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Camino Elitist

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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I would try not to worry about the negative review. Book reviews are opinions, just that. You will not have 100% positive feedback, so you shouldn't expect it. (I agree with what Trecile said.)
 

MhaelK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
Well, I haven’t walked the camino yet so my experience only comes from reading this and other forums. But yes, I would say that I definitely sense a great presence of that there is a right/wrong way to walk the camino. So much that I was actually considering if walking the camino was for me at all.

Im not just talking about on the religous level. But also on smaller stuff as how you walk the camino - even though the way people walk the camino have changed a lot over the last decades. As soon as someone does it in a way that is out of the today-seen-as-ordinary people get upset. I’ve especially noticed it when it comes to how fast you are allowed to walk the camino. If somebody mention that they plan or have walked it faster than average, there are sure to be a lot of comments about it is not a Marathon and that they are missing the true meaning/spirit of the camino. Even though these people are not running but just moving more efficiently or for more hours each day.

Everybody agrees that everyone must walk their own camino. However, at the same time a lot of people unfortunaly also have a tendency to believe that their way is the only/correct way.

Honestly, I compare it the the hikingboots/runningshoes debate - each camp is so convinced of their own supriority that they are willing to raise hell, burst out outlandish claims and even yell angrily at any opposing view. Which is just plain stupid, because everybody knows that hikingboots are NOT a great tools for cross crounty walking *wink*wink* lol ;-)

Congratulations on your book and your journey.

Regards.
 
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cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
This thread seems to be one of those that often degenerate into "true pilgrim" discussions and those never end well. I totally agree with @trecile that those divisions are more likely to be found on the forum than on the Camino itself. I also agree with @Camino Chris that it is only a review and it would be unrealistic to expect 100% positive feedback.

Congratulations on walking the Camino, and in discovering positives to use in your life. Thank you for being willing to share your experience. Now don't get bogged down in what someone else thinks or maybe fails to understand, or you will have to start all over again to work thru that. :)
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19, '20)
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
I am sorry to hear that you put in the effort of writing your thoughts and feelings, and then suffered a negative review. I have no judgement to offer regarding the review, but I think that he is either wrong, or you may have misconstrued the reviewer's meaning a little bit.

From my conversations with fellow pilgrims, there is very definitely a percentage of people who see a divide between pilgrims and tourists. For a few that I met, it was a religious division, but that was a very small number. In fact, I think I met just one fellow with strong views along these lines. For most objectors, and there were a bunch, the divide between pilgrims and tourists was a mixture of the perceived motivation, or the means of travel. I never heard anyone speak negatively about a pilgrim walking because of some personal loss, a life change, an illness, or some other personal reason. We met a surprising number looking for love. That describes a lot of pilgrims. The negative comments I heard, and there we quite a few of them, were all directed at those who were clearly there with their friends to take a cheap walking holiday and see the sites, in maximum comfort.

Such "Tourigrinos" were viewed by some as not being pilgrims. I personally never gave this a second thought, because I never really spoke to anyone that was part of some organized tour. We would see them getting on and off buses, walking in a group on some stretches, and flash mobbing bars. We never saw them in the Albergues, they must have stayed in hotels off the trail for the most part. Perhaps they were there for religious reasons, or perhaps they were there to find something missing in their lives, I simply don't know......and it doesn't matter. For some, the guided tour aspect made them tourists, and not pilgrims.

There were also some who believed that the means of travel was as important as the motivation. I heard comments from a few about those who did not carry their pack, or stayed in hotels versus albergues. This was a small group of people, but it was there. A much larger group found those who are simply doing the 100 km dash for the Compostela to be less than a Pilgrim. There are pilgrims who participate in what amounts to a noisy five day pub crawl with their friends, collecting sellos and liver damage along the way to the Cathedral.

Some other respected posters here have said that this divide does not exist. I wish they were right. From their point of view (and mine, for the record!) no such divide should exist. And yet, I think some variation of the subject must have come up in conversation at pretty much every pilgrim dinner I had.

This is an old discussion on this forum. Some think you have to walk alone and penniless in bare feet. Others contend that the purity test is carrying your pack. Many believe that anyone who says they are a pilgrim IS a pilgrim. The range of opinion is all over the map, but the divide is very definitely there in the minds of some. Perhaps this reviewer's line in the sand is what he sees as the "simple gratitude" test he refers to. Let him, he can put his line where he pleases. His judgement has no effect on your experience.
 

