted even though we have been moving slowly all day. Happiness found us while on pilgrimage.

A sign on the wall of our accommodation

I do know with two pilgrimages under our belt, working on a third, our lives have drastically changed since that first walk in 2017. We made a big decision that first summer while on pilgrimage. We decided we couldn’t let life to pass us by, we could not live our lives from the couch. We needed to participate in our lives, live what little time we are given on this Earth to the fullest. As cliché as that sounds, it profoundly changed every decision we have made since that summer.

In 2017 we got off the plane in Columbus, Ohio, and after 2 full days of travel wearing the same stinky clothes we had worn for two months, we stopped at an RV dealership. We purchased an RV within a week of coming home.

We learned from that pilgrimage, we want to see as much of the US and the world as possible. We don’t want to be tourists, we want to engage, to fully immerse ourselves, as we travel.

Despite a pandemic, our travels really have not stopped. Because of that RV purchase, we were able to see more of our country than the average person as we were self-contained and not willing to stay inside. We were safe, we were smart, but we needed to live.

In 2017, I was an overwhelmed, exhausted, pushing the limits of my mental and physical capabilities, woman. Now, I am just a little less overwhelmed, still exhausted but happier, and driven harder to see more before time slips away. Exhaustion is not a bad thing, rather it means you are living.

Pilgrimage is hard, even for the young, super-fit pilgrims. The long walk in the quiet grabs your soul and challenges you to think about what’s most important in life. It makes you a bit thankful, a bit happy, a bit sad, and gives you the urge to push through those feelings. What else can do that to a person all in one day?

In 2018 we started Cruisin’ with the Colemans because we realized we needed to start documenting all of our travels. Then in 2019, just before we went on our second pilgrimage, the Caminho Portuguese, we started our YouTube channel.

We blog/create videos because we are called to tell the stories of our travels. We want to inspire others, give our students something to consider as they figure out how they want to live their lives, and most importantly, to give our kids/grandkids the drive to get out and live. Ultimately, we want the memories. When our days of travel are behind us, we can “pull out the projector” and reminisce of a life lived to the fullest. We can only dream.

For those of you who are following our stats on the Via Francigena, I have not forgotten about you. My blogs are about what inspires me each day. However, I know there are some that want to know where we are staying and how much a day on this pilgrimage costs. Here is a catch up of our stats/lodging/expenses below. By the way, I will talk about our budget and how we fair at the end of our pilgrimage. Preview: For us, we are on track to staying under our budget!

Stats walking from Pont Saint Martin to Irvea 13.5 km with 5 km additionally by bus. Check out the YouTube video too!

  • Lodging at La Palma 2.0 – €48 – best accommodation thus far!!
  • Bus tickets for 2 – €4

Stats walking from Irvea to Roppollo – 20.2 km. We highly recommend going past Viverone, on to Roppollo and staying at this albergue. The guide book stage ends in Viverone. There are private rooms, great hosts, and there is an outstanding trattoria with a pilgrim meal for €12 for dinner! Check out our YouTube video too!

  • Lodging at La Casa del Movimento Lento – €50 for two people in a private room

*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsement. This is just a point of information for fellow pilgrims. See our reviews on Booking.com, the guidebooks, and fellow pilgrims for more details to make the decision best for you.



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