Working on my Camino Book

experienced camino walkerWorking on my Camino book has taken a lower priority to my job and Yoga Instructor Training lately during these lovely autumn days of September and October. I am researching but not writing. I am working on:

1. Evaluating self-publishing best practices through reading blogs and books:

a. Guy Kawasaki’s book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book APE-Author-Publisher-Entrepreneur
b. April Hamilton’s book The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use The Indie Author Guide
c. The Book Designer blog Joel Friedlander The Book Designer
d. The Creative Entrepreneur Interviews Bob Baker- Creative Entrepreneur

2. Evaluating templates and tools for book writing. The Book Design Word Templates- Book Design Templates; Blurb tools-Blurb tools

3. I am reworking my book outline in Mind Manager adopting “a Book of Days” format.

4. I have been using my lunch hours for walking. I am considering using my lunch hours for writing small amounts each day. Hmmm, maybe alternate walking and writing.

5. For inspiration I am finalizing a title for my Camino book. I have decided to appeal to my blog and Facebook friends to provide their feedback.

Adopting a Book of Days format will allow me to take the reader through a Camino year season by season, month by month, and day by day. The calendar format maps meaningful, religious and historical events, ideas, quirky facts, herbs, folklore, and things to do and celebrate to a timeline. I can capture historical events from the Roman through Medieval and Modern times, including experiences from my Camino walk in 2014. Beautiful photographs, recipes, poetry, quotations and insights from the trail will also be included. A Book of Days approach will capture my Camino experiences but will enhance the readers experience with additional background in history, famous pilgrims and fascinating facts.

Autumn is the time for harvesting new book ideas and dreaming about what autumn must be like on the Camino. I can easily visualize:

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Walking in the cool crisp lovely pine and eucalyptus forest trails in Galicia (click image to enlarge)

Snapping pictures of the fall wildflowers blooming beside the meandering trails on the Meseta  (click image to enlarge)

Snapping pictures of the fall wildflowers blooming beside the meandering trails on the Meseta (click image to enlarge)

Admiring the alpine wildflowers as a backdrop for the mountain views in the Pyrenees or from the mountain top village of O’Cebreiro (click image to enlarge)

Admiring the alpine wildflowers as a backdrop for the mountain views in the Pyrenees or from the mountain top village of O’Cebreiro (click image to enlarge)

Sitting in the cafes in Pamplona, Burgos or Santiago enjoying local hearty meals and fall festivals (click image to enlarge)

Sitting in the cafes in Pamplona, Burgos or Santiago enjoying local hearty meals and fall festivals (click image to enlarge)

Help me harvest more ideas for book titles: So far I have:

1. The Practical Pilgrim—A Camino Frances Book of Days
2. A Camino Frances Book of Days
3. The Camino Buddy—A Camino Frances Book of Days
4. Timeless Footpaths—A Camino Frances Book of Days.

Please connect with me by phone or email or leave a comment right here on the site. Let me know what your thoughts on:

1. Adopting a Book of Days format.
2. The proposed book titles.

Buen Camino



Back Home & Writing the Practical Guide to Walking Your Camino

Marion Doyle

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I have been back home from my Camino trip for 8 weeks now. During that time I have struggled with how to incorporate my new Camino insights, fitness levels and attitudes into my old lifestyle. I have spent over a year of my life focused on training, preparing for and walking the Camino Frances. Now I am back home restless and confused on next steps. I still feel the energy and drive without another outlet or adventure to plan for. I have just experienced 45 days of freedom as a Camino Pilgrim walking each day without the usual work, family and life demands. For 45 days I followed yellow arrows and other Camino markers through medieval villages, country and forest pathways, mountain trails and historical Spanish cities. Each day was the simple adventure of walking from Point A to Point B to new locations and experiences… Freedom to enjoy each new day just focused on me and my walking partner(s) enjoying the magic of the Camino and the endearing support of fellow pilgrims and the local communities along the way. Continue reading

Lessons Learned While Completing my Camino de Santiago Adventure

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Marion (left), Marta (right)

In the spring of 2013 I decided that I wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago 800 km route from St Jean de Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela (the Camino Frances route) in celebration of my 60th birthday. Marta agreed to walk with me and we spent a year training, planning and dreaming about the trip and kept our focus on achieving this challenging goal. Below are some of the lessons learned on this journey. Marta and I left for France on May 16, arrived in St Jean Pied de Port on May 19, and started walking the Camino on May 20. For the 39 days that we spent on our Camino trip we walked for 35 and had 4 non-walking days: Continue reading

On the Camino de Santiago Trail – Our Journey

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Today we are resting in Bugos after 12 consecutive days of walking on the Camino Trail. We have 13 stamps in our Camino Passport! This has been our journey and experience so far!

