Production Diary


Dear Travel Light Friends and Family, It’s been a crazy year here at Travel Light. Thought we’d pause for a moment and give you all a quick update:

After going through hundreds of hours of footage (and gaining a greater respect for filmmakers who shoot for YEARS rather than months), our first cut of the film was 9 hours long. For months now we’ve been in the process of whittling down footage to its core essentials.

Emily has used the analogy of documentary editing being like a sculptor who’s given a beautiful block of marble. You have to work with the grain of what you’ve been given, discern what to chip away to reveal the form within.

We are currently at a running time of 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Though post-production has taken longer than initially estimated, we are on track to complete the film this summer. Announcements concerning premieres, distribution, and Kickstarter rewards can be expected to start on the blog and our other media outlets in the following months.

Thank you for your continued support on this journey.

- The Travel Light Team

Where We Are Now

It's hard to believe that it's been about a little over two months since we came back to the States. A lot about our lives changed over those two months... More than I ever imagined. Lauren, Gabriela, and Ron have all had major life changes. Lauren accepted an internship with the Photo Office at the White House. Gabriela accepted an internship with JJ Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, and moved out to LA. Ron got back to LA and missed the spirit of the Camino so much that he's now cycling across the United States, taking stunning photos all along the way (follow him on Instagram if you don't already.)

I'm back to teaching here in Winston-Salem, driving down to Atlanta to work on post whenever I can with Emily. She's building a computer with her husband Ryan for us to edit the film on (they're a cool couple like that.)


There are a lot of things I've learned from the Camino. A lot of things that feel different now because I've had an experience like that. I'll be writing more throughout the post process, processing my thoughts after the Camino, letting you in on this final leg of the journey, and giving you sneak peeks of the film.

I've always said this film is really "three caminos"... The journey of preproduction, the journey of actually doing the Camino, and the final journey of post. After taking time to get settled back into life stateside, that final journey is beginning.

Our Strange Camino

As you might imagine, there are many moments from our 8 weeks in Spain when the cameras weren't rolling. There were also many moments in which we all got a little loopy (as exhaustion and new adventures will do to a person.) Here, for your enjoyment, is a list of moments... some funny, some just plain strange... that probably won't end up in the film (won't tell you which ones were captured on camera.) - On the 4th of July (my last day on the Camino before I left to rest in Leon for a couple days) I took medicine from an Austrian friend that he'd obtained in Vietnam to calm my sick stomach. Later, as I threw up on the side of the road, Lauren and Ron turned their backs and whistled "The Star-Spangled Banner" (which they'd been perfecting all day.) I don't think I'll ever think of our national anthem the same way again.

- Have you ever had a cup of coffee with a shot of garlic liqueur and a spoonful of brown sugar? We were offered some at a local's home in Galicia. We drank it. I don't think that one is gonna catch on in the States anytime soon.

- There is a song you hear a lot on the Camino called "Ultreia"... Lauren and Ron have created their own Celine Dion-inspired version of it, and in moments of tiredness, you'd swear they were musical geniuses. (While we're on the subject of music, let me mention this: if you ever need a title for a reggae/jazz fusion album, consider "Baked-In Funk". It was the expression we used to describe the state of our clothes and backpacks, but why leave it at that?)

- At one albergue, the wake up call wasn't merely the hospitalero turning on the lights... the man dressed up like an old-time monk, carried a lantern into the dark room, and changed at us about how morning had risen and we must awake. My first thought upon waking was that a ringwraith from The Lord of the Rings was after me. It was terrifying, but ultimately very funny.

- On one of our first days in Santiago de Compostela, we went to a concert that was supposed to be a lead-in to the festival. I don't think any of us expected that the opening performer would look quite like this... Or that she would open by singing "Rollin' On The River."


We arrived in Finisterre on July 29th, after getting lost and trekking through lots of rain. I was excited to feel something, to feel completion. Finisterre means "World's End" after all. So we arrived. I felt nothing. There was nothing contrived to make a person feel anything, either.... Just quiet coast and quiet shops with kitschy souvenirs. I knew I should write something, but anything I could write didn't feel honest, and if you've been following this blog even a little you know that if I get hung up on anything, it's trying to be honest.

So we've been here, at The End of the World, for a few days now, living quiet lives, living in this beauty without walking 25km a day. We've talked with the other pilgrims we befriended along the way. Everyone talks about what they will do once they go home, or if they'll go home at all... And maybe I'm slow on the uptake, but it hit me yesterday:

Finisterre doesn't feel like an ending because it isn't.

We haven't been "collecting stories" this whole time, as though these lives are all completed. We've witnessed the beginnings of new stories, and we've started our own, as well. If Finisterre felt like some grande finale, maybe I wouldn't take all this back with me. Maybe life would go on just the same as it did before.

