We are Kate and Rob
and this is our story
Our stories …Camino… are far from unique.
I'm living in Weston, Connecticut, USA. I have just divorced and am working on a book.
I find inspiration for my lead character in the life of my cousin, Seán McBride, an Irish freedom fighter. In his Wikipedia entry, it mentions his interest in pan-Celticism, a movement of solidarity between Celtic nations. Intrigued, and considering myself a Celt with Scots-Irish roots, I research further and discover the people who live in Galicia, Spain are Celts too.
I had never heard of this place with the wonderful name Galicia!
Then, somewhere, somehow, in my research, I stumble upon the magical words
“el Camino de Santiago”
I discover it's a network of long-distance pilgrimage routes ending in the city of Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. People have walked these routes for over 1,000 years.
With this discovery, I know immediately I must walk a pilgrimage ASAP! My divorce has set me free and a few weeks later I’m on a plane to Europe.
My Camino has begun!
May 15th, 2011
I walk out of the cathedral in Le Puy, SW France. I have no plan, no idea of the route ahead. I just know the way-markings. Every morning, for 60 days, I just get up and walk, and 'Know' I must do two things:
Resist nothing and put my trust in the way
Begin each day, spread my arms, and thank the Divine for “A beautiful day”
1,000 miles later, I arrive, safely, in Santiago de Compostela.
Is my life changed?
Well, not immediately, not in a way I can really recognize, but seeds of change are already growing within me. For nearly 10 years, they have continued to grow into the new way of life the "Camino Way of Life" that Kate and I fully embrace today.
I'm living in Paris, France. At last, I find the strength to break free from a very complicated relationship but it leaves me feeling shattered. One sunny morning in September, I wake up inspired to do two things:
Walk a Camino
Become a Sophrologist ✸
I discover and join Robert’s FB Camino group, the
July 30th, 2015
I walk out of the cathedral in Le Puy, France.
30 days and 760 kms later, I arrive in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France.
I feel transformed. The Camino has “given me permission” to be myself. I am opening up to a Higher Power.
In gratitude for all the help I found on Robert's Camino Group I begin posting some of my pics and experiences.
We start messaging and discovered we have a lot in common.
I friend Robert. He was so pleased! 😍
I have already planned a visit to the UK in December and suggest we meet. We set our first date!
And amazingly Robert is living in the UK and very close to where I was to visit. One of the first, of many, 'Gifts of the Camino' we have shared.
We can't wait to meet in person!
✸ Sophrology, hugely popular in France, is a somatic practice that helps people lower their stress, harmonize their mind and body, and life more conscious and joyful lives.
We fell in love with the Camino
Then fell in love with our lives
Then fell in love with each other
But it wasn’t always this way
Our Camino love story
The Royal Pavillion, Brighton
December 4th, 2015
At last, we meet, in person, on the platform of Brighton train station. Although the previous two months, chatting every day, sharing, and discovering how much we have in common, have given us a chance to get to know each other, still, in person, we feel like “intimate strangers”.
Not knowing what to expect, we feel both nervous and thrilled. We spend a beautiful day in each other’s company: we share our Camino stories and even talk about walking a Camino together. After dinner, we part and agree to meet in the morning for coffee before Kate’s train to London.
The following day, on the platform, as we hug goodbye and Robert plucks up the courage and asks if we can meet again.
We do! Our love story truly begins!
February 11th, 2016
Robert travels to Paris for Kate’s birthday. We become lovers and our Eurostar romance begins.
At the outset, the chances of our encounter turning into a loving and lasting relationship may have seemed quite slim: after all, we are both in the second half of our lives and somewhat fixed in our ways.
Neither of us has any money.
We live in different countries, under different circumstances…
We both love trains and train-travel!
We know our relationship is
born under the lucky star of the Camino
We walk the Camino Norte and Primitivo route from Iran to Santiago.
Kate moves to the UK and we start living a Camino Way of Life together in Brighton.
We celebrate our wedding on the beach in Connecticut.
Our First Camino together July 2016
We move in together September 2017
Kate moves to the UK and we start living a "Camino Way of Life" together in Brighton.
We get Married! November 2017
We celebrate our wedding on the beach in Connecticut.
Kate applies for her Green Card April 2018
Kate applies for her green card, her immigrant visa, so we can move to live in the States. We had an 18-month wait.
For our honeymoon, we hike 550km (350 miles), our third Camino together, the beautiful but very tough Chemin du Piémont in southwest France.
We hand over the keys to our apartment in Brighton on June 10th and head to France to set out on our 2,200km (1,340 miles), 110 days on Camino.
We leave from le Puy-en-Velay on June 13th on our first leg hiking the via Podiensis, the Camino de le Puy. It is special for us as the via Podiensis was the first Camino for each of us.
19 days, and 480 km (300 miles) later, we arrive at Lecture.
From Lecture we take a bus to the city of Auch which is on the via Tourensis the Camino de Arles.
From Auch we hike 150km (90 miles) to Oloron-Saint-Marie the historic center of Beret manufacturing, the last town in France before the Spanish border and a great jumping off point to hiking the Camino Aragonese.
We set out from Oloron heading the 60km (40 miles) to the Col Somport, the Somport Pass, our entry into Spain, and the official start of the Camino de Aragon.
The Camino de Aragon is a most beautiful 220 (140 miles)l hike over the Pyrennes. July 20th we arrive in Puente la Reina to join the famed Camino Francés the main Camino route which starts in the French border town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This latter section of the Francés Robert had walked on his first Camino in 2011.
We ended July and the first third of the Camino Francés in the major city of Burgos. It's in Burgos that the notorious and potentially hugely spiritual second third of the Francés, the Meseta, begins.
On the 17th, early in the morning and 695km (430 miles) later we arrive in Santiago de Compostela filled with joy.
Following a bus-ride to Lisbon, Portugal, we set out on our return walk, on the Caminho Portuguese 605km (380 miles), via Fatima to Santiago de Compostela. We were on three different routes, the Central Way (Caminho Português do Interior), the Coastal Route (Caminho Português da Costa), and the Spiritual Way (Caminho Português Espiritual)
We arrive in Santiago de Compostela, for the second time, on September 24 feeling stronger and... than when we started 110 days earlier in Brighton, UK.