Nat Defiebre is walking her Virtual Camino in Monterey, California, USA

Nat walking Cannery Row in Monterey, CA

I am a new Pilgrim on our Virtual Camino for Good, having never walked it in actuality. In all my years I have visited or lived in many countries world-wide. I was in Spain for 3 months back in 1960. Never northwestern Spain. I currently live in a small town, not far from Monterey, CA. USA. I am a single mom of two boys and two grown grandchildren.

An athlete I am not. I’ve never purposely run or walked distances until I turned 70 when I decided I should do a half marathon. I trained and have since completed two out of 3, finishing dead last once. I’ve done many 5k’s.

I had knee replacement surgery 7 months ago. Walking and exercise have been on hold for almost two years. I have needed something… anything…to get me motivated.

The first time I had ever heard of Camino de Santiago was a few years back through a friend of a friend. She had just completed it and I was impressed with her story. Never thought about it again, really, until I saw something about Camino de Santiago on Facebook. I came across the movie ‘The Way’ and loved it. And then over time Camino for Good popped up on FB and the rest is history. How this program benefits the folks along the Camino made it a no brainer.

With Covid stuff going on, my need to strengthen my knee… my body, actually… lose some weight, and my desire to learn more about our beloved Camino, this program seemed like the right thing to do. I needed to have a reason to ‘want’ to get out and walk, as opposed to just doing it because…

I believe God has me here for a reason. Many reasons, actually, which I am discovering bit by bit along the way. I am definitely here as a Pilgrim and not a walker/hiker. I have always loved photography and loved Mother Nature and meeting folks from all around the world…just like I did recently, meeting a family from Peru while hiking. See photo. I am blessed to live in an area filled with wonderful vistas, trails, parks, the ocean, forests, state and federal parks, etc.

Nat with the Peruivan family she met atop a mountain while walking in Big Sur State Park. 

I needed a hobby because I work full time which I’ve done for 40 years. Working at the computer all day and/or on the phone…my days are sedentary. I needed to MOVE!

I do not enjoy cold or wind but have been going out on occasion in-spite-of it because my thinking is what would I do if I were actually walking the Camino? With this group I am learning ‘love’ to walk with my destination and others’ posts being my motivators. I take a lot of pictures…it keeps my mind off of the physical work. To avoid inclimate weather, I’ve learned I can even walk on the treadmill while watching videos of others actually walking the Camino on the TV.

My boys have always encouraged me and are especially happy to see me moving again…they are a great inspiration and I want to be an inspiration to them and my grandchildren. I know that if I am to live a healthy life to 100 then I must remain active physically and mentally and stay connected with like minded folks. I need to set an example for them to never ever quit! All reasons why I am here.

I will keep walking. I treasure the photos, videos etc from everyone in this group…and each person motivates me to keep on keeping on. Ultreia. It is so easy to lag. I especially enjoy the pics and info from previous actual pilgrimages our experienced members post. They are the best!

A long uphill trail at a nearby national park which Nat says reminds her of pictures she sees from the Camino in Spain. 

A trail at Elkhorn Slough near Nat’s hometown.

This journey will take me longer than most… I am not as speedy as are many of others and long distances don’t come easy… yet! Frequency, due to my work schedule, can be an issue, as well. Right now the app shows I’ll finish in September. When you consider the fact that my mileage here to fore has been less than significant for one year, this will be a major accomplishment. For my health I’ve been walking almost daily since Dec 12 2020 so as you can see, this program truly came before me at the right time.

We each have our own reasons for being here. Mine, I’m sure, are not unlike many others one way or another. For some it’s more difficult than it is for others. I cannot say this is easy for me, but I can say I am genuinely happy to be here. The distant friendships that are developing I treasure.

I do not know if I’ll ever actually walk El Camino de Santiago, but this sure is the next best thing if I don’t.

Thank you. 😍