Nancy Reynolds is a very experienced pilgrim.
She walked her first Camino in 2005, when she was dealing with many important changes in her life (divorce, quitting her job, turning 40). She came back for a second Camino in 2007. Since then, she has walked twice a year, most years. Mainly the Camino Francés, her love, as she describes it.
Nancy hosts the You on the Camino de Santiago podcast and guides groups on the Camino Francés.
The podcast is unique in that its focus is those pilgrims who are preparing for their first Camino and are full of doubts and questions. In each episode, Nancy shares her expertise on all things Camino and she also talks to people who haven’t walked yet and get to ask her about any aspects of the pilgrimage that worries them.
In our conversation for the Spanish for the Camino podcast, Nancy shared 3 tips with us:
- Don’t be in a hurry. Take it easy, especially on your first days; you can only walk your first Camino once.
- Spend some time thinking why? Why do you want to walk the Camino? What are your motivations?
- Always look back! Enjoy the view, breathe… and check you’re not leaving anything behind after you stop for a break.
Nancy has been able to use the Spanish she learned in school on her many Caminos. Her ability to speak Spanish has allowed her to connect with the local people, to be a part of their daily life.
Regarding this, she has another piece of advice. Something, actually, I keep saying to anyone who wants to listen: start your conversations with a greeting. Whether you’re looking for a bed in an albergue, buying something from a pharmacy or a supermaket, remember to greet people. This is much more important, if you want to be polite and respectful, than saying gracias and por favor many times.
Nancy also shares her secret, which works both for when she’s speaking Spanish and when she’s speaking English to a non-native speaker: keep it simple. Simple grammar, simple vocabulary. Makes communication much easier for both parts.
You can listen to the whole conversation, in Spanish, here:
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