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Camino for Good co-founder Shay hiked the Via Francigena in 2019

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 of her background

  • Has conducted conservation-focused field research on fish in Panama, turtles in South Dakota, and orangutans in Indonesia.
  • Served as an AmeriCorps volunteer on a conservation crew, working to build and maintain trails on public lands throughout California. 
  • Currently works as a science and policy intern at the Roaring Fork Conservancy in Colorado.

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