Orchid Team Camino – Ana Trnovec

My name is Ana and I am from the small beautiful country of Slovenia. We are a country of just 2 million people. I live in the tiny village of Polhov Gradec, just 20 km away from the capital city of Ljubljana. I study forestry and while I was in school I worked in a little shop selling clothes and jewelry from around the world located in the old city center.

When I was a child we didn’t have a lot, because my parents had used what little money we had to build our home. As a teenager I was a challenging kid for my parents, teachers, and to virtually anyone who was in a position of authority. I didn’t listen to what anyone told me, I didn’t finish high school, and instead I went to live with my friend when I was 19. This was a totally crazy time in my life and I did what every other kid would do in my place; we partied almost every day. Then when I was 20 my father died in front of my eyes; and this hurt so much that it caused a lot of psychological damage for a long time. In spite of this I managed to finish high school and I enrolled in university to study something I loved.

Why did I decide to take the pilgrimage walk of Camino di Santiago di Compostela?

I first heard about this very challenging 800 km footpath two years ago, when I met for the second time, a young man who I had met once before while climbing one of the local mountains in my village of Polhov Gradec.

The first time I met him we spoke for just a little while and I only got his name. The second time we met he shared with me the story of the Camino di Santiago and  as he shared the story of his trip with me my inner voice whispered ‘Ana you should go, Ana you should go’. I was fascinated by his story and that he made his journey a part of his own personal self-discovery.

My life at that point was one of the hardest periods in my life because I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 4 years who I dreamed of building a family with but instead it turned out that in one day all my plans had disappeared. Actually this was the first step in my new life, because after that my life changed 360 degrees. I took up running and I started to reconnect with  my old friends. I started to live a more full life.

I forgot about the pilgrimage for a while, until a year later when a young man came to the store where I was working and we talked about his life on the road. He shared that part of the journey had been on the Camino di Santiago with his girlfriend and some friends. Then a few months ago I heard that a friend’s mother and brother had gone to Spain to travel the route and that third reminder was the one that finally made me decide; ‘Ana you must go.’ All these people with whom I spoke told me that it was one of the greatest experiences of their life, and that the pilgrimage changes you forever. I have felt for a long time that I should change some things in my life and I wanted to make a difference for others less fortunate than me at the same time.

So I had three calls, and for the first time in my life it was a secret call that I must go somewhere I knew nothing about.

I suppose that I decided to take this pilgrimage because it is one of great challenge and I want to see if I am strong enough mentally, physically and psychologically.  I have a great curiosity about where this road will lead. My second purpose for taking this footpath was that I could walk for something else, that this journey could make a difference to someone other than just me. So I decided that I would share this idea with my friend Rich and tell him I decided to dedicate this walk to his foundation, Orchids of Light. He was happy for that and we decided that together we could use the power of change to touch the lives of people around the globe.

My goal is to raise some money for the people and communities Orchids supports. People who must walk to find food, to find water, to survive.

I really admire these people and I had the opportunity to meet some while I was in Nepal when I volunteered in Khatmandu with Rich. I admire their strength and that they have what many people in the west who have so much more don’t have, peace in their hearts.

The goal of my pilgrimage is to find myself and to find help for Orchids of Light. I believe in what they are doing and I want to be a part of it. I can’t predict the future so my plan is to JUST BE, and I am certain that what is meant to happen on my journey will happen. I have this faith.

I will start my pilgrimage on the 7th of September  and fly from Slovenia to London, and the next day I will travel from London to Biarritz in France, and from there I will take a bus or train to St. Jean Pied-de-port. It is here that I will start, and then I will walk across the Pyrenees to the Santiago de Compostela in Spain and finally finish in Finisterre-“the end of the world”. Then I will return on the 14th of October from Santiago de Compostela to London and back to Ljubljana my sweet home.

I hope you will support me and follow my travels and experiences on my blog. All the money I raise will go to the communities of Orchid. Wish me luck and pledge to follow me along my journey as together we change the lives of a few for the better of tomorrow.



You can read more about the pilgrimage in these two pages.