NicP

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata, Seville to Santiago de Compostella via Astorga, then Finisterre... April and May 2016
Personally, I think you just have to walk your camino the way that suits you, and write the book you want to write. Some people will have similar views, some wont - as @Camino Chris says, a book review is just an opinion. Although I imagine that its disappointing to have something you've worked hard on like a book reviewed negatively, what can you do? Either you're happy with it, or you're not - you will never be able to get everybody who reads it to love it. It sounds, from your description, that your camino was a significant and meaningful journey for you, and I can imagine that the process of writing all that down in a book was a great way to reflect on, and process that journey. What a great experience! Take want you want from the feedback of others, and leave the rest. It's your journey! There are a range of opinions, many contradict each other, and some expressed with great confidence and authority, to be found on this forum. It's a reflection of the richness and diversity of life, not just life on the camino.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Personally, I think you just have to walk your camino the way that suits you, and write the book you want to write. Some people will have similar views, some wont - as @Camino Chris says, a book review is just an opinion. Although I imagine that its disappointing to have something you've worked hard on like a book reviewed negatively, what can you do? Either you're happy with it, or you're not - you will never be able to get everybody who reads it to love it. It sounds, from your description, that your camino was a significant and meaningful journey for you, and I can imagine that the process of writing all that down in a book was a great way to reflect on, and process that journey. What a great experience! Take want you want from the feedback of others, and leave the rest. It's your journey! There are a range of opinions, many contradict each other, and some expressed with great confidence and authority, to be found on this forum. It's a reflection of the richness and diversity of life, not just life on the camino.
My sentiments exactly and you said it so well.
 

DavidJ1215

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome 2018.
I guess a writer will receive a range of reviews and should not expect everyone to agree with what you have written. Just look at the range of reviews you find on Amazon and Goodreads - it would be a dull world if we all agreed.

There was a great discussion on this forum a short while ago about "I am not a Camino pilgrim...." - if you have time you ought to read it.

I walked my first camino this year as a christian and I took my faith with me but it did not in anyway preclude me from enjoying the company of so many other "pilgrims" who were on a journey for other reasons. I found a great deal of respect for each other - it was for me an extraordinary moving journey.

I guess overtime you will get a whole range of reviews for your book and in my opinion that is how it should be.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Well, I haven’t walked the camino yet so my experience only comes from reading this and other forums. But yes, I would say that I definitely sense a great presence of that there is a right/wrong way to walk the camino. So much that I was actually considering if walking the camino was for me at all.

Im not just talking about on the religous level. But also on smaller stuff as how you walk the camino - even though the way people walk the camino have changed a lot over the last decades. As soon as someone does it in a way that is out of the today-seen-as-ordinary people get upset. I’ve especially noticed it when it comes to how fast you are allowed to walk the camino. If somebody mention that they plan or have walked it faster than average, there are sure to be a lot of comments about it is not a Marathon and that they are missing the true meaning/spirit of the camino. Even though these people are not running but just moving more efficiently or for more hours each day.

Everybody agrees that everyone must walk their own camino. However, at the same time a lot of people unfortunaly also have a tendency to believe that their way is the only/correct way.

Honestly, I compare it the the hikingboots/runningshoes debate - each camp is so convinced of their own supriority that they are willing to raise hell, burst out outlandish claims and even yell angrily at any opposing view. Which is just plain stupid, because everybody knows that hikingboots are NOT a great tools for cross crounty walking *wink*wink* lol ;-)

Congratulations on your book and your journey.

Regards.
I know how you feel. After spending too much time on the forum last year before I walked my first Camino, I was a bit apprehensive about whether or not, as a non-believer, I would be accepted. Fortunately, I was proven wrong on that account. I found all the people that I interacted with to be friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Congratulations on both the camino and the book. That is a lot of work to do, and I expect that it is easy to be bothered by reviews that are a bit negative. The person was commenting and interpreting your experience, perhaps inaccurately, but that is what people do when they read a book! ;) And, arguably, authors are inviting it when they publish.

You asked a question (about tourists versus whatever other label is applied) that always leads to discussion. Perhaps it would be better to separate that valid question from your author "feelings" on receiving a slightly negative comment on your book and your experience.

I didn't think the review was THAT negative anyway. Rather it said that the reviewer had a very different perspective on the camino.

It is easy to mix up the various opinions on a subject with the author's feelings about a negative review. :(
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I can only speak for myself As I created the paramiters or "rules" of my Camino. It is easy to fall into tourist/ pilgrim debate but what it becomes is the human condition of wanting to be superior to others. The only reality is we walk to find what we were called to find. That is a personal journey for each individual.
Keith
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
Interesting question. I walked my first Camino spiritually from a Christian point of view. Baptist, not Catholic and I found it a deeply moving spiritual experience. I sat in churches and prayed, I walked in faith and grace, I felt the camino spirit - I was a pilgrim. Since then I have questioned many things, learned many new things, developed a meditation practice, read about Buddhist psychology, taken up yoga and decided that we are all intertwined, interbeings and that the world is a universal place where we should care about each other. Guess what ? My latest camino was a deeply moving spiritual experience. I sat quietly in churches and enjoyed all I still believe, I walked mindfully, I felt part of the natural world I walked through and I felt the energy of the millions of pilgrims who have made spiritual journeys of faith before me, I felt the camino spirit and I was a pilgrim. And I will be a pilgrim on my next camino and my one after that ......
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Love your reply Gillyweb.

