When 24 year old university student Rachel Stainer set out on the Camino de Santiago, she had no idea what a profound impact one hike could have on a person’s life. For one month, she put her “normal life” on hold, instead embarking on what was to become a life changing 900km journey on foot to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain.
Putting on her walking boots, packing up her rucksack, grabbing a pen and journal; she lived a life of simplicity, meeting and sharing her journey with hundreds of other pilgrims from around the globe as they too travelled the pilgrim route to Santiago. As the days passed, she increasingly found herself questioning life and exploring its deeper meaning with those around her. It raised the question though, in this fast paced, technology driven society, are we really living the fulfilling life that every one of us has the potential to lead?
As you read through the pages of this journal, the author takes you on a thought provoking journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Told with humour, wit and honesty, “Road of Reflection – El Camino de Santiago” takes you through the scenery of northern Spain, the physical challenges of long distance hiking and introduces you to some of the characters of the Camino… Life slowed to a walking pace offers a new perspective, as lessons and messages appear around every corner, and the conversations on the road open our eyes to life in its simplest form. Soon you realise that being ordinary doesn’t stop anyone from achieving something extraordinary…
So why not come along on the adventure and discover your own Camino… (via Goodreads)
My view: Road of Reflection
I have always been attracted to reading about the experience of pilgrims, irrespective of their faith or belief. And when I came across this book on Amazon, I didn’t think twice before clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button. Especially since it was about ‘El Camino de Santiago’ or ‘The Way of St. James’, one of the three most important pilgrim destinations in Christendom. If I ever make a Bucket List, El Camino would feature right at the top.
And having started reading the Road to Reflection, my decision to download the book was vindicated. The author has a very easy and relaxed style of relating her experiences during the pilgrimage. The daily summary, written in the present tense, based on the journal that she maintained is three or four pages, at the most.
Initially, she started the ‘Camino’ accompanied by three friends, who were enlisted to walk with her for the first week. Thereafter, she became a ‘peregrino solo’ (a solo pilgrim), who travelled the Camino alone. But as the author states “….there is no such thing as a solo pilgrim, as everyone is everyone else’s brother or sister here.”
Overall, I found this a very absorbing book, with doses of physical pain, spiritual experiences and self discovery all coming together for the author.
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