Pilgrimage: The Art of Mindful and Sacred Travel

Is El Camino on your ‘bucket list’?

Are you in transition and wanting space and time to reflect on ‘what’s next’?

Are you celebrating a milestone life event?

Are you seeking a travel experience that aligns with your deepest values?

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, is the epic pilgrimage route of Europe. Choose between two hidden gem pilgrimage options: Camino del Norte and Camino Finisterre.

Distinctive from other pilgrimage options, Walk in Beauty specializes in preparing you in body, mind, and spirit for your once in a lifetime journey. You are carefully nurtured as an individual, not a number, and as an integral member of a small, intimate pilgrimage community. This helps to ensure that your pilgrimage is deeply meaningful and transformational for you.

While Walk in Beauty Pilgrimages are designed to meet your needs and expectations with stunning natural scenery, superb accommodations, and exceptional regional-delicious meals, we are specialists on the ‘Heart of El Camino’, supporting you in the process of self-discovery to lead a more courageous, resilient, and soulfully meaningful life.

Both the Camino del Norte and the Camino Finisterre, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage combine the stunning beauty of El Camino de Santiago, Spain with the Center for Courage & Renewal® Approach to reflect of your deepest values. The Approach includes spacious time in solitude and in community, journaling, and reflection with poetry and prose to life’s big questions. In our exclusive, small group pilgrimage, you are spoiled by breathtaking natural beauty of the sun-drenched north coast of Spain, magnificent accommodations, and exquisite food.

The crown jewel of Spanish walking trails, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw spiritual seekers worldwide to enjoy the beauty of green rolling hills, stunning coastal views, and small hamlets of northern Spain. Come be part of this magical trail as you explore these extraordinary pilgrimage routesEngage sacred landscapes mindfully and listen to the wisdom within you, to the Mystery of a journey filled with thresholds and ‘thin places’. Come and experience first-hand the sacred art and practice of pilgrimage called peregrinatio, walking mindfully.

Read more from Valerie Brown’s blog in Kosmos Journal…

What You Will Experience on a Lead Smart Pilgrimage: Walk in Beauty…

Feel grounded and centered inward with quiet self-reflection and reflection in small groups, using poetry, prose, music, and the land itself. Return home deeply touched by the beauty and inspiration of sacred land and culture.

Savor the present moment. Our pilgrimage journeys are very different from the typical ‘hiking vacation’ or ‘cultural tour’. You won’t sit on a bus, ‘touring’, or sleep in a hostel. Your won’t rush from one site to another to ‘get it all in’. You’ll move at a human pace to ‘allow your soul to catch up to your feet’. Be a pilgrim, not a tourist.

Enjoy connection with like-minded people; evening gatherings offer you time to reflect, write, and share from your experience, supporting your integration of this unique adventure.

Foster respect and integrity for the land, the people, and the culture of northern Spain.

Our private coach is loaded with healthy snacks and cold drinks and is available whenever you want to ride. Luggage is transferred to your hotel and after breakfast and morning reflection, the coach delivers you to the trailhead to begin each day on El Camino. You decide how much (or how little) you want to walk.

What People Are Saying About Lead Smart Coaching Pilgrimage: Walk in Beauty…

“I was surprised by joy, by the deep, authentic connection with those in this group as we shared the beauty and the challenge of the walk.”

“I loved the quality time devoted to hearing each others’ stories.”

“I loved the sense of community.”

“I loved the reflection with poetry.”

“Wonderful accommodations, closeness to nature, and solitude.”

“I learned to reconnect with what is really essential in my life.”

“I was deeply touched by the beauty of the environment we walked through, the silence, the stillness.”

Your Values, Expressed through Sacred, Mindful Travel…

Walk in Beauty Confidential Registration Form

Walk in Beauty Frequently Asked Questions

Brief History of El Camino

Camino del Norte Flyer

Camino Finisterre Flyer

Click on the photo above to view the coastline captured on the Camino Finisterre pilgrimage.

Life has an expiration date; move El Camino off your ‘bucket list’.  Experience peace, awaken to new insights, and return home spiritually nourished, renewed, refreshed, and enriched through sacred, mindful travel.


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Named one of the best courageous books of 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal, this book is for educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. Loaded with real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day, this book is a must-have guide.

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson. Corwin, December 2014. 344 pages.

The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel.

Not your average travel guidebook, this book explores some of the world’s great pilgrimages, destinations, and the author’s reflections on the lessons she learned from them. Read this book to discover how travel can be transformational, how to be more mindful while traveling and every day, the adventures of traveling alone, the delights of encountering new people and places, ancient pilgrimage journeys and sacred travel worldwide.

Valerie Brown. QuakerBridge Media, 2012, 152 pages. Also available from QuakerBooks.

Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond Valerie

Valerie Brown guides readers toward renewal of mind, heart, and spirit by encouraging them to take time away from the busyness of their lives through retreat. Drawing on her experience as a retreatant and retreat leader, she introduces readers to opportunities for personal restoration within a variety of focused retreats. She wonders how Friends experience of expectant waiting influences the retreat process and how retreats influence expectant waiting. She encourages the “big questions”—What has meaning and purpose in my life? What am I avoiding? What brings me most alive?—and offers specific practices for retreatants to cultivate in everyday life.

Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #421.

Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.

Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407. 2014.