This is from the book:
I was halfway to Castledelgado the next day when I saw the graffiti written boldly on mile marker 566. There it was, 566 kilometers to get to Santiago de Compostela.

IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE, LIVING LIFE IN PEACE. It had been written with a black marker pen by another pilgrim.

Right, John Lennon, imagine no country having war and conflict, imagine no religion which can, at its worse, divide instead of unite. These eight words on mile marker 566 embodied, more than anything I had seen so far, the essence of the spirit of the Camino.

The 73-year-old Dane who died on the Camino and the baby who was just starting out on his life’s journey, a couple of very successful businessmen, and a couple of delusional men who believed they were Jesus, a woman of unshakable faith serving her God in China and a man sitting across from her, a lapsed Catholic who greatly respects her faith but has none himself—all these different people walking the same path and passing by the same places.

And I decided that this is the life lesson: we must first identify as human beings and learn not to make comparisons. We must first discover what we have in common. When we start out by focusing on our differences, we make those barriers harder to bridge.
 

Pasha

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago may 2018
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
I plan to do my first Camino in may and would happily read your book or any others... as a complete newby this comment would by no means turn me off... there's always 1 lol I think anyone reading a review expects it so don't be disheartened st all and well done on all you've achieved x
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Interesting question. I walked my first Camino spiritually from a Christian point of view. Baptist, not Catholic and I found it a deeply moving spiritual experience. I sat in churches and prayed, I walked in faith and grace, I felt the camino spirit - I was a pilgrim. Since then I have questioned many things, learned many new things, developed a meditation practice, read about Buddhist psychology, taken up yoga and decided that we are all intertwined, interbeings and that the world is a universal place where we should care about each other. Guess what ? My latest camino was a deeply moving spiritual experience. I sat quietly in churches and enjoyed all I still believe, I walked mindfully, I felt part of the natural world I walked through and I felt the energy of the millions of pilgrims who have made spiritual journeys of faith before me, I felt the camino spirit and I was a pilgrim. And I will be a pilgrim on my next camino and my one after that ......
I would very much like to share a beer or vino tinto with you in either Santiago (for your reasons) or in Fisterra (for my reasons). Nice thinking, I bow...
 

Sarah Fisher

Master Traveler, Novice Walker
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018 - Camino Frances
First of all, holy ::bleep!!!::. We have a lot in common. And a lot of what we have in common is divisive so let's just brush off that two star review. We should also acknowledge that "elitism," at least in the USA, has become a go to insult if someone makes their traditional higher learning credentials known whether or not you actually ACT elitist (I'd have to read your book to reach that opinion). I am currently struggling with alcohol, still happily married but also dealing with the soon loss of my own business. Suddenly, I will be free and also, terrifyingly with nothing to do and to get back on track.

I have not walked the camino. I hope to next spring. I have wanted to for 10 years because my favorite professor in undergrad taught so passionately about pilgrimage routes and the saint iconography and art that surrounded them, especially Santiago de Compostela. I was raised Catholic in a strong German Catholic family but consider myself an atheist. I went to college with a lot of Jewish people that referred to their own atheism as "culturally Jewish" and started calling myself "culturally Catholic" which got an eye rolling laugh from my family. But it's still IT. I don't believe. I tried. Perhaps something will change but for now it hasn't. But I understand the rituals and the devotion. It is embedded in my family culture as German Catholics. I don't see myself as a tourist to the camino. I see myself as a participant in history as other pilgrims before me. Perhaps I take a more "scholarly" attitude which is somewhere in between. But I think that even the most diehard believers have moments of doubt, especially while walking.

I also, as soon as I entered college, dove headfirst into Buddhism and the concepts of Zen. And was eventually introduced to Thomas Merton, who bridged the world between Catholicism and Christian belief and Buddhism. All of these writings are still very influential to me today though I have never, personally, stuck to any sort of ritual structure for any length of time. Also influential is the idea of silence and meditation which you perhaps sought on your journey by booking private rooms. And you also had the means to. So what? Even in the Middle Ages, the well to do pilgrims often made that choice.
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
Reading the post again, the staying in private rooms dig really is idiotic.
I stayed in private rooms exclusively for several reasons.
1 the average price of about 40 Euros was very affordable to this middle class guy who lives in the NYC area
2 I would feel guilty taking a bed from someone who couldn’t afford a private room
And 3 and most important to me is the fact that we learned 150 years ago putting a lot of people in a small area is not healthy
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Thanks everyone...I feel better already!
I am sure that it is a wonderful book, and sometimes reviewers don't spend enough time immersing themselves. On occasion, the reviewer may be a person that you would not like, or that might not (shudder!) for whatever reason like you. Some people are jealous to the core!

