We are excited to introduce our fellow pilgrim Sarah, who has joined our team in October 2020. Here’s a little interview with her. Enjoy!
- Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Ohio, but over the years I have travelled and worked in Central and South America and Europe. I’ve always had a passion for the great outdoors, as well as exploring and learning about different cultures and places. That is why most of my jobs or hobbies have been so diverse: farm hand, Spanish teacher, mountain guide, librarian, translator, English teacher, cook, and manager of an albergue.
- What is your story with the Camino?
I arrived in Spain in 2007 from the USA to pursue my dream to not only know the Camino de Santiago and the people involved in it, but to work toward ways to foster the spiritual depth that this journey can have on the body and soul. I walked my first Camino in 2008, the five-day walk from Sarria to Santiago. Though short, it was profound, as I ended up being “adopted” by French-speaking pilgrims who had started even before St. Jean Pied de Port. Spending time with them, I learned what it was like to be a long-haul pilgrim, the beauty and the difficulties of traversing the long distance. It whetted my appetite to explore the Camino more, so in the following years, I walked the entirety of the Camino Frances, as well as parts of the Via de la Plata, Sanabrés, and Camino del Norte. I learned the highs and lows of being a pilgrim. I had beautiful spring sunrises, and horrible cold rainstorms; I met friendly people, and grumpy people; I had blisters, tendonitis, and shoes that didn’t work; I had wonderful Camino friends, and understood first hand the importance of a pilgrim community, especially in times of need. The Camino is an unique experience!
Starting in 2012, I worked for seven years as a full-time hospitalera for a Dutch albergue in Navarra. There is a joy in serving pilgrims who trek across Spain, to hear them share their stories, to have the privilege of being a part of their experience. I also enjoyed working with a staff of volunteers from all over the world, for the friendships and sense of community that we had.
- What do you hope to bring to the team at Casa de Pan?
With my experience as a hospitalera, I really value the small, cozy setting of the Casa de Pan, and I hope to contribute to the sense of home for visitors to this place, through the cooking and sharing of meals, and helping the team set up contemplative spaces for pilgrims to enjoy, both inside and outside in nature.
- What are you most excited about right now?
I’m excited to be back in Galicia after so many years, to reconnect with friends and this beautiful part of Spain.
- In your mind, what is one thing that will make Casa de Pan unique/different?
The heart of the Casa de Pan is not only for the weary traveler to find a place to rest for the body but also a place for the soul to find what it needs. It will give a space for this, something that is much needed for many people who are ending their Camino.
- What are you reading (or learning) right now?
Paul: A biography by N.T. Wright. What interests me about Paul the Apostle is his absolute certainty of the message of Jesus, and his life-long dedication to it, even though he spent the first part of his life and career convinced of the exact opposite. The book gives insight into his upbringing and culture-context, and based on those things, why his transformation was so passionately absolute. Powerful stuff.
- A favorite quote/verse
“ I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance.” Jesus in the book of John, chapter 10.
- What advice would you give a pilgrim?
As great as guidebooks can help you find food and a bed, do not plan everything but embrace the unexpected!
- What advice would you give a hospitalero/a?
It can be easy to be busy in what you have to do every day, but don’t forget to stop and meet a guest pilgrim, even if it’s only for five minutes, because that person may enrich your life.
Welcome, Sarah! We look forward to continuing to work together to move the vision forward!