VF Day 44-45: The Highs of Pilgrimage

VF Day 44-45: The Highs of Pilgrimage

Jul 20, 2022 | All Blog Posts, Via Francigena | 7 comments

Brian told me that my last blog on the lows of pilgrimage was not the happiest blog I’d ever written. Haha! You can read it, if you dare, by clicking here.

It was real. My emotions were quite raw and I was not feeling the best about this pilgrimage. I promised myself to write like I am only talking to myself and I did because I need to remember those emotions. But I also need to remember the good feelings.

I wanted to quit, but of course, I would never let myself quit. It’s not who I am. But by allowing myself to settle into those raw, ugly emotions, it reminded me to look at the other side of this pilgrimage. So let’s do just that – look at the bright side of life (whistle along if you know the reference)!

I love pilgrimage for many reasons. The first and most important is the simplistic nature of it. When we are traveling by car or RV so much can go wrong, and has gone wrong in our experience. Just look at our RV video vlogs on YouTube. For this trek I needed 2 outfits, a raincoat, and good shoes. When does the average person live on that for 2½ months. Pilgrimage is simple.

It’s way more than simplicity, pilgrimage is about giving yourself the space to just go for a long walk and think about whatever you want. I love to think about my goals for the new school year, to develop personal goals, to consider how I want my relationships to look, and of course, I love to think about where I want to go next. Brian and I get into some outstanding conversations about how we see our future. Pilgrimage gives us the space to think.

A pilgrim statue in Montefiascone

When do you ever get your spouse’s undivided attention for this many hours in a day and this many days in a row? Um, never! But, while on pilgrimage, we have each other’s undivided attention and it is the best thing in the world for a relationship. Pilgrimage helps us grow closer together.

The sheep herder was sitting on a rock in shade, probably laughing at us

We have seen most of the United States but only as tourists. While we are on pilgrimage, we are not tourists. We are welcomed into people’s homes and their places of worship. We see small villages that a tourist would never even know to visit. We are living and walking amongst the farmers and sheep herders as they go about their daily life. We are only collecting memories and photos, there is no room for luxuries. Pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to experience a new culture.

The relationships that are born from pilgrimage are like no other. I guess the only comparison I have is the friends we meet when we are camping, maybe that’s why we are drawn to camping. When you spend days upon days walking with someone new, you get to experience who they really are vs. the face they normally portray to the world. Pilgrimage creates a deep level of intimacy with those you meet.

The Via Francigena cannot be compared to other pilgrimages that we have completed. Nor should it be. We knew this was going to be different. It has fulfilled what I love about pilgrimage. And the food, oh my gosh, we love the food. Speaking of, it’s about time for dinner. And you know I don’t want to be late! 

Thanks for following along. I hope you have enjoyed my reflections while we walking the Via Francigena. If there something you want me to talk about, you know how to reach me! Please share my blogs if you think they would help others.

Ciao! Ciao!

Walking stats from to Bolsena to  Montefiascone – 15.3 km

  • Lodging at Palazzo Frigo – €90

Walking stats from Montefiascone to Viterbo – 18.3 km

  • Lodging at Viterbo B&B – €70 (includes a small discount for pilgrims, if you book directly with them)

*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsements. 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.


  1. Georgia

    Hi, Michelle and Brian, I enjoy your blog and youtube videos tremendously! I will be starting the Via Francigena in Lucca on September 4th with a group of new friends. One question I have is how you attach your umbrella to your backpack. I would like to use my hiking poles, but have the help of the lightweight umbrella you recommend during the sunny as well as rainy days. I’ve seen a video about attaching the umbrella shaft to one of the front straps of a backpack, but in your VF Day 1 and 2 video, it appears your umbrella is attached to the back somehow. Also, your video about what you pack was extremely helpful. Your link to the Amazon page is helpful, but quite a few of the other items you mention are not listed. Any chance to update the list? Thank you again for everything, Georgia

    • The Colemans

      Georgia, thank you so much! Can you tell me what items I’m missing? I’m struggling with that while we’re out on the trail.
      To attach our umbrella we have a carabiner on our waist strap that hooks to the umbrella loop. Then we lean it on our chest and put our chest strap over it. That’s it. It’s not behind our back, we tried that and it wasn’t comfortable.

      • georgiassi

        Thank you! Your method will be my method!

  2. Georgia

    Hi, Michelle, please note that the Amazon link at the top of your blog only shows your RV items. I know you have another link below the What’s In Our Backpacks blog that you told me about, but the items in that link (which are your backpack items) are not in the Amazon Store tab in the top banner. I hope this makes sense. Thank you, Georgia

    • The Colemans

      Thanks! I’m going to get it fixed when we get home! I appreciate your feedback.

  3. Tracey Gray

    I am a bit behind on reading your blogs (don’t tell me what happens!). We are planning on doing Lausanne to Lucca next year, so am reading with interest. Anyway just wanted to let you know I want to know the lows as well as the highs. I want to know what to really expect, not just all fluffy nice bits. I really appreciate the warts and all account of your pilgrimage. It is also very heartening to know that if things get bad there appears to be plenty of wine 🙂 I will wait until the end an probably bombard you with questions!

    • The Colemans

      Thank you! Bombard away, it doesn’t bother us at all!


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