It was a hard lesson, in grade school days early on, to learn that not everyone liked "me". A book is an intimate expression of who you are. My general attitude toward a negative review--of either myself, or of my writing--is to walk on.

Let others feel their own feels or throw stones. They can't hurt you, pilgrim!
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
I never fail to be amazed at how judgemental folks can be towards another within sacred spaces: churches, temples, Way of Saint James, etc. It baffles my mind.

Book reviewers have something to tell and sell too. Bless this one and send him on his way.

Buen camino.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
First of all, holy ::bleep!!!::. We have a lot in common. And a lot of what we have in common is divisive so let's just brush off that two star review. We should also acknowledge that "elitism," at least in the USA, has become a go to insult if someone makes their traditional higher learning credentials known whether or not you actually ACT elitist (I'd have to read your book to reach that opinion). I am currently struggling with alcohol, still happily married but also dealing with the soon loss of my own business. Suddenly, I will be free and also, terrifyingly with nothing to do and to get back on track.

I have not walked the camino. I hope to next spring. I have wanted to for 10 years because my favorite professor in undergrad taught so passionately about pilgrimage routes and the saint iconography and art that surrounded them, especially Santiago de Compostela. I was raised Catholic in a strong German Catholic family but consider myself an atheist. I went to college with a lot of Jewish people that referred to their own atheism as "culturally Jewish" and started calling myself "culturally Catholic" which got an eye rolling laugh from my family. But it's still IT. I don't believe. I tried. Perhaps something will change but for now it hasn't. But I understand the rituals and the devotion. It is embedded in my family culture as German Catholics. I don't see myself as a tourist to the camino. I see myself as a participant in history as other pilgrims before me. Perhaps I take a more "scholarly" attitude which is somewhere in between. But I think that even the most diehard believers have moments of doubt, especially while walking.

I also, as soon as I entered college, dove headfirst into Buddhism and the concepts of Zen. And was eventually introduced to Thomas Merton, who bridged the world between Catholicism and Christian belief and Buddhism. All of these writings are still very influential to me today though I have never, personally, stuck to any sort of ritual structure for any length of time. Also influential is the idea of silence and meditation which you perhaps sought on your journey by booking private rooms. And you also had the means to. So what? Even in the Middle Ages, the well to do pilgrims often made that choice.
Yes Sarah we do have a lot of shared highway....On Thomas Merton and the bridge with Buddhism this is from the book:

When I was a high school freshman, I had never been addressed by anyone who immediately struck me as truly enlightened. The prior of Portsmouth Abbey School was Father Aelred Graham, and I had never met anyone so at peace with himself. At 23 he entered the Ampleforth Abbey in England to study for the priesthood with the Benedictines. He was ordained in 1938 and was named Prior of Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island in 1951. Around that time, he began a long correspondence with Thomas Merton. A Trappist monk, Merton wrote 70 books on spirituality, social justice, and pacifism. Merton’s bestselling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), was so powerful that it sent a whole generation of young men, including many World War II veterans, into monasteries. Both men were authorities on comparative religion, and both had a deep understanding of Buddhism. They were among a small group of Western thinkers who opened a dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual leaders, including the Japanese writer, D. T. Suzuki, and the luminary Dalai Lama. Merton published Zen and the Birds of Appetite in 1967. In 1963, Prior Aelred’s influential book, Zen Catholicism, was published. It was the fall of 1965, and I was lucky to have my timeline intersect with Prior Aelred’s who would shortly leave Portsmouth Abbey in 1967 for three months’ sabbatical in Japan.

He looked enlightened with his shaved head and round glasses. He spoke quietly in a measured cadence with his hands crossed. He made a unique clicking sound with his tongue against the roof of his mouth when he said certain words. The entire student body of 200 boys sat there in the church as Prior Aelred began to speak to us about meditation.
 

MhaelK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
I know how you feel. After spending too much time on the forum last year before I walked my first Camino, I was a bit apprehensive about whether or not, as a non-believer, I would be accepted. Fortunately, I was proven wrong on that account. I found all the people that I interacted with to be friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental.
I’m happy to hear this, and this is also what i have come to believe from reading about others experiences. My camino starts on m0nday/tuesday and I cant wait to see what the way has in store for me.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Terry, so without ever meeting you this guy's making assessments about whether you're a pilgrim or a tourist? And what you posted is a classic case of projection - someone accusing you of being elitist while himself doing just that.

Well...take anyone's opinion personally and that's guaranteed suffering. (Even if the opinion is the 5-star kind; it's a more subtle kind of suffering, but uncomfortable nonetheless.)