1. St Jean Pied de Port our starting point in the French Pyrenees -May 19.–0 km
2. Roncesvalles Spain -May 20–26 km
3. Zubiri –May 21–22 km
4. Pamplona –May 22 –21 km
5. Puenta La Reina–May 23–22 km
6. Estella –May 24–20 km
7. Los Arcos –May 25–23 km
8. Logrono–May 26– 29 km
9. Najera–May 27–30.1 km
10. Santo Domingo de la Calzada–May 28–21 km
11. Belorado–May 29–23 km
12. Atapuerca–May 30–30.4 km
13. Burgos–May 31–19 km
14. Rest day in Burgos–Jun 1
15. Today we finished Day 14 another 21 km walk Lovely meseta area
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Fitness Training for the Camino de Santiago Walking Adventure

Camino de Santiago training program

Buen Camino. Folks–this is it, the real adventure begins. Marta and I leave this Friday May 16 for our 800 km Camino de Santiago walking adventure. It has been 50 weeks since I started my fitness training in preparation for this challenge. The journey to train and prepare for walking the Camino has been exciting and physically hard but delivered many rewards: Continue reading

6 Categories of Apps for Camino Planning, Training & Travels


There are less than 4 weeks until Marta and I leave for our Camino de Santiago 800 km walking adventure. As I finalize my travel planning and think about how I will record my travels on the Camino I have been collecting and evaluating apps. I really am a techie geek and enjoy using new mobile, pc or tablet apps. There are 6 main categories of applications I am using and that will help you with your planning, training and travels:

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5 Final Preparation Activities for The Camino de Santiago

Camino de SantiagoThere are less than 7 weeks before Marta and I leave for our Camino de Santiago adventure.  What remains are these 5 short term (2 month), final preparation activities that I thought might be fun to share with you.

1.      Detailed planning of the route and sight-seeing activities.  Marta and I will each plan half the trip.  I have created a spreadsheet which includes:

  • Preferred route each day
  • Preparations for that day’s hike
  • Key points of interest (historical, cultural, geographical)
  • Where we will be staying
  • Recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Journaling area to capture the days insights and adventures

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Yoga Practice for Strong and Healthy Camino Feet

how to train for the caminoIn 9 weeks (May 16) Marta and I will be leaving for our 40 day pilgrims walking adventure on the Camino de Santiago.  As we finalize our preparation I am taking the time to be good to my feet.  It has been a long winter in heavy boots and socks and my feet need dedicated exercise and massage to remove the tension, strain and tenderness that has accumulated.  Yoga is a great way to take care of your feet.  Your feet will get a healthy workout in many yoga postures.  Being barefoot and focusing on balancing weight distribution and body alignment is just the start.

For this blog post I have compiled a sequence of 9 yoga poses, and highlighted the different benefits for your feet and lower legs.  I kept the postures easy at beginner’s level so that the focus is on the feet. This yoga practice could be a stand-alone session at the end of a long day, or could be added to the beginning or end of a longer Yoga practice or another exercise routine. Continue reading

How to Get Happy, Strong and Healthy Feet for the Camino

how to build up your feet for the CaminoFor the next few blogs I am going to discuss how to get happy, strong and healthy feet for the Camino (Felices, sanos y fuertes pies en el Camino). It’s very important to get your feet strong, stretched and ready to walk the long distances along the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostella.

The function and anatomy of our feet is complex:

1)  The feet are our connection with the Earth forming a weight bearing foundation for our body. The feet balance weight distribution and alignment with the body that lines up over them.

