Have I Lost My Mind?

I’m doing something CRAZY this May/June & I’m hoping you can help me. I’m going to walk the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a 500-mile ancient pilgrimage walk that starts in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in southwest France and ends in the town of Santiago in northwest Spain. I’m hoping to raise $25,000 for a great charity called Unbound. Scroll down for more details.

My Daily Camino Blog


About The Camino de Santiago

500 Miles! Yikes!!!!

Yes, I know it seems like a lot of miles to walk, but I plan on doing it in 35 days, which works out to about 15 miles of walking per day. My plan is to carry no more than 22 pounds (including pack, equipment, food, water…) on my back. The good news is that the route is well supported with hostels, restaurants, shops… so I won’t need to carry a tent or cooking equipment. (You can find more about the Camino here LINKY )

This is the route I will be walking.

There are more than 460,000 videos on YouTube about the Camino!!! Luckily, I found a short overview done by Rick Steves. Enjoy:

About The Unbound Charity


Unbound partners with families living in true poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient and fulfill their desired potential. When you make a donation to Unbound, you invest in personalized benefits that support goals chosen by the sponsored individual and their family.

Here is a great video (120 seconds) that sums-up their mission:

Why I Chose Unbound

I looked at many charities to support and chose Unbound for the following reasons:

  • Unbound has been around since 1981 and has a proven track-record.
  • 92% of Unbound’s expenses go toward program support (only 8% goes to admin and fundraising!), so you know that your contributions are working hard to meet the needs of those who really need your help.

unbound chart

  • Unbound consistently meets and exceeds the standards of third-party organizations that evaluate charities in order to help donors make wise giving decisions.

Unbound Charity watch

  • Some of you might know that I studied to be a priest at La Salette Seminary (Yes, this is true!) The Headmaster (Fr. Roger Plante) and I became good friends through the years and he supported and promoted Unbound for decades and had nothing but good things to say about the organization.

You can learn more about the great work they do here Unbound



For the answers to more frequently asked questions.

Why Am I Doing This?

I really don’t have a definitive answer but I have shown a tendency to go on crazy interesting adventures. When I graduated from college (a million years ago 🙂 ) I did a similar thing. I rode on a bicycle from New York to San Francisco (3,000 miles) and raised $15,000 for the Autism Society. LINKY  I also biked from New Hampshire to Florida (1,500 miles) after I graduated from the seminary and raised some money for a local charity. So, I guess it’s in my DNA and it is time to do something interesting and good again.

What’s It Like to Walk The Camino?

I have no idea. But I have read several books, watched a bunch of YouTube videos and explored dozens of forums and here are 3 general themes I found:

  • The Body: It can be grueling at times. Those who did some training before the Camino faired much better. There aren’t any official numbers, but my research indicates that less than 50% complete the entire Camino. (You can learn about how I’m training here)
  • The Mind: It seems like you have to convince yourself that you can do it. Don’t focus on the 500 miles. Instead, focus on the now – just walk 15 miles today.
  • The Spirit: You meet people from all over the world, doing the Camino for lots of different reasons. (Recent grads taking a break before entering the “real-world”, in between jobs, looking for an adventure, newly divorced, mourning the loss of a loved one, recently retired or in search of meaningful purpose and direction in life). Most people who have done the Camino also talk about the great sense of liberation, knowing that all they need today is in their backpack. For me, my expectations are pretty simple, I will finish the 500 miles and help raise some money for a charity that does really good work. Anything more is a bonus!

How Can I Help?

It would be AWESOME if you would consider making a donation to Unbound and help me reach the $25,000 goal. There are several options:

  1. Donate 10¢ per mile which would be a $50 donation.
  2. Donate 25¢ per mile which would be a $125 donation.
  3. Donate 50¢ per mile which would be a $250 donation.
  4. Donate $1 per mile which would be a $500 donation.
  5. Donate any other amount.

To make your donation to Unbound just click here Donate

Please note that you will make your donation directly to Unbound which is a tax-deductible donation.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!   -jj shields

P.S. Check out some of my more interesting blog posts below.