Walking the Camino de Santiago


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True Men Ministries helps men and their families to fulfill God’s dream for them. To do that, True Men Ministries hosts Advances (because a True Man never “retreats”) and Bible Studies. Founder Ed Blonski also writes a twice-weekly devotion and hosts the True Man Podcast.

Friends! Hello!

I’m coming at’cha from Ohio where I’m on set at a shoot! It’s been a wonderful time at home. I really feel so blessed to be able to stay in touch with my family and be able to work both here and there!

I was thinking about it the other day, and I have been just so blown away by God’s faithfulness and generosity. Truly. I mean, my life has taken a lot of detours in my short time around the sun.



I was reflecting on the false starts and challenging seasons I’ve seen. I’m no longer angry or bitter about the time I’ve lost, nor do I feel regret or cheated out of life. I’ve finally come to peace with the fact that those seasons have made me who I am.


But the fact is, I have had incredible obstacles to overcome in my life: starting with the anorexia that nearly took my life back in high school and beginning of college. Followed by the horrible ulcerative colitis that resulted in being on bed rest for 11 months. And then here recently, walking with my mom through her stroke recovery.

The truth is, God has seen me through all of it. He’s walked me through it. Never once abandoning me or leaving me to fend for myself. He has been my strength. And has showered me with grace and healing, even when I may not have been aware of it.

And my mom, too. God has been so good to her and blessed her so abundantly as she’s regained her life after her stroke. She is truly my hero. Learning how to talk again after such an event as that – her recovery is remarkable, and we all have so much to be grateful to God for.

His generosity is truly worthy of our deepest praise.

And so, we’ve decided to express our gratitude in a thanksgiving pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

We’re leaving already next week! I can’t believe it. It really snuck up on us!

We’re not walking the whole thing. We’re doing a partial route. But it still is around 63 miles!

We’re starting out in Lisbon, Portugal at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and then walking all the way to the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The Camino – which was brought to the attention of popular culture in the movie The Way by Emilio Estevez, starring his dad, Martin Sheen – is a 1,000 year old pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, where it is believed that the remains of St. James the Apostle are enshrined.


St. James was martyred (by decapitation) for his faith by King Herod in Jerusalem, as written about in Acts 12:2.

Afterwards, his headless body was brought back to Galicia and buried underneath the stars in a field. It is believed that 900 years later, a shepherd found his grave under the stars and thus the Cathedral was built to house the Apostle’s remains. And thus the pilgrimage was born.

This trip is not a hike. It’s not some fabulous eco-tourism fling. It is a pilgrimage. It is more about the journey than the destination. It is about stropping, more than going. It is about letting the period of “pause” and “time out” from your life move you, and deepen your connection with God, and with those on your path.


My mom and I have always said that our lives have been on parallel paths, with each of us enduring similar things, in different ways, during various seasons of our lives.


And I am excited to physically walk the same path with her during a time in our lives where God has truly sustained us, mind, body and spirit.

So of course, I will be blogging about my experience so that you can travel the Camino with us.

But what I also want to do, is bring your prayer requests with me.

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This blog has been so instrumental in my recovery and the friendships I’ve found here through the little community have truly enriched my life and been such a source of encouragement and joy. I want to offer my thanksgiving to you as well, along The Way, and prayer is one of the best ways I know how.

SO If you have any prayer requests or intentions, leave me a comment or if it is super personal, you can send me an email at beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com.

But I will print them out and put them in a book that I will leave at the Cathedral if I can. But either way, I will pray for you along The Way, and light a candle at the Cathedral and read through them all.

I truly believe in the power of prayer. God has answered mine over and over and over. I mean, simply the fact that I am living and breathing after two experiences that very well could have taken my life is testimony enough to God’s listening ear.

And I humbly ask that you pray for my mom and I on the trip! I am truly excited to see how God reveals Himself on the pilgrimage.


See ya tomorrow morning on the Podcast!


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183 responses to “Walking the Camino de Santiago”

    • Thanks Camden! Yeah, I’m pretty excited to see too 🙂 I hope you get there soon! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  1. This sounds like it will be an amazing journey. I’m sure that the stops and sharing of life with others on pilgrimage will be very uplifting. You sharing during this trip, this pilgrimage will be rewarding for all of us. I do have a prayer request that I will send on email.

