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Camino de Santiago in 20 Days: My Way on the Way of St. James [Paperback]

Randall St Germain
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 28 2011
Funny, touching, and inspiring! A book about really walking the Camino de Santiago! Perhaps it was the onset of middle-age or just too much diet cola, but in the Spring of 2010, Canadian boy, Randall St. Germain felt called to take on the 800 kilometer, or 500 mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Seriously, what ensued was a dedication to his mother, a personal challenge, and a journey of cultural and historical enlightenment. A million footsteps, and a few pounds of gauze and tape later, he arrived in Santiago de Compostela, with a better understanding of himself - and a newfound familiarity with snoring and flatulent pilgrims! Join St. Germain on his adventure in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, an irreverently chuckle-inducing look at one man's attempt at the famed walk as he confronts apocalyptic weather, snarling dogs, epic blisters, an exhausted body, and his greatest paranoia in life-bed bugs. Along with his humorous reflections, there is practical insight into how he successfully prepared, packed, and then walked across the entire French Way in 20 days - and in doing so, pushed far beyond his personal comfort zone. Never to be included on the final list of Pulitzer Prize nominees, or in Oprah's Book Club, Camino de Santiago in 20 Days is not your granddaddy's Camino book, either. One word of caution: Pilgrim Discretion is Advised.

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Product Description

About the Author

Hello, I'm Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days. I'm a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of my mother in February 2010, I felt I needed to get away, and clear my mind. I chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. I certainly didn't plan to write a book until the latter days of my Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of my ongoing journey. Camino de Santiago In 20 Days tells of my journey on the 500 mile, or 800 kilometer, French Way from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. My walk was not only one of personal enlightenment, but it was also a challenge-I walked an average of 26 miles for 20 days straight. I also carried a backpack that weighed about 30 pounds. I don't get too preachy in my book about spirituality or religion. This is a book about really walking the Camino de Santiago, unlike anything presently out there. Most of all, I hope you find Camino de Santiago In 20 Days funny and entertaining. I tried to show my sense of humor, and I hope you have a good laugh, even if it's at my expense. Since I was alone most of the time, all kinds of thoughts went through my head, and I wrote about most of them. If you feel uncomfortable, I'd recommend you skip Chapter 9. If you find Camino de Santiago In 20 Days inspiring, that would be great. I wrote about how I pushed myself outside of my personal comfort zone. My comfort zone wasn't climbing Mount Everest, but at a lower level that didn't include sleeping in hostels, and walking up to 30 miles every day; often in the rain and cold. My writing also had to be honest, and I take pride in that. Sure, I could have thrown in some "misadventures," but one of the rewarding aspects of walking the Camino, was the lack of drama. It was actually quite peaceful. My Camino, and Camino de Santiago In 20 Days are dedicated to my late mother. She was very important to me, especially as we grew closer in her later years. I welcome you to visit my website, where I have my blog and hundreds of photos from the Camino and my other journeys. I hope you can join me, and I can inspire you to go on your own journey one day. My journey continues... All the best Randall St. Germain Vancouver

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3.0 out of 5 stars Don't go in April May 29 2014
By Lynn
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The tone of the book seemed negative to me. Perhaps due to the fact the author did it in 20 days, 16 of which were rainy.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Entertaining read. Will not try as long a pilgrimage . This book gave me an insight of what to expect .. Will visit Spain in due time . Tnx
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique perspective of the Camino April 9 2013
By R. Reed - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recently walked a portion of the Camino and before I left, I spent a great deal of time reading about it. Most of the books and websites I saw had advice for what to bring, what to expect, how to do this or that, etc. There were various guidebooks with history and other information. What this book brings to the table is a no-frills first hand view of walking the Camino. I read the book both before I left (cover to cover) and then I reread the sections that corresponded to the portions I had just walked at the end of each day on the Camino as a way to "relive". Besides my John Brierley guidebook, this was my other "go-to" book. Now of course I didn't walk the entire Camino in 20 days, and I didn't attempt to walk more than 20 km a day, in fact my longest day was 19, but the human experience the author had was very similar to my own. (Gosh I was excited to glimpse the airport at Santiago and see a RyanAir flight taxiing on the runway just as described in the book!). If you are considering walking the Camino de Santiago or even if you are just interested in the day-to-day life of a pilgrim on the way, this book is a value. Fairly short, but very readable. The author has a unique perspective which can certainly bring a laugh. Make sure to also read his blog online for photos and more perspective.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book Substitutes Speed for Substance. Result is Disappointing and Disturbing July 24 2013
By Sage202 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I usually love memoirs about personal journeys on Camino de Santiago, Appalachian Trail and similar treks. I have to say this one fell short on many, many levels- 1) The writer was so concerned about his appearance that he seemed unwilling or unable to really connect with others on the trail. 2) The writer was moving so fast that he had little time for personal reflection or growth. 3) The writer shared little personal insight- the most personal details he shared were about his sex life and his toilet habits. Those can be interesting if linked to some significant type of growth experience or awareness, but in this context they just seemed shallow and pointless. 4) Was the writer sponsored by Coke Light? He mentions this single product so frequently that it certainly seemed to be the case. 5) The writer fails to chronicle any sort of truly interesting or unique experience at any point along the journey. Reading about each meal and discount shopping expedition hardly qualifies as adventure or cultural exposure. 6) The writer seems to hold fellow pilgrims and those serving pilgrims in the albergues in very low esteem. I kept wondering why in the world he wanted to be on the Camino at all.

