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About me

Hello again!

I'm Nicoletta, originally from Germany, but moved to Porto in November 2022.

My first Camino

In early 2017, I walked my first Camino de Santiago—the Camino Portuguese from Porto.

At that time, things weren't going so well for me. A burnout eight months prior had torn me away from my life, leaving me with depression and panic attacks. Yet, I felt ready at that point to return to my job and was searching for something symbolic to mark the end of my break.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon the Camino paths, but once the idea took hold, I knew: I wanted to do it. Alone. It would be my first time flying abroad solo, diving into something I had absolutely no clue about, unsure if I could handle it mentally and physically. But there was a gut feeling that it was exactly what I needed.

During the preparations, I quickly realized I couldn't handle all the unknowns. Looking at pictures or reading pilgrim's guides didn't make it any more tangible. Guides talked about churches but not about essentials like where to find water if mine ran out.

I had countless questions but no one to answer them. Facebook groups seemed helpful at first, but the advice was too subjective, just personal anecdotes urging me to take it easy and don't think too much, blah blah blah.

But that's not for everyone. That approach just didn't suit me.

I needed someone who truly understood my overwhelming concerns. Someone familiar with the fear of not finding accommodation and who knew the options when a stage became too much.

I wanted someone to review my plan and say, “Yes, this is it. You haven't missed anything!" Someone I could call when I felt alone in the Galician forest, battling a panic attack. Someone to accompany me on my Camino de Santiago journey, offering the reassurance I lacked at that moment.

In January 2020, three years after deciding to embark on my first Camino de Santiago, came another pivotal decision: I'm going all in. I'm leaving behind my successful freelance career as a web developer to guide and counsel people on their own Camino journeys. Offering them what I wish I'd had.

Yeah, I know, perfect timing… because not even two months later, Corona brought everything to a standstill.

Once it became clear that this virus wasn't going away anytime soon, I seized the opportunity to further my education. While I already had training and four years of experience working on a crisis hotline, it had been a while. So during the pandemic, I pursued a certification in psychological counseling from the Euro-FH and completed a seminar on “Mental Health First Aid."

Camino during Covid

In 2022, came the next significant decision: I'm moving to Porto. The city I fell in love with at the beginning of 2017, and where I've returned time and again—to walk a portion of the Camino Portugues or simply to be there.

What I love about my job is seeing people flourish. Whether I'm there in person as they push their boundaries or if I simply receive a WhatsApp message detailing a fantastic evening with fellow pilgrims in Oia or recounting how they dared to do something unexpected—or even sharing insights that dawned on them while walking.

I receive feedback from people whose lives have been profoundly changed by the Camino de Santiago. Knowing that I've played a part in enabling them to embark on this journey truly makes me happy.

I've personally walked over 3000km on pilgrimage, and hardly do I return from one Camino before I'm itching to set off again. To experience that indescribable feeling once more—equipped with just the essentials, walking all day, one step after another. Having time for my thoughts, using the distance from everyday life to reassess everything and to decide anew about my life as it is.

I enjoy being alone, especially in nature, but also cherish the intense connections with people from all over the world. Nearly every Camino ends with a new friendship, and truly every Camino brings me new perspectives, insights about myself, and broadens my horizons. I just love it.

Camino Friends