So here's to new beginnings from The End of the World.

On the Road Again: Day 35 of Walking (First Day to Finisterre)

First day of walking to Finisterre, the place that the Ancient Celts thought marked the end of the world. Gabriela joins us in the walking now. I'm getting excited every time I see a river. I can't wait to be in the water. I can't wait for country that has a wildness to it after days in the city. When you arrive in Finisterre, you're supposed to burn your clothes at night and run into the ocean as a sign of your new start. All of us have joked about doing this... We'll see who actually does.

Last Night

For those following the news who heard about the train derailment last night in Santiago de Compostela, we are alright. We were nowhere near what happened. Anything I could say right now would probably sound trite or cliche, since we are only visitors to this community. But for what it's worth, Galicia, your beauty has moved us for the past week. We love this special place, and we are praying.

At Cruz De Fierro

Writing in our tiny apartment in Santiago de Compostela, looking back over old journal entries. Thought this one from Day 25 might be worth sharing:

At the Cruz de Fierro. A pile of burdens left at the foot of an iron cross. From a distance, it is just a pile of rocks. But look closer, and you see the burdens... The photos of dead children, verses written in Japanese or French or Italian, tokens of pain. All of these details are beautiful, somehow, despite their sad origins.

People are like that too, I think.

Most people on the Camino seem so strong. They're backpacking 500 miles across a country, after all. But you look closer, you get to know a person, and you start to see the pain, the brokenness, and seeing that doesn't make them seem any less strong. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You start to see this incomparable beauty. A beauty that doesn't proclaim itself with flashy clothes or a perfect figure. The kind of beauty that comes from battles well-fought, wisdom well-earned, faces lined from laughter and time spent in the sun. I think this is what I've craved. I think this is where I see God.

Santiago de Compostela

If you lay on your back, head facing the cathedral, feet away, you can still see the towers while being quite comfortable. You just have to not mind the upside down view, or moving for the occasional Vespa.

It's here that I come every day since we've been in Santiago. I wait to meet other pilgrims we've met along the way. I wait to see what strange magic will (and does) happen here when you least expect it. I wait and look at the church, wrestling with the same thoughts I've wrestled with this whole trip. I want a life that feels real, art that's second nature, and a faith that doesn't look like big business. I wish that churches were mountains and services looked less like funerals or theatrical productions and more like giant family dinners. Or however people need to be loved. But maybe that's just me. Maybe I just think to much. I guess different sorts of beauty move different sorts of people. Obviously these cathedrals, these man-made mountains, work for so many. Or maybe they just want them to more than I do.

We're here to document the festivities around Dia de Santiago, and despite Santiago de Compostela being a gorgeous city, I'm craving the road, and blisters well-earned, and the ocean of Finisterre. We'll walk there on the 26th, three days to the end of the world.

Day 34: Almost There

So we're supposed to get to Santiago tomorrow, but we just blew through 22km by lunch. I think we're gonna make this a 40km grande finale. See ya on the other end of this journey, kids.


Emily here! There's more Camino from the perspectives of LindsayRonLauren, and Gabriela on Instagram, and check out #travelightfilm as well while you're there!

Day 31: Barbadelos to Ganzar

Today the Camino was unlike any other day previously. In order to get the Compostela at the end of the journey at Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims must walk 100km at the very least. We passed Sarria, the last major city before the distance cutoff, yesterday. So today was our first day with what some call "touregrinos" (tourist pilgrims). There has to be at least 15 times as many people on the trail. Most travel in groups, and the whole energy is different... which makes sense, since it's essentially a vacation walking through idyllic countryside towards a giant party. Before today, we were some of the youngest pilgrims on the Camino. Now large school groups of kids about thirteen years old run by, wearing trendy clothes and playing Katy Perry off their iPhones. The albergues are crowded... Ron, Lauren and I literally got the last three beds in Ganzar, the town we stopped in for the night. I wonder how life will continue to evolve as we move towards Santiago, if any semblance of what we knew for the past thirty days will return.


Day 30: Calbor to Barbadelos

We didn't walk nearly as far as we intended to today, but it ended up being exactly what we need to do. We met up with Susan Mann in Barbadelos, an artist and photographer who moved to Spain so she could document the synchronicities of the Camino. We talked with her for awhile about her work, and she graciously invited us to stay for a barbacoa lunch. At the lunch was Jim, a pilgrim that Susan and Gabriela had met earlier when he wandered into the studio look for an albergue. Jim is doing the Camino with no money, seeing if it is still possible to live the old-fashioned pilgrim lifestyle. He is doing this to help raise money for the orphanage he runs in Kenya, donors sponsoring him per mile. Jim also runs an orphanage in Thailand and is one of those people who just pour out love to everyone he meets. I can't think of a better reason to not meet our distance goal for the day than getting the opportunity to listen to his stories, and to Susan's as we shared food for hours (other pilgrims wandering in as the meal progressed).

