walking the camino de santiago

About Me

exploring the world one step at a time

Can A Walk Really Change Your Life?

Hello! I’m Colleen! As you’ve found my website, I hope that you’re either interested in Retirement Travel or Walking the Camino or both, so let me tell you my story.

In 2013 we I took a holiday in Northern Spain. We set off in our campervan and drove west along the northern coast before heading south to Burgos and from there to Leon and onwards to the Atlantic coast at Finisterra in Galicia.

Colleen in Salamanca on the Via de la Plata

Pilgrims Along the Camino de Santiago

I kept seeing hikers which I thought odd; Spain is a glorious and beautiful country, so why hike beside a major road? Gerry called them ‘shellers’ but they were pilgrims. I watched through the window as we drove. Bby Leon I was curious and by the time we reached the coast I was committed. I was going to walk.

I sat on a beach of beautiful soft sand not far from Finisterre and my hand rested on a perfect shell. It’s the shell that Gerry presented me with when I met him on the steps of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela after finishing my 800 kilometre hike across Spain. I blogged as I walked.

Pre Camino Colleen

I’m an English woman living in France and I was never a natural walker;  I liked a walk but a few hours was my limit. I have no idea why I decided that walking 800 kilometres across rural Spain would be the right challenge for me but nonetheless I did. I’d had cancer and I’d recovered.  I was ready to try something new.  When we set off on our Spanish holiday in 2013 I had no idea what lay ahead nor that the wheels of a very different path were already in motion.  I was drawn to the Camino like a moth to the 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.  What I didn’t realise was that finishing was really just the beginning.

Pilgrims walking along the Camino Frances from Estella

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 here in France for my walking and I’ve given presentations and speeches about those journeys.   I’m trying to write a book about my incredible 1000km trek from Seville but my walking gets in the way.  My husband (Gerry), who at first was ambivalent about this walking lark, is now a keen walker and walking is a part of our life.

Are We There Yet?

I kept a blog since my first camino and I love the process of writing at the end of a day. Initially called Are We There Yet, it was simply a collection of my thoughts and at its heart my blog still is. It was a way of keeping in touch with folks at home but I soon realised that I was writing for me. Friends and strangers alike read my blog and I hope, as we continue our journeys of walking around the world, more like-minded folk find something useful or entertaining within these pages.

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

Travelling Through Retirement

By the end of 2019 our children had flown the nest and finished their education and it was our time to start travelling. We made plans but COVID changed everything.  We did though manage a few walks in Spain and Portugal in 2020 and 2021 when borders opened. By 2022 Gerry officially retired and our travel plans were put into action. We like to travel independently where possible, 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 destinations. I have realised though that there aren’t that many written by people like us. We might not be ready to bungee jump but we’re equally not quite ready for retirement slippers either. So THEN WE WALKED has evolved into something more. There is still lots about the Camino de Santiago but it’s also for folks over 50 who want to travel independently (or not) in their retirement.

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

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 am not governed nor bonded with ATOL or ABTA.

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

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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