Well, the blog has a life of its own…

“Despierta” – Tea inspired in The Camino


Dear Caminoheads,

We, the Pilgrims, know the expression “It takes a village” quite well; likely, all of us arrived to Santiago due to the “village” (aka “Camino Family”) that we collected during the Camino. This blog is something similar… I have the feeling that Phil took with him some sort of “magic” that kept the blog functioning properly -although, from time to time he would say that he wrote posts that then he lost-.

The thing is that the blog has been malfunctioning for months. If I would open the blog as an administrator, then, my computer would start acting funny. I have written several posts that couldn´t be published, then the address would not open the blog, or when entering the blog, the text would not “accommodate” within the lines, and instead, it would decide when to go to the next line by itself. We also noted that the comments field had disappeared… Oh, and I did not mention that the domain also had to be renewed.

And this happens to someone like me who has a technology disability. Every time my phone or computer have an update, I want to cry thinking what will NOT work next. But, gladly, we have a “village” who have been working for several days exploring what could be going on, renewing the license for the name, and doing some of the maintenance. The person doing all of this is a friend of Phil, one of those who from the background, has been supporting the whole Caminoheads infrastructure, including the corn patch last year.  And I also took my computer to a technician. I explained to him what was one of the main issues saying “So, I used to write a blog of a friend, a pilgrim with an amazing life story, but I have all sort of issues when I try to log in…” His eyes enlightened and said he had done the Camino too after losing his father to cancer, and he said he would watch Phil´s movies even if his English was not good, because he just wanted to “meet him”.

So, after getting the help of “the village”, the blog has been awakened!!!!  And while it is “up”, it is not yet running, but at least it is “up” and slowly walking…

… Right on time to remind everyone of the launch of Phil’s book based on the blog compiled and edited by Catalina (Kathryn Barush) and edited with the help of Rebecca and some others who had the luck to read it while ongoing.


So… SAVE THE DATE!!!!!!!! It will be 13Aug in the Ranch, just one day after the 3rd anniversary of Rebecca´s book “That one day in August” was launched too, and almost 3 years after the first Caminoheads gathering. 


And save some dollars too… we must make a success of this book and I am sure we all know lots of people who will be touched by Phil´s story.


“Despierta blog” loves,



SAVE THE DATE!!! 13th August, 2022 – at Raven Ranch!

Cover reveal!


Dear Caminoheads,

I have had this post in my to-do list for a while, and for some reason, I couldn´t sit to write it. Today isn´t different, but I came to terms that there are at least to intense reasons for not being able to write about Phil´s blog book… One is because it brings back to me a lot of great conversations Phil and I, and at times with Kathryn also, had while the book was maturing in the womb… conversations that have resonated a lot with me, that made me grow in so many ways… And the other is because of the content of the book, which yes, it is the same as the blog, but distilled in the way it is, and available for reading “in batches” (I mean, not a bit every day, as it happened with the blog), it is quite moving… it is a man´s journey.

And somehow it is not “a man´s journey” but to me, it is “my friend Phil´s journey”, a friend that I had for not many years really, but a friend who without even knowing, allowed me to live along him a part of my personal life story that I had no opportunity to be a part of. And this was about Cancer and not about the Camino, which is what somehow brought us together, but thinking out loud tonight, I realize that it was about Catholicism too, which is fact was the “attraction point” to Phil as I signed my first comment with a “Hugs from Argentina”…  He shot me an email right away asking “Do you know the Pope?”!

Along the years I knew Phil, he had this way of bringing up topics that had some sort of “trigger” for things I had not wanted to think about, or that I had struggled with most of my life. But Phil had the ability to treat these topics from a perspective that was inviting -if not easy- to think about them (ok, sometimes he had this crazy way and there was no easy way no matter what!) And to me, the book is that… a map of the things I walked through in my own backyard, while he was navigating his in his own backyard Camino.

