walking from Pamplona to Logrono on the Camino Frances

About Me

exploring the world. one step at a time.

I walked the Camino. It changed my life.

Hello! I’m Colleen! As you’ve found my blog, you’re either interested in Discovering Spain, Walking the Camino de Santiago or interested in other great places to walk around the worldor maybe a bit of them all (which is great as I can help!)

I’m an English woman living in France. I fell in love with Spain in 1985 my passion now is Spain, hiking the Camino and exploring different corners of the world.

I’m a registered Walking Guide and I have a small Walking Club in SW France. Now that our children have left home we’re walking and exploring and travelling in earnest. And maybe we’ll even buy our very own slice of Spain too one day!

Colleen on her first trip to Spain in 1985
Love at first sight: Colleen in Spain in 1985

Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago

In 2013 we I took a holiday in Northern Spain. I kept seeing hikers which I thought odd; Spain is glorious so why hike beside a road? Gerry called them ‘shellers’ but they were pilgrims. I watched through the window as we drove. By Leon I was curious and by the coast I was committed. I was going to walk the Camino. I sat on a beach not far from Finisterre and my hand rested on a shell. It’s the shell that Gerry presented me with on the steps of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela after finishing my 800 kilometre hike across Spain.

Pre Camino Colleen

I was never a natural hiker. I have no idea why I decided that walking 800 kilometres across Spain would be the right challenge for me but nonetheless I did. I’d had cancer and I’d recovered.  I was drawn to the Camino like a moth to a flame.  I told my husband that I would tell no-one but I told everyone.  Once I’d decided that I was going to walk I had absolutely no doubt that I would finish. 

Pilgrims walking along the Camino Frances from Estella

Walking The Camino Was The Beginning

I’ve continued to walk at least one Camino every year since that first walk and when I’m not walking I’m planning my next walk. 

I was named International Woman of the Year twice in France for my walking and I’ve given presentations and speeches about those journeys.  I’m a regular contributor and speaker with the Camino Confidence group and the International Camino de Santiago forum.  I’m trying to write a book about my incredible 1000 kilometre trek from Seville but walking and travel gets in the way.  I have a walking club in France, I’m a walking guide, I’ve trained with the British Mountaineering Accredited Leader courses and I’ve escorted many many groups along the Camino de Santiago in Spain and Portugal.

I’ve Walked Thousands of Camino Kilometres

I’ve walked the Camino Frances many times, alone and with groups. I walked from Seville to Santiago on the Via de la Plata, I walked the Camino Sanabres, the Camino Primitivo, the Camino Del Norte, the Camino Aragones, the Camino Lebaniego, the Camino Portuguese Central and the Camino Portuguese Coastal several times, and the Variente Espiritual. I’ve walked parts of the Camino Vezeley in France and parts of Le Puy and Chemin d’Arles too and we walked part of the Rota Vicentina in Portugal until a fall forced an early stop. Further afield I try to find walks where ever we go be that Jordan, Cambodia, or the USA !

I kept a blog since my first Camino and I love the process of writing at the end of a day.  Friends and strangers alike read my blog and as we continue our journey of walking around the world, I hope like-minded folk will find something useful or entertaining within these pages. In time I’ll add not just my own walking journals but resources and information about each Camino I’ve walked, where I stay, what to pack, where to find great information, what to eat and I’ll share with you the tools to help you plan your own walk.

Then We Walking Club leaving St Jean Pied de Port on the Camino Frances

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Travelling in Retirement

By the end of 2019 our children had flown the nest and it was our time to start travelling; not just holidays but really exploring. Of course we had travelled a great deal already but we were now ready to explore in depth. We made plans but COVID interrupted things, although we did manage a few walks in Spain and Portugal in 2020 and 2021. By 2022 Gerry officially retired and our travel plans were put into action. We like to travel independently and we like to experience people, culture, food and places and of course we like hiking too.

A Travel Blog for the Over 50s

I read a lot of fabulous travel blogs and I try to learn as much as I can about our next destination but there aren’t many blogs written by people like us; the over 50’s. We might not be up for bungee jumping but we’re equally not ready for our retirement slippers. So THEN WE WALKED evolved. We’re still walking the Camino de Santiago often but this blog is also for folks over 50 who want to travel independently in their retirement.

I always keep a journal and we’ll also share our itineraries, where we stayed, the local guides that we used and also the things that didn’t work out so well. We home-swap regularly and we use house sitters so we’ll also give lots of information on how you can do the same.

Destination Bucket List

We have such a long list. 2022 was busy but we’ve planned 2023 and 2024 already and we’re into 2025 (although there’s room for last minute changes) but so far our plans include:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Borneo
  • Botswana
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • England
  • Eygpt
  • France
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Raratonga
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tibet
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Vietnam

My son suggested that I call my new blog called Senior Sight See-ers or even Sight See-ing Seniors; it’s catchy but I decided to continue with Then We Walked, because at it’s heart this is still a collections of my thoughts whilst walking.

Mount Rainier Skyline Trail in Washington

The Small Print

I am a Travel Planner and I offer a hand-holding service, escorting folks along the Camino de Santiago and other trails in Europe (and sometimes beyond). I also offer Workshops to help folks plan their own solo walks. I am not governed nor bonded with ATOL or ABTA and I am not a Travel Agent or a Tour Operator.

I am registered in France as a Guide de Randonee : SIRET 5106 3688 9000 14

I work in association with :

Then We Walking Club : French Association loi 1901 W2430095516

Then We Walked Ltd : Registered in England and Wales Company Number 14490899

My personal public liability insurance is with Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre de type RANDOPASS, numéro 0766195C (assurance en Responsabilité Civile, Individuelle)

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