When Brad Kyle set out to walk the Camino Trail to Santiago in Spain he did so with an air of expectation – about what he was not sure, other than he would be walking the same pathways pilgrims had been walking for hundreds of years.
Little did he expect to discover the person he knew as Brad Kyle was really an OK kind of bloke who could face the unexpected, cope with absolute discomfort, confront his own demons and still come up smiling, eventually!
On the unexpected death of his father he was left feeling somewhat without direction. Not wanting to return to his former lifestyle, a long forgotten conversation on the banks of the River Thames several years before surfaced.
Meeting a mate for a beer, he struck up a conversation with a very pretty girl who had recently walked the Camino Trail. Her enthusiasm of the journey and the challenges, both physical and spiritual, planted the seed of what was to become more than an epiphany, some eight years later.
We join Brad setting out from Australia, kitted up for the journey of a lifetime. An experienced traveller and walker ,he thought he had it all sorted; the right gear, the right maps the right knowledge: much of the knowledge gained by reading biographies of some of the famous who had walked the way before him, and much research.
The reality became more than just a journey. Confronting his fears, falling in and out of love, discovering genuine friends and allowing the sheer beauty which is the Camino Trail, heal the heart and soul of the man who set out surrounded by fears, but arriving fulfilled, complete and ready for the next experiences in life.
Written with honesty, including all the tough emotional stuff, but with a gentle and encouraging hand, the refreshing breeze that wafts throughout the pages encourages you to join the journey from Saint Jean Pied de Port along the 800 kilometre journey to Santiago, as Brad laughs, cries, gets totally pissed off and enraptured as his inspirational blue butterfly finds him when he is doubtful, encouraging him to believe in himself.
A truly enjoyable travel essay in the best of all styles: one that relates to everyone who enjoys travel or simply enjoys a great story.
Memoirs of a Pilgrim hasjust been honoured as an award-winning finalist (Travel Essay Category) in the International Book Awards 2012. (in the U.S.A.)