Kat, 63, Treks 500 Miles And Proves It’s Never Too Late To Be Bold
Here at MoveWith, we’re always hearing stories of movers living inspiring, active lives. Our community is full of people who take risks, meet challenges with courage, and boldly push themselves to act and move beyond their comfort zones. One mover, particularly close to MoveWith’s heart, recently tackled an ambitious journey and shared her experience with us. Kat Miner trekked the 500 mile-long Camino de Santiago journey in 33 days, and she told her daughter, MoveWith CEO and Co-Founder, Holly Shelton all about it.
This is a tale of a woman who decided she could, so she did. And at 63 years old, Kat proved that it’s never too late to be bold and courageous. Read on for the interview.
Holly: Mom — let’s start by talking a little bit about Camino di Santiago. What it is, exactly?
Kat: The Camino de Santiago is actually a network of many different routes that start in countries all over Europe. Pilgrims from around the world have been walking the various routes for centuries to reach the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela where the remains of Saint James are supposed to be buried. I did the Camino Frances, the most popular route that begins in Ste. Jean, France, crosses the Pyrenees, and heads East through hundreds of small villages as well cities like Pamploma and Leon. You can join a tour that books lodging and transports your luggage each day, or so it yourself and then wing it. Being a planner, I had a spreadsheet of mileage and stops based on travel guides, but at least half the time we happily deviated.
Holly: Wow, amazing. How did you hear about it?
Kat: I’d actually never heard of the Camino de Santiago until I sat next to a woman on a bus who had just returned. She was so thrilled with her adventure — it was contagious. So, I researched it and decided I wanted, and needed, a challenge in my life. I liked the combination of a spiritual pilgrimage along with the physical and mental strength it would require. It was as if I had to do this, right now, at this point in my life. Plus, I decided a five-week break from my high pressure tech job sounded perfect.
Holly: Did anything make you hesitate? What scared you?
Kat: Well, 500 miles in 33 days was an intimidating thought. An average of 15 miles a day with more elevation than descent — especially for someone with a not-so-perfect knee — seemed a little scary. Climbing the Pyrenees was another concept that gave me brief pause. Oh, and the heat, the cold, the chance of rain, wondering if I’d get bedbugs. And blisters. Definitely blisters.
Holly: But you pushed past those fears, and committed, anyway. It took courage to buy your ticket; what did it feel like when you were confirmed and going — what did you tell your friends?
Kat: I was so excited, but worried I wasn’t training enough. Yikes! I did a lot of hiking locally, and every time someone asked me why I was hiking down Bald Mountain when the gondola down was free, I’d say I was training for a hike. Honestly, I felt like a real athlete, which was kind of fun at 63!
Holly: So great! So, you bought your ticket, you trained, and then you get on the plane and start walking. What surprised you about the journey?
Kat: That I left the stress at home. My focus every day was putting one foot in front of the other and going. It was a simple task, but required a lot of my energy, and the other stress I typically carried at home was gone. Also, the last 2–3 miles everyday were the longest, and challenging right to the end. Plus, they were usually uphill, which could have added to the challenge! I was happily surprised that even miles of rolling wheat fields were never boring as there was a goal, a destination, a shower to get to every day. I was surprised at how beautiful it was at 6:30am, in the dark, with the stars overhead and no real clue where I was going. In those early hours I was just following the trail with a headlamp. Some of the happiest surprises were the little stands, in the middle of nowhere, that had the most delicious watermelon. And the most welcome was the serendipity of things working out when the odds were against it — like the 87 year old farmer that stopped his tractor to give directions. I loved that this trip connected me to amazing, helpful, friendly and compassionate people from all over the world.
Holly: What a great experience. I’m so glad you got to do it. So. What’s next? What is your #BoldMoves resolution for 2018?
Kat: Honestly, with Camino de Santiago under my belt, I’m feeling more capable and confident than ever. And there is so much to choose from…Nepal, the Pacific Crest Trail, Patagonia, or a biking tour of Portugal. What’s next? One of those, or, who knows? Maybe all of them.
Thanks for sharing your adventure with the MoveWith community, Kat! We’re proud of you — and a bit envious, because the trek sounds amazing. We can’t wait to see where your courage takes you next.