I am sure I am not alone in this experience. I have the feeling that in the same way we all experience the same but in our own way when walking the Camino in Spain, the same happened when reading Phil´s blog, now put together in a book… safe from the challenges of technology!


This year, instead of a Veranda or an Oasis, there is a BOOK LAUNCH!!! The 2022 opportunity to gather in the ranch, hopefully around the tapas table, celebrating Phil´s life one more time. Rebecca and Kathryn who did a ton of work along with Phil to make this happen deserve all the credit and the hugs and celebration.


AUGUST 13th, 2022 at RAVEN RANCH


You know the methodology already… Just let us know who is willing to come; there will be no overnight stays and it will have no schedule as the Veranda or Oasis had, but it is a gathering and a celebration nonetheless!



Book launch loves,




A purifying Saturday from Spain…

Noche de San Juan from Cris´s balcony

Dear Caminoheads,

It is almost midnight in this Meridian, and from my balcony, I have just been a spectator of a fire in my doorstep. Do not desperate or worry, this is not one of those fires, it was a purifying fire… the celebration of the “Noche de San Juan”, a mixed Catholic and Pagan tradition, mixing the birth of St. John The Baptist (Jesus´s friend) and the summer solstice. Traditionally, the Noche de San Juan is celebrated at 00.00 AM of Friday 24th of June, where people go to the beach and ignite a bonfire where things that need to have “a turn” are written in a piece of paper and converted into something else by the fire… Those of us who got to Finisterre, likely burnt something there too, right? (I did!)

Well, my neighbours have done a community “offering” which was burnt not long ago, not before having some fireworks (which are the “sign” of Valencia along with the Fallas Valencianas and along with the oranges… and now there is a party where the fire was burning minutes ago with music, beer and cider… (yes, these Valencian people are interesting!!! and totally fun!!! and GOSH they cook well!!!!!) So, my apologies, but I am going downstairs and join them. (I can see my downstairs neighbours -Xavi and Inma, and Paqui and her cousin, with their chairs outside… And I have some small bottles of apple cider in the fridge that I could take to the gathering…)

All new Loves,




Fridays of Bureau Chiefs: Summer solstice, 2022 by Ryck

Phil and Ryck; selfie by Ryck


Summer solstice, 2022. 

I drive around Kitsap County here in my beloved Washington State in the evenings. It calms me. I drive through the wooded area roads, the roads through the fields filled with evergreens, and newly harvested trees, the Hood Canal with all of its glory, my favorite little road named Big Valley Road is always a treat. As I drove down that long country road there was a cow loose in the middle of the road. The owner was following the cow in a golf cart trying to coerce the cow back to the pasture. The cow was winning the argument. Reminded me of the Camino as the people would Shepard the goats or the cows. I can hear the cow bells in my mind from Spain. Later on I came across a trio of brown baby rabbits, as they trotted in the middle of the road and did circles, oblivious that I completely stopped my Jeep to watch them. 

Tonight I decided I needed to hear Phil’s voice. I looked through the the Camino Cafe podcast from last summer with Leigh Brennan interviewing  Phil. So I drove around on this beautiful summer solstice evening after work, listening to Phil talk for about an hour and a half. Each time I hear him I pick up new information as if I hadn’t heard this podcast many times over. After my Jeep drive, I picked up my dog, Josie. I took her to the local park that has a trail surrounding a big beautiful, flattened and cleared field. I laid down in the middle of the field at that park with Josie after I through the ball for her to fetch about 20 times. . I had my wooden walking stick from Spain with me. I laid on my back, looked up at the clear evening blue sky. I saw jets off in the distance leaving trails. I looked up at the sky and imagined that gravity could let me loose and I would fall upwards towards the heavens…My dog Josie was a happy girl. She came over to me and licked my face as she was sniffing all of the smells around us. It made me laugh. A genuine laugh. I needed that. My back hurt laying on it on the ground, but the grass and clear air smell was priceless. It was worth it. A little pain was the cost of the peace. So is life. 

