Mapping Georgetown: Journey of a Lifetime

This Mapping Georgetown story came as a total surprise. It was perfectly unexpected and thoroughly delightful!

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage route in Northern Spain, dating back to the Middle Ages — the pilgrimage of all pilgrimages. Today, it’s the walk of all walks, the hike of all hikes and the experience of all experiences.

Also known as the “Way of St. James,” the Camino pilgrimage leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northwest Spain. The Camino – a UNESCO World Heritage site — is the “way sown with so many demonstrations of fervor, repentance, hospitality, art and culture which speak to us eloquently of the spiritual roots of the Old Continent,” said Pope Benedict XVI on the opening of the Compostela holy year of 2010. While there are different routes of the Camino, the path from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to the Cathedral de Compostela in Galicia, Spain runs 500 miles through four of Spain’s 15 regions.

Monument to pilgrims in Burgos. (Wikipedia)

On the Camino, a collection of seasoned travelers from all over the world come to take the journey of a lifetime and leave forever connected in spirit. As Georgetowner Judith Bunnell said so well in her previous Mapping Georgetown story, “If you pass (drive down) too fast – You will miss the magic.”

View on el Camino del Norte. San Sebastián, playa de la Concha. (Wikipedia)

Melinda Holladay’s Mapping Georgetown Story

Melinda Holladay’s Mapping Georgetown story. Courtesy Mapping Georgetown.

My Georgetown story runs from Atlanta, Georgia to the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain, through Cleveland, Ohio and back to the Georgetown Public Library. 

In October 2017, I hiked 150 miles with Marilyn, a resident of Cleveland and a weekend resident of Georgetown. She and her family, along with me and some friends and family explored this ancient pilgrimage with a group sponsored by The New York Times.

In April 2019, our paths crossed again when I was visiting D.C. from my Atlanta home. Who should be exiting the library at the precise moment I entered but my fellow pilgrim?! 

It’s a wild and wonderful world. And a small one.

About Melinda:

I was born in London and lived in San Francisco, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Birmingham, Paris and Nashville before settling in to my chosen home: Atlanta. In Atlanta, I am a lawyer specializing in alternative dispute resolution, a proud mom of two adult daughters, a wife of 35 years and a staunch advocate for women and children. My happiest moments are when I have a book in one hand and a boarding pass in the other.

When Melinda and I crossed paths at the Georgetown Library, I suggested she go up to the 3rd floor Peabody Room and introduce herself to (our Ambassador) Jerry McCoy. Unbeknownst to me, he gave her a Mapping Georgetown form and urged her to gift us with a story. The surprise of all surprises was unexpectedly receiving this treasure in the mail!

Thank you, Melinda!  We so appreciate your adding this heart-warming story to our collection! Perhaps you’ll inspire others to take the journey of a lifetime.

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see

To submit your Georgetown recollections to Mapping Georgetown go to  or visit the Georgetown Public Library to pick up a physical map-story form to fill out.

Marilyn Butler can be reached at



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