Sacred Steps Podcast

1: Interview with Camino Pilgrim & Author Sandy Brown

Episode Summary

Cicerone Press Publisher Associate Sandy Brown (www.caminoist.org) joins Author Kevin Donahue (www.sacredstepsbook.com) to discuss their pilgrimage experiences, Sandy's newest guidebook, and three of Kevin’s pilgrimage routes: the Camino de Santiago, the California Missions Trail, and the Via Francigena. A companion to the book Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal by Kevin Donahue, the Sacred Steps Podcast walks virtually alongside authors and pilgrims, connecting a community of pilgrims from across the globe. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for the Sacred Steps Podcast, please visit www.sacredstepspodcast.com or email kevin@sacredstepsbook.com.

Episode Notes

PODCAST HOMEPAGE: www.sacredstepspodcast.com

Cicerone Press Associate Publisher Sandy Brown (www.caminoist.org) joins Author Kevin Donahue (www.sacredstepsbook.com) to discuss their pilgrimage experiences, Sandy's newest guidebook, and three of Kevin’s pilgrimage routes: the Camino de Santiago, the California Missions Trail, and the Via Francigena. 

 

DISCUSSIONS FROM THIS EPISODE:

 

CONNECT WITH THE SHOW ONLINE:

 

 

MEET OUR GUEST:  SANDY BROWN

Sanford “Sandy” Brown is a writer, pilgrim walker, and tour leader from Seattle, Washington USA. He is Associate Publisher at Cicerone Press, where he focuses on international pilgrim trails. Since 2008, Sandy has walked over 10,000 kilometers along the routes of the Camino de Santiago, the Via di Francesco, and the Via Francigena. Sandy shares his insights and tales from his journies on his eponymous YouTube channel

His latest guidebook, the Camino de Santiago: Camino Francés was released in January 2020 by Cicerone Press. Prior to that, he wrote the popular guidebook The Way of St Francis: from Florence to Assisi and Rome.  His latest work on the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome is scheduled to be published in three parts, with the first available in 2021. 

 

MEET THE HOST:  Kevin Donahue

Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.

In 2019, Kevin Donahue set off from his home in the United States to begin a pilgrimage journey spanning both years and miles, walking across continents to the ancient end of the world, to kneel at the tombs of eight Apostles. Available for Easter 2022, Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal, is Kevin's first-hand account of the people and places found along the way to inspire questions and enlighten answers about faith, hope, and love.

Connect with Kevin online through his blog (One Step Then Another)  or Facebook Page (@sacredstepsbook).

 

BOOK: 

Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal

Available from print and digital booksellers for Easter 2022, Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal is the first-person account of a reluctant pilgrim navigating the eternal questions of faith while walking along the world’s revered paths. The book follows one man’s journey through Portugal and Spain on the Camino de Santiago, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean connecting California’s Missions Trail, across England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way, and onward towards Rome via Europe’s forgotten footpaths on a journey of soulful discovery. More than a travelogue, Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal recalls a pilgrim's journey and the people and places he finds to inspire questions and enlighten answers about faith, hope, and love.

Episode Transcription

Announcer  0:08  

Walking virtually along the world's most revered footpaths, and connecting the global community of pilgrims, it's the sacred steps podcast available on YouTube and your favorite podcast app broadcasting from the shame air studios in Florida. Here's your host pilgrim, backpacker, and author, Kevin Donahue.

 

Kevin Donahue  0:36  

Buen camino pilgrims and welcome back to the Sacred Steps Podcast. My name is Kevin Donahue, your host, author of sacred steps of pilgrimage journal.

 

On today's episode, we're talking to pilgrim backpacker and author Sandy Brown. Sandy has written several guidebooks on pilgrimage including the Camino Francis, and the way of Saint Francis. Today, Sandy, and I'll be talking about some of our favorite pilgrimage routes, including the Camino de Santiago, and the California missions trail along America's Pacific coast. It's my pleasure to welcome to the sacred steps podcast, Sandy Brown.

 

Sandy Brown  1:16  

Fabulous, it's really nice to be here. Thanks, Kevin.

 

Kevin Donahue  1:20  

Absolutely. many pilgrims know your work and service through the pilgrim community and the community forums, and also from the ceaser own books. But I don't know if everyone knows your pilgrim backstory. So could you tell us a little bit about your past pilgrimage walks?

