Student will walk 500 miles through Europe

Ashely's Spain Trip 2
Ashley Dominici, a first-year liberal studies major, prepares for 500-mile trip through Europe. Photo credit: Emily Teague

Ashley Dominici, a first-year liberal studies major, said her decision to go on a 500-mile pilgrimage was easy. The Orion sat down with her to talk about how and why she is preparing for the trek.


The Orion: How did this idea come about?


Dominici: My sophomore year of high school in Spanish class, we watched a movie called “The Way,” which is about the pilgrimage that I’m doing. It wasn’t something I was serious enough about, that I was gonna put it on my bucket list like, “I am going to do this one day,” but I was so enamored by the idea of it.


Just the thought of walking 500 miles through a country with a completely different culture in such an amazing setting, I think it’s mind-blowing to anyone. So it was just sitting in the back of my head for a few years.


The Orion: What is your background like?


Dominici: I grew up with my mom and my brother and we move around a lot. When I first started high school, we settled down in the East Bay, which is my favorite place in the world. The Bay Area is so diverse and I’ve met people who have done really amazing things. It kind of inspires you to know that you can do those things too.


That’s what helped me take the leap of faith into this. I went to a Catholic all-girls school. Everyone that comes out of that school is really successful, and I kind of struggled a lot with not having accomplished so much as people around me.


For me, doing this pilgrimage and doing the work I’ve done for camp and through the career trajectory that I am on, I think that’s my way of finding my own success.


If I can do it, anyone can really do it. It’s not as hard as it seems. All I had to do was scavenge up the money, buy my plane ticket, get a guide book and buy a pair of shoes. That’s not a lot. Its easy. So if you wanna do it, do it.


The Orion: Do you have any advice for people who think they can’t do something like this?


Dominici: If you can do it now and you have the means to do it and you’re alive and healthy, do it, because there is something significant that could stop you later, so you need to take advantage of it.


The Orion: What has been your motivation to do this?


Dominici: I think I’m gonna to come out of it with a really different perspective of myself. My life revolves around other people a lot of the time. I am going into a career of special education, which is all about focusing on other people.


I’m a caretaker of kids with special needs, and in the past I have done a lot of work for this organization called Camp Krem. That’s all about other people and I think my motivation is to truly do something for myself.


The Orion: Explain the fundraising process.


Dominici: One sacrifice in doing this is giving up my summer at Camp Krem. For the last five years, that place has been everything to me. So a good way for them to be there in spirit would be to donate some money to them. What I’ve done is set up Indiegogo, and it’s a crowd funding website.


Even if I don’t meet my goal of raising $1,000, Camp Krem is going to get something out of it. Its just a matter of how much they will get.


The Orion: What are your feelings about making this journey alone?


Dominici: I think there’s a lot of comfort in something that so many people have done for thousands of years.


The Orion: Do you have to do any training before this?


Dominici: What I read online is anyone can do it in decent physical condition. It’s just gonna make a difference of how quickly you do it. I could probably do it in 28 or 30 days if I really push myself, but I am giving myself almost 40 days just so I can enjoy the experience.


Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @AmandaHovik on Twitter.