Trekking Passports Hold Treasures

Sue’s watercolor appears in Camino Sunrise.

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.”

Cheers!

Tiny Book Holds Message of Hope

Do you have a favorite book that you read again and again?

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is a tiny book that packs a powerful message. Like walking a long-distance trek, it reminds me what is important and helps chase anxiety away.

My mantra mirrors Ruiz’ words of wisdom. This is what I repeat:

“Speak impeccably. Don’t take things personally. Never assume. Always do your best.”

In a nut shell, those are the four agreements. I have just read the book again, reading some passages over and over as I go. As usual, I have found peace in Ruiz’ message.

I would love to hear how the book affects you. Also, please share if there is a book you read again and again.

Sedona Guide Leads to Wonders

Tie the laces on your hiking shoes, head on over to Sedona, Arizona and grab Greg Stevenson’s trail guide. You are in for one of the world’s most spectacular trekking experiences.

Greg’s book describes 30 of the best trails in the area and Sue and I used it to find two eight-mile loops around red-rock wonders like the Courthouse, above. He includes the basics for a variety of paths and we found it the perfect companion for the Sedona Trails Map by Emmitt Barks Cartography. We discovered both in Greg’s Hike House outdoor store in Sedona.

I know how much work goes into writing a book and am grateful that Greg’s efforts will be our guide for several more adventures!

The Camino: A Question for You

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Like the many bridges on the Francés, the Camino de Santiago was a connection for me in more ways than I ever thought possible. As I wrote Camino Sunrise, more “bridges” appeared, enhancing my appreciation of the trekking experience.

So, I ask, what connection do you most treasure from your Camino?

Camino Sunrise: Now It’s Your Turn

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My wife Sue’s ink-and-watercolor paintings highlight each chapter of Camino Sunrise.

Why did I write an adventure memoir about the Camino de Santiago?

I wrote to touch readers’ hearts, tickle funny bones, and pique curiosity.

I wrote for people who have tried long-distance trekking and for those who are considering their first hiking adventure. I wrote for armchair adventurers as well.

I wrote for people who have struggled with self-doubt, childhood bullying, and poverty.

Many readers have shared their reactions to Camino Sunrise. Many wrote that my book resonated in several of the areas I mentioned above. They found a message of hope.

I would love to hear what you think.