Category Archives: Camino de Santiago

New ebook about innkeeping on the Camino de Santiago …or anywhere else

Check it out…

How to be an Innkeeper (Hospitalero) on the Camino de Santiago cover

The Blurb: On Spain’s ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail, volunteer innkeepers — hospitaleros — take care of pilgrims and manage the inns along the route.

This is a quick book that explores the spirit of innkeeping and the countless tiny choices that every innkeeper must make. It’s not just for innkeepers — hopefully anyone involved in hospitality will find it useful.

9,282 words

You may have seen the old version on this site — I wrote it after working as a hospitalero in 2007 in Viana, Nájera, and Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain. Now it’s revised, updated, and available on Amazon here.


Check out my Camino de Santiago ebook on Amazon

Guided by Shadows: A Westward Walk on Spain’s Camino de Santiago

I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2005. Eight years later, the experience is transformed into a little book for your armchair travel pleasure. Enjoy. Ultreia!

Or, as the blurb says:

Guided by Shadows puts you on the path to Santiago. It reveals not only the joys and pains of the route, but also the mysteries, frustrations and absurdity of a 500-mile walking pilgrimage.

14,830 words // ~49 Kindle pages

Guided by Shadows - Camino de Santiago book cover


The Underground Table: America’s Camino

2010. Being a practical nation, Americans turn to pilgrimage to seek salvation of their bodies. Freedom not from sin, but from antibiotics, pesticides, and the absurdity of the Industrial Diet. Instead of walking church to church, pilgrims walk from sustainable farm to farm.

In return for a donation, pilgrims receive a place to sleep or to stake their tent, a shower and toilet, a dinner and breakfast (either prepared or something they can cook themselves). For now, a small tent and camping stove are recommended.

It’s unclear whether the pilgrimage has an endpoint or not. Most often it’s self-defined by time constraints, often circular. The waypoints are non-linear, just a smattering of farms across the country. The route is formed by making 20 or 50 phone calls before heading out, asking and explaining. Bring your own map, leave markers if you’re so inclined. Where you choose to walk is up to you.

For now, pilgrims have to accept large stretches of road walking. The upside is raised awareness of the fact that you don’t need much.

At times, the pilgrimage has a work-trade element built in. Farmers budget tasks and funds for anticipated pilgrims — painting, cleaning, stacking, and so forth. It’s a good idea to ask in advance. The issues of work legality, taxes, and insurance coverage are beyond me — ideas?

Americans are always looking for the next best weight loss and/or fitness program. This is it, but it’s also so much more.

Photo by ilovebutter via Flickr.

This Camino de Santiago Documentary Looks Good…

Trailer Preview – The Camino Documentary (LQ) from The Camino Documentary on Vimeo.

Having lived on the Camino for only about 12 weeks total, I’ve seen at least four film crews and have been suspicious of all of them. I’ve thought that their efforts were in vain, that the kaleidoscopic experience couldn’t be captured by a team that rides in a van and sleeps in hotels.

But after watching the above trailer, I don’t care where the crew slept. It looks like the dangerous combination of professional production and spiritual journey may have been successful.

Take a look and let us know what you think…

Link: The Camino Documentary

Jeju Olle: New, Fragile Walking Route in Korea

Inspired by her experience on the Camino de Santiago, retired reporter Suh Myung-sook has led the creation of over 250 km of wildly popular walking trails on the South Korean island of Jeju. More trails are in the works, and I’m guessing the official route will soon encircle the island.

As for walkers already looping Jeju–there must be a percentage who reach the end of the official trail and keep right on going.

And while we’re talking about loops and route planning, any developer’s next step would likely make Jeju Olle an @-shaped route, with a trail to the 1,950m peak of Mt. Halla as the final stage.

As this project goes forward, hopefully its leaders are careful about J.O.’s impact on the island. It’s an island, after all. The options for crowd-scattering alternative routes are pretty slim.

In the first nine months of 2009, Jeju Olle attracted–ready?–200,000 walkers. By comparison, 100,000 pilgrims completed the 800ish km French Route of the Camino de Santiago in 2008. My rough math shows that J.O. is faced with the challenge of supporting a pilgrim density that’s eight times greater (OK, 8.1) than the primary route of the Camino de Santiago. And that’s before Ms. Suh’s worldwide marketing plans kick in.

Fingers crossed…

Official Site of Jeju Olle
OhMyNews–Jeju Olle: The Korean Pilgrimage For Hikers

PS — The island is a volcano.
PPS — With such a surge, is it possible to promote the island as an ecotourism destination with a straight face?

Update–from the comments: “I walked Jeju Olle trails a while ago and found some fragile routes were crumbling down after they were beaten relentlessly by hundreds of hikers every day.”

Thinking About the Camino de Santiago?


Just posted my Camino journal here. If you’re thinking of making the pilgrimage, I hope it gives you an idea of the thoughts and concerns the walk is liable to catalyze in your consciousness.

If you’ve walked the Camino before, I hope it takes you back.

Most importantly, if you have any questions about the Camino–any–I’d love to take a shot at them. Especially if you’re struggling with that classic biggie, “I want to do this, but I have no idea how I can make it happen.” (And if I can’t answer your question, maybe I can pass it on to someone who can.)

Get in touch by emailing me at stateofplace -at- gmail. Cheers.

PS — The permanent link is right up there on the header bar next to the Innkeeper’s Guide.

Photo by Shaorang.