Podcast: Awesome Adulting with Meg Maloney on the Camino de Santiago
Meet my college friend in this Brave Writer podcast episode!
Meg Maloney is the author of an intriguing memoir, “Slow Your Roll,” where she chronicles her transformative journey across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, a renowned network of pilgrimages culminating at the shrine of apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostola. With its spiritual aura, this trail has attracted millions over the years, becoming a beloved route for spiritual seekers, hikers, and tourists alike.
Beyond her role as an author, Meg is a seasoned marriage and family therapist, a loving mother of three grown-up children, and a devoted wife of more than 30 years.
In our conversations, we shared a recurring theme—the importance of nurturing one’s individual identity and aspirations beyond motherhood, a concept I’ve coined as “awesome adulting.” You’ll hear:
- what she discovered about herself on her pilgrimage,
- how she reacclimated to the fast pace of modern life,
- and how she’s been changed through the process.
And for writers: she gives us a treat—she shares about her journey to writing and self-publishing her first book!
I loved her memoir and I hope you will too!
The life-affirming benefits of pilgrimage
Indeed, embarking on this pilgrimage allowed Meg to temporarily shed her familial roles and reconnect with her younger, more individualistic self. This is a woman who delights in connecting with people and their stories – a penchant that was fed abundantly on the Camino. Meg’s affinity with Spain began during her junior year of college when she studied abroad. That experience was a stepping stone for her pilgrimage years later.
Everyday on the Camino was a unique experience – covering approximately 15 miles on foot, sleeping in a different locale each night. The physical and mental rigor of this journey is testament to the resilience of the human spirit, irrespective of age or fitness level. It’s a challenge, but one that Meg feels keeps life interesting, setting a great example for the younger generation.
Yet, after the Camino, adapting back to the fast-paced, constantly connected, societal pressure-filled life was challenging for Meg. The slower pace and mutual care of the Camino felt more real, more human. Today, she spends half the year in a slower-paced Southern Californian community, cherishing the connections she made during her pilgrimage, a vital part of her transformative journey.
Writing as an integral part of the journey
Throughout her journey, Meg found solace and deeper connection through writing. As she trekked across Spain, she kept a daily blog. The act of penning down her feelings and observations was therapeutic and meditative, connecting her more profoundly with her experiences. Her conscious commitment to reflect on her day and her encounters elevated her awareness, anchoring her deeper into each moment.
Even though Meg hasn’t been able to maintain the same level of discipline in her writing since returning home, she values its importance. Aspiring writers often hear the advice to simply sit down every day and let creativity flow. Meg embodies this, proving that the chair, the blank page, and the open mind are often all you need.
Interestingly, Meg hadn’t initially planned to pen down her Camino experience in a book. It was a friend and fellow Camino walker, Bob Mackler, who suggested the idea after following her blog. Despite some publishing challenges, Meg successfully launched “Slow Your Roll” as a paperback through Amazon. A detail that warms my heart is that her family contributed to the book’s design.
Her book title, inspired by the song “Slow Your Roll” by Brothers Osborne, encapsulates the essence of her journey and the central theme of slowing down, being present, and embracing the moment. Meg highlights the importance of disconnecting from technology, immersing oneself in nature, and allowing the creative process to flourish.
The memoir is a detailed, personal account of the Camino journey, a testament to simplicity and introspection. It strikes a chord in those in their later stages of life, where self-reflection becomes paramount, and where the hustle and bustle of daily life often overshadows inner peace and understanding.
Inspiring your own personal journey
After our reminiscences and shared wisdom, Meg left me with a profound hope. She hoped that her story might inspire others to consider a journey like the Camino. Such an experience is more than just a physical trek; it’s a mental and emotional exploration, one that alters the course of life, providing insights, clarity, and an understanding of oneself that is hard to come by in our routine lives.
We’re not just mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, or children. We’re individuals with unique identities and aspirations. I’ve learned this from my conversations with Meg, and her memoir is a testament to this belief. After all, we are more than the roles we play, the tasks we perform, and the responsibilities we bear. Like Meg, we can all learn to slow our roll, take a deep breath, and reconnect with our individual selves amidst the daily grind.
Our experiences shape us. They change us in ways we cannot foresee. They make us self-aware, compelling us to look within, to understand our feelings, needs, and thoughts, and to take care of ourselves. Like a child needing to pause and refuel with a cup of Cheez-its, or like an adult needing a moment to step away from a stressful situation, we all have moments when we need to tend to our emotional health.
So, I encourage you all to consider embarking on your journey. It doesn’t have to be a physical one like Meg’s. It could be a new hobby, a change in routine, or an act of self-reflection. Regardless, take that leap, dive into the unknown, and I guarantee, you’ll come out stronger, happier, and more self-aware on the other side. That’s the magic of embracing the journey, the magic of awesome adulting!
- Read: “Slow Your Roll: Ruminations & Reflections On My Walk Across Spain”
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