2)  The feet and toes bear and propel body weight during movement.  The feet balance the body during movement and changes in body position. The feet enable mobility, direction and balance. The toes help with balance and propulsion during movement.

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Final To-Do List for the Camino – Only 14 Weeks Remain

Goals for walking the CaminoI have been a program / project manager most of my working career which means an obsessive focus on planning.  This of course runs over into my personal life and I have a Microsoft Project plan, as well as several “To Do” and outfitting lists that I am tracking.  Below is my final 14 week Master “To Do” list for my Camino trail planning with Completion dates.   All this planning has helped reduce my level of Camino Readiness anxiety.

In my last blog post, as you know, I was experiencing anxiety in regards to endurance training for the long 800 km walk to Santiago de Compostella.  I have been focusing on daily training activities and I am feeling good about my level of endurance training which includes hills, deep snow, and engaging the upper body using walking poles.  Most of the items below are already in works, but they all need to be completed in the next 14 weeks.

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Winter & Camino Endurance Training – Getting Perspective

training for the camino de santiagoIt has been a  solid 2 months of walking in nasty winter conditions of varying cold arctic winds, heavy snow, ice storms, and slippery, dangerous surfaces.  Last week I had an “I hate winter meltdown’ caused by feeling like an arctic vampire; living without sunlight and warmth and considered moving south.  It was time to recalibrate, get perspective and put a positive spin on the winter blues.  After all I am Canadian, and there are still 2 months until spring so I better “get a grip” and remember why I am training in these harsh conditions in the first place – to prepare me for the endurance required on the Camino!

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Marion’s 2014 Itinerary for the Camino Santiago de Compostella

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One of my first official Camino activities of 2014 was to book our air travel and finalize our full travel itinerary with my walking partner Marta.   Although I have been training since June, I still have to deal with the travel logistics including timelines, work approvals, airfares, lodgings, cash flow, cost, passports (mine has expired) and synchronization with travel buddies.   The reality of the commitment of time, money and effort hit me full force once I started to receive my ticket confirmations.  It was confirmed and official, I was really going to walk 800 km’s on the Camino Santiago de Compostella arriving in France on May 16 and going home from Paris on June 29.  Marta and I toasted and congratulated each other on our hard work and ticket confirmations over a glass of good Spanish red wine as we coordinated the travel for our spouses who will be joining us for the last week walk into Santiago.

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Train for the Camino – New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Train for the CaminoAs I look ahead to 2014, I marvel that it will be the Year that I celebrate turning 60 and becoming a true pilgrim (a wanderer or traveler) for 40 days of walking and exploring the Camino Santiago de Compostela.  Last year at this time I had no plans for walking the Camino.  I was originally planning a 2 week trip to the North West Territories with friends to celebrate my 60th. In the early spring I had a change of heart.  I cannot remember why the Camino Trail became my new travel choice but my friend and fellow walker Marta was as excited as I was and the decision was firmed up.  I am proud of how far I have progressed in 2013 on my training and preparation for my Camino sojourn.

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Preparing for the Camino – Adventures in Snow with Trekking Poles

trekking poles for the CaminoI have been training and walking in the snow using trekking poles for the last few weeks to prepare for the Camino de Santiago next year.   It is not formally winter yet here in Canada, but the cold and snowy conditions are definitely here, and are early.  I think that winter training will prepare me for any harsh weather conditions on the Camino trail.  Mental toughness and conditioning are required to deal with:

  • Deep snow
  • biting freezing winds
  • frost bitten, cold limbs
  • freezing rain or blinding snow falls,
  • icy, uneven surfaces
  • multiple and heavy layers of clothing

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Marion’s Buen Camino Warm up and Cool Down Yoga Practice

Dec 3 blog snow2In this blog post I was planning to write about my shopping search for Trekking poles.  However the last 2 weekends have been a snow fest and I have not been out shopping.  This is unfortunate since the more it snows, the more I need those walking poles.  During my last walk I found a tree branch and used that as a walking pole to help me trudge through the snow on the Trans Canada Trail.  Instead I will write about my other major exercise commitment for my Camino Santiago de Compostella training in the form of Yoga warm up and cool down poses for long distance walking.