 

Unknown Speaker  1:37  

Absolutely. Well, Kevin, I am in about 1992. I read Paolo cohosts, book, the pilgrimage. And after reading the pilgrimage, I just kind of put it on what we didn't even at that time, call a bucket list. And I said, I've got to do this sometime. And part of the reason is my own background, from Mexico and from Latin America, where my family is from, and partly was my spiritual background, too, as a pastor, and the kind of mix of magical spirituality, and Spanish culture really hooked me in reading the pilgrimage. And so then in 2008, when I had the opportunity to actually have some time and do the walk, I did it. So I set out in May of 2008. And it was fabulous. And after walking on the Camino, Frances of the Camino de Santiago, the next year, I sent my younger son so that he could experience it. And then the next year was 2010, the Holy Year. So I did the part of the via de la Plata. And the following year, I did the Francis again. And clearly I was hooked pretty soon was Italian pilgrimage walks, and then it was writing guidebooks. And it is a little bit more than a hobby, and not maybe quite an obsession. But it's definitely something that I find extremely enjoyable. And if I were, I mean, if I were in Spain or Italy right now, I'm sure I'd be walking even in this crazy winter weather that we're having.

 

Kevin Donahue  3:27  

Well, and it's been quite a challenge for pilgrims this year as well with the onset of COVID. And and really just so much heartbreak and suffering in Spain and through Europe. Are you regularly in touch with anyone who's in in Spain right now and and getting updates from the Camino?

 

Sandy Brown  3:47  

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm in touch with some folks in Santiago as well as along the route itself. And then my sister who collaborated on the accommodations piece of my Francaise guidebook. She's in touch on a daily basis with our Bure gay owners and operators all across the Francaise. And then also in the Italian walks. And I think everybody's equally having a difficult time, we'll discover I think when we're on the other side of this that a lot of the albear gays that we've loved the most will be out of business. Or if Lucky for us, they'll be under a different ownership that allows them to be able to survive, although the previous owners maybe weren't able to make it happen. And it so it's just kind of a piece of the worldwide problems that we've had in this pandemic. And so we're way down the food chain and essentially this is walking for recreation and spirituality. And the way this has affected so many aspects of life is just overwhelming. And hope when everything gets back up to gear, that we'll be back on board, and we'll experience some of what we were able to experience over these years.

 

Kevin Donahue  5:18  

Great point, Sandy, well said, you come to pilgrimage from an interesting background, you were ordained in the Methodist Church. And I think you shared with me previously, some of your background and family background, really inspired. You know, you to walk when you're on pilgrimage, how are you staying connected to your faith?

 

Sandy Brown  5:49  

Well, I have different ways of doing it. And on the Camino, Frances, there's one special way that I do it as a Methodist slash Protestant pastor. And that is, when I go into a church, I look for an artistic representation of St. James of Santiago. And that's funny that it becomes a sort of entree into the spirituality of the people that built a church are the people that worship in the church. So I may find it in a stained glass window, I may find it in a statue. You know, I may find it in a mosaic, I may find that I'm a little bit appalled by what I see, which is Santiago Mata mortars, slaying some Islamic people. And, but to me, that's the first connection. And that opens up the Camino from a biblical standpoint, because James, of course, was a biblical character. And I have a particular connection to him because I played James in a Passion Play that my community put on and falsity Washington. And so I always think of it from his perspective of James. And, and he's more, he's one along with Peter and john, and Thomas of the disciples, slash apostles, they get the most billing in the New Testament. So I look at it from the standpoint of St. James. And I see it as being about his story. And I looked for him along the way. And I began a dialogue with him in a kind of katha dists methanolic perspective, where combining Methodism and a little bit of the idea of the saints and at least the cloud of witnesses, which is a biblical concept, and combining all those into an entree into spirituality of the Camino. Now, Kevin, you haven't told me your camino experience and how you got started and walking pilgrimages? Yeah,

 

