Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster is walking 500 miles in 32 days.
Beginning on August 1, Gonzalez-Bunster, 26, will be embarking on an 800-kilometer walk, just under the length of the east coast of Florida, along the northern trail of the Camino of Santiago of Compostela, to raise awareness for her organization, The Walkabout Foundation.
Walking for a reason
Just this year, Gonzalez-Bunster left her job as a financial analyst to launch the Foundation. “The stock market crashed and the economy deteriorated,” says Gonzalez-Bunster. “I thought it was the perfect moment to leave and start a foundation in honor of my brother, something I had wanted to do for fifteen years.”
Gonzalez-Bunster’s brother, Luis, 33, is living with a C-4, C-5 spinal cord injury after a 1994 motor vehicle accident. He has chosen not to give up, but to move forward.
The Foundation, hoping to build awareness for paralysis and disabilities, and raise funds to cure spinal cord injury, is “all about walking.” Gonzalez-Bunster believes going on this walk is the ideal way to raise funds and ensure people would remember the Walkabout Foundation and its cause.
With no previous training, Gonzalez-Bunster is preparing for the challenge and journey that awaits her. She is currently walking 12 miles a day, Monday to Friday, in order to reach the 18 mile mark of which she will have to walk daily during her trip.
“The reason I chose this specific trail was just because it was already set, and it’s meant to be spectacularly beautiful,” says Gonzalez-Bunster. “It’s meant to be challenging. People do it for spiritual purposes, but they also do it as a physical challenge as well.”
Together they walk
While Gonzalez-Bunster will be walking for the entire trip, members of her family from Greenwich, Connecticut will be joining her at different times. Her mother will be walking along side her for three of the four weeks; and her father will be completing the trail in about a two-week time period on a bicycle. (He completed a different part of the trail, Camino Norte, four years ago on a bicycle.) Gonzalez-Bunster’s brother, Diego, 18, will be joining her for part of the walk; her other brothers, Matias, 15, and Luis, will be joining her for the last two weeks of the trip. A few friends will also accompany her towards the latter two weeks of the trip for two to three days.
Along the walk, Gonzalez-Bunster will be blogging in the Reeve Foundation Paralysis Community, on the Walkabout Foundation website, and capturing her journey on video. Part of the proceeds from from the walk will be donated to the Reeve Foundation.
For Gonzalez-Bunster, walking for the Foundation also means walking to bring people together. “I have decided to start my walk in France and from there cross into Spain to symbolize the Foundation’s goal of bridging the gap across borders and making this a global fight,” says Gonzalez-Bunster, “a universal call to action.”
By: Janelle LoBello