I imagined Phil, walking around that park with his baseball hat on. 


Walking park, podcast, summer  loves. 



We should all get together this summer. Have a walk and some tapas. 

On a day like today in 2019…

Dear Caminoheads,

If you know me a bit, you know I am very fond of exploring my mind, in addition to my soul and my heart (in fact, I think I explore more my mind because to explore the soul and the heart are way more difficult endeavours for me…) And one thing I have always complained about is the fact that I tend to return to think on things that I thought I was done with. Lucky me, I have good friends, many are also professional/trained helpers and others have just good memory, who remind me that I am not in the same place, because I am not walking in a circle but in a spiral… so I am always one layer away (or one layer closer, both work) from the point I am looking at but never in the same place I have been before… Yet, the reason why I tend to look at the same point is because when I walk by it, still is a patch of discomfort…

Not sure how, but I think this thought is related to what Phil wrote on a day like today in 2019 (and it seems I commented on this post too…)


I didn’t come this far to only come this far Loves,



The post below was written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General and reposted by Cris.





Was reading a Seattle newspaper article yesterday about how our warm dry Spring weather is going to be replaced by a cooler wetter version which will last for a while. The local firemen always pray for a wet Fourth of July. Vashonites celebrate with a lot of fireworks and tend to burn down a certain amount of stuff in the process. Anyway the corn is reaching for the sky so the weather is fine with me. We are approaching knee high as of now.

So, we made it to the ballpark to cheer on our Mariners and we did a bang up job too. I think the final score was 8 – 1 Mariners. Wow, a good time. And good to hang out with Dave and Helen. Dave is one of my Bible Guys that I have been with for fifteen years studying.

Last night when the conversation shifted to our last Bible Guys meeting, Dave said that that was the best meeting that we ever had and I agree. And I have been thinking on it because I’ve had a little time and space to do that. Without being specific I want to talk about that for a moment.

One of the guys who we haven’t seen in a while spoke of his challenges with his wife’s cancer. It was very open and moving and brought us all up to date. And other guys shared stuff about what was going on with them and theirs. It all seemed to have a central theme as I listened. And that was getting to the place where one can operate, function and maybe even thrive in that place of dislocation and discomfort. That is what I am calling that state for the moment, dislocation and discomfort. It is the place where we may find ourselves after we have spent a lot of time and effort trying to avoid. The place that is the opposite of our best dreams for ourselves and our loved ones. It’s in my own case dealing with cancer.

But how do we get on top of those obstacles? How do we get to the point where we can work with that and live with that and make it into something positive? Yea, and that is really the bottom line of this blog and five years of blogging. It has been the unfolding of this process for me. It has been a long drawn out process but worth every penny and minute of it. That’s what I am beginning to see anyway.

Hey, time to go find my shoes for the morning walk. So glad I can still ambulate. Thanks for being here loves, Felipé.

Fridays of Bureau Chiefs: Reposting “Ryck’s Ridiculously Good Friday Post¨

Dear Caminoheads, Dear Ryck,

Because I had no chance yet to reach out to the Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs yet to reorganize our Fridays, I thought to repost one of the ones that other BCs have written. And I thought of looking for this one from Ryck. No, I do not remember what all the posts say, but I often remember where I was when I read them: when I read this one, I was in Buenos Aires airport about to fly to Warsaw, Poland for a work meeting, barely a bit more than a month since we were all together in the Veranda 2019. Ryck´s words touched me very deeply and I started to cry, to the point that a man next to me came to ask if I was ok. And I was, I was just very moved for realizing I was “chosen” by the Camino and by Phil too, like so many of us.

Thank you Ryck! I hope it was ok to re-post without your prior consent!!!!


