All posts by CrisM

Binoculars shopping


Boot in Finisterre (Argentina should be in the distant horizon) by Cris (CSABC; Oct2014)

It seems that the Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs have lost our calendars in the last couple weeks and the boss (a.k.a. Phil or Felipe) blogging week have returned to a daily schedule… I am posting today just because, and maybe we can all (very much talking to myself here!!!) “go back to work”… (believe me… the boss is very generous with his checks ;))

Life in the south cone has become blurry again… vaccination is moving slowly and rightfully covering the frontline workers, and the high risk groups first, but indeed very slow… we only have less than 5% of the population with 2 doses of the vaccine, and we have started our fall/winter season, and Argentina is right now the first country in the world with the highest number of cases and deaths in a day per million habitants… We are back to a full lockdown (no circulation is allowed, shops other than groceries and pharmacies are closed, and we are asked to stay inside…)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I may have some Irish gen because I can be a windbag even more when writing, so let’s go back to the title of this post. Binoculars. A few days ago, Phil posted about a zoom call with the radiotherapy doctor and going to Cabela’s, the island outdoors gear store, and maybe look for “binoculars”, and that post hit close to home, as since my teenager years, I have been working on finding “my way to see” my life story. Why? Because all I knew was what I was told, but as I moved along in life, my point of view of things changed, and my canvas became wider, and I realized the way I was looking at things till then was true, but wasn’t mine.

The Camino was great for this purpose, maybe this is why one of my favorite quotes is the one from Martin Robinson in “Sacred places, pilgrim paths” that says something like “the familiar obscures the eternal not because it is not present but because it simply cannot be recognized without the experience of a broader canvas”… a similar idea is present in Rebecca Solnit’s book “A field guide to getting lost”: “Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are”, and lastly, this other way of seeing that Padraig O’Tuama tells in “In the shelter: finding a place in the world”: “… some call it Northern Ireland and others call it the North of Ireland. These aren’t wordgames either. Depending on what you believe, death was called murder or legitimate aggression.”

Phil’s mention to going to Cabela’s and check the binoculars aisle, made me think it would be sooooo great if the “key” is in the outdoors gear store… sadly it is a bit more complicated than that… but in another way, isn’t this true too? At the end of the day, the outdoors gear store also sell walking shoes…

New ways of seeing loves,


Reasons for walking slowly

Simple thoughts by Mariandrew (From @bymariandrew instagram)

Not sure if the boss is coming today to write, but I thought to sneak in a post one more time, just because I read something on instagram today, and cannot stop thinking on it.

This woman posts thoughts written in watercolors, yes, very simple, but at the same time, I feel that the simplicity the page has makes me think on what she writes (check her out, she is @bymariandrew). This is what she posted today:

“When people are walking very slowly, I imagine the possibilities that could be contributing to their leisurely pace of plod:

  • Perhaps their feet hurt
  • Perhaps they are recovering from an incident that could have taken their life, but it was gracious enough to take their fast gait instead
  • Perhaps they are trying to notice everything and don’t want to rish
  • Perhaps they are too early for a first date
  • Perhaps they are trying to align their steps with the rhythm of their heartbeat.

I don’t know. Seems possible. ”

These lines made me think on all the different circumstances others may be going through and we don’t know. In this case, it is just walking slowly… Walking slowly can hide some lovely reasons as being early for a first date, but also be as devastating as dealing with the symptoms of a disease. So… no matter what and why, isn’t this a great reason for practicing being more patient and kinder towards the rest of the humanity?

“Love is patient and kind” Loves,


Cyber-Pilgrim Experiences

Cris’s mate. Picture taken while on vacation. March 2021 (by Cris)

Cris here reporting from a cool sunny morning in the south of South America. Hopefully, the boss (aka Phil) is snoozing as I write today’s post and will feel a bit less frazzled and be able to relax and enjoy breakfast with his Rebecca and Steve-O aware that he doesn’t need to rush to write the blog today. (We know him and he may come to report anyway, but an attempt to give him a rest doesn’t hurt!)

