Stories From Women Who Walk
Camino Adventures with Lisa Morales: Peregrina, Hospitelera, Travel Blogger and Photographer. Part 1.
Some of us may never walk a Camino, some may walk only once, and then there are those for whom Camino is a lifelong adventure. Join us for Part 1 with Lisa Morales walking her life while life walked her.
Coming to you from Whidbey Island, Washington this is Stories From Women Who Walk: true-life, practical, funny, heart-breaking, insightful human experience stories from women who are walking their lives while their lives walk them and the lasting difference these journeys have made. You’ll recognize yourself in stories of adversity, challenge, fear, discovery, adventure, expression, and more. Why? Because, the sorcery of stories is this: they help each of us to be seen and heard, to understand and be understood. I’m your host, Diane Wyzga.
Today my guest is Lisa Morales who’s joining us from Back East on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Lisa and I share a deep affection for the Camino de Santiago, all things pilgrim, and showing up, saying “Yes!” to the hand we are dealt. I’ve invited Lisa to walk with us and talk about the Life ups and down that led her to walking the Camino, serving as a hospitalera or hostess in an albergue or hostel, her photography, and what comes next. Welcome to the podcast, Lisa!
00 to 2:10 Intro
Start From Where You Are
2:10 to 9:35 Walking Together
1. If I met up with you on the Camino trail what’s the first thing I’d notice?
- As a pilgrim you’d wonder about my carrying a gargantuan camera and camera gear with a few clothes
- As a hospitelera, you’d be tired and wet and hungry and may not notice her; although being an American woman stands out
2. If we had some time to walk along together what might I get to know?
- Muxilla (backpack) with camera gear
- Not her first Camino; already walked a number of routes
- Every walk always associated with major life-change events on each one: turn 50, get divorced, walking twice with young son, (age 10 and then 12); and once walking the Camino in reverse East to West - shocking and remarkable
3. When we parted ways what would I remember about you?
- Slow walker - intentionally slow
- Photographing her surroundings
- Our conversation might be about background, education, and home
- Walking Camino at her own pace, in her own way and for her own reasons
- Adopting Camino family was not her choice to have more time on own
- A Camino family: a group you adopt and walk with
- Prefers no pressure to keep up or be in a certain place at a certain time because that’s distracting for pilgrim experience
- Walking ‘estoy solo’ is important aspect to consider your life story
Transition to the Back Story - We All Have One
9:35 to 12:00 Smith College and Ada Comstock Scholars Program and Empowerment
Briefly, so we have some context I understand yours, too, is a life in progress. You went to Smith College, the youngest non-traditional scholarship student at the age of 19 under the auspices of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program along with her 2 year old daughter and from a family where no one had gone to college. You went from shy loner to strike organizer. What did it take for you to say “Yes!” for you to push back on the Imposter Syndrome?
- Credit 100% Smith College women who are smart, strong, independent
- A woman’s college is an environment where women for women
- Empowerment is the result bringing out what she had in her
- Sit-in against apartheid to get college to divest of holdings was the beginning and 36 years later daughter is following mom’s footsteps
12:00 to 13:53 What can you offer to someone who wants to push back, to say "Yes!"
- Find your tribe: women’s book group, like-minder walkers, whomever and whatever you need to do
- Lisa joined American Pilgrims On Camino (APOC) as her tribe - a place to go where everyone says: You can be a pilgrim! Yes! You can do this!
- Pilgrims are either walked versus not-yet-walked; Lisa works with the “not yet walked”
- APOC Camino gets Americans off the couch and out the door if you have the will
13:53 to 16:05 Something or someone comes along to invite you
- Opportunities come along to invite you
- Maybe you hear it on a podcast
- Lisa found a book in a travel store (John Brierley Camino Portuguese) which was on her bookshelf for years; and then you bump into people and walkers pop up
- Synergistic life will draw the Camino to you
- Once you start putting it out there it comes manifested
- The Universe is conspiring to help you succeed. (The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho)
- The Universe acts to bring people into your orbit to help you
- Albergue Acacio y orietta in Villoria de Rioja
16:05 to 17:55 What do you remember about choosing the Camino Portuguese guidebook in 2007
- Maybe it chose me
- Her photography is featured on the 2018/2029 cover of Camino Pilgrim Guides: Camino Finisterre-Muxia
- The reason for her choice of a photo with cross turned on her son who was 3 years old and development of son’s faith formation at a time when religion was a battleground
17:55 to 22:45 What is the Camino?
- The Way of St James, a pilgrimage since Medieval times and mentioned in the Canterbury Tales
- Many reasons to walk (spiritual, religious, sightseeing, introspective...)
- Time alone
- Time in nature is what humans need
- On Camino we are all outside; walking is our job; the outdoors is the gift and people
- What does it mean to pilgrimage?