I'm neither Christian or Catholic. But out there on the Camino I've never been made to feel 'not a pilgrim,' and have had quite wonderful heart connections with my Christian brothers and sisters, monastic and otherwise. If your book opens the door to that place of unity for even one person, you've made a difference.
The others? Well...never mind.
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Love your reply Gillyweb.

This is from the book:
I was halfway to Castledelgado the next day when I saw the graffiti written boldly on mile marker 566. There it was, 566 kilometers to get to Santiago de Compostela.

IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE, LIVING LIFE IN PEACE. It had been written with a black marker pen by another pilgrim.

Right, John Lennon, imagine no country having war and conflict, imagine no religion which can, at its worse, divide instead of unite. These eight words on mile marker 566 embodied, more than anything I had seen so far, the essence of the spirit of the Camino.

The 73-year-old Dane who died on the Camino and the baby who was just starting out on his life’s journey, a couple of very successful businessmen, and a couple of delusional men who believed they were Jesus, a woman of unshakable faith serving her God in China and a man sitting across from her, a lapsed Catholic who greatly reply spects her faith but has none himself—all these different people walking the same path and passing by the same places.

And I decided that this is the life lesson: we must first identify as human beings and learn not to make comparisons. We must first discover what we have in common. When we start out by focusing on our differences, we make those barriers harder to bridge.
Hi Terry, I think I'd like to read your book....how do I find it ?
I had a conversation on the Portugues just 4 weeks ago where we discussed why people persevere on the camino in circumstances which elsewhere would make us hang up our shoes and go home. Why does it matter not to give up ? My feeling was that it's in part because we identify with each other. The people we meet each day, like all those you mention in your excerpt above, and with whom we socialise in the evening, no matter how culturally or socially diverse, have shared the same path, seen the same things, felt the same sun or rain, struggled up the same hill and each has his or her own personal special awareness of how it was for them - an awareness we love to both share and to hear about. More importantly, we all have the same shared goal, a fairly simple, humble, goal - to just get there - and day by day we lose the striving for anything else and simply 'are' - human beings bound together with a shared experience. There is no material gain, only our own calling. We rise, walk, eat, shower, sleep and start again. I don't know if it's possible to walk a five week Camino without at least the middle two weeks being totally, if unconsciously, mindful.

Of course I still suffer from 'judgmental' - I'm human. After four weeks of simply being, the week from Sarria is a huge exercise in not judging. Last time on CF I wasn't very good at that but at least I was becoming more aware and took steps to not judge. From Tui this time ( the Sarria of the Portugues) I was noticeably more tolerant, and open. So I fully understand why people make elitist judgments. What I don't understand is why those who have walked many many times hold onto that thought and don't soften. Perhaps there is a point where it feels like you've become part of a club you don't want others to spoil ? I don't know. Much of my spiritual change in heart and mind was instigated by my first Camino. Next year I hope to walk the Francés again.....( with a possible Inglese thrown in if my lovely husband will let me escape for so long ) and I'm sure it will carry on teaching me new things.
 
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Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Yes Sarah we do have a lot of shared highway....On Thomas Merton and the bridge with Buddhism this is from the book:

When I was a high school freshman, I had never been addressed by anyone who immediately struck me as truly enlightened. The prior of Portsmouth Abbey School was Father Aelred Graham, and I had never met anyone so at peace with himself. At 23 he entered the Ampleforth Abbey in England to study for the priesthood with the Benedictines. He was ordained in 1938 and was named Prior of Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island in 1951. Around that time, he began a long correspondence with Thomas Merton. A Trappist monk, Merton wrote 70 books on spirituality, social justice, and pacifism. Merton’s bestselling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), was so powerful that it sent a whole generation of young men, including many World War II veterans, into monasteries. Both men were authorities on comparative religion, and both had a deep understanding of Buddhism. They were among a small group of Western thinkers who opened a dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual leaders, including the Japanese writer, D. T. Suzuki, and the luminary Dalai Lama. Merton published Zen and the Birds of Appetite in 1967. In 1963, Prior Aelred’s influential book, Zen Catholicism, was published. It was the fall of 1965, and I was lucky to have my timeline intersect with Prior Aelred’s who would shortly leave Portsmouth Abbey in 1967 for three months’ sabbatical in Japan.

He looked enlightened with his shaved head and round glasses. He spoke quietly in a measured cadence with his hands crossed. He made a unique clicking sound with his tongue against the roof of his mouth when he said certain words. The entire student body of 200 boys sat there in the church as Prior Aelred began to speak to us about meditation.
Thanks for this. I've just started looking for books on comparative religion and though I'm not Catholic 'Zen Catholicism' may talk about some of the things I'm curious about. We aren't supposed to get into religion too heavily on the forum for good reason, so could I PM you if I have any questions at some point ?
 
