Camino Book Review: One Woman’s Camino

Cover-One-Womans-CaminoTracy Pawelski, author

Book Review by Stacey Wittig

My heart raced a bit as I tore open the package that contained this book and a ‘Welcome Home’ note from author Tracy Pawelski when I returned from my latest Camino. While I walked Camino del Norte this month, Tracy released her book, One Woman’s Camino.

Earlier this year, I was honored to preview Tracy’s manuscript and write a pre-publication review of this inspiring Camino book. I found her writing style to be engaging and that her story was similar to mine: successful business woman steps back from her all-encompassing career to find more on the Camino de Santiago.

After opening the package and admiring the cover, I turned the book over to see if the publisher had used a quote from my review on the outside back cover. Sure enough, there it was.

20180618_125444-01My full review is printed in the preface of the book:

This engaging narrative is not simply a mother-daughter story set on Camino de Santiago, but goes deep to reveal how that sometimes-complicated relationship can lead to transformation and mid-life self-discovery. One Woman’s Camino is an insightful, true story about a modern, corporate woman overcoming obstacles on the ancient pilgrimage route.
Stacey Wittig, author Spiritual and Walking Guide: León to Santiago.

Trading high heels for hiking boots

Tracy trades her high heels for hiking boots and sets out for a Camino Frances adventure. Although she plans for a mother-daughter experience, the Camino author soon learns that this journey will be a “One-Woman” Camino that is all about self-discovery and self-actualization. Tracy’s authenticity is sure to inspire you to walk the ancient path.

The first step can be the hardest

Whether your next step is

  • Rewiring your priorities,
  • Resetting your course, or
  • Reconnecting with your faith,

the first step can be the hardest, says Tracy on her author website. Yet in Tracy’s story, you’ll find the inspiration to “make each step a new beginning in this uncertain but glorious journey we call life.” You can see why Tracy Pawelski is one of the Camino authors that I enjoy reading.

Order the book now on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2JMN6oO

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Camino Book Review: Inspired Journeys

Bouldrey-Inspired-Journeys-cInspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse

Brian Bouldrey, Editor

Book Review by Stacey Wittig

Inspired Journeys is a diverse collection of essays by real travelers who move the reader through both time and place. Much of travel writing is simply about place or what to do once you arrive. But as we pilgrims know, often the real stories lie within the journey rather than the destination. Editor Brian Bouldrey, a Santiago pilgrim himself, understands this well and has compiled seventeen stories of pilgrimage to places as divergent as Varanasi, India; Ross Island, Antarctica; El Centro, California, and Santiago, Spain. These tales are told by American writers and mirror both their inward and outward journeys, a theme that the editor describes as “telling the way within.”

The name Brian Bouldrey may be familiar to many American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC) members as he was the lauded keynote speaker at the APOC 2016 conference. The 2016 annual gathering was themed “Telling the Way Within,” and included a pre-conference travel writing workshop presented by the editor/writer who teaches creative writing at Northwestern University.

Bouldrey admits that he casts a wide net around his definition of pilgrimage by including stories of both spiritual and secular pilgrimages. While introducing us to the stories he explains that each author addresses what pilgrimage is and that he orders the anthology to give the definitions “encouragement, space and incrementally growing meaning.”

While some writers share journeys to religious shrines as in Sharman Apt Russell’s “Buen Camino” and Russell Scott Valentino’s “An Accidental Pilgrimage,” others move along Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie (Kimberly Meyer) or the Grimms’ fairy-tale road (Raphael Kadushin.) Though some stories read like raw, black-and-white documentary film footage of the writer’s experiences, others like my favorite essay “The Terriblest Poet” (Brian Bouldrey), and Kadushin’s “Driving the Fairy Tale Road” feel like they were shot for the big screen in panoramic Technicolor.

After reading these essays that are not just about place, but also about the inward journey and outward movement of getting to that place, you’re sure to find several that will move you as well. The engaging, 280-page book is available on Amazon at www.amazon.com .

