Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago

Reviewed by Mary Gallagher

People in the United States are not as familiar with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage as in Europe where I’m Off Then has sold more than 3 million copies in its original German.

Although it’s a slightly smaller scale, I’m reminded of those hardy souls who take on the even more ambitious Appalachian Trail, or walk across America for a worthy cause.

Solo travelers will especially find quite a number of helpful comments for any trip they take, while some readers may flip the pages a bit quicker through the spiritual discussions or complaints about food. Should one expect great food at super low prices and feet that aren’t going to be sore on a nearly 500-mile journey?

Author Hape Kerkeling, a German comedian, certainly wasn’t a triathlete when he took on this project but I can’t imagine a better way of expanding one’s knowledge, life experience, spiritual nature and improving your health all in one fell swoop. Even if you don’t walk the Camino de Santiago this book may give you the courage or little push you need to follow some other unique idea that’s been sitting in the back of your mind.

As a onetime commuter, I’m always mindful of the way a book is formatted and I’m Off Then is perfect with its chapters for reading on the train or bus traveling to and from work and at just over 300 pages also manageable to carry along.