Camino de Santiago trekkers value each unique stamp that they gather in their passports as they walk across Spain. Albergues and bars mark their signatures that certify each pilgrim’s progress toward Santiago, where compostelas are issued.
For us, the Credencial del Peregrino holds memories of albergue stays and many of our stops for coffee or a beer at the end of each day. During our trek, we carefully collected stamps, including two per day beginning in Sarria, required for the completion certificate. Today, though, the stamps in our passports hold more meaning for us than the compostelas. When I look at the stamp from our first albergue, Camino del Perdon in Uterga, I remember our first pilgrim meal, where we met four people who would become treasured friends.
Last year, we carried a Credenziale del Pellegrino along the Way of St. Francis in Italy, collecting stamps at each accommodation and some bars in order to earn our Testimonium at the Vatican. Most of the stamps lack the creativity of the Camino, but that doesn’t really matter.
A plain business stamp from Valfabbrica, Italy, recalls a wonderful moment a year ago on my birthday, when I sat with a glass of beer outside a rustic bar just a couple of feet from the road. The pink sign above my head proclaimed, “Pinky Bar.”
Enjoyed a book so much that you wrote to the author?
I had just finished Free Country, a wild romp about two Englishmen who wore only boxer shorts as they began their journey at Land’s End, the southernmost part of England, determined to bicycle to John O’Groats, at the northern tip of Scotland.
The young men had no money–just a notebook, pen, and hearts filled with trust. Author George Mahood bet that the good will of their fellow countrymen would provide them with bicycles, food, lodging, clothing, and much more. After reading his true story, I was ready to accompany him to Las Vegas and depend on his good fortune.
But my e-mail led to more than a winning bet. It changed my life.
George wrote back and suggested I make the leap from travel blogger to book author through Amazon’s KDP program. About a year and a half later, I published my first book, Camino Sunrise, and am now working on my second.
So a big shout out to George Mahood on the release of his latest, How Not to Get Married: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer. I can hardly wait until the paperback arrives via Amazon. (Yep, it’s in ebook format too.)
I am so confident that it will be another of his humorous, insightful looks at his eventful life that I know I will be writing him another note when I finish reading.
This time, I will be writing as a fellow author, brimming with respect for George’s hard work, talent and kindness.
Many thanks to Barnes and Noble in Medford, Oregon, for hosting my book chat on Saturday; also, I appreciate the brave souls who came in from the beautiful spring day to hear me. My wife Sue’s paintings, which illustrate my book, drew rave reviews from the audience.