Q & A with Kevin
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?
In 2019, I completed my first Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain. After a year in lockdown, in 2021 I finished my first pilgrimage walk along the California Missions Trail, walked England’s historic Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury, the Pilgrim’s Path to Holy Island, and finished the first stages of the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome. In 2022, I walked through Italy from Bolsena to Rome, arriving at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at the end of the Via Francigena.
Through the balance of 2022 and into early 2023, I’ll be working on my books (Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage Journal and The Pilgrims’ Table) to publish both in 2023. And (while I’m not planning any walks at that time) I have been thinking about going back to walk in the U.K.
In 2023, provided we can do so safely, I plan to walk sections of the Camino de Santiago with my son. I’m really looking forward to that. When I’m not in Europe, I’d like to continue walking sections of the California Mission Trail as well as the Florida Trail. You can learn more about my routes, including detailed stage descriptions and maps, on my blog (One Step Then Another) and through episodes of the Sacred Steps Podcast.
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. I share my steps on social media (Facebook | Instagram) and cover details of my pilgrimage via email with the complimentary Book Preview List.
HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO OTHER PILGRIMS AND LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT WALKS?
During the global pandemic, I launched the Sacred Steps Podcast to stay connected with pilgrims from across the globe. If you’re not familiar with podcasts, they are short audio and video streams that you can subscribe to (for free) and download new broadcasts to your device automatically. In each episode, I interview a pilgrim or author to discuss their pilgrimages and insights, as well as their next steps.
WHEN DO YOU EXPECT SACRED STEPS: A PILGRIMAGE JOURNAL TO BE AVAILABLE?
The book is currently in draft and editing. There are (literally) miles to go before it is finished but I hope it will be finished and available as a digital book, paperback, and audiobook on Amazon for Easter 2023. In the meantime, please sign up to join the complimentary Book Preview List for updates and previews!
HOW IS YOUR SECOND BOOK – THE PILGRIMS’ TABLE – DIFFERENT?
Sacred Steps is really about putting the reader in the story of pilgrimage and the intersection of history, faith, and my own experiences. Quite differently, The Pilgrims’ Table is a fictional pilgriamge story that takes place over dinner one evening in an albergue, with five pilgrims gathering to dine with their host. The characters and the stories they share with one another are adapted from my own experiences walking the Camino de Santiago and other routes. I’ve always loved transformational stories. I think that comes through powerfully in The Pilgrims’ Table and I hope pilgrims – in particular – enjoy reading the book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
WHAT ARE OTHER PILGRIMAGE WALKS THAT YOU SUGGEST PILGRIMS CONSIDER?
Firstly, I would encourage pilgrims to connect their rucksacks to their hearts; if a specific place or Saint is speaking to you then make that journey. In 2021, I completed a portion of St. Cuthbert’s Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne; I’d really like to finish the entirety of that walk one day. The Kumano Kodo in Japan is the sister pilgrimage to Spain’s Camino de Santiago. The ancient walks to the shrines of Celtic Saints in Ireland and Nordic Saints are fascinating. And – of course – the historic Italian Caminos: the Way of St Francis to Assisi, the Via Lauretana to Loreto, and the Via Francigena to Rome.
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. This one suggestion was the foundation for my first book. Journaling during the pilgrimage is really the best way to stay in touch with your thoughts across the entirety of the experience. It also makes for a really great way to reflect on your pilgrimage, allowing you to return time and time again through the pages.