Kevin Donahue  8:03  

well, thanks. And, you know, frankly, I think if I'm being completely honest, Sandy, I didn't set out to walk a pilgrimage. I think I was one of many on the Camino, who was looking for a life experience and maybe a greater connection with what I would call like a quasi spiritual connection and a point of my life where this was a more of a bucket list thing. And, you know, like you I grew up in the Methodist Church, but I was a little lapsed, but listening, I think, and I did the Camino Portuguese in 2019. And really didn't expect that I was making a pilgrimage I thought I was making a life affirming experience with great people in great culture. What I found along the way, was a lot of what we carry right with us. Can't be measured in your backpack, right. And as I was walking through, and meeting pilgrims and having an opportunity to be in different cities and towns every night and going into different churches, like you said, and finding a connection. I really found more purpose in my camino and found that there was a true spirituality that resonated with me and by the time I got to Santiago, and you probably remember some of your first camino experiences I was, you know, I was physically broken. I was mentally I exhausted and I was spiritually laid out. And at the end of my journey to the cathedral in Santiago, there was everything that I was walking for that mattered in my life. There was my family that met me at the cathedral and there was my faith. And, you know, I, I say in my upcoming book, I was a very reluctant pilgrim. And I think my faith journey is, is as clouded as many might be, but I really, really didn't set out to become a pilgrim. And I think maybe along the way, became one. So thanks for asking. It's a really, it's a really awkward story. And I don't know that I've shared it before. So you and I, speaking of connections, you and I first connected as you were preparing to do the California missions trail on the Pacific coast. And I had planned to do the missions trail in 2020. And COVID, intervened and as a payback to the community and, and several of the ladies and gentlemen from the California mission, walkers Facebook group, which is great group, if you're thinking about the California missions trail, definitely get involved with that group on Facebook. And that's how really, we got connected. And I set out as a thank you to the community and I transcribed some of the the books about the trail and the stopping points into some GPS routes. And you kind of took it from there. And this year, you did the California missions walk? Yeah. And as you go through on the on the trail, I think I would love because I haven't been there on that walk, maybe share a little bit about your California emissions trail experience this year?

 

Sandy Brown  12:02  

Absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you, Kevin, for putting together the GPS tracks for the mission trail, I couldn't have done it without you. And I'm pretty amazed that you did it so accurately, with just the guidebook and Google Earth and tracking program. Because I often found that your tracks allowed me with great accuracy, to find places that people on the ground were having a hard time with. So for instance, when I was crossing the Dumbarton bridge, across the bay, trying to get there on the bike trail was kind of tough, and there was another guy that was trying to find his way on his bike. And I said, Just follow me because I grabbed the camera.

 

So yeah, I think like many people, I was disappointed that there was not the possibility to go to Europe, because I've gone to Europe, virtually every year, since 2008. And done a pilgrimage walk. So this year, that wasn't really a possibility. And I was aware of El Camino rail, I was aware of the California mission walk, and I started to dig into it. And when I researched I came across your GPS tracks, I came across the Butch briary book. And I said, maybe I do that. And then there was just a period in the summertime when I said, I'm having a hard time just sitting around the house, I'm going to do this, and I decided that I would do it on an electric bicycle. And at the time, it was hard to get ebikes at all. So I bought the only bike within my budget that was going to be able to be shipped to my house in Edmonds, Washington in one week's time. And I, I then got on the train and went down to California to do the walk on a bike. And it's kind of funny because the E bike made a difference about how I approached it, because I thought that my maximum range was going to be about 40 miles. And it turns out if I kept the pedal assist on level one, that I could actually go about 60 miles. So sometimes, in my planning, I had only arranged for 25 3035 mile distance. So it ended up taking me about 50% longer than it needed to. But that also gave me the time to have fun with video on each of the days. And I just sent in the spur of the moment decided that I was going to videotape it. So I brought a little bit of gear, I brought my camping gear, and then I taped going down on the train. I taped Getting to the walk I taped all the way along. And every night, I would edit my tapes on my iPad and load them up to YouTube. And sometimes it took me until midnight to be able to do that. But I had such a blast with it. And then I came away with a lot of respect for El Camino Rial. And how it is, as I have called it now, America's up and coming camino. Because in my opinion, it has the structure, it has the basics that would be needed to make it a genuine camino of international significance. But there's a lot of work that needs to be done to build the infrastructure and some basic figuring it out. Because right now, you know, less than 100 people have actually completed the California mission walk per se. And that's not many people. And it demonstrates some of the obstacles around it. For instance, at one point, there's a 75 mile stretch that has no services except one store. How do you walk that without some sort of help. And the California and mission walkers can give you that kind of help. But I think most programs are looking for a place that they can do, say 15 miles at a time with inexpensive lodging. And there's a gap between where the California mission walkout commuter rail is now and that kind of goal. And it'll take some years to flesh it all out. But in the meantime, it's a great experience. And the star of it all, in my opinion is California, which I fell in love with again. I was born in California, but my family moved to Seattle when I was seven years old. And then going back, like why wouldn't everyone want to live in this state? It's so great.