  2. Wow, have fun on your trip and many, many blessings!! Your mom is a remarkable woman!! I am equally lucky to have my dad in my life. 🙂 I think you and your mom will have a blessed trip!!

    Yes, please pray for my upcoming travel endeavors in October!! Thank you so much!! It’s divine of you to do this!!

    • Thank you Meg! Yes she is! Aww so glad you can relate. Absolutely! I will add that to my list! Hugs and love xox

  3. Oh my gosh, so excited for you! Can’t wait to hear all about your journey and love how your offering prayer requests. Prayer is powerful and I always say the more people who pray for the same thing, the better! Blessings to you 💛

    • Aw thank you so much Laura! Yes! I so agree – prayer is incredibly powerful! Hugs and love xox

  4. Wow! One of my favorite movie stories of all time! I’d love to walk El Camino de Santiago, but highly unlikely at this point. Even so, you and your mother will remain in my prayers on the walk. BTW, if you and your family ever visit AZ, please worship with us at St James Parish in Glendale (near 35th and the 101). (I’m in choir at 4pm Sat Mass, 9am & 11am Sun mass, but say hello after mass!) The Lord will protect and keep you and your mom all the way. I trust you’ll have an amazing time.

    • Thanks friend 🙂 I appreciate your prayers. Oh awesome! If we’re ever out that way I will certainly look your parish up! Hugs and love xox

  5. Sounds like a wonderful experience. I pray God opens your eyes to see everything He wants to show you. And I’ll be praying for you and your Mom as you’re walking as well. Will send the prayer requests via email. Looking forward to lots of wonderful pics! xox

    • Thank you so much Kenneth for your prayers. that means a lot! Hugs and love xox

  6. I hope that you realize the effect you have on others through your positive outlook and excitement generated by your understanding of God’s presence in your life! 🙂 Pray for me, please, that my efforts to de-stress and take better care of myself in all aspects bears fruit. Travel safely, dear– Mike

    • oh gosh what a kind thing to say, Mike. Thank you so much. And I will definitely add your prayers to the list!! Hugs and love xox

  7. God bless you! If you would please pray that I find my way back, for I am somewhat lost atm, and for the gifts of faith and of wisdom. Thank you for so kindly doing this. I will pray for you as well. I am grateful for you and for the opportunity you so kindly provide. Have a blessed and safe trip. Enjoy!!!!

  8. Good luck on your journey. What an amazing adventure. I’ve been researching the Camino and hope to one day walk it as well. One small bit of warning: a friend walked it last year and mentioned that the trail was extremely busy, full of people, and a bit more commercialized than he expected. Despite that, he still recommended the trip, if nothing else because of the history. He still talked about the peace of walking the trail.

    Lovely blog. Enjoy the time with your mother. Have fun and good luck.

    • Thank you so much Brian! and thanks for the heads up. I hope you walk it one day too! Hugs and love xox

  9. Wow, this is too awesome. So very excited for you both- this will be a powerful experience, I’m sure. Will be praying 🙂 I am (was) a neurosurgical nurse (now going back to school), but the fact that your mom recovered to this degree is truly incredible. Brought a tear to my eye. XO

    • Thank you so much Mackenzie! yeah i am really looking forward to it 🙂 thanks for your prayers! yes – she’s my hero 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  10. Pastor, envision me praying for you and your Mom with each step you take! This is such wonderful news and will reveal so many blessings! I would love to do part of the walk after seeing the movie ( I didn’t read the book). The scenery alone is so beautiful, each day and night you will be reminded of how awemazing are God’s creations! I already know that along with being a life changing event for you and your Mom, you are building your personal testimony to share when you pastor your own church! Time with your Mom. Time with God and the joyful anticipation of who God’s Holy Spirit guides you to meet. On my blog, I often write about our walk of faith along with Discovering and Sharing Grace. You and your Mom, following God’s guidance and listening to His whisper are going to make a glorious physical walk of faith! I’m so proud of you and your Mom for the number of people you have inspired to who knows the number in the future. Only God knows, but it is a large number. Please pray for my sister in law Marisa who is at end stage cancer. This will be so meaningful for her if you leave her name or light a candle for her peace. She was born in Spain and lived there until she was 18. On her behalf, thank you so much! Love n blessings!

