Colleen walking around the rainforest at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo
About Colleen

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 Walking the Camino de Santiago or maybe you’ve retired or you’re interested in other great places to explore around the world.

I’m an English woman living in France. I fell in love with Spain in 1985 and I discovered the Camino de Santiago in 2013. I’ve walked thousands of Camino miles and in recent years escorted and led countless pilgrims along different Camino routes.

Now in retirement, we’re walking our way around the world; exploring and travelling in earnest.

Colleen training for the next camino by walking the hills and forests around our home in rural France

Pilgrims Walking the Camino de Santiago

In 2013 we 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 Atlantic 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. That walk changed my life.

Colleen hiking with her Osprey backpack along the Camino Frances in Spain.  I've walked the camino so many times and I never stop loving it!

Life Before I Walked the Camino

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; I walked this camino first in 2014

Walking The Camino Was Just 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 on 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 like the Jordan Trail or Mondulkiri in Cambodia or the Skyline Trail in the USA or even a simple walking tour in Singapore.

We walked the Skyline train at Mount Rainier in Washington State.  It is perhaps one of the most beautiful hikes we've done.  The snow-topped mountain surrounded by alpine meadows is glorious

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 in retirement, I hope that like-minded folk will find something useful or entertaining within these pages.

Travelling in Retirement : 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 but this blog is also for folks like us, who want to travel independently in their retirement. We’re like to walk as much as we can and we’re also keen to explore new corners of the world.

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.

Colleen and Gerry snorkeling in the sea around Komodo Island, near Flores in Indonesia.  We maybe retired but we're not ready for our slippers just yet!
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