One of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and one that changed my life completely, was moving from Miami with my two children, who were 12 and 15 at the time, to Spain. That was after organizing my priorities and assessing what was important to me during my first Camino de Santiago in 2004 after my mother’s passing. I was going through very tough times in my life and my work.
My Marly Camino, or my third child as I like to call it hahaha, was born in Madrid in 2006 as a direct result of that first life-changing Camino.
This is why I came up with this idea, because it helped me out a lot! I felt a duty to inspire and transmit the joy that is the Camino de Santiago to everyone in the World. That is what I’m doing now through Marly Camino.
It has been an enormous achievement thanks to God and lots of effort on my part. This beautiful project came to life where I feel valued and loved by all my Pilgrims and the Marly Camino family.
My first office was my own home, where many times I noticed that the whole day went by and I was still in my pajamas 🙈, I did it all because I was Marly Camino’s only employee 😂, and that was the case for the first 4 years. I then rented a small office and had a team of 2, then we grew a little bit and moved to a slightly larger office with a team of 4, and so on through the years until we were in a large office with an office team of 11 people plus 14 guides.
Samantha, my daughter, was a true blessing. Everything she learned in university she wanted to apply to the business, she had great ideas and of course was the official translator. Her aid was key for our success.
Today I’m still a mother/entrepreneur/ founder and feel very privileged because I still can count on the help of my two dear children: Sami and Stefano. We call ourselves the three Musketeers and share the same values as Marly Camino: Unity, Honesty, Authenticity, Passion, Commitment and Teamwork. Of course I feel very proud, it has been a challenging adventure with equal amounts of joy, thrills, success, struggles, and lots of passion.
With each new year we’ve seen the number of Pilgrims who join us grow, and the most exciting thing is that most of them came because someone recommended us 😃
For me it is very exciting to see so many repeating Pilgrims, you can’t imagine the personal satisfaction that makes me feel. It is a real challenge for me, because I have to reinvent our routes so that they don’t repeat the trails they’ve been to and we can continue to surprise them! One of the things I enjoy the most is greeting you at the start of the Camino and we get to catch up a little. It feels like we’ve known each other for years. My Pilgrims are very grateful for this 🥰
Life has taught me a lot during these last 15 years. We have done over 725 Tours, and believe me that each tour is a new story and a wealth of learning for everyone involved.
I’ve had groups who’ve left a very deep imprint in my heart.
One I’ll never forget was a beautiful and very united family. The father had been given two months to live and his greatest dream was to walk the Camino with his wife and children. That’s exactly what he did, and he made it! I can still remember his face glowing with joy, always smiling at his family. He was the one giving them strength and preparing them for his departure. Each stage they completed represented their hope. I remember that at the end of each stage, when the father arrived, the wife and children would chant something like “Here he is, here he is, he is healed!” and he would lovingly chant back “And if not, he lived it to the fullest!” the whole thing was SO ENDEARING!
Walking the Camino as a family is something truly unique because the way you share everything is very special. A magical and permanent connection with those you love ❤
When I turned 50 I “Gifted myself” with a Camino with my whole family. My 7 brothers, in-laws and my loving father. We walked the last 100 km and the greatest gift was really for my dad. It just meant the World to him to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and spend the entire day on the Camino with EVERYONE TOGETHER. There are just no words that can describe it. The LOVE of family is the greatest thing in the World 😍
Another very endearing Camino was our “Benefit Camino”. We invited 14 people who were going through very tough times, to come walk the Camino with us. They were all being assisted by Caritas and San Vicente de Paul.
It was like a dream to them! We were just getting on the bus and they could still not believe they were going to the Camino!
Imagine what a beautiful scene. I cannot even put into words just how much this group put me in touch with my own emotions.
Samantha did a great job with the therapy sessions she had with them. She made them feel special and valued. For us it was amazing to see how they felt more empowered and confident with each passing day. Seeing their smiles was the best. They just needed lots of love and affection. That hug at the end of each day was something that filled our souls with joy.
During the last 15 years we have welcomed over 7500 Pilgrims from over 25 different countries. Most of them come with the conviction that the Camino will point their lives in a new direction. Others come because they need to put a STOP to the life they are living.
They all come motivated to do lots of internal work and keep growing in every way!
Many become “addicted” to the Camino, because each new Pilgrimage is a brand new experience. They can’t tell which Camino they’ve enjoyed more, Imagine that!
The most surprising thing is that all these experiences are still alive inside each Pilgrim! That’s the magic of LOVE and the Camino.
That’s why I want to keep walking! I want to continue pursuing the purpose with which I started this project “To transmit the wonders of the Camino and to optimize your experience to the fullest!
I’m convinced that the Camino must be walked by everyone that can do so, but it’s not only me, millions of Pilgrims say the same thing. It’s the best recipe for finding the PEACE that humanity needs! The World is demanding we be more spiritual and kind people.
The Camino sometimes tests us for the sole purpose of bringing out the best in ourselves!
These last few years I have had to face many challenges that required a lot of strength and bravery. But the truth is that, even though there have been tough times, I still have all my love and vitality invested in my Marly Camino. My desire for us to walk together is boundless!
I feel I have the strength of a 15-year-old 😜😂🥳, with a deep desire to keep inspiring you so that we can continue celebrating each step of the Way. Here’s to 15 years more!
My Marly Camino family and Pilgrims hold a very special place in my heart☺