Camino Frances Memoirs

A few weeks ago I posted recommendations for memoirs about the Le Puy Camino (also known as Via Podiensis or Chemin du Puy).

Now let’s look at a few of the personal stories available for the Camino Frances.

This is a harder list to narrow down and do justice. Not surprisingly, because the Camino Frances attracts so many pilgrims, there are quite a few (like, dozens) more books available.

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To the Field of Stars by Kevin Codd

This was the only Camino Frances-specific book I read before we left for our own Camino in 2015, and I’m so glad I found it. One of the most well-crafted of the Camino memoirs, both thoughtful and personal, Codd’s experience as an American priest on the Camino Frances is full of details about what it’s like to experience the walk, without ever getting boring. The references can be a bit dated; a lot has changed since 2003. But the story will make you want to get off the couch and follow along.

 

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A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz

It’s hard to research the Camino on a site like Amazon without bumping into this independently published tale. It’s timely (Koontz walked in 2012) and detailed… but okay, my editor’s brain wondered often is it wasn’t a little too detailed, cataloging each action of every one of his thirty days. There’s not much of a story arc or resolution to his narrative, but there’s plenty of information for someone who wants to know what the Camino Frances is like.

 

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Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed by Sonia Choquette

I had a strong reaction to reading this memoir last year, just a few months after I returned from my own Camino. The book is well written, thoughtful, and interesting. It also describes a Camino experience that’s almost the exact opposite of mine. (That’s not a bad thing.) The author, a self described “intuitive guide” and “spiritual teacher,” used a travel service to pre-book a Camino package, with hotel reservations every night and baggage service to drive her heavy pack every day to her next stop. Not surprisingly, then, her Camino was less about the walk itself (although she has some interesting descriptions of herself as a Templar in a former life) and more about how she processes through a number of trials and tragedies happening at home.

 

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I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling

A fun “fish-out-of-water Camino tale told by a popular German comedian, it’s a bit dated by now if you’re looking for information (Kerkeling walked back in 2001).

 

And I confess, I’m just beginning to tackle the stacks of Camino memoirs that have recently released and are loaded on my Kindle. These look great, but I can’t tell you much about them yet. (Give me a few months, and I’ll update this list with a Part 2.)

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Sunrises to Santiago by Gabriel Schrim

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In Movement There Is Peace by Elaine Orabona Foster

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A Camino of the Soul by Katharine Elliott

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The Way, My Way by Bill Bennett

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The Way Is Made By Walking by Arthur Paul Boers

 

What am I missing? What’s your favorite Camino memoir?

 

Disclaimer: The above links all go to Amazon.com, partly because some of these books aren’t widely available in bookstores, and partly because I have an associate account there. If you click the link and buy one of these resources, I will receive a few fractions of a cent. It’s a small way to pay the domain and hosting fees, and help make Camino Times Two self-sustaining. However,  if you have a preferred local bookseller who can order these titles for you, you should absolutely do that. 

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5 thoughts on “Camino Frances Memoirs

  1. I walked the Camino Francis in 2014. So as part of my preparation, I began my research a year before and stumbled upon Bill Bennett’s blog. I found myself waiting for the email notification ping in the wee hours of an Australian morning, as the start of my wanderlusting followship, in a non creepy way. I was a convert and a groupie roled into one. His daily accounts made me feel as if I was walking along with him. In his backpack so to speak.

    So when he published his book The Way, My Way, I eagerly relived the experience again but at a much faster pace😊.

    I have enjoyed following a lot of people on their daily blogs as they meander across Spain on various Caminos and find these accounts raw and less edited than the books. I find each word that is written on the Camino as vastly unique and equally memorable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ailsa Piper’s book has changed my life. Her practical, fiercely independant brave journeys are inspirational on an epic level but then the additional threads she adds in regarding signs and symbols and spiritual growth along with her deep connection with a fellow traveller that was unsettling for her as a married woman and then finally to learn her husband died not long after writing. Just amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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