As I read the posts these past days, I couldn’t help thinking of Felipe. Phil has had a number of “intense” days, but I have no doubts they were way more intense for Felipe. Let me explain this.

Felipe’s world is about walking, with a tidy, humble, very basic and very simple bag-pack. The days as pilgrims are so simple. They are full of amazement as we walk through the sunflowers fields, are so full of laughter as we sit in the tapas tables or the pilgrims menu dinners, or the “bocadillo” stop at midday, that the weirdest thing that happens is perhaps to type a long password for the wifi. These days, Felipe has had to coordinate times, follow ferry/drives schedules, follow protocols are entering the Swedish  Institute, wear a mask, use sanitizer, keep the distance with other humans, get tattoos for the target points, get into the radiation machine… Definitely, too much.

Glad Phil and his rationale mind takes the lead some of these days, but Felipe might feel like when a bunch of elderly Spaniards from Galicia start talking to each other and he couldn’t catch a word and there is no remedy but smiling!

Anyway, what I was thinking as I read the blog these days, is how becoming pilgrims has shaped the way we live our lives after that experience. And I say this, even when my daily work revolves around complicated medical/scientific stuff and things I will never be able to see (very much as an act of faith, even when science is seen as the opposite of faith). But that is what I do for a living, but not how I live my life, which is very much rooted in walking instead of finding the fastest way to arrive somewhere by taking highways and speeding, very much about “less” than “a lot”, and definitely a lot about tapas tables than ascetic sanitized environments.

Why am I trying to explain this if I know you know what I am talking about, right?! Well, then it is time to heat up more water for my mate, and wish you all a simple Sunday!

Pilgrims Love,


Checking in!

Phil being Phil (Picture by Jim M)

I have heard from the boss (AKA Phil), that the blogging injuries are getting better with the blogging rest, so it was a good thing that he accepted the PTO (Paid Time Off) for this week.

I was thinking actually that this year, Phil did not take his vacation in the Elk Hotel as he has been doing for years; if I am not recalling wrong, he left for their male hunting trip with Wiley and James (Wiley’s friend, also known as “The most interesting man in the world”) but they returned before planned. I am wondering how much the blogging injuries are related to the blogging act itself, or instead are related to the lack of vacation… or related to the lack of sleeping days in the Elk Hotel beds… or to spending some days outside the ranch sleeping in the cold… Maybe, sleeping in the cold provides some tension to the muscles that force the spine to align… or maybe the Elk Hotel beds do that…

You may think I have watched too many episodes of Dr. House (the TV series with the bad tempered, sarcastic doctor)… and while that is something I cannot deny, I a firm believer in the healing power of those activities that became our rituals, traditions and hobbies; that at practicing, they help us release all these endorphins, hormones and neurotransmitters, that are what create a healing environment in our minds and bodies.

I think we discussed this topic some time ago in the blog, didn’t we? It was when we were saying that many of us had awful blisters, muscle aches, bed-bugs bites and other maladies in the Camino, yet all of us are thinking on our next walk… that makes me think that the wellbeing-environment that walking created for us, healed us more than hurt us…

Back to the boss, while I have said that he would need to return to his desk on Monday, it seems that he wants to reincorporate to his duties on Saturday… so, I just would like to thank everyone for putting up with me these days! Phil is right when he says you are the best!

Substitute Love,



A sea of tiny fires

“Un mar de fueguitos written by Eduardo Galeano” by CinWololo Canciones Ilustradas

“A man from the village of Neguá, in the coast of Colombia, was able to go to Heaven. Upon returning, he spoke. He said he had contemplated the human beings from the Height. And he said we are a sea of tiny fires.

-This is what the world is- he revealed-: A lot of people, a sea of tiny fires.
Each person brights with his own light among the light of the others.

There are not two fires alike. There are big fires and small fires and fires of each colour. There are people of a calm fire, that do not even notice the wind, and there are people of a crazy fire, that fill the air with sparks. Some fires, silly fires, neither light up nor burn; but others, burn the life with so much will that they can not be looked at without blinking, and whoever gets close to them, is kindled.”