In June when I started my walking training, I also started my Yoga Instructor Training.  My main reason for taking the 200 hour instructor training was to be able to “deep dive” into the Yoga poses for both stretching and strengthening my muscles, breathing (pranayama) techniques to help build my lung capacity and meditation to help with the mental toughness and confidence to complete the 800 kilometer walk.  My goal was to be able to design a yoga practice to support my training efforts for the walk, and to keep me stretched and limber during the actual 40 days of walking on the Camino trail.

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5 Benefits of using Trekking / Walking Poles on the Camino Santiago de Compostela

bigstock-Sporty-hikers-on-path-with-tre-48269147Now that I am training with my backpack and hiking boots on longer distances and varied terrain trails, it is time to add trekking poles to my training gear.  I was debating when to start training with the trekking poles, but the first winter snow, and the additional weight of my backpack convinced me to start shopping for new poles.  When I sat down and evaluated the benefits of using walking poles it was a “no-brainer” decision.  The 5 benefits of Trekking poles are:

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5 Months and Counting… Training for the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Training for the CaminoNovember 3rd is the 5 month anniversary of my Camino training – both Walking and Yoga.   It is time for reflection on both my accomplishments and planning of the next steps for my fitness level improvements and training approach during the next 5 months in order to complete the walk on the Camino Santiago de Compostela.


  1. I have walked 278 km’s in 50 hours keeping my pace sub 10 minutes per kilometer.
  2. I have completed 93 hours of Yoga practice, including poses, and meditations.
  3. I have lost 7 pounds, and toned up so that I can reduce a size fitting for my pants.
  4. I have developed an exercise training plan which I update daily and evaluate weekly, making adjustments as required.
  5. I have purchased and continue to “break-in” my hiking boots (95 km to date).
  6. I have developed the mental toughness that ensures the commitment to my training plan.  The idea of walking 800 km’s in 40 days, no longer overwhelms me.
  7. I have developed the lung capacity to keep my pace sub 10 minutes per kilometer over longer distances (8 to 11 km’s)   This has allowed me to add running and “fartlek” training to my walks.

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Safe to Drink from Water Fountains along the Camino Trail?

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In this blog post, I am answering the final question asked by Vicki from a previous blog post regarding the safety of the water from the drinking fountains on the Camino trail.

Wherever you travel, always research the quality and sources of local water and food.  The risk of travelers’ diarrhea varies depending on the geographic region, and it is contaminated food rather than water that is the most common cause.  Traveling in Southern Europe (which Spain is a part of), the risk of contracting travelers’ diarrhea varies from 15 to 20%.  (click here to access the Government of Canada site info).

I always ask myself these 4 questions before I travel:

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4 Recommendations on Budgeting for the Camino de Santiago

budget for the caminoIn a previous blog post, I received 5 great questions about training for and walking the Camino de Santiago.  One of the questions was how much cash to take on the journey. Below are my 4 recommendations on how to budget for the trail.

1.  If you are walking the Camino Frances, there are many ATM’s along the way.  I have seen recommendations for carrying at least 3 days of expenses in cash.  Below is a table which shows how much cash I will carry with me, as well as the total cost of the trip.  This would include travel, lodging, food, emergency stash, and miscellaneous purchases and costs.  You will always be able to find an ATM within 3 days of walking (more frequently in many areas).   If your bank belongs to the Global ATM Alliance, you can get your fees waived.  You may not be able to find a Barclays or other partner bank ATM along your route so be prepared to pay ATM fees –averaging 2 Euros each time. In regards to your bank card (ATM Card), it is a good practice to advise your bank how long and where you will be traveling.

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Answering Questions About Training for and Walking the Camino

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In a previous blog post, I received some great questions about training for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Here are answers to 2 of those questions.

Question:   Would you ever during a walk, not make it to a village before dark?
Answer:  I would never recommend not making it a village before dark, unless that is part of your plan to camp out and you have the requisite gear.  Here is a link to a global sunrise, sunset time website.  You can choose your location, and print a summary for the year.  For the months of June and July In Santiago de Compostela the sun rises around 7 am and sets around 10 pm.  Our plan is to start early each morning.  This means being on the road by 7 am walking an average of 20 km’s per day.

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