Ridiculously Good Loves,



The post below was written by Ryck, Caminoheads Puget Sound Bureau Chief, reposted by Cris

Ryck’s Ridiculously Good Friday Post


I am so honored to write this Blog post on behalf of Phil for the Friday BC, Caminoheads post…One day as I walked through my local park, “Fish Park” in Poulsbo, WA, I saw on the ground, nestled next to some wet, Washington State autumn tree leaves, a cover of an old newspaper. The cover of the old “North Kitsap Herald” had a small picture of a guy on it with a ball cap and he was walking around a path. The title of the picture said, “Vashon Island man walks his own Camino”. I knew what the Camino was as I saw the movie, “The Way”, like so many of us pilgrims have. This was sometime in 2015. I had only moved to Poulsbo some 2 years earlier as it was my last duty station in the Navy before I retired in 2017. When I saw “The Way”, I knew that I would walk the Camino when I retired from the Navy. It finally happened in the summer of 2017. When I walked, a man named Steve Watkins began to follow me on Facebook. We became good Facebook, Camino chums. One day Steve messaged me to inform me he was coming to Seattle to visit “Phil’s Camino”. He invited me to meet Phil at Swedish Institute in Seattle. It was then it dawned on me that Phil was the guy from the old newspaper on the ground in the middle of the park in Poulsbo I had read about some 3 years prior. When I arrived with Steve Watkins to Swedish to meet Phil, I expected to see someone looking like perhaps they just got a chemo treatment. Then when Phil walked out, that is not what I saw. I saw a man that instantly reminded me of my Grandfather who had passed in 2009. He had the same demeanor, same mannerisms. Phil has a way of bringing a certain energy into the room unlike no other person I have met. Later on after meeting Phil, I went to his house and walked the path I originally read about on that old, faded newspaper I saw on the ground at the park. As I walked with Phil, I realized that I felt like I was at home in his yard, on his path. I love his wife Rebecca as dearly, such a straight shooter that lady, I couldn’t have loved it any better. I knew then as I know now that all of us here on this blog or at the Veranda, or that go to Raven Ranch, we are all a part of something much bigger than the Camino itself. The Camino was merely the conduit that brought Phil to us, and us to him. The energy that comes from these gatherings, these conversations are truly magical to me. To us. In the Navy, if you make Chief Petty Officer, the saying is, “The Anchors pick you, you do not pick the anchors”. The anchors are the symbol of the rank of the Chief. I always felt as if the Camino either calls to you or it doesn’t. The Camino calls to you, you do not pick the Camino. Certain energies attract certain people. How lucky are we all to have that, whatever it is, attract us all together from many different backgrounds and areas of the world. I know, matter of fact, that what is happening at Phil’s house, on Phil’s Camino is something that we will always reflect on for the rest of our lives. Something we will all know we were so fortunate to have been a part of. Henry Ford once said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it….” With Phil, I feel that is exactly what he does with each chemo treatment. He flies against the wind and every time he does this and he fights back, we are all inspired. We all fly with him. We fly with him on this blog and on his Camino. We are all flying with you, Phil. Please know that.
Flying loves for Phil,
Ryck Thompson – Puget Sound, WA. Bureau Chief.

On a day like today in 2019…

Dear Caminoheads,

This is what was going on in the ranch. I cannot remember having read this post, but reading it now, I will keep digesting this definition that “wisdom is healed suffering”…

Living life Loves,




Post below written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General reposted by Cris


Here We Are On The Veranda With Wisdom

Heart rocks with tomato.

Ah, time to be together for a few minutes anyway. This morning we will invite Wisdom in to speak with us about, well wisdom. I have seen that term and thought that it was something for old guys. But wait I am an old guy. Hmmm. But it has always had an unattainable quality about it like it was for someone else to play with. I’ll have to wait for someone else to fill me in on what is wise and what isn’t.

This morning we had a great Bible Guys meeting and we talked of a lot of things but one thing that came up was a definition for wisdom. And that was that it is healed suffering. Wisdom, any thoughts on that? Yes, you say that it reminds you of the phrase School of Hard Knocks. Yea, haven’t heard that in a long time. That is learning through living life, right?

