Lindsay Teychenne is an old soul. He is gentle, kind and someone you feel like you’ve known forever. Conversations go deep quickly with Lindsay – which I love. He encompasses everything you imagine when you hear the word ‘pilgrim’.
I met Lindsay when I first moved to Tasmania in 2019. Wanting to meet ‘my people’, I created a group called “Tasmanians on the Camino”, a group which continues to meet every other month in Hobart. When I arrived at the first meeting, there was Lindsay, waiting, with a coffee in front of him. While Lindsay has moved on – literally! He’s moved to Spain! – he will always be an honorary member of our lovely little group.
If Lindsay’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was also a founding member of “Camino For Good”, a ‘for profit’ public benefit corporation founded in Tennessee(United States) in 2020. Lindsay, along with the other original founders, worked with support albergues hit hard by COVID travel restrictions. Since inception, Camino For Good have helped 29 albergues with over $74,000 in donations, including Casa Susi. While the group continues to support pilgrims who dream of going to Spain, Lindsay’s work continues in other ways, including becoming a hospitalero.
Here is my interview with Lindsay. Enjoy!
- When did you walk the Camino and which route did you walk?
I have now been to Spain three times, and walked different routes each time. So far I have walked the Camino Francés (twice), Camino Del Norte, Via de la Plata, most of the Primitivo and Finisterre-Muxia.
- Did you walk solo or with someone else? Were they a friend or a relation?
Such a simple question that has a variety of answers. It seems I started walking by myself, yet with friends I made along the way. I would have to say I walked with friends.
- When you initially started, what did you imagine the walk to be like?
The first time I walked I had absolutely no idea what to expect, I didn’t know what an albergue was or what it was going to be like.
- Halfway through, what was your primary feeling about your walk?
I didn’t want it to end. It felt like THIS is what my whole life has been leading up to.
- If you came across another Pilgrim what were the first two questions, you would ask them?
Where are you from? Why are you walking the Camino?
Lindsay living his best life on the Camino with his Via de la Plata family. With Weibke, Monica and Victor.
- Did you do any training beforehand? If so, what did you do?
No walking training but I did drink coffee (LOL!).
- What was the one thing you packed that you were glad to have with you?
- What was the one thing you packed that you could have left behind?
- Would you walk a Camino again? If yes which route, would you walk and why? If no, why not?
Yes, probably the Via de la Plata again. It wasn’t crowded like reports from other walks. It is like the way people described walking the Frances back before “The Way” movie made it popular. Also, no-one (hospitality people) really speaks English which makes for an interesting social challenge.
Typical Pilgrim meal
- Which was your favourite albergue and why?
That’s a tough one really. I suppose I really liked the municipals along the Via de la Plata. Partly because they were low cost, and partly because it was always a mystery as to what level of accommodation and facilities there were. I would arrive and check out what cooking and food storage facilities they had, then get creative about what and where I was going to eat and prepare for the next day.
11. If you’re open to sharing, what did you learn about yourself?
I learnt that I worry too much in advance about what may go wrong but that I always have the resources inside me to deal with whatever is thrown at me.
- When you began you walk, what was your motivation to walk the Camino? Physical, spiritual, religious, or other? (This is a question that is asked when getting your Compostela in Santiago.) What about at the end of your walk?
Really I suppose it was to put myself in situations I had never been in, and see if I had what it takes to rise to the situation.
In the modern world, I equate spirituality to mental health. So I say spiritual meaning mental health, with a little bit of physical fitness thrown in.
13. Did you continue walking to Finisterre or Muxia?
I never really saw Finisterre being the end point. For me it was Santiago. Having said that, when someone invited me to walk with them to Finisterre Muxia, I jumped at the opportunity.
- If you gave one piece of advice to someone thinking of walking the Camino, what would that be?
It’s funny, that would depend on their age. For someone of my years doing it for the first time, I would say ‘be prepared to come home changed’. I would really have no advice for a person under forty as I have no idea what the Camino would be like for them.
- Do you feel the Camino changed you?
Yes, each one I do changes me.
How we all feel, walking the Camino.
- How do you feel you brought the Camino home with you?
More tolerant of the foibles of others and more willing to take personal responsibility for everything that life throws at me.
- Do you feel your Camino was a pilgrimage, or was it was more of a long-distance walk?
Interesting question. The more discussion I see about what being a pilgrim is (and by extrapolate what a pilgrimage is), the less I actually understand what it is. For me it feels more like a different way to live. I want to say it was a pilgrimage because the other choice is long distance walk but, like I said, I don’t really know what a pilgrimage is in an era when we arrive and leave by plane under a restrictive time frame.
- Do you feel the Camino is for everyone? Why or why not?
The ability to walk the Camino implies one has the time, money and health (physical and mental) to undertake it. In essence then it is only those people that are able to bring those things together. So no, not for everyone. If you can get your priorities sorted for all those things yo come together then yes, it is for you. Only you can decide though.
Tara with two of her favourite pilgrims: Sue Swain and Lindsay Teychenne
- What would you like to see more, or less (other than less toilet paper) of, on the Camino?
For me it is learning to accept everything as it comes. The more Caminos I do, the less I think needs to be any different to the way it is.
- What was your favourite city on your Camino route, and why?
Salamanca because I had a great experience with my newly formed Camino family.
- If someone didn’t know what the Camino was or about, what would you tell them (in three sentences or less)?
A walk across Spain where you will be challenged to change your world view and what you think and feel about humanity itself and your place within it.
Lindsay. (Isn’t this an amazing photo?!)