Rachel Goodman needed some time.

Having been a mum for many years it was time to find herself and rediscover who she was, apart from being a mother and wife.

So Rachel went on a journey from Waikanae all the way to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

Watching The Way at Shoreline Cinema, a movie about the six-week pilgrimage, Rachel was so inspired she decided this was what she needed to do.


So in 2017, Rachel completed the Camino de Santiago, an 800km ancient pilgrimage path through big cities, ghost towns and many small villages.

Rachel Goodman at a point on the trail.
Rachel Goodman at a point on the trail.

So eye-opening and refreshing was her journey that Rachel decided to write a book to share her experiences going from "just a mum" to an intrepid explorer and back to being content as a mum.

"I'm not a sportswoman, I'm just a mum. I've got four kids ranging from 10-25 years and I felt like I needed an adventure in my life.

"I felt stuck in this revolving circle of chores and I needed something to get me out of it, to bring myself alive again."

Her book Just a mum — On the Camino de Santiago is split into two parts.

In the first part Rachel talks about the idea of walking the trail, how she goes from being a couch potato to preparing to walk 800km and organising her family for six weeks without her.

Part two is a daily diary of walking the trail and about the people she met along the way.

On the Camino de santiago pilgrimage.
On the Camino de santiago pilgrimage.

"It's mainly about how I slogged and puffed and dragged myself through there for 39 days.


"You don't have to carry your tent or anything, you just stay in villages and towns along the way.

"It's mostly flat with rolling countryside, but it's safe.

"I'm not going to say it's easy but it's certainly not like hiking in New Zealand, you don't need radios or anything like that.

"There are lots of people walking the trail but there were times where you didn't see anyone for hours. Sometimes you're walking through big cities and sometimes you're walking through ghost towns."

Finding a nanny for her children proved harder than expected, with Rachel eventually getting her niece to stay for six weeks while in between contracts.

Rachel Goodman enjoying the trail.
Rachel Goodman enjoying the trail.

"It was so exciting going.

"I'd travelled a bit when I was younger and with my husband, but never on my own.

"I was excited to have an adventure and remember who I am as just Rachel.

"I just wanted some time on my own to remember the things I believed in and what my values were and to build myself up again after 25 years of raising children.

"The saying goes that in the six weeks of walking the Camino the first two are physical, the next two are mental and the last two are spiritual.

"It's the only time in your life where all you've got to do is walk and think and chat to people along the way."

Always feeling like she had nothing to say when asked what she does except "I'm just a mum", Rachel said, "I'd always felt a bit bad about that, comparing myself to others — I haven't got a career or do anything else."

But somewhere along the journey Rachel realised this was okay.

Just a mum-On the Camino de Santiago written by Rachel Goodman.
Just a mum-On the Camino de Santiago written by Rachel Goodman.

"I couldn't work and be a mother, it was either/or for me. And I guess I realised that's actually okay."

Signing up for a creative writing diploma at Te Auaha, Rachel wanted the book chronicling her journey to be more than a daily blog.

"Working on it all year at Te Auaha and then getting it published, it almost felt like having a fifth child as it was such a long and trying process.

"But I'm so happy it's out there now, I can send this child out into the world."

The book was succesfully launched in Waikanae over the weekend, and can be purchased from Paper Plus Coastlands, The Bookshelf Bookshop in Waikanae, by visiting @justamum on Facebook or through Rachel by emailing lancerach252@gmail.com.