Well yes, each one of those knocks needs to heal up to garner wisdom out of them. Yes, otherwise we could complain about them and not get any further. Or we could be unforgiving and it wouldn’t go beyond just a painful memory to relive and relive. I see that.

How else can we think of this? Yes, we know heart rocks. We like to collect them and have them around, yes, rocks that are in roughly a heart shape. So, you are saying that the cleft in the heart rock is basically an injury. That the rock is rolled and tumbled for a thousand years afterward and it becomes worn smooth or healed but there is still evidence of the injury. That’s cool, yes I can see that. In order to have heart as we say we need to have suffering and healing. I will think about that, yes.

All right, there you go! Heart shaped loves, Felipé.

On a day like today in 2017…

Dear Caminoheads,

This thing of being humans is so rich… isn’t it? Yesterday and today I spent a very brief face to face time with someone with whom I was used to have a professional relationship with in which usually it was me the one sharing more about my own tangle than this other person about its own. But meeting outside a professional setting, we embrace the fully human experience, we are all more prone to share our tangle-being, which is actually what means to be fully human.

Love your tangle and the other’s tangle Loves,




Post below written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General, reposted by Cris


On a tangle

Caminoheads in OK! That’s Tori, Annie, Roni and Ken.


Thanks for being in our tangle.  What is that Felipe?  Well,  first just want to thank folks that sent in comments of support for me over the last few days and to folks who were thinking of me.  I’ve been a little shaky lately but on the mend with your help, thank you.  But you see we are in each other’s tangle. We respond to each other because we care about each other.  That’s what I mean.   You are willing to be open to my story, me, my tangle.  It’s not always pretty but you know that and are willing to put up with that.

And you are a tangle, not that I know everything about your personal story but if you are alive I am guessing that you are a tangle, an unfinished, incomplete, unpolished, slightly dented individual.  Me too, me too.  But we reach out to touch, that’s what is important.

A tangle I thought was a good analogy.  If you reach out to me you are likely to get some on you.  Hehe, that sounds funny.  And if I in turn reach out to you I am likely to do likewise.  But hey as long as we know the rules of the game what could go wrong?  Well, a lot of things can go wrong but we risk it none the less.

Does this ever remotely make sense?  I hope so.  That is all I have in my tank today.  I have to run off.  Bless you, love you, Felipe.

On a day like today in 2020…

Dear Caminoheads,

Remember 2020… The year of the pandemic…? How crazy was that…?

Well, on a day like today during the pandemic, we had the story of Norm. I was thinking that even me here, after only 3 months, I also have my “Norm”, but her name is Doris and she sells fruits in the big market.

Love the Norm in your life,




This post has been written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General, and reposted by Cris

A guy name Norm…


(photo W Hayes)

You don’t meet that many guys named Norm these days so when you do you have to take advantage. Norm works in the hardware and lumber store on the Island. He is the one of the employees that you want to keep track of because he knows the answers and he is available. I was in buying some plumbing parts the other day and he was stocking in that aisle so we were gabbing. I had most of my plumbing problem figured out so I really didn’t need him so badly but it is always reassuring that he is close by. So I was done and ready to leave when I said, “Norm, some time before I die there is this one fitting that I never have had a chance to use and I always wanted to.” Norm thought that was humorous, “Like that’s on your bucket list?” I said, “Yea, I’m easily pleased!”

Well, that’s a good attitude to have during a quarantine. I don’t have to fly off somewhere or get seasick on some harrowing boat trip or experience some another way of having buckets of fun. Somehow being fascinated with the common or familiar seems enough for me these days. Being outside walking the trail with visiting pilgrims and weeding the corn seems just great for a June’s activities.

I was listening in on My Rebecca’s Zoom meeting today with her knitting group. It was absolutely hilarious. So glad I had the opportunity. People are connecting and just having good times despite the lockdown or near lockdown anyway.

So, time to go. It is drying up outside, time to continue my contests with the weeds.

be safe loves, Felipé.