 

Kevin Donahue  17:08  

But yeah, so if you're just popping in on the podcast real quickly, let me give you reset. We're talking with pilgrim backpacker and author, Sandy Brown, associate publisher at Cicerone press. And we're connecting about our pilgrimages earlier and also talking about the California missions trail which Sandy completed earlier this summer. And Sandy, I want to ask you another question about California. El Camino Real.

 

The path that California takes kind of you go through three of the largest cities in North America. And I'm curious, having done pilgrim routes throughout Europe, you know, and then popping into this modern experience, what that contrast is like on a day to day basis, for a pilgrim Surely there's some conveniences. But I'm interested to learn your perspective of how that enhances or even colors, the experience for the California missions trail.

 

Sandy Brown  18:21  

Sure, I would say that there really are three completely different urban experiences in the walk. Now San Diego was one of the big three on the walk. But most of the trail through San Diego is on bicycle trails and along the beaches. So you don't really go through downtown, you don't really see much in terms of the suburbs. And your bike trails going primarily then along Mission Bay and Up, up toward Mission Valley. So that's the easy one of the urban experiences. The one in San Francisco is actually for much of it quite pleasant, because San Francisco is so beautiful, and you're actually going downtown. So that's the most urban of the experiences because you go right up Market Street. And along the side, the cable cars and things like that, from the Embarcadero. And, you know, that's world class. Cool. And so yeah, there are services along the way, so you can get things to eat and so on. That's good. But there's also kind of the joy of seeing San Francisco, then after you get out of the urban area of San Francisco. And of course, I'm thinking north to south. So with that caveat, then there's a long suburban stretch as you make your way out Michigan Avenue, and then through Redwood City, until you get to the Bay. That's all suburbs. And that is much more similar. To the Los Angeles experience, which is the other the three urban settings, it's a little surprising that it takes two full days on a bicycle to get through Los Angeles at an average of about 50 miles a day. So the iris shocked to realize that the greater metropolitan area of Los Angeles is about 100 miles to get through. That's really amazing. That's a megalopolis for sure. And what's interesting I never quite understood about Los Angeles is the difference in the neighborhoods. So Pasadena is actually quite an upscale neighborhood, and you go right through that. And then you go through some much lower income neighborhoods. So mission, San Gabriel is in a lower income area, basically. And somewhat Mission San Fernando as well. And strong in between, those are some neighborhoods that are, I would say, not troubled, but just sort of low income, and not scary, just not as prosperous as someplace like Pasadena or San Marino, which is one of the most expensive of the Los Angeles neighborhoods. You don't go through downtown Los Angeles at all, which is a little bit of a shame, because if you went through Malibu, down toward Long Beach, it all be beautiful ocean side. Instead, you go through the urban or the suburban area, in order to hit those two missions which are closer to the hills. So I would say that the experience is noisy, sometimes uncomfortable, monotonous. And if you've ever walked acumen or Francaise, it's as though everything we're that stretches are entering border doors on the north side of the airport, or as so you're leaving Leone. So commander Francaise programs or understand what I'm talking about that. And so it takes a certain preparation to be able to handle that. On the other hand, if you're going through oak Valley, and then the Salinas Valley in distress between King city and Bradford or Sam mission, San Miguel, it's isolated. They're solid solitude. This quiet as I'm riding along my bike, I see coyotes out in the cow, the ranchers and the cars that stop and look up at me like what's this suburban suburbanite here

 

look with great curiosity. But they wouldn't hear me until I was right on them. And then it's like, What's going on here? Because they know that, you know, I'm 30 or 50 miles away from anybody else. And that's a big, big surprise. The other piece of the typography is that you spend a lot of time near the ocean. And that's fabulous. Oh my gosh, that's, that's maybe like the coastal path on the Camino Portuguese, but it's not like even the Camino del norte de doesn't have that much coastline. So I think that is world class and unbeatable and spectacular.

 

Kevin Donahue  23:48  

Yeah, incredibly picturesque, right, if we're talking about the California emissions trail, if you want to know more about this path, I'll link it in the show notes. But definitely jump on Sandy's YouTube channel. As he said, he made some daily recordings, and I'll put the links in the show notes, but you can definitely experience it. And if what you see resonates with you, I think weather permitting, COVID permitting, travel permitting, Sandy may be able to help organize a California missions trail bike experience for you and others next spring. So be looking at his website camino assist.org for that as well. Sandy, the California missions walk traditionally follows St. serez routes as California's missions were built, flowing from the south of the state at San Diego. And as the Spanish made their way up the coast in being in San Francisco. Now you actually took the route in reverse starting in San Francisco and making your own weigh from the last mission sequentially down to the very first mission in San Diego, which is a bit of a different way of looking at that experience. But I heard in your videos, you saying that that was a really great way to experience it. And I'm just wondering if you could tell us a little bit about kind of taking traditional path and and experiencing it in reverse a bit.