Day 29: Alto de Poyo to Calbor

I could write and tell you all what happened today on the Camino, but I don't you'd believe me, no matter how I wrote it. Some things can't really be explained. If you see me before you see the movie, we can get a coffee or some wine and I'll tell you the story. Some stories are best told with food and the perfect drink. Buen Camino

Day 28: Vega de Valcarce to Alto de Poyo

Today we entered Galicia! Galicia is the region of Spain where Santiago de Compostela is located, and it has a strong Celtic influence. We climbed our final mountain and ate lunch in the town of O Cebreiro, where Celtic music with Spanish lyrics was playing in the bar and signs advertised pulpa, or octopus, one of Galicia's most famous dishes. (The local tienda also had these delicious doughnut-type pastries that were spiced with cardamom. I ate about five for my lunch. Great way to counteract all the mountain-scaling, right?) Tonight, we sleep about 9 kilometers away from O Cebreiro in Alto de Poyo, a town that's just two buildings along the highway. For dinner I had meat that was described as "coming from an animal that is like a cow that lives on the mountains." It tasted mostly like garlic.

Tomorrow will begin our fifth and final week on the Camino. It's strange how not strange it feels, this life we're living now, walking every day, trying to communicate with people from around the world, filming our lives... I'm not sure what normal life is going to feel like. But then again, I guess none of us really lived normal lives to begin with...

Days 23 - 27

Starting to walk again on Day 23, I was worried about two things: the first was that I'd get sick again. The second was that our Camino life had becometoo pattern-filled. Like anything in life, you adapt, you learn how to go through the motions. We wake up. We drink coffee. We walk. We find an albergue. We figure out food plans, sit in a cafe, and talk or play cards. Getting into a routine can be good, but what if it caused us to cease being inspired by our surroundings just because the romantic "honeymoon" with the Camino was over? It turned out that I didn't have to worry at all. The fact that we, and the other pilgrims around us, had become comfortable with the pilgrim life was a good thing. Because our energy wasn't focused on getting through the day physically, because knowing what we needed to shoot had become more instinctual, it left more space for spontaneous, strange, or new things to happen that we hadn't experienced yet. And a most of it we got to capture with our cameras.

That night in Astorga for instance? After we cooked dinner in the albergue kitchen, we went outside to the dining patio and realized that we had no way to open the two bottles if wine we had bought to share with our friends. About a dozen other pilgrims were sitting outside in addition to our group, and we started asking around if anyone had a corkscrew. One pilgrim did, but the corkscrew ended up breaking in the cork.

An Italian man spoke up. He said that if we put the bottle of wine inside a shoe and hit it against the wall, the cork should come out eventually. He demonstrated, and slowly but surely, the cork started to come out of the bottle. Ron wanted to try as well, and decided to wrap a towel around the bottle just in case anything happened.

Just as it looked like the cork was going to come all the way out, the bottle shattered in Ron's hand. Everyone cheered and laughed and started cleaning up the mess. It's funny how something as simple as opening a bottle of wine became a community event. I know that it will remain one of my favorite Camino moments.

Every day since has its own great story.... Being pulled off the Camino for free wine and olives at a vineyard near Cacabelos, trying to rescue a puppy (with somewhat strange results) outside of Rabanal. People say that "the Camino is just like life", and we actually joke about how vague that analogy is, how you could say that about almost anything. But I think it's worth noting that patterns and routine, here and in life, can be a good thing. If we weren't on the Camino for such a long period of time, we might have never gotten so comfortable with it, and the moments that are happening now would never have happened. Sometimes it's easy in life to want to rush from one adventure to the next. But I'm seeing the value in consistency. It's funny that I can say that about this sort of life.

Team Photo and a Quick Update

Emily here! For more Camino photos you can follow Lindsay, Ron, Lauren, and Gabriela on Instagram, and check out #travelightfilm as well while you're there! Now onto Lindsay: Hey everybody! Sorry that I haven't updated you yet on days 23 through 27 on the Camino. They've been full days, good days (with their tough moments of course) and I have so much I could write about now, it's daunting to know where to start.

I'm going to try to catch up and share at least one story from each day, so there might be double posts for a few days in a row. In the meantime, here's a photo of the team at Cruz de Fierro (minus Gabriela... we need to get a photo with her at our next checkpoint) and some photos of me jumping in the river at Cacabelos in an attempt to get over my writer's block yesterday.