The Way. For Real.

Posted on August 28, 2012


Sometimes, marriages, even when they don’t last, give you family that does.  My Always Brother-in-law Bob is memorable for many reasons. He plants a mean vegetable garden and rides an even meaner Harley.  Bob has a friend who used to be a high-powered sales-rep.  He took a year off from his job to do charity work at 12 villages around the world (Peru, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, you name it).  When he got back he quit his job and started a charity, Orchids of Light, to support the self-help projects in the 12 villages.  As Bob says, “Needless to say, he is a little crazy.  But it is a good crazy.”

Bob mentioned to him once that he had seen the movie “The Way”, and would like to walk the Camino de Santiago.  In June, his friend called him and said he knew someone who was going to do the walk, and would Bob like to walk with her?  At the time , Bob didn’t know anything about her.  He found out later that she was 28 years old and gorgeous.  Bob, happily married to the love of his life for the past 40-some years, is the father of three remarkable kids , the grandfather of six, and the beloved master of several dogs along the way.  “Gorgeous” might not be a word he would use to describe himself.

He has spent the summer training to be able to walk about 18 miles per day.  He still doesn’t know if he will be able to walk that far – at least after the first day.  As he says, “The problem is blisters and the pounding that your feet take.  It takes me about 60,000 steps to go 18 miles.  But I think I can do it.  I’m only doing two weeks of the Camino – about 200 miles.  Ana plans to do it all – 500 miles and almost 5 weeks.”

He and Ana will meet his friend and the author Paulo Coelho in St Jean Pied de Port for a party the night before they start the walk.  Paulo wrote “The Alchemist” , the “Pilgrimage” and about 20 other books.  The Pilgrimage is fiction based on his experiences on the Camino de Santiago.   He lives in St Jean, and Bob’s friend knows him.

Bob says, “You might wonder why I, a non-religious, non-spiritual atheist, is doing a pilgrim’s walk.  I don’t really know the answer, other than I’m fascinated by people who are religious and spiritual and I like the Spanish culture, rural villages, old churches, etc.  In short, why not.”

Ana (and Bob) will be using the walk as a fundraiser. If you do donate, 100% of the funds go to the villages.  Nothing for overhead, salaries, or anything else.  Please forward to anyone who may be interested.  Bob will be posting a daily (maybe) video blog on the Web site during the camino.

Here is the promo video: 

Buena suerte en su camino, Roberto.  Te amo y te admiro mucho. Tu es loco, pero un bueno loco.