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Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
I would very much like to share a beer or vino tinto with you in either Santiago (for your reasons) or in Fisterra (for my reasons). Nice thinking, I bow...
I have yet to walk to Fisterra, my previous two intentions to do so ran out of time. I was briefly tempted to take the bus four weeks ago but in my heart I felt and knew that for some reason I mustn't go until I walk there on my own two feet. It may be that I need to walk it as a Camino of its own, and not simply make it the end of another Camino....perhaps next spring - and I am always happy to share a vino tinto with a fellow pilgrim.

I'm curious - why Santiago for me and Fisterra for you ? What have I missed .......
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I am a pilgrim, and I am a professional author and editor.
This question isn't about elites and pilgrims, haves and have-nots, authenticity and fakes. It's about a book review.
It takes guts to walk the camino, question your faith, overcome alcohol, and survive a divorce. It takes guts to write a book that includes all that. And it takes a truly Zen spirit of non-attachment to stand back and let reviewers do their thing. Because they will.
Sometimes they are nasty, uninformed, and just don't get it. And sometimes, their criticisms hit the nail square on the head. They are often right, damn them!
You suck it up and keep going.
We are not all great literary lions, but all our souls are beloved.
Learn from your critics. Keep writing. Keep up the good work.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Hi Terry, I think I'd like to read your book....how do I find it ?
I had a conversation on the Portugues just 4 weeks ago where we discussed why people persevere on the camino in circumstances which elsewhere would make us hang up our shoes and go home. Why does it matter not to give up ? My feeling was that it's in part because we identify with each other. The people we meet each day, like all those you mention in your excerpt above, and with whom we socialise in the evening, no matter how culturally or socially diverse, have shared the same path, seen the same things, felt the same sun or rain, struggled up the same hill and each has his or her own personal special awareness of how it was for them - an awareness we love to both share and to hear about. More importantly, we all have the same shared goal, a fairly simple, humble, goal - to just get there - and day by day we lose the striving for anything else and simply 'are' - human beings bound together with a shared experience. There is no material gain, only our own calling. We rise, walk, eat, shower, sleep and start again. I don't know if it's possible to walk a five week Camino without at least the middle two weeks being totally, if unconsciously, mindful.

Of course I still suffer from 'judgmental' - I'm human. After four weeks of simply being, the week from Sarria is a huge exercise in not judging. Last time on CF I wasn't very good at that but at least I was becoming more aware and took steps to not judge. From Tui this time ( the Sarria of the Portugues) I was noticeably more tolerant, and open. So I fully understand why people make elitist judgments. What I don't understand is why those who have walked many many times hold onto that thought and don't soften. Perhaps there is a point where it feels like you've become part of a club you don't want others to spoil ? I don't know. Much of my spiritual change in heart and mind was instigated by my first Camino. Next year I hope to walk the Francés again.....( with a possible Inglese thrown in if my lovely husband will let me escape for so long ) and I'm sure it will carry on teaching me new things.
I am reluctant to say the name of the book as I do not want to make a commercial post...however if you google "Amazon-Terence Callery" you will find it!
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
I am reluctant to say the name of the book as I do not want to make a commercial post...however if you google "Amazon-Terence Callery" you will find it!
Thank you. Bought and ready for a Sunday read !
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
I am a pilgrim, and I am a professional author and editor.
This question isn't about elites and pilgrims, haves and have-nots, authenticity and fakes. It's about a book review.
It takes guts to walk the camino, question your faith, overcome alcohol, and survive a divorce. It takes guts to write a book that includes all that. And it takes a truly Zen spirit of non-attachment to stand back and let reviewers do their thing. Because they will.
Sometimes they are nasty, uninformed, and just don't get it. And sometimes, their criticisms hit the nail square on the head. They are often right, damn them!
You suck it up and keep going.
We are not all great literary lions, but all our souls are beloved.
Learn from your critics. Keep writing. Keep up the good work.
Yes, it does take guts to let critics do their thing. As a pro classical singer I don't even get the opportunity to risk the critics from the safety of a darkened room. I'm out there in the spotlight and every criticism is a very personal thing - it's one of the demons I have allowed the spirit of non attachment to show me, to (begin) to teach me how to let go of, and to start to understand I am not what I do. However, the last paragraph of the OP's post wasn't about a book review and his reaction to it, it was asking, in the light of that review, if the general opinion is that Christian walkers are generally considered the true pilgrims and that everyone else, even if walking spiritually, is a tourist - a term almost always used in a derogatory manner. Therefore the question surely was about elites, authenticity and fake versus true. Unless he gets an answer to that he can't actually judge if the reviewer actually has a valid point and has said something worth learning.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I have yet to walk to Fisterra, my previous two intentions to do so ran out of time. I was briefly tempted to take the bus four weeks ago but in my heart I felt and knew that for some reason I mustn't go until I walk there on my own two feet. It may be that I need to walk it as a Camino of its own, and not simply make it the end of another Camino....perhaps next spring - and I am always happy to share a vino tinto with a fellow pilgrim.

