The Camino de Santiago: A Pilgrimage Trek with Lydia B. Smith and Kurt Koontz

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Over a period of thirteen hundred years, more than two million people have ventured down the sacred path of the Camino de Santiago. The northern route of this pilgrimage trek starts in the Pyrenees in France and takes pilgrims 500 miles to the west of Spain. Koontz describes the auberges (hostels) where one might be sleeping in a room with 200 people and sharing a bunk bed. When somebody moves in their sleep they shake the whole bed. Of course, with so many people there are bound to be those who snore. It’s not something most of us are used to and could be described as a bad situation because you wake up tired. He says, “If you can let go and leave some of those things behind and be appreciative of the bed and the fact that you have a place to stay with shelter, you wake up well rested.” Smith reminds us of the saying, “A tourist demands; a pilgrim is grateful.” The Camino is said to really put you into the here and now, and may help to release a litany of judgments. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Lydia B. Smith has been involved in the film industry for more than a quarter of a century. She has produced films for CNN and PBS. She is a licensed spiritual practitioner of the Agape International Spiritual Center and the United Centers for Spiritual Living. In the spring of 2008 she walked the Camino de Santiago.

She is director and producer of the documentary film:

To learn more about Lydia B. Smith’s work go to Kurt Koontz retired early from his job as a successful sales executive for a Fortune 500 technology company and then spent his time volunteering in his community. He bicycled across Europe and in the Western United States and Canada. In 2012 he walked the 500 mile El Camino de Santiago.

He’s author of:

To learn more about Kurt Koontz’s work go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What inspired Smith and Koontz to walk the Camino
  • How the experience of the Camino leads to listening more deeply to yourself
  • What is the significance of the scallop shells and yellow arrows on the trail
  • What is the Pilgrim’s Passport
  • How is it to sleep with 200 pilgrims in a room in an auberges (hostel)
  • How the many volunteers create an atmosphere of beauty and kindness
  • How meeting people from all over the world is a special feature of walking the Camino
  • What are the many ways to walk the Camino
  • How the Camino continues to work on one’s psyche even years after making the trek
  • How does one integrate such a powerful experience as walking the Camino

Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 12/9/2013      Program Number: 3491

Music Playlist

From Album: Walking the Camino: Motion Picture Soundtrack
Artists: Jami Sieber, J.J. McGeehan, and others

Opening Essay: Track 05 Red Moon, artist Jami Sieber
Music Break 1: Track 01 Opening Theme: Walking the Camino, artist J.J. McGeehan
Music Break 2: Track 02 In this Moment, artist J. J. McGeehan
Music Break 3: Track 08 Acumen, artist J. J. McGeehan