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  • Writer's pictureR. Gurley

Walking: A Metaphor for Life…Interview with Architect and Pilgrim Ana Gutierrez

Ana Gutierrez is a woman with a path. She grew up watching her home town Santa Cruz de la Tierra, Bolivia double in size to become one the world’s fastest growing cities. This metropolitan explosion motivated Gutierrez to study architecture and urban planning. These studies led her to Barcelona four years ago to a pursue a Master’s in Urban Planning and a postgraduate in Projects for the Public Space in Barcelona, Spain. Gutierrez was seeking success with not so much luck. Something lurked underneath. “Routine was killing my creativity,“ she says.

Gutierrez was invited by a friend to do the El Camino after finishing her studies and a significant break up and a bout with depression. Gutierrez accepted the invitation to become one of the pilgrims in the midst of their own spiritual journey, who have trekked the network of trails that make up the Route of Saint James. Gutierrez journey was, “to do it in order to heal myself from my personal battle. My sister passed away on 2013, my brother is suffering from cancer since that year too and I was having a hard time dealing with all that during all these years. I know that deep inside me I have to admit that I was away in order to escape from everything I couldn’t control.”

However, a sprained ankle a few days into her journey forced Gutierrez to stop running. She says, “the sprain was because I was walking too fast with no appreciation for so I think everything was a metaphor of how I was living my life.”

Gutierrez changed her direction. She got into Volunteering serving other pilgrims in an “albergue”

while her ankle healed. “During my healing days I volunteer in a pilgrim shelter and understood everything! I had never experienced a special kind of love and solidarity from so many strangers. I never felt so much gratitude. I let go whatever caused me pain. I forgave people who hurt me and people who forgot me. I became very conscious about my decisions in and I think I found my purpose in life.”

Nomada Urbana is the result of Gutierrez’s inspiration. She explains, “Nomada urbana refers to all the citizens who want to slow down on their busy lives and want to work in community to make the city a better place for everyone. The Camino taught me that walking is the best therapy. Your body functions mechanically so our minds are free to think, to solve.” Nomada Urbana conducts workshops, events and awareness raising activities throughout the Santa Cruz de la Tierra. Gutierrez’s hope is, “ I want to work with Nomada Urbana Santa Cruz to make cities safer. I think women don’t have the chance to live in a city designed for their safety. My intentions are to work with people they know what they need to become happy citizens and empower them to create an impact on how they want theirs cities to be planned.” In short, she wishes all a Buen Camino!

For more information about Nomada Urbana Santa Cruz, please visit:

And to listen to the entire interview with Ana Gutierrez, please check out

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