I'm curious - why Santiago for me and Fisterra for you ? What have I missed .......
Gillyweb---think! church vs. nature....think, think.... ;)
 

BPG2017

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Terry, do not pay any attention to those who would pigeonhole you. The Camino experience is a spiritual CONTINUUM from pure leisure to pure religious pilgrimage. Both extremes are rare (the second more than the first), and every hue in the spectrum is valid, as long as you do not litter and do not disrespect others.

This being said, if you have a good sense of history and of culture, you cannot help being awed by the giant ancient reality that you become a part of, when you take your first step. Those who lack this sense are truly, I believe, missing out on something. And if you are a believer, of any kind, you will of course walk the Camino in that spirit, and grow through it. But again, the historical, cultural and spiritual experience - which I admit I would wish every pilgrim to have, to some extent - comes in a thousand hues and strengths, and who the hell am I to invalidate another's experience? Or, how stupid do I have to be to oversimplify the question into the mutually exclusive pigeonholes of "pilgrims" and "tourists"?

I am a committed traditional Catholic. My personal camino was one-third spiritual, one-third cultural, one-third personal challenge. And my saddest moment was at the entrance to Santiago, when, on a municipal poster saying something about the Camino being a cultural journey, someone crossed out "cultural" and scribbled "spiritual". That's the kind of religious narrow-mindedness that makes me ashamed.
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Gillyweb---think! church vs. nature....think, think.... ;)
Yeah .....duh... I was a bit slow there !! But my pull now is actually to get to Fisterra. I think the Cathedral has lost its pull for me a little as I change my spiritual allegiances. I have to walk to Fisterra next.
 

kcaldaba

Camino Frances, 2016. Camino del Norte, 2018.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Spring 2016; Camino del Norte, Spring 2018; Camino Primitivo, Spring 2019
When I was preparing for my first Camino, I ended up categorizing the responses of my friends three ways:
1. Why on earth would you do that?;
2. I get it, I wish I could do it, way to go, you'll have a great time, I'm happy for you;
3. Here's what you need to do, have you thought about this, have you thought about it--basically telling me how to do it (even though it was my journey, not theirs.)

On the Camino itself, it turned out to be a life-changing experience as I gradually learned to let things go and stop judging others who were doing things differently than I was. Some pilgrims never book ahead and think those that do aren't being "authentic." Some pilgrims ship their packs ahead, some don't. Some always sleep in municipal albergues, some in private albergues, some in paradors (when available.) Some pilgrims take taxis if they're tired. Some skip entire sections. Some pilgrims are talking on their cellphones. Some pilgrims leave their trash behind. Some pilgrims are deeply religious and others not so much. Some are up early waking up others. Some bicyclists catch you by surprise and have a bell but don't use it. There were times when I found myself getting aggravated over some of those things--particularly trash, bicyclists without bells, and carrying on business on your cellphone while you're walking. Then I realized I was allowing these small things to have too much power over how I felt. I was having the most powerful experience of my life, on balance we were all the best versions of ourselves, there was a lack of social stratification, and I was getting to know wonderful people from all over the world that I would have never otherwise met. Ultimately, how could I feel anything but grateful for such an eye-opening experience at 69 years old?

I'll read your book, but it sounds to me like you had your Camino on your terms. I imagine you wrote your book for yourself first and foremost to give you a better chance of hanging on to the life lessons and the emotions that the Camino uniquely provides, and you were kind enough to share those with others. There's no reason to give a reviewer, a friend, or anyone else the power to take away any of that.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018), Mozarabe and more (2019)
I am reluctant to say the name of the book as I do not want to make a commercial post...however if you google "Amazon-Terence Callery" you will find it!
If you commit your views to print, or even to this forum, you expose yourself to criticism, not all of which will be favourable. You might, however, take comfort in the realisation that a book may be damned with faint praise. After reading the reviews on Amazon, I wonder whether the five-star ratings that describe your book as an 'easy read' aren't more damaging in their blandness. At least the two-star reviewer found your account sufficiently thought-provoking to merit what you perceive as a negative response. You may well find that many more forum members, whether pilgrims or tourists, will now be inspired to read your book and assess it for themselves. Don't be so easily deterred!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
it was asking, in the light of that review, if the general opinion is that Christian walkers are generally considered the true pilgrims and that everyone else, even if walking spiritually, is a tourist
That's a fair question, often discussed here, but I don't see that the reviewer drew an extreme conclusion like that. The reviewer did indicate a bias against certain attitudes, but certainly did not declare a clear division such as @Terry Callery is proposing.

