As a college student, Sandy Brown developed an interest in languages and history. He brought that background to his years as a United Methodist pastor in Washington State, but there was always a gnawing interest – to explore the world. He began small, with church trips to the Holy Land, then Egypt, then Turkey and then Greece. After walking the Camino de Santiago in 2008, Sandy was hooked on long-distance walking as a way to satisfy his travel bug. Not content to enjoy trekking on his own, he shared his love of pilgrim walks by writing guidebooks, and in 2016 he established Pilgrim Paths with a focus on group walking tours.
Now Sandy is one of the world’s foremost pilgrimage guidebook authors, with his Cicerone guidebooks based on his more than 14,000 kilometers on pilgrim trails in Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, the UK and the US. His popular guidebooks cover the Via di Francesco, Camino de Santiago, the California Missions Trail, and the Via Francigena and his deep knowledge of the routes serve as a storehouse of information for planning the itineraries and then walking with participants on Pilgrim Paths walking tours.
While walking on the Via Francigena in Italy in 2016, Sandy fell in love with Lucca, Italy. Now he and his wife Theresa have made Lucca their permanent home and they are delighted to welcome Francigena pilgrims to this small and very charming Tuscan city.
Our Concierge Service is headed by Rocky Brown-Nieblas, an experienced camino pilgrim who has worked for over 20 years as a professional Spanish-English interpreter. Rocky compiled the extensive accommodation database for the Sandy’s Cicerone Camino de Santiago guidebook and through that effort keeps in contact with over 1,200 hostels, hotels, hostales, and casa rurales in Spain. Rocky has walked the Camino Francés and Camino Portugués coastal route.
Luke Brown first walked the Camino de Santiago in 2009, and since then has helped lead groups in Spain and Italy as well as walking the Camino Francés again in 2011. An accomplished musician, when he hosts a group he brings his guitar and shares his musical gifts with group members as a way to pause, reflect and deepen their experience.
In our European walks and cycle rides we collaborate with Giovanni Ramaccioni of Hike and Bike Italy. Giovanni is a certified wilderness guide with a special interest in the anthropological aspects of flora and fauna. He speaks five languages and has guided group adventures in Europe and North Africa. Swimming, hiking and biking are his favorite pastimes, and he loves good food and wine. “I’ll never be able to stay behind a computer,” says Giovanni. We are delighted to feature him as guide for each of our Italian pilgrim walks.
Our 2023 Florence to Assisi group walk features tour host Russ Eanes. Russ is a writer, walker, and cyclist from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he is equally at home in the saddle of a road bike or on foot along a rocky Allegheny Mountain trail. His pilgrimage experiences include journeys to Iona and Lindisfarne in the UK and Santiago de Compostela, chronicled in his memoir, The Walk of a Lifetime: 500 Miles on the Camino de Santiago. His forthcoming book, Pilgrim Paths to Assisi emerging from his three different walks along the Way of St. Francis, will be published in early 2023.
He loves to share with readers (and anyone who will listen!) about his lifelong love and interest in St. Francis and Franciscan spirituality, as well as his love and knowledge of pilgrimage, Italian history, cuisine, and culture.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org