- What’s a pilgrim and what’s a tourist - profound question
- Many people might begin as tourist and end as pilgrim
- Many people don’t have a reason to walk Camino
- Most often the reason is not defined
- The change happens on the walk
- The Compostella is the diploma of having walked, at least the last 100 km
- No way to collectively compare beginning reason to walk with end reason
- Her own experience and those of others: personal development, growth, change, transformation
- May take processing over time to understand what happened to you
22:45 to 23:35 What Called You?
- Over and over a pilgrim is asked: What called you?
- Each time the question shifts the answer
- Pilgrims share a knowing of being called
- The take-aways came after and continue to this day
23:35 to 26:05 Calling Versus Decision
In 2014 you attempted the Camino del Norte. What drew you to the Camino? What makes a non-athletic woman of 50 decide to set out on the Camino with a 10 year old in tow?
- A calling as well to walk the Camino de Note (700 km)
- Planned a few months in advance
- Seasoned traveler so was comfortable with going and with son despite being
- Practical Tip: beginning person / end person: before you leave write yourself a letter and leave it on kitchen table and read it when you get back: what hopes, dreams, experiences, or fears were stated
- Lisa could not have seen the roller coaster coming or the tempest
26:05 to 28:22 Tempest Behind and Ahead
- In 2014 you return with the idea of buying a house to offer as an albergue - a hostel for pilgrims. What drew you that endeavor? How did it turn out?
- Moved from Albany, New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 2006, her mom died, her son was born premature, she was working on PhD in French, her daughter became ill and moved away, so there was new place, new home, new baby, new career (no more labor negotiations)
- She planned in 2014 to walk Camino with son and not husband
- She was hurt in Ribadeo and that ended the walk and son was hospitalized in Bilbao
- Husband insisted to meet up in Santiago despite this; but now what? Their home on the Cape rented, nowhere to go. Plan B
28:20 to 33:23 Plan B
- Rented a gîte (a small furnished vacation house) outside Navarrenx, France, and there she found a sign for the Camino Voie de Puy en Velay
- Lisa recuperated and the family visited Lourdes
- Albergue outside Navarrenx called: The Alchemist
- Family decides to return to USA and make plans to move to France
- Lisa returns to France 3 months later, found property on Voie de Puy en Velay, next 18 months of planning, permitting, and conversions, etc.
- At close of 2015 while in France with only 2 weeks left to close, all belongings and property in USA sold, was served with divorce papers ending a 15 year marriage
- Then began the tempest...
Question: Having lived that story, how did the Camino touch your experiences?
Return for Lisa's answer and so much more on Part 2 -> Thursday 19th November 2020
Here we are, at the end of the road but not the journey. Thank you for listening to this episode of Stories From Women Who Walk with your host Diane Wyzga and my guest Pilgrim, Hospitelero and Photographer Lisa Morales. We’ll pick up with Part 2 next Thursday to hear more about Lisa, her Camino, and walking her life while her life walked her. Remember to visit Lisa on her website - the link is in the Episode Notes. Meanwhile, please stop by every Monday through Friday for 60 Seconds, Time Out Tuesday, Story Prompt Friday, and every 2nd and 3rd Thursday for guest interviews. You’ll find us on Simplecast or your favorite podcast platform. Come for the stories - stay for the magic! And speaking of magic, would you leave us a nice rating and review on Apple Podcasts. When you return bring your friends and rellies. You will have wonderful company as we walk our lives together.
BIO of Lisa Morales
Approaching 50 in 2014, after a career in first labor relations and then real estate, the challenge I chose was walking the Camino de Santiago with my then 10 year old son. He became very ill in Bilbao, but we hit the road again after hospitalization. I became injured in Ribadeo, and he marked the map where we would take up the endeavor again 18 months later.
The Camino became all-encompassing. I began volunteering as hospitalera, walking more routes, and turning my first brand-new camera toward the people and places along The Way. I mentor new pilgrims here at home, and counsel returning pilgrims about integrating their camino into their “real lives.”
About to become an empty-nester for the second time in 22 years, I know only that the Camino, and creating art are in my future. With Covid raging and my travel confined to the USA, I am seeing the great outdoors from the comfort of my tiny teardrop trailer, photographically documenting this astounding and disturbing moment in our history, until the Camino calls again.
How to Contact and Stay In Touch with Lisa
Stories From Women Who Walk Production Team
Podcaster: Diane F Wyzga: Quarter Moon Story Arts
Music: Entering Erdenheim from Crossing the Waters by Steve Schuch & Night Heron Music
Sound Editing: Dawin Carlisle & First Class Reels
All content and image © 2019 - Present: for credit and attribution Quarter Moon Story Arts