    • Oh Rick, thank you so much for your prayers and incredibly kind words! Gosh, I am so touched. I hope to one day be half the woman my mom is – she’s my hero and i look up to her so much! and i will definitely keep your intentions in my heart. I’m so sorry to hear that about your sister in law. I will absolutely light a candle for her. Hugs and love xox

  11. What a wonderful reverent gesture to offer leave our prayers at such an interesting historical site of pilgrimage- My request is for His aid in relying on Him more

    • thank you so much! Yes! I will definitely add your intention to the list! Hugs and love xox

  12. Oh, I love that you’re doing this! Friends of mine did a couple of years ago and it was one of the best experiences of their lives. Our priest walked the pilgrimage last year. I’m excited to see your posts, as you talk about what you see, do, and feel, along the way. How wonderful and special that you’re experiencing this with your mom (beautiful pics of you and your mom btw!) I’ll be praying for you! xx

    • Thank you so much Jenny Marie! Oh awesome! yeah i’m really excited. thank you for your prayers! Hugs and love xox

  13. Good choice to walk from the South. It’ll be pretty. It’s hot and sunny in Iberia now, so take a sunhat and a long sleeved shirt.

    • thank you Declan! yeah it’s going to definitely be a hot one! thanks for the tips! Hugs and love xox

  14. Hey Caralyn,
    Great article as always. Just trying to get to your level! Thanks for the like on my “Power Quote of the Week”. Have a great rest of the week!

  15. my boss hiked that route last year with his daughters. thanks for inviting us to join you and your mom on this pilgrimage. her recovery blesses all of us who have prayed.

    • Oh wow that’s awesome Eric! Yes so true – thank you for the prayers!! Hugs and love xox

  16. Caralyn, I currently find myself on a similar pilgrimage of seeking God and longing to know Him more fully. I’m so excited for both you and your mom to have this time together after all you’ve both been through. Only God could bring both of you to this place. And how appropriate to respond by seeking Him together through a pilgrimage!

    Lord, reveal yourself to your handmaids as they seek you on pilgrimage. You promise if we seek you with our whole hearts we will find you. Reveal yourself to them by your sweet Spirit. Set their hearts ablaze. Protect and keep them. In Jesus’s name, amen.

    Please, pray I too see my Lord more fully in all His love and majesty as I too seek Him in my personal pilgrimage. Love to you and your sweet mamma.

    • Thank you so much Robin 🙂 so glad this resonated with you! Amen – God has been so good to us. And wow what a beautiful prayer. Thank you with all my heart. Amen. And i will definitely keep your intentions in my heart and add them to the list!! Big big hugs xox

  17. I will pray for you both on your trip. May it be a blessed one. My sister walked the exact same path that you’re intending to walk this time last year. It was a pilgrimage and I believe a life changing experience for her as well. Stay well and savour every step. xx 🙏

    • Thank you so much Miriam! I really appreciate your prayers. That’s so awesome!! Hugs and love xox

  18. Beautiful testimonies of God’s endless grace, love and mercies towards us! I wish you all a beautiful & spirit filled trip in Jesus Name! You are/ will be in my prayers as per <3

    My request is for salvation for my family members, my 3 sisters and 2 niece's & nephews. Also for a full time occupation. Thank you very much and God bless you! Xxoo

  19. This post is interesting.I am currently passing through some hard times.I have not been well since April 25th.I am feeling much better but I will be grateful if some of you who trust God should pray for me and ask him to give me good health.Its challenging when you fall ill but I have hope that one day I will be very healthy.So please pray for me.Thanks

  20. I love ‘The Way.’ I saw it when it was first released and just fell in love with the story and the journey (fictional though it was) of a father’s love for his son. I can’t imagine what an incredible and fulfilling experience you have ahead of you. Amazing.

    • Thank you so much Brandon! Yeah, it was a great movie for a lot of reasons! Hugs and love xox

  21. This is beautiful! I had a friend who walked the entire Camino a few years back, and she claimed it was the most spiritually important trip of her life. I wish you the best of luck, safe travels, and I’ll be following your blog for any posts from the trail! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Rob! Oh that’s so awesome! I can’t wait! Hugs and love xox

  22. May God bless your journey and be with you transforming your life to be more like Him. I pray that you encounter more of Him and continue walking in the path of righteousness.

    • Thank you so much Subi, I appreciate your prayers and kind words! Hugs and love xox

    • Oh I love that!! Thanks so much, I can’t wait to read your post! Hugs and love xox

  23. Please pray that my wife and I continue to follow God’s path as we transition from parents of teenagers to parents of young adults and our sons would continue to grow into the men created them to be. Please also pray for our sons’ future wives (even though we have no idea who they are!). Thank you and God’s richest blessings on your walk!