 

Sandy Brown  25:27  

Yeah. Well, I think I'm right. And I think the best way to do that California mission Walker out Camino Real is from north to south. And there are a couple reasons why First of all, bikers who bike up and down the California coast know that the prevailing winds are north to south. And so they consider it an oddity, that somebody would be starting in the south and going to the north, because they're fighting the prevailing winds. Another thing is that some people believe like when you do the Pacific Crest Trail, you start in the spring in April, and you start from the south and go north, because you're trying to get North before the snows fall in the Cascades, and you've got about six months to do that they're gonna it's going to be impassable after about mid to late September. So, the Pacific Crest Trail goes south north, but the California mission Walker, El Camino Real, does not have the threat of snow. And so there's no Pacific Crest Trail related reason to go from south to north. And then St. Sarah. Indeed, he started in Laredo, California, and walked to San Diego, but he only got as far as Carmel. And he may have gone up, I think, in fact, he did go up to San Juan Bautista. But as far as I know, he never made it to San Francisco to Sonoma, or to San Rafael, in the Far North. So the standard way of doing our commuter rail is either south to north, or it's north to south to Carmel, and then south to north from San Diego to Carmel. But I think that if a person starts in the south, and they go north, and they end up in San Rafael, or in Sonoma, what they end up with is the least connected to the history of the missions in California. At San Rafael, there's hardly anything that reminds a person of the actual mission that was there. And that mission was just an outreach, really, of the San Francisco mission. And then when you get to Sonoma, the Sonoma mission, I forget the exact years, but it was opened in something like 1820, and then was close and 1834. So there's only 14 years of history, and State Park, it's not a church. So there's not really the spirituality that you would find in most of the other missions. So I think that somebody's walking south to north is ultimately when they get to Sonoma, kind of be a little disappointed in what they find there at its hand refill. So I think the depths of the experience starts to kind of fade, the farther north to get. So that's just the opposite, if you go north to south, because if you started in Sonoma, you're starting at the least, at the least amount of history. And as you walk south to get into more and more history, until you get to the San Diego de Alcala mission, which is the oldest of the California missions. It's a beautiful building. There is an active church that worships there. There's a long standing connection with its history as a mission and a whole community around it. San Diego, so lovely place to end on a walker bike ride. So I, I think I'm right. And that's the way I recognize that I recommend doing.

 

Kevin Donahue  29:26  

Perfect. Well, thanks for that perspective. And I agree you you're Sandy Brown, you know what you're doing here. So Sandy has the entire video series on his YouTube channel and more details at his website caminos.org. This is the sacred steps podcast we're talking to author and pilgrim Sandy Brown. He has published a couple of guidebooks, the Way of St. Francis to Assisi and also a great guide book on the Camino Francis and so I'd like to take just a moment and Talk a little bit about your camino experience, Sandy and get some of your insights. you've walked multiple routes along the Camino de Santiago, and you have detailed in your video series, all of the different routes that pilgrims can take. I'd like to know if you have a favorite route on the Camino de Santiago.

 