Unless he gets an answer to that he can't actually judge if the reviewer actually has a valid point and has said something worth learning.
Is it the case that unless the reviewer was 100% "right" there was nothing to learn? :oops:

So I fully understand why people make elitist judgments. What I don't understand is why those who have walked many many times hold onto that thought and don't soften.
I fully agree. Softening my elitist judgments has been one of the big personal benefits for me. I still have a ways to go, so need to keep walking. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk The French route starting September 9, 2017
Y
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?[/QUOTE
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
your Camino is uniquely and specially your Camino. No one else can truly understand what happened in your heart, mind and spirit. I rejoice that it was a blessed experience for you!!!!
 

Purple Backpack

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
England C2C 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Le Puy 2018
I love writing stories, just for the fun of entertaining my family and friends. Every once in a while, I miss the mark. I write something so deeply profound or amusing or lyrical ... and the rest of the world doesn't see it that way. Imagine that! So I sit at the keyboard and try again...

Brush off the review; you didn't write for that one stranger so let his opinion go. There's plenty of ink in the bottle!
 

susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
I've not yet read your book Terry, so I hesitate to make any comments at this point other than to write that I do agree with Rebekah Scott's response above. :) What is your book called please Terry and, is it available as an EBook or ?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
ARE there folks who consider themselves elites...? I don't care how fast someone walks, or whether they camp out at night, stay at an albergue, or at a 4 star hotel! If they want to run a marathon...Great! IF they only do 10 K a day, fine! I have seen groups get on and off buses. WHO is to say what is in the heart of another? Maybe that is the only way they are able to physically and mentally experience the Camino! Can not a "tourist" also be a "pilgrim"? What I do care about is how we ALL treat each other on the journey! The rest is Wurst!
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Okay, I am a sucker for the underdog. I went in and reviewed the review, and thought that the reviewer's (ha ha, see what I'm doing here?) review was judgmental and cliche'. So I wrote a review for the review! Good heavens.

Then, I reviewed the other reviews that the unkind reviewer had written....you can too! We find that he/she has walked Camino Frances and Camino Portoguese. We also find that said reviewer gave five stars to some gregorian-style chants, as well as to a gold Cross pen (about forty dollars US), and a book about weight loss surgery through the lap-band devices. So, my working hypothesis is that the reviewer only "likes" those things that appeal directly to him or her, that he or she agrees with.

The mix of Merton and Catholicism probably just rocked the boat, so I wouldn't give it another thought.
 

JoP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Recently I published a book about my experience walking the Camino Frances and I was surprise by a recent negative review of the book from a veteran Camino pilgrim. I was very honest in the book both about my recent divorce as a motivating factor to undertake the pilgrimage and about my struggles with alcohol. I also describe myself in the book as a "Cultural Catholic" someone educated by Benedictine monks who lost his faith while in his early 20's studying philosophy at Yale University. I write about the spiritual journey that I took in tandem with the physical journey and for me the repetition (like a mantra) of long hours of walking was a gateway for Zen meditation and mindfulness. I write about finding the "infinite moment" and reflect that a person of faith might call the same experience "walking in grace". I nurture a Universalist idea of "one world" that
does away with the lens of "us and them". I quote from Father Joe who says "Yes there are two types of people-those who divide the world into two types of people and those of us who do not."
Then I see this review which was a two stars out of five.
One of the distinctions learned while walking the Camino is "Are You a Pilgrim?" or "Are You a Tourist?". For Mr. Callery, he seems to be more in the tourist category. There is some nice historical background provided, but the journey and the flow of the trip seem disjointed. Mr. Callery seems to resist the idea of a spiritual journey. There's a lot of "I" and "Me", "Zen" and "Chi" - the simple Camino lesson of gratitude is less evident. Staying in private rooms, eating most meals alone and walking a faith-less journey is just one way to walk the Camino. There's is no "right way" or "wrong way" to "do" the Camino. That said, the Camino as a pilgrimage can nurture the soul and bring us closer to God with a sense of optimism. Mr. Callery's story is more of a glass "half-empty" experience.
So my question to the Forum is this--- Is there really a division among people on the Camino the "Elitist" walking in Christian faith as the "true pilgrims" ....and all others who have other beliefs (Zen/mindfulness/secular) are all "tourist"?
It doesn't matter. Just do it your own way. Have a good time x
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We have a policy on the forum allowing authors to write one post announcing their books, and then ask that there be no "bumping" or obvious self-promotion. Ivar happily accepts advertising for anyone's Camino-related commercial venture.

This thread kind of threads that needle, sorry for the choice of words. While ostensibly raising questions about the ideology of a reviewer, it also serves as a form of advertisement for the book, as evidenced by some of the responses. So I am going to close the thread for now and leave it as the author's one opportunity to promote the book.

In fairness to other authors, I think we need to hold the line against advertising on the forum. No disrespect to the author or his book intended. Buen camino, Laurie
 
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