    • I will definitely keep those prayers in my heart Ed! Thanks so much 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  24. Thank you for the prayer offer. Please pray for The Lake House Cancer Support Center (where I am the director)–for our members who have all been touched by cancer, for our donors and for the wider community that supports us. Thank you

    • Absolutely. I will bring that prayer with me on the journey! Thanks Madeline! Hugs and love xox

  25. I would love prayers for my best friends and for myself as I try to prepare for my future (which will hopefully be moving to NYC in 2 years to try and get on Broadway so I can use all the prayers I can get haha) ❤

    • Oh how exciting! I will definitely bring your prayers with me! Thanks Abigail! Hugs and love xox

  26. I have to say that I love seeing your creative and beautiful pictures you include in your posts. And in this post I am deeply moved by your awe-filled wonder and praise of how Good is our God! I will be praying for you and your beautiful Mom (she looks wonderful in your picture) and your amazing trip! Traveling mercies to you <3

    • Aw thank you so much! Yes – He is so so good. Thank you for your prayers! Hugs and love xox

  27. Hey, Carolyn. Is be really interested to hear your thoughts about modesty in dress if you did an article on that, but no pressure, though.

  28. May you be richly blessed and filled with the Spirit of God on your walk. May you find renewal and new life in Christ as you walk.

    “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3

  29. You and your Mom are in my prayers. A couple of friends of mine recently did the journey. May it be a rich experience as you journey with the Creator. I am sure you will meet some awesome people on the journey. Blessings Roland

    • Thank you so much Roland, for your prayers. That’s so awesome. Yes! Amen! Hugs and love xox

  30. Have a great time. The Way was a great movie. I aspired to make the pilgrimage myself until I was prevented by normal pressure hydrocephalous (fluid on the brain that effects your ability to walk.) Look forward to your reports! God bless.

    • Oh my gosh spencer, I am so sorry to hear that! Gosh, i will definitely keep you in my prayers. I hope your condition has gotten better! sending you so much love and hugs.

  31. I have a brain shunt that has stabilized but not reversed the condition. But still working out regularly and very grateful for our 4 going on 5 grand kids! Great admirer of your blogging quality and quantity.

    • Praise God. Will definitely be praying on the trip and every day 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  32. Isn’t it amazing what God can do? This post kind of made me think of my latest blog post. You should check it out if you get the chance Caralyn. I think you will enjoy it. Great entry (as always) hugs and love from TX! XOXO

    • Thank you Nina 🙂 You’re kind to say that! I definitely will bring you and your family in my prayers! Hugs and love xox

  33. I wish you the best trip ever. May God all mighty keep taking you deeper in relationship with him through this walk with your mom. May the love you share make you both stronger. God bless you and your beautiful family. In Jesus name. Amen.

  34. You’re walking trip sounds awesome! Looking forward to reading your updates. Please pray I meet a Godly Man and won’t have to continue alone. Thank You!

  35. I am delighted that you two will get to take this pilgrimage together. If I were physically able, I would have already gone. But as it doesn’t seem to fit into His plan, I have grown content with cheering others along the trail. And I will add you and your mother to my daily prayer list until you return.
    If you would, please pray for D.J. and Cynthia to return to a real relationship with our dear Lord.
    May God bless your every step.

    • aw thank you, yeah i am very grateful to be going. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. I will definitely keep DJ and Cynthia in my prayers as well 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  36. My family and I just watched “The Way.” Not only is Martin Sheen a great actor but his son, Emilio Esteves has written, produced, and directed an exceptional film. I pray you have a meaningful pilgrimage. Bo Camiño!

    • An exceptional film indeed. Thank you Ed, I really appreciate you prayers!! Hugs and love xox

  37. Walking among the mountains in God’s creation uplifts the soul. You will find Him in that environment He has built and far away from the environment men have marred in their sojourn on earth. You will hear His voice as you meditate on your journey. 🙂

  38. The Camino is truly an incomparable experience and I’m sure God will pour abundant graces on both of your hearts! I also hope you’ll be warmly welcomed in Spain and delight in the breath-taking landscapes of the north of our country. I ask you to please pray for my ED recovery and for the blog I’ve just started to help other people suffering from this illness… hopefully at least half of which people like you have helped me!