Sandy Brown  30:27  

Yeah. Well, I'd have to say that the commander, for instance, is still my favorite. So I've walked or biked four times now. And I recommend the Frances as first camino for people. In fact, I'm going to ask you in a minute why you chose the Portuguese as your first camino. But I know that there are issues around overcrowding concerns about that on the front says, but what I like so much about it is a very clear division between the sections. So as they say, in the first third of the Francaise, you're building your body. And the second section of the computer front says the meseta, you are worrying and working on your soul. And the third stretch, you are thinking about your future and and where God is taking you in your spirit. So I think that's all true. And also there is very much still present connection with the archeology and actual buildings that were there. During the 12th and 13th century, when the Camino Francis was at its peak. So if you do the Camino del Norte T, you have almost none of that. Because by the time the North pay, by the time the Francis was built in North Bay was already falling out of use. And so there's almost no connection with things like pilgrim hospitals, you know, that are eight centuries old, like on the front is just the numbers of people meant that the infrastructure that was built 800 years ago, is still visible in many places. And that's important to me. And it's also true that the documentation, of course with the Codex caliskan kalex. tinus, shows the historicity of the route. And that's a little bit more conjecture with some of the other camino routes. So I like the historicity of it, I like I actually find that it's a positive thing, to have the high number of pilgrims that are there. In fact, just in 2019, as I was biking it, I just wanted to make a quick trip to confirm some details of of my book before it was actually published. And so I was set out on a bike. And I found myself magnetically being drawn to other pilgrims. And I didn't want to lose them by biking ahead of them. And so I always kept kind of accidentally taking longer than I had intended to until I couldn't do it anymore because of my time restrictions. But to me, that's one of the real joys of the Camino meeting other people. So if you're on one of the Italian walks, or if you're on one of the lesser caminos, in Spain, you won't meet us in as many people. There are benefits of solitude. That's a cool thing. But there's also a benefit of camaraderie in an international pilgrim a community that picks up with you and moves along for weeks. So I still have a camino family that I meet with and visit with. From my 2011 camino we're strategizing now about getting together for a 10 year reunion someplace in Europe in 2021. And also I I have my reservations for July 25, in Santiago de Compostela. For Santiago de so I also love the Del Norte team because of the coastal walks. And the one that we don't often think about is the community center brace, which is goes through the center brace region of Spain. And there's some beautiful and quiet walks along that way and it has its own connection once you get into Santiago. So that's a lovely walk as well.

 

Kevin Donahue  35:00  

Wonderful. The Camino de Santiago is probably you know, it's a cultural phenomenon. It's probably the best known Christian pilgrimage at least. And there are some people who are sitting at home and have been tested during this global pandemic, and you're probably thinking about making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago and I see behind you, you have your cellos and and your compostella. And I see, you know, from your very first pilgrimage there in the background behind you, that means a lot to you, and, and you've kept it and framed it. What what draws people back to the Camino time and time again, you've done it several times, and people return to the Camino time and time again, what's the draw of the Camino and Santiago de Compostela. Specifically,

 

Sandy Brown  36:05  

I imagined that for everybody, it's a little bit different. I've already mentioned the importance of community on the Camino. And in my life, I've only had a couple of experiences of that intense kind of community over many weeks. The other big example for me was when I was doing my doctorate in a residential program, and I had to fly there and spend weeks with the other doctoral students in a fairly confined space. And that ended up being pretty fabulous. So I think one, one reason why people want to go back is the community experience. But I would toss out that there is another thing as well. And that is that the walking experience in particular, is a sort of a vacation of the soul for a modern person. So what I discover after I've been walking for a week or two weeks is, I'm walking along a road in a city and I hear a car go by. And the sound of the engine of the car is offensive to me, because my ears are used to being out in the farmland or in the forests. And so I hear the sound of a car. And it's like, I can't believe that it's upsetting and annoying to me. Because I hear that all day every day in my normal life. And so being in a walking pilgrimage, and being away from things like cars. And also I really recommend people don't bring your radios or your headphones. Because you're just repeating the same experience that you have back home. Leave those things at home or use them just at night. Listen to the sound of the world and the sounds of nature. Listen for birdsong. Listen for the rusting of the wind. Listen for cowbells, and for church bells. And when you hear those things you are hearing a kind of life that is more common to people from all of the ages past. And that's part of the pilgrimage experience. If you bring your headphones, and you listen to your favorite music, you're entertaining yourself. And you're bringing your old, normal life into the pilgrimage experience in a way you are coloring it with modern colors and missing part of it. So I think it's a century experience, where we're deprived of modern living, and the sounds of it. I think we also find that in terms of possessions, because you have everything that you need for, say, a month on your back. And, you know, I'm sitting here at my desk, and I've got two computers, and I've got pencils and papers. I've had cameras, and then there's a TV over there and there's a file cabinet and there's a kitchen. And if we're going to take the weight of my house and put it on the scale, it'd be like tons and tons and tons of things. my garage is full of stuff prove on the Camino that I can get along with less than 20 pounds of things. In fact, if I have 15 pounds, it's even better. And so it's also an experience of being deprived for a time of modern life. And there are some not so great things. Modern Life. And if you can have a vacation from it, watch as your soul expands. And you begin to understand what life has more has been more like for the people that came before us than for us who are surrounded in a cloud of noise and material possessions. So Well, let me ask you, you walk the Portugues and not the Frances. You walked in 2019 What led you to the Portugues?