Camino for Good co-founder Shaylyn Austin hiked the Via Francigena in 2019. Her main responsibilities for Camino for Good include social media and marketing campaign management. 

I completed my first pilgrimage in 2019 – 1,000 kilometers of the Via Francigena from Lausanne, Switzerland to Rome.

Each day I woke up unsure of where I’d be resting my head that night, but still I walked toward the unknown.

Although the uncertainty could feel unnerving at times, every step was supported by the faith that everything would turn out okay. I was never disappointed. Each night, I was greeted by someone with a smile, a key, and a bed.

The Via taught me how to be more generous, and it gifted me a sense of serenity that I now bring to every trail I walk.

I’m honored to be able to support the people who open their doors to complete strangers, often asking for nothing in return. Their kindness and hospitality allowed me to walk for 48 days, traversing mountains and rice fields, rivers and vineyards. I entered cathedrals wearing boots that had stepped on thousands of fallen chestnuts along the way.

While I would often walk alone, I never felt lonely. Each day of the journey, I could sense the stories of those whose footsteps I followed and the dreams of those who will walk after me, feeling grateful to be a part of this vibrant, passionate community. The Via taught me how to be more generous, and it gifted me a sense of serenity that I now bring to every trail I walk. I hope that through Camino for Good, I can share everything I gained from the walk with a community of people who are all in search of something, yet in no rush to find it.

A bit more about Shay

  • Most of Shay’s work experience has been in conservation-focused biological field research. She has studied fish in northwest Panama, turtles in the Missouri River of South Dakota, and orangutans in Indonesia.
  • Her passion for hiking and sustainability led her to serve for an AmeriCorps conservation crew in central California. (Fun fact: Shay started working on Camino for Good while an AmericCorps member. She didn’t have reliable service at the base camp in the Santa Cruz mountains, so she took all CFG meeting from her car in a parking lot – coffees shops weren’t an option due to pandemic closures.)
  • Shay will be pursuing a graduate degree in forest management and sustainability starting Fall 2021.