    • Thank you Paola! I will definitely keep your prayer intentions in my heart! Hugs and love xox

  39. I am so excited for you and your mom to be able to take this wonderful trip together…there is nothing on earth more special than our mom’s love, what wonderful memories you will make together…and you will love Lisbon! Be sure to eat one of their little pastry/ custard cups!

    • Aw thanks Jen! That really means a lot. So so so true 🙂 haha yum! Hugs and love xox

  40. Seeing your mother, it’s easy to see where you get your beauty. I’m looking forward to reading your posts on this trip. My prayer request; My husband and I are downsizing from a 9-room house to a smaller place. Just getting too old to keep up with that big house. Also, our youngest daughter and her husband are moving 6 hours away and taking our little 7-year old granddaughter. They want us to follow. So please pray that we will get a buyer soon for our home and that we will have the wisdom to know whether to stay in the area we know or step out on a new adventure and move with them. Thanks!

    • Aw Barbara, what a kind thing to say! Thank you!! I will definitely keep your prayer with me in my heart. Sounds like a new adventure is about to begin! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks Amy! Oh wow that would be incredible. And thanks for your prayers! Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you for your prayers Laura Beth! It’s surreal that we’re leaving already this week! Eek! Hope you had a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  41. As someone who is doing a lot of walking this year I hope that you find the experience as rewarding as I do and that you will gain many happy memories not just from the scenery (something that I always find wonderfully inspiring and a reminder of God’s creative beauty on just about any countryside walk) but from the time you’ll be able to spend with your mom and the time you’ll be able to spend with God. I look forward to hearing all about it.

    • Thank you friend 🙂 yes, that special time with her is what I’m looking forward to most 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  42. What a fabulous blessing to be able to travel with your mom on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Ever since we saw The Way several years ago, my husband has been wanting to do the looongggg walk as well. Safe travels. I look forward to reading about your experiences. I’ll be praying for you and your mother on your trip.

  43. I walked 50 miles of The Camino last year. It was absolutely fabulously fabulous and tough and beautiful and satisfying. Please take your time. Look around you. Talk to the people. Talk to the trees. Be in the moment and know just how many have trod before you. Drink the water from the fountains. And drink the coffee!!! And eat the amazing food prepared by those who are there to serve the pilgrims.

    Blessings to you on this sacred journey. I walked with my cousins. You are blessed to walk with your momma!

    God’s grace.

    • Oh wow that’s amazing! Thanks for this awesome advice 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  44. I know I’m ‘late to the party’ in reading this post but I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND YOUR MOM!! I know God will provide me the opportunity to travel The Way one day too (His time, not mine,) but I look forward to following along with you & your Mom to tide me over until I do!! THANK you for sharing this with all of us.

    • Aw thank you so much Dawn Marie!! Yes! I’m so excited to have this adventure with her 🙂 and you’re so right I know He has that in store for you!! Hugs and love xox

  45. Good luck on your journey! My sweet mama will also be starting the Camino in about a month! She is going to walk half with a group this year & then the second half next year. Blessings & prayers!

  46. I just love how God puts ideas in our minds as a way of communicating with us. May God enlighten your paths and lead you to complete joy. Looking forward to reading His revelations.

  47. It’s beautiful there…as are you. Pray for Redding, California! It’s where I work and it’s going through a hellacious wildfire right now that has destroyed nearly 1000 homes. God will here you. Buen Camino!

    • Thank you so much Rob. What a kind thing to say! I definitely will. Gosh stay safe. Hugs and love xox

      • Thank you! 🙂 I apologize for the above typo…I meant to say “God will hear you,” obviously…embarrassing. You stay safe too! Although I have a feeling that the Camino is a bit less dangerous than this fire…take care.

      • Gotcha! Haha no worries – autocorrect 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  48. This is an amazing experience that you got to have with your mom. I have struggled as of late to write anything and I miss blogging, but my mom has not done so well. I have had so many days of physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. I say that to say this, I am happy for you being able to have taken this journey with your mom. What I would not give for mine to be willing and able to do that. Oh, Happy Birthday! Those of us that have battled addiction in it’s varying forms, struggle loving ourselves and therefore allowing others to love us. We tend to see the darkness from the past, instead of the light from the future and present day. Great stuff!

    • Thank you Tim. Yeah I feel so blessed to have had the chance to experience this with her. Hugs and love xox

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