Saunter: verb – walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort; noun – a leisurely stroll.

There was some debate over the name of this blog. It’s not our first travel blog – our original sail blog – “The Adventures of Mulan” – documents our family adventure on a 39 foot sailboat in Mexico and French Polynesia in 2009 and 2010. That blog is linked on the home page. 2Saunter was chosen as there will be two of us at the start (Max & Andrew), and the tongue-in-cheek reality that a walk/camino/pilgrimage is anything other than a leisurely stroll without effort.

Previous walks:
In 2017, Susan, Andrew, Sam & Max walked the Camino Frances from St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, sans blog, and in 2018, Jack joined us and we all did the Camino Portuguese Senda Litoral from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Once again, sans blog, but not sans Instagram etc.

The Via francigena
While there is an endless supply of great walks, we chose the via francigena in 2019 as the flexibility to walk together as a family is diminishing – Jack & Sam were working for the summer to save money for their university education, and as Max has always been fascinated by all things Roman, a walk to Rome seemed the obvious option in his last year of summer-job freedom. That said, his high school were not entirely impressed that he will miss the first 7 weeks of the school year! (in 2017 he missed four weeks of school, and after walking & biking 800 km, the only subject he failed was Physical Education. Seriously.) After her professional commitments were taken care of, Susan joined me in Lucca for the Tuscany section, before going town hopping with Jack for the weeks and meeting me at the end in Rome.

During Covid, Susan and I did the more local Sunshine Coast trail in 2020, and after getting Max settled in at the University of Auckland, Andrew did the first few hundred kilometers of the Te Araroa. Walking on the same beach for three straight days is great meditation!