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Four Novels To Get You In The Mood for Your Camino Adventure

I returned from the first leg of the Camino Frances in June 2016.  After a month of reflection, we decided that we could not wait until next May to walk the next 100 miles, so we have booked for October.  

In the meantime, I wanted to keep my spirit alive with the travelling bug, so I set out to reading other people's adventures and these books have been my inspiration.  I truly wish I had read some of them before I walked my first step from St Jean, but hey ho.

Harold Fry, PilgrimageI am a member of the social networking site, Goodreads, as I love to read and record the books that I have consumed with a review.  Please feel free to connect with me here,  The reviews below are copies of my review on Goodreads.

Let me know if you have read any of these:-

Book #1 – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

by Rachel Joyce

This is not the sort of book that I would usually read, but I read it in three days and just couldn't put it down.

If you enjoy walking and the peace that you feel within when you are putting one foot in front of the other, then you will relate to this story. We've all been in a similar situation to Howard Fry, where you feel that you are just drifting through life. His story is one of excitement, adventure heartache and sadness. I had a tear in my eye on more than one occasion but it certainly got me thinking about the important things in life.

Thank you to my best friend Julie, who bought this for me as a present. We have recently walked part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail in Spain and this book made me realize how much our lives have changed since we embarked on our own pilgrimage.

Also thank you to a fellow pilgrim called Shane who convinced Julie to buy the book.

Book #2 – Neverlost4good on the Camino de Santiago

Rebecca D Greeley

Neverlost4good on the Camino de SantiagoHaving recently walked the first stretch of the Camino Frances this book was brilliant! We only reached Estella, and we are returning this October to walk a further two weeks (hopefully to Burgos). The stories within this book certainly put a smile on my face and if I closed my eyes then I would be instantly transported back to Spain. I've made lots of notes, places to stay and spend time, but more importantly, places not to stay!

There were also some great tips in this book, along with her thoughts on how the Camino changed her when she returned to real life at the end of the book.

If you have walked the Camino, or thought about it then this book is recommended.

Book #3 – A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

by Bill Bryson

A walk in the woods by Bill BrysonMy husband and I watched the film “A Walk in the Woods” at the beginning of the year and I was hooked. Then on the very first day of our Camino adventure

Then, on the very first day of our Camino adventure we befriended a lawyer from Maryland called Brad.  Brad walked with us for a good few miles and we chatted about a whole range of things, but when we decided to stop for a cold drink at the first cafe we saw, he decided that he would carry on and meet us at the Orrison (our first Albergue).  Little did we know that he left this book in the middle of the road for Julie (my friend who I was walking with) to collect on the way up. Sadly we took a slightly different (crazy) route than Brad so Julie never got to read the book.  It was the first book she purchased when she got home.

I was also hooked and purchased it from Amazon when I returned.  What a funny book.  It is so much better than the film and the humour will have you holding your sides with laughter.  How someone can walk that far with little or no training is beyond me.  Some of the characters that they meet along the way is hilarious, and we can all relate to the stories that he shares.

Book #4 – Spanish Steps

by Tim Moore

Spanish Steps by Tim MooreMany people who have reviewed this book claim that it is funnier that Bill Bryson, however, I would not agree.  Yes, it is funny, but taking a donkey over 500 miles when you have never had any experience with donkeys, never been on long walks, and you don't really like animals is a great combination for a few laughs.  Warning, he does swear quite a lot in the book!

One thing you will either love or hate about this book is the history lessons throughout.  If you are looking for a light read, then you may find this book hard going.  Tim Moore had obviously researched his topic well when writing the book and he ventures into the history of every part of the Camino Frances at any given opportunity.

I found myself glazing over and skipping bits until he was back on track with the story, however, you may feel differently.

Thank you to my friend Jane who recommended this book to me.  It was an enlightening read.

Bonus Book #5 – Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavay

Living ForwardI read this book back in March 2016 (two months before walking the Camino).  This book has really changed my life.   It is not a novel, it is a life planning book with a difference. (hence, a bonus)

My review – I listened to the audio of this book, which was completely inspiring, but I didn't want to write a review until I had actually taken action on the message within the book.

Today (18th March), I took the day off work, went to a lovely hotel, had a fabulous breakfast and got cosy within the big sofa's in their very plush lounge area and set to work on writing my life plan.

I downloaded the main template from the website and then re-listened to the audio on double speed, pausing it when I needed to take a break. I was also using my “focus at will” app to keep me on track.

The day was a real mix of emotions, especially the first part when you have to write your eulogy. In fact, this was the part that took me the longest! But I appreciate that you need to see the final destination in order to plan your route!

I created my life accounts and then worked through the headings in detail. This included things like my purpose statement, what the accounts will look like in the future, the current reality of the accounts (which was another emotional chapter!), and then the commitments that I intend to do keep the account stocked up.

I started at 8.30am and didn't finish until 5pm – a long and quite exhausting day but I now have a plan and more importantly, this book has given me the guidance and action steps to make sure that the plan is implemented.

I know some people won't get this, but if you are into personal development then this is one of the best books on the market at the moment.

Have you read any books about travel that you would recommend?

If so then I would love to hear what they are and why you enjoyed them.

Please comment below.

  1. Diana on August 5, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Julia. Great read and interesting book choice – I have read three of them. There’s another book – Pilgrim Snail which I enjoyed a few years back. Can’t remember the author but it was a good read. Might still have it – will see if I can find it for you. Keep up the good walk – it’s a book on its own! Diana