Make Your Camino Sooner than Later

2007: The author and her husband crossing the Pyrenees for the first time.

2007: The author and her husband crossing the Pyrenees for the first time.

“Ah the Camino! It’s on my bucket list!” You might have said this at some point, and people often say it to us when they find out we have walked the Camino and are “in the biz” of helping others get there. God has worked through our Camino experiences to light us up, wake us up, and fire us up for a fuller life. How can we help you make your dream of walking the Camino de Santiago a reality? How can we help you get to the point of setting dates on a calendar, buying your tickets, and preparing for the walk of a lifetime?


In the past ten years we and other members of our family have logged a lot of time walking and exploring many sections of several routes, meeting pilgrim friends from all over the world, volunteering, and becoming more convinced with each step that the Camino de Santiago is not like any other place on earth for showing people more about God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Being a person of faith is not a pre-requisite to walking the Camino. People with different views of life and the universe walk the Way, and we have come to discern and appreciate the many, many ways that God reveals himself to everyone who seeks to know Him, and for the creative ways in which God meets people just where they are. Experiencing God on the Camino has a lot more to do with walking out life for 4-6 weeks with people from many cultures, and living the give-and-take lifestyle of pilgrimage than it does being influenced by a great sermon or particular denomination or religion.


Our son and daughter-in-law just returned home after a month in Spain. Hunter was walking for the fourth time, and Stephie for the first. We haven’t heard all the adventures of their trip, but something in their story stood out as a highlight. Stephie, who by any measure is physically fit, shared that the biggest surprise to her was how physically challenging it was. Granted, they were doing some high mileage days, which not everyone will choose to do. But even with injuries, run-ins with bed bugs, and other physical unpleasantness, Stephie said, “The Camino is everything Hunter and you all told me it was, and more…I would do it again.” 


This month marks the first anniversary of the founding of our online business Camino Provisions, and the release of my Guidebook to help people plan, prepare, and complete the Camino. We are thankful for the opportunities we have had to help so many people, and enjoy hearing from returning pilgrims about their experiences. We are a growing, family run business hoping to help more people walk sooner than later with our tips on saving money. We consider it a privilege to give back to the pilgrim community by donating a portion of our profits to non-profit groups helping pilgrims in Spain.


Where do you begin if you are new? We have put a lot of good information on our website as a place to start your research. It is a rich, well-organized site that is free and easy to navigate. A year’s worth of archived, weekly blogs add entertainment and even more insight and information. We will send you a free booklet titled Camino de Santiago TOP TEN TIPS when you sign up to be on our mailing list. (We respect your privacy and will not give your personal info to others.)


If you like what you can access for free, consider purchasing our guidebook for $9.99. Camino de Santiago Guide to Preparing Well & Saving Money is becoming more and more popular as a trustworthy source for finding out insider tips not found in the map-focused guides. And most entertaining of all is the novel written by our daughter Hilary Van Wagenen. I love a good story, and Hilary has crafted a wonderful fictional account set on the Camino that communicates well the God encounters, healing, and transformation that is actually a normal part of life. Elizabeth’s Story is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. A good read!


Dream it. Plan it. Walk it. Camino de Santiago. Is it your rime?


Helen and Wick Van Wagenen attribute many life lessons to their Camino experiences which began in 2007. Since then they and other family members have walked many Caminos, and are grateful for the lessons learned and friends made along the Way. With the goal of helping others plan and complete their Caminos, Helen wrote Camino de Santiago Guide to Preparing Well & Saving Money . Simultaneously, the VWs launched an online business called Camino Provisions, as a resource to inform, encourage, and empower others to walk the Camino, and as a source of funding donations to non-profit groups helping pilgrims on the Camino. Contact them at