Meet the Ladies of Andaspain

Our Leading Ladies

Vanessa and Kate are the co-founders and owners of Andaspain Walking Adventures. I have been working for the company since 2014 and I wanted to share a little bit more about these fascinating women and their company.

Vanessa

Vanessa was born and raised in the U.S., but she spent many of her childhood summers with her grandparents in a seaside village only an hour away from Santiago de Compostela. Her father is from the town of Mera, where she learned about the people, the language, the customs and the magical walk to the city of Saint James. After graduating from Jacksonville University with a degree in Sports Management, Vanessa packed her bags and headed to Europe and soon found herself on the Camino trail.

Kate

Kate´s love of walking started in the mountains of the Lake District near her home in Lancaster, England. She graduated from Manchester University and spent several years teaching adults with learning difficulties and managing international exchange projects. Following a pivotal point in her life, Kate set off and soon had travelled, worked and walked all over the world. However, in 2005, Kate set up home in the mountains of Asturias in Northern Spain. She first walked the Camino Francés in 2006.

Forming Andaspain

Kate and Vanessa met one another on the Camino de Santiago in 2007.  If you ask, Vanessa often jokes that for the first couple of years she only understood about half of what Kate said  as her Lancashire accent is pretty strong! However, once the communication was established, these two ladies spent the next fews years working together on the trail and building a strong friendship with a common love for the Camino.

In 2010, Vanessa and Kate decided to form Andaspain.  Soon began what has become a beautiful journey together. Their roles were quickly formed when Kate announced she was due to have her first child in the fall of 2011 (she has since added one more little pilgrim in 2013)!  This is why you usually first speak to Kate on the phone at the planning part of your Camino.  You should see Vanessa somewhere along your Camino de Santiago adventure. Through their hard work, commitment and their true authenticity in sharing the Camino with others, Andaspain continues to widen their pilgrim family.

Fun Facts

Here are some random facts you may not know about this dynamic duo:

Vanessa –

  1. When did you first walk the Camino and what was it like?

In 2006 and it was life changing. Since I grew up spending time in Galicia, I knew what the Camino de Santiago was and had a general idea about it. What I didn’t know is that once you set foot on that trail, that perspective changes every aspect of your life. You start to see the world a little differently. It’s difficult to explain exactly what that is like, but it was intriguing and it hooked me.

  1. If you could choose one person to walk the Camino with right now, who would it be and why?

I’d choose 2, my brother and sister. I’d do so because they are some of my favourite people and I’d like to spend a few weeks just walking and talking with them. Also, I think we would laugh…a lot!

  1. What is the best thing about the Camino?

By far the best thing about the Camino is the amazing connections that you make with people on a daily basis. Whether it’s the pilgrims you meet who share their story and what brings them to the trail, or the locals who help you along the way, each interaction is a valuable experience.

  1. What is your best personal tip to Pilgrims for walking the Camino?

SLOW DOWN-I mean that literally and figuratively.

  1. Give us one interesting fact we do not know about you.

I lived in  tree house for a bit in Costa Rica.

 

Kate-

  1. When did you first walk the Camino and what was it like?

It was in 2004.  It was July, very hot and I did not have a single day of rain.  I walked in old running shoes which I threw away at the end and never had a blister!  I carried my bag, slept on a lot of floors, met some great people, had some fantastic days, some awful.  It was an amazing experience and I knew I wanted to repeat it.

  1. If you could choose one person to walk the Camino with right now, who it would be and why?

My son Sasha  and my daughter Delta  – when they grow a bit.  I would love to share the Camino with them and for them to meet people from all over the world and learn that basically most people are good.

  1. What is the best thing about  the Camino?

Meeting people from so many walks of life who sometimes challenge and sometimes confirm your beliefs about the world.  And being exhausted but happy.

  1. What is your best personal tip to Pilgrims for walking the Camino?

Switch your phone off.

  1. Give us one interesting fact we do not know about you.

I once left my house in England to hitchhike to a town in Poland I knew nothing about with no plan whatsoever!

 

Ashleigh Mell

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