Overall, the book substitutes speed for substance. It is disappointing and disturbing. Perhaps taking more time to let the lessons of the Camino sink in would have helped the author loose some of his self absorption and write a better narrative.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, interesting - how not to walk the Camino Dec 15 2012
By Jill Hill - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a very accurate portrayal of a dismal Camino experience, with only fleeting glimpses of how enjoyable it can be. To applaud Randall's walk seems like applauding self-flagellation. Every person makes their own Camino and perhaps Randall needed to punish himself. It seems a strange concept but in keeping with medieval Catholic thinking. Randall has more in common with religious zealots and penitents than he thinks. It is a grim humorless picture he paints.

Objectively, his effort at walking such huge distances every day kept him insulated from others and from the magnificent culture around. He totally missed the Basilica in Leon with its extraordinary murals, and numerous other breathtaking treasures, but I was glad he saw the beautiful retablos at Los Arcos and he does seem to have tried to visit the local churches. He did not pick up some simple things about Spain that would have eased the journey; the menu del dia with unlimited free bread and wine, that there are toilets in every cafe and bar and free internet access in public libraries, that pharmacies will treat blisters. He stubbornly refused to bend even slightly to the local mores and customs, most obviously by refusing to enter the smoky bars, center of all village life. Such attitude! He seemingly missed all the good communal aspects of albergue life (the joy of sharing meals, the entertainment, wit and intellectual stimulation of talking to numerous different nationalities) while suffering the bad ones (early risers and snoring).

His story contrasts so strongly with another pilgrim I met who set out, after the death of his wife and a long period of self imposed loneliness, determined to talk to every single person he encountered, both local and pilgrim. When I met him he had been on the road for 45 days and he was having a ball.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read Feb. 5 2013
By Laurel MacLeod - Published on
I believe I read in the prologue that the author wrote and rewrote this book quite a bit, paring it down to just his own experience.

In a way, I wish he had left more of that other material in - the book is quite interesting and I like it, but if feels more like a daily diary to prove he was there, much like the stamps for his "passport" along the way.

I think it could have been better served by leaving in some more material of a less concrete nature - what about the spiritual side of the journey?

But then again, I am a driven, accomplishment-oriented person myself, so I can understand wanting to work quickly through something to have it done and have the sense of accomplishment that goes with that.

I also deeply relate to his loss of his mother, as I lost my own to cancer in September, under similar circumstances to the author except that my mother was only 66. She had her birthday 4 days before she died in Palliative Care.

Perhaps in a way, that is why his Camino doesn't sound like his own spiritual journey - perhaps it was more of a journey in her memory, something that he felt he had to do to honor her, and if so, that makes it all the more special.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars El Camino is different for everybody Dec 23 2012
By Peter - Published on
People who walked the Camino did it for different reasons and in different ways. I became indignant at Jill Hill's review because it suggests that Camino can/has to be walked just as the majority of pilgrims do it. Randall's way was exceptional and if for nothing else, it was worth to write (and read) about it. I haven't got a feeling that he missed to much of natural and historical treasures. In his [...] blog he has dozens of nice and interesting photos. I suggest to everybody to read it, too. You can find there separate reports of greater cities, visit to Burgos Cathedral, Ponferrada castle, etc.

I read dozens of blogs about Camino and I would rather condemn those who make a tourist attraction out of their 'pilgrimage' than those who want it very private and lonely, especially following such a sad event as the death of the dearest person.
Sorry for my poor English, I'm Hungarian. But reading that vitriolic review I couldn't stand to stay still.
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