Spanning more than 2,000 km, the Via Francigena is Europe’s ancient pilgrimage route connecting Canterbury Cathedral to the tombs of seven apostles in Rome. Crossing through England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, this historic route culminates at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Meet the Author
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
In 2019, Kevin Donahue set off from his home in the United States to begin a pilgrimage journey spanning both years and miles, walking across continents to the ancient end of the world, to kneel at the tombs of eight Apostles. His story is a first-hand account of the people and places found along the way to inspire questions and enlighten answers about faith, hope, and love.
Kevin’s passion for hiking began years before in Scouting. Years and life intervened but truly inspiring journeys – from exploring the Samburuland in Northern Kenya to hiking China’s legendary Dragon’s Spine – rekindled his passion to explore the outdoors and to share his experiences on his backpacking blog: One Step Then Another.
During section hikes of the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail, Kevin found solitude on the trail leading to greater reflection on his spiritual journey. With the support of his family, he began a series of pilgrimage walks that would lead him across Portugal and Spain on the Camino de Santiago, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean connecting California’s Missions Trail, across England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way, and onward towards Rome via Europe’s forgotten footpaths on a journey of soulful discovery along the Via Francigena. These pilgrimages form the basis for his first book, Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal.
Kevin lives in Florida with his wife, son, and their two beagles: Otis and Larry.
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Q & A with Kevin
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?
In 2020 and 2021 I’m walking England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome. When I’m not in Europe, I’ll be preparing to walk sections of the California Mission Trail as well as the Florida Trail.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FOLLOW YOUR JOURNEY?
I really enjoy being connected to pilgrims and followers, especially if you are considering starting your own pilgrimage. Please stay connected with me on Facebook, Instagram, and on the complimentary Book Preview List.
WHEN DO YOU EXPECT SACRED STEPS: A PILGRIMAGE JOURNAL TO BE AVAILABLE?
The book is currently in draft production and editing. There are (literally) miles to go before it is finished but I expect it will be available as a digital book, paperback, and audiobook on Amazon for Easter 2022. In the meantime, please sign up to join the BOOK PREVIEW LIST for updates and previews!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT WALKING A PILGRIMAGE?
I’ve really learned so much from the community of pilgrims and from my own experiences. I began my own backpacking blog (One Step Then Another) several years ago to share those learnings and to connect with fellow pilgrims. I would suggest starting there to understand the many different routes and how to prepare for the journey. My other advice would be to share what my wife told me before I left on the Camino de Santiago: write it down. Journaling during the pilgrimage is really the best way to stay in touch with your thoughts and the entirety of the experience.
Planning To Walk A Pilgrimage?
If you’re considering a walking pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago, these overviews are a tremendous starting point for beginners and experienced backpackers alike. Looking for even more information on what to pack or how to prepare for the journey? Visit Kevin’s pilgrimage and backpacking blog: One Step Then Another.
Born from historic footpaths between twenty-one Spanish missions, the California Missions Trail – El Camino Real (“The Royal Road”) as it was first known – connects missions, pueblos, and presidios over 800 miles of America’s Pacific Coastline.
Followed by kings and fabled in literature, the Pilgrims’ Way (also Pilgrim’s Way or Pilgrims Way) is England’s ancient pilgrimage route linking both Winchester and London to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across much of western Europe to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.