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Walking Home: Finding Forgiveness and Freedom on the Way

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Life was falling apart. Within the space of three years, Sonia Choquette had suffered the unexpected death of two close family members, seen her marriage implode, and been let down by trusted colleagues. And sympathy was not forthcoming. “You’re a world-renowned spiritual teacher and intuitive guide,” people jeered. “How could you not have seen this coming?” Having intuiti Life was falling apart. Within the space of three years, Sonia Choquette had suffered the unexpected death of two close family members, seen her marriage implode, and been let down by trusted colleagues. And sympathy was not forthcoming. “You’re a world-renowned spiritual teacher and intuitive guide,” people jeered. “How could you not have seen this coming?” Having intuitive abilities didn’t make her superhuman, however. Nor did it exempt her from being wounded or suffering the pain of loss and the consequences of our all-too-human traits such as anger, resentment, and pride—traits that can lead even the best of us to stray from our spiritual path. In order to regain her spiritual footing, Sonia turned to the age-old practice of pilgrimage and set out to walk the legendary Camino de Santiago, an 820-kilometer trek over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain. Day after day she pushed through hunger, exhaustion, and pain to reach her destination. Eventually, mortification of the flesh gave way to spiritual renewal, and she rediscovered the gifts of humility and forgiveness that she needed to repair her world. In this riveting book, Sonia shares the intimate details of her grueling experience, as well as the unexpected moments of grace, humor, beauty, and companionship that supported her through her darkest hours. While her journey is unique, the lessons she learned—about honoring your relationships with others as well as with your own higher self, and forgiving all else—are universal.


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Life was falling apart. Within the space of three years, Sonia Choquette had suffered the unexpected death of two close family members, seen her marriage implode, and been let down by trusted colleagues. And sympathy was not forthcoming. “You’re a world-renowned spiritual teacher and intuitive guide,” people jeered. “How could you not have seen this coming?” Having intuiti Life was falling apart. Within the space of three years, Sonia Choquette had suffered the unexpected death of two close family members, seen her marriage implode, and been let down by trusted colleagues. And sympathy was not forthcoming. “You’re a world-renowned spiritual teacher and intuitive guide,” people jeered. “How could you not have seen this coming?” Having intuitive abilities didn’t make her superhuman, however. Nor did it exempt her from being wounded or suffering the pain of loss and the consequences of our all-too-human traits such as anger, resentment, and pride—traits that can lead even the best of us to stray from our spiritual path. In order to regain her spiritual footing, Sonia turned to the age-old practice of pilgrimage and set out to walk the legendary Camino de Santiago, an 820-kilometer trek over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain. Day after day she pushed through hunger, exhaustion, and pain to reach her destination. Eventually, mortification of the flesh gave way to spiritual renewal, and she rediscovered the gifts of humility and forgiveness that she needed to repair her world. In this riveting book, Sonia shares the intimate details of her grueling experience, as well as the unexpected moments of grace, humor, beauty, and companionship that supported her through her darkest hours. While her journey is unique, the lessons she learned—about honoring your relationships with others as well as with your own higher self, and forgiving all else—are universal.

30 review for Walking Home: Finding Forgiveness and Freedom on the Way

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lorilin

    I cannot believe how disappointed I am by this book. I had such high hopes: an intuitive spiritual healer goes on a hike across Spain to work out her emotional baggage and come to terms with several major (and majorly failing) relationships in her life. Oh man, this is my jam! I thought I was going to eat this book up. But, wow. Choquette is one of the least insightful people I have ever encountered--especially for someone who is so accomplished at and well-known for...being insightful. It never I cannot believe how disappointed I am by this book. I had such high hopes: an intuitive spiritual healer goes on a hike across Spain to work out her emotional baggage and come to terms with several major (and majorly failing) relationships in her life. Oh man, this is my jam! I thought I was going to eat this book up. But, wow. Choquette is one of the least insightