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Aong the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace, B. Wi


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Seven Million Steps for Peace

When I first walked the Camino Frances in 1999, a friend sent his good wishes for the journey with a note translating 800 kilometers into approx. 1.5 million steps. Brandon Wilson, a companion at times during that pilgrimage, has taken that a great deal farther…

Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace is his story of turning an ancient warpath into a trek for peace. Brandon and a French friend I met with him in Spain (saluting St. Jacques each evening with “Jacques” Daniels) left from Dijon, France and traveled along the old Templar Trail to Jerusalem, the approximate route followed by Godfrey de Boullion and his troops during the First Crusades to liberate the Holy City from the infidels.

It was not an easy trek; multiply the blisters and speeding trucks and loss of the road and uncertainty of places to bed down that we’ve all felt, through eleven countries and two continents—minus the yellow arrows and more often than not without real maps and practically non-existent language skills. What these two did have was a keen sense of improvisation and a will to make this trek for the sake of peace.

During their journey, they traveled blazing a new trail for over 2600 miles in 160 days. Along the way, the Middle East erupted in war, the Beirut Airport was bombed and tourists were gunned down in Jordan, not to mention an outbreak of an Ebola-like virus
And more. Still, they persevered and had some pretty harrowing as well as incredibly warm-warming adventures along the way.

Brandon makes a very convincing argument “that one person can still make a difference in today’s world and that the time is now.” As he stated for international media when interviewed along the way in the Middle East, “he’s establishing the trail as an international path of peace for people of all cultures, faiths and nationalities. Let’s set aside our differences and let’s walk as one.”

I feel empowered and moved by his tale and thoroughly enjoyed the resolve and intent of these two brave individuals as they spread the peace that we pilgrims know begins within.

Link removed due to security concerns - old link which may have been taken over
reviewed by Kathy Gower
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Thanks Kathy - I also posted a message about Brandon's book last year in December. For those who are interested,you can visit Brandon on a YouTube interview at:
Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pJaLpWZWbU for a video preview.

Brandon is collaborating on a book about his walk on the Via de la Plata which should be out this year.
Hi Kathy, Sil and everyone,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading Along the Templar Trail. Yes, it was an incredible journey and totally unpredictable as we walked from France to Jerusalem along much of the path of the First Crusades. What a great irony to turn this way of war into a path of peace and understanding. As you mention, one of our major reasons for walking the trail was to open it up to future peregrinos who may have already walked the Camino Frances, Via Francigena or others.

For those of you who dream of walking to Jerusalem, here are a few stats: 160 days total/137 days of walking, mixture of bike paths/farm trails/country roads/larger roads, 11 countries, lodging: pensions, hostels, naturfreundhaus, monasteries, average daily distance: 31 km., average daily per person budget: $31 in 2006, pack weight: 15 lbs (7 kilos). (Btw, neither my friend or I are 20-something or trained marathoners.) Pubic support and encouragement along the way was very good and folks were curious. Temps ranged from near freezing (in the Black Forest) to close to 90 degrees in Turkey. Food (and wine) was usually available and good quality; lodging was usually available, although this made for a few longer days. I've laid out the stages and distances in the book as an aid to others.

As Kathy mentioned, I hope the re-discovery of this trail opens up another world venue where pilgrims can walk in peace and learn that we're not so different after all. Buen camino! :arrow:

Brandon Wilson
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Brandon is a very humble person - as you will learn if you read about his life and achievements on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Wilson

Besides his incredible walk to Jerusalem his long distance trails include London to Cape Town: he and his wife were the first Western couple to walk an ancient 1,000-km pilgrimage path from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal: he was the first American to walk the Via Francigena from England to Rome: two Camino Frances in 1999 & 2005; the Via de la Plata in 2007 and the 400-mile St. Olav’s Way across Norway in 2004.

Brandon, I would love to buy your book on the via de la plata - please let us know when it will be published.

Re: Along the Templar Trail, B. Wilson

Hi Sil,

Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I've been trying to walk a pilgrimage every year or so for close to 10 years. There are worse passions, I suppose. As we all know, it really gets in your blood.

The name of the new Via de la Plata book is Näive & Abroad: Spain, Limping 600 Miles Through History by Marcus Wilder. He's the author. I'm merely the photographer on this one. I've donated fifty photos from my journey last fall to illustrate the trail and help promote it. It just became available on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0595493963/?tag=casaivar02-20 where you'll also find my new book about our walking pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Along the Templar Trail. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0977053687/?tag=casaivar02-20

By the way, in my stats for the Templar Trail, I neglected to mention the walking distance. It's 2620 miles or 4223 km. But who's counting, right?

As you may have heard, I had the privilege of re-blazing the Templar Trail to Jerusalem in 2006. This 2600 mile pilgrimage leads from Dijon, France through eleven countries and two continents, following much of what was once the route of the First Crusades. It was interesting and ironic to walk what was once a way of war and helping to transform it into a modern path of peace.

Today, I'm happy to announce that we've made the route maps and stages from Along the Templar Trail available for free at: link removed for security concerns

My sincere hope is that other pilgrims will discover this path, as well as the fellowship and peace found in the simple act of walking this pilgrimage trail.


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3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Brandon - great website - great that you have put your maps out there for people to use. I'm sure that a walk to Jerusalem is on many 'bucket lists'!!

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