Meet the first person to complete the Camino for Good Virtual Camino

Congratulations to Betty Sanders, from Nashville, Tennesse, USA, for being the first person to complete the Camino for Good Virtual Camino! Betty started walking on August 1st, and she walked 485 miles within her own neighborhood over the course of 2 and a half months.

Betty explained that she made it a goal to walk every single day in 2020, and she used the Virtual Camino to help motivate herself. Ultimately, walking the Virtual Camino had not only tremendous physical benefits for Betty, but also positive mental and spiritual impacts.

Camino for Good Co-founder Susan interviewed Betty about her experience:

I know that at the beginning of 2020, you made a commitment to walk every day. What motivated you to do this?  How has this worked for you?  Did the COVID outbreak have an impact on your commitment?

I started out the year wanting to up my physical health and well-being.  Then when COVID hit, I needed an outlet; something that I could do that would be healthy and get me out of the house and into nature – even the nature in my own neighborhood.  I also changed my diet and subsequently lost 25 lbs.  That feels good. 

My 2 children decided it was the year for grand babies and had them within 4 days of each other in April (no they didn’t plan this).  So, I’ve been isolated to be a safe grandmother and have visiting privileges.  Walking became a necessity rather than a “should” kind of practice.   

When did you start using the Camino for Good app?  How many days did it take you to “walk the Camino”?  How many miles do you average in a day?

I started with other pilgrims when the app launched on August 1, 2020 and it took me 74 days to complete or approximately 2.5 months.  I averaged 6 miles per day.   

How does the weather impact your walking?

I suit up and show up no matter the weather.  If it’s storming with lightning, I’ll wait for it to pass but I’m normally out the door by 6:00 a.m. 

What has walking done for you spiritually?  Mentally? Physically?

It became a disciplined practice and necessary for my mental, physical, and emotional health during the pandemic.  I met a lot of new people in my neighborhood and in one of the parks – socially distanced of course!  It was nice to know that I would see the same people on a regular basis.  Kind of like I hear happens on the Camino.  You begin to form attachments with people that were strangers.  Spiritually, it’s my time to connect with my higher power and higher self.  Solutions to work/relationship issues appear during my walks.  I love how the wildlife shows up as well.  Seems a confirmation that I’m on a good and worthy path. 

What was most enjoyable about the Camino for Good experience?

The virtual experience was very rich!  The web-site easy to navigate and full of wonderful content.  My favorite was the Camino audio stories from pilgrims who have experienced the Camino in person.  They shared personal stories via audio files, and it gave me a real sense of how diverse the Camino experience is – people from across the globe! Probably these same stories were shared with other pilgrims on the Camino at the end of the day over wine and a meal.  I loved hearing about how people form a community that is described as family while out there.  I look forward to experiencing it all in person! 

Thank you for providing a bright light into a gloomy time in history.  Human connection is so important and that’s difficult right now.  Also, thank you for bringing awareness and financial support opportunities to the albergue owners who are struggling to stay in business.  It’s my understanding that they truly provide a hospitable and almost selfless service to the pilgrims.  Each having its own personality and adding their unique flavor to the Camino experience.  I’m hopeful that they’ll survive the pandemic and be able to resume operations soon.     

Betty became a new grandmother this year.
Expansive green view along Betty’s route.

Some of the wildlife betty encountered along her walks.

Betty starts her walks at 6 am every day.
Tennessee sunrise.

Thank you so much to Betty for sharing your story with the Camino for Good community. Your commitment is inspiring to all of us, and we’re so happy the Virtual Camino could help you reach your physical and spiritual goals during this difficult year. Buen Camino!