Brian Bouldrey has written eight books, including Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica, and edited six anthologies, including Traveling Souls: Contemporary Pilgrimage Stories.

Stacey Wittig is author of three books including Spiritual and Walking Guide: Lourdes to San Jean Pied de Port, a guide for both the inward and outward journey.

This review originally appeared in La Concha, the quarterly publication of American Pilgrims on the Camino.

‘The author is a trustworthy guide,’ says Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition review

Presbyterian-Outlook-2016_Page_1“The author is a trustworthy guide,” announced the review of Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago on the El Camino by Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition released this month. Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition included ‘Spiritual & Walking Guide’ on page seventeen of their annual spring book review publication. The book recommendations and reviews are compiled by Roy W. Howard, Outlook book editor.

“The author has walked the Camino de Santiago several times and provides a devotional guide for pilgrims walking the portion from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compostela,” states Howard.

Link to Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition

Presbyterian-Outlook-Spiritual-Walking-Guide

To learn more about the Camino devotional written by Stacey Wittig, go to Amazon.com. The Camino guide includes scriptures for The Way, recommendations for places to sleep, questions for reflection and pages to journal thoughts.

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The Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition review reads:

Spiritual and Walking Guide:

Leon to Santiago on the El Camino

Stacey Wittig

Spiritual Walking Guides, 104 pages

The author has walked the Camino de Santiago several times and provides a devotional guide for pilgrims walking the portion from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. The guide includes daily Scripture readings, mediations and questions for personal reflection. There are details about where to sleep and how to navigate your way without maps. The author is a trustworthy guide.

‘Day by day, step by step the author takes us on the coveted journey,’ GoodReads Review

goodreadsGoodReads reviewer, Linda Kissam examines “Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago.” Read the complete review at https://www.goodreads.com/review

It’s quite fashionable to create a “Bucket List.” For most people this is a life list of accomplishments they hope to check off before they leave the earthly plane for the next really big adventure. If you’re one of those, you might want to add to your list the Camino de Santiago, Spain, walking path and the book, “Spiritual and Walking Guide Leon to Santiago on El Camino” by Stacey Wittig.

Sometimes referred to as the “Camino,” in total it is about a 500-mile walk- often done as a modern-day pilgrimage. Not to worry, it can be done a section of it a time. The whole thing would take you about 30 and 40 days. This books takes on the Leon to Santiago route. Our author shares her 19-day trip. There are some who complete their Camino by going back year after year. It’s up to you, but as they say…it all begins with the first step. According to our author, “Once your body gets into the rhythm of the walking pilgrimage, you hike without head knowledge you are doing so. Walking becomes like breathing…”

Linda_Kissam

Linda Kissam, goodreads reviewer

There are no real rules on how the journey is laid out, but if you want a pilgrim certificate you will have guidelines and need to do some paperwork. This is all addressed by the author. You can walk fast (or slow), you can bike, or even do it by auto. This is not necessarily a religious-focused adventure – but it usually is and can be if you wish it to be, and it certainly was for our author. Daily meditations and prayers are part of the structure of the book…

Day by day, step by step the author takes us on the coveted journey that millions of people have walked, ridden donkeys and horses, or been carried to this most famous Christian pilgrimage site after Jerusalem and Rome. The time you take to reach the goal is up to you. Stacey Wittig just makes the process a whole lot easier with practical lodging suggestions, packing tips and walking times as well as some spiritual advice and meditations. This book is a complete “how to” guide taking you from your front door to your final step.

Whether for fun or experiencing a spiritual adventure, the walk serves as a retreat for contemporary pilgrims. If you think it’s time to get going on your next purpose-filled journey, then this 95 page book is your starting point. Highly recommend.

Add Spiritual and Walking Guide to your Camino book list and Camino reading list by going to Amazon.com. This El Camino devotional is available in paperback or ebook.