This is my own translation of a text written by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, from a wonderful book called “El Libro de los Abrazos”, something like “The Book of the Embraces”. I read this book when I was 18 and has been one of my companions since, and somehow shaped the way I see human nature.

I like to think that we are fires because of what the fire itself is: its dynamism, that can stir up or can let be put off. And in reference to this, it makes me think that beyond what the fire is per se, there is our own responsibility to keep it burning. There are no doubts that we have to take care of our own fire.

Some time ago, reading a blog* I am used to visiting, I found some words from St. Augustine along with a thought of the owner of the blog that added a bit more of  food for thought:

“-“Because there are some who call themselves simple but they are lazy; … they call themselves docile, but are apathetic” (St. Augustine, idem)-. If our simplicity, our docility, our kindness and our tolerance are not compatible with a heart that is passionate by good and truth, then it is not tolerance but apathy, indifference and “flippancy”.”

I cannot avoid thinking about the attentiveness we were talking about yesterday (and Catherine so beautifully added on! Go to the comments!!!) How easily we can just “slip in” and let our lives “go by”, speaking in fires, becoming a “silly fire that neither stir up nor burn”. I wish to burn my life with eagerness, because the best thing of being such a fire is that its warmth exceeds ourselves, it is offered freely to those who are close and to those that being far away want to get closer to warm up… it is as if in this “giving without giving”, offering without even noticing, that our real human nature is hidden.


Warm Loves,


Busy Tuesday

Cellular Landscape Cross-Section Through A Eukaryotic Cell by Evan Ingersoll and Gael McGill.

Ufff… second day at the job and I am already late… I hope the boss doesn’t fire me… The thing is that the day has been busy with a morning long training about the disease my team and I are working on. It never ceases to amaze me how complex our biology is and how clever we can be, in order to understand processes completed by things we will never see…

Today, the professor who was delivering the training, said at a moment that the enzymatic failure that causes the disease we are studying was discovered in 1960… that is 60 years ago… Now, think about how the world was like 60 years ago (you might need to tell me, because I was not born back then!)… but for sure, I can tell there were no cellphones with cameras, no computers, no emails, no Hubble telescopes, so all that there was, was the scientists in their labs, maybe with their assistants and notebooks with untidy notes… but clearly, with a very sharp, focused mind, and way less time lost scrolling screens…

Would that be the reason why people back then were able to make such discoveries? In my humble opinion, I think so… I think people got less bored, were able to sustain their concentration longer, because the fast pace of the screens and the ability to have all the information you need in a couple clicks, has brought up a lot of impatience, certainly that happens to me…

Several of us found in the Camino a “slow way of life” (not sure if that is proper English, but I hope you get what I mean!) Life outside the Camino includes rushing, google maps telling how to get from A to B in the quickest way, highways, and usually never walking. And in this slower pace, we were able to see things we never saw before too, lots of us had the opportunity to have real conversations with other human beings for the first time in a long time too… (because we were walking…!!! Have you tried to have a long conversation with someone while running and oxygen is short and the breathing is agitated?) and I was wondering too how many of us saw ourselves for the first time in our adult lives and had a conversation with ourselves long enough to get to discover a tiny bit of who we are…

In any case, today, as I was in my training, I was reflecting with awe and admiration how much we are able to do when we aren’t distracted… and I must say after that, I felt some sadness for all that we are missing when we aren’t paying attention… The good thing is that we have the opportunity to make a better choice in the next minute and the next and the next…

Let’s make the choice to think of the boss and his brain scan… looking forward to hearing how that went… We know scans are always a stressful deal.

Walking loves,




Family relationships

Cris and Agus in WWE (by Agus)

Oh boy, the boss is a hard bone, isn’t he? He was prescribed a day off but he couldn’t help and sat back in the red sofa to blog for us… I am definitely not telling his chiropractor, and I am crossing my fingers he didn’t come to check the blog and found that his patient has misbehaved!!! So anyway, you will have to put up with me again today, as I will blog on the boss behalf.

I loved Phil’s description about working with Wiley, and I thought about a funny story that I had with my youngest nephew, when he was around 5 years old (now he is 10). For him, I had always been “Tia Cris” (Auntie Cris). You see, my brother only has one sister (me), and we no longer have parents; and my sister in law’s family lives in another province, so the only one around most of the time for them in those years was me.

That year, on Tuesdays my oldest nephew used to go to his first Communion classes, and it was a family thing, so his parents were going along. So, it was my turn to pick up the youngest from kindergarten, bring him to my house, and bake cookies or muffins, as we waited for his brother and parents.

This particular afternoon, I picked him from kinder, and as we were walking to my house, he was saying good-bye to each of his friends and was telling me the name and last name of each, as he greeted them. I then asked him if he knew his name, and he loudly said his name and last name, and I asked about his brother’s, and he also said it correctly, and continued to tell me his mother’s maiden name and his father’s name and last name. Then is when I decided to ask him if he knew my name, to which he replied: “YES! AUNTIE CRIS!”, to what I said that it was not, and when I said my name, he opened his eyes widely, looked at me in awe, and exclaimed: “Why do you have the same last name I have?”, so I explained to him that his father and I were siblings, and went on to explain to him that that was the reason why I was his “auntie”… he was puzzled, he was as if a new world had opened in front of him…

We arrived home, baked cookies more silently than ever, and then his brother arrived. He rushed to the door with excitment and the first thing he said his brother -who was 8- was: “You know what? Auntie Cris is daddy’s sister!!!”, as if he had this big news he wanted to share. But instead, his brother shrugged and said: “Yes, that is why she is Auntie Cris”. You could not imagine his face… he was shocked… and as he was looking at each of us, the adults in the room, exclaimed: “And why didn’t any of you tell me?!” 

That was a big lesson to me… how many times do we take for granted that the other knows some very basic things, and we live years in that way, until we realize it is not the case? For quite a while, after this funny event happened, I paid attention to this question and realized how many things I just “assume” everyone else knows… and in consequence, I realized how many misunderstandings come from those “assumptions”… As I write about this today, I think I will start contemplating this topic again… I am foreseeing there will be a number of conversations I will have to have…

New worlds opening loves,



Houston, shall we test so we DO NOT have a problem?

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Saturday April 10th, 2021 ~ 9:21 AM
The sky is cloudy and it is drizzling.

Buenos días Peregrinos!
I decided this morning to hijack the boss’s blog and write a post on his behalf… With these blogging injuries he has been talking about, my medical training indicates that he should be prescribed a day off of blogging, would you agree?
It isn’t that life in the South Cone is running smoothly at the moment, in fact is all rocky, but at least, there are no blogging injuries so far!!!

In Buenos Aires city and Great Buenos Aires (what it is called the “AMBA” -Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires-), we are in a new lockdown due to COVID since yesterday. At the moment, it is sort of “soft” but the situation is getting serious and I am afraid more severe measures will be soon needed.

Personally, in the last month, life has been pretty much like the first half of Stallone Rocky III movie, although I am not in a boxing ring. There have been some unexpected fast-pace news family related, including that my only brother and his family (i.e. my only two young nephews with whom I am very close) are moving abroad this coming weekend. So, it has been busy, in all the ways this word can be used…

Although, I guess that who is truly going through a very sorrowful painful time right now is Queen Elizabeth, with the dead of her husband of 74 years, at age 99… I don’t know a lot about the Royal Family in England, but one of the things that I have always been touched by were the pictures where the 2 of them were… there was always a look of love and companionship, unbelievable after so many years…

But, as we all may know -if you are friends with Phil, Phil’s Rebecca and/or Catalina in the facebook-, there have been fantastic big news about the work, that Catalina started and completed by the three of them, related to the book about the Caminoheads blog. I will let the boss comment more about this when he feels it is the time, but all I can say is that that book will be life changing to anyone reading it… It is an extremely well curated distillate of Phil’s thoughts (and you know the boss can be wild!) This is why I would like to give you all an early kind free-of-charge advice and suggest start saving money to buy several copies and distribute to everyone you love and want to live their lives fully.

Hopefully, I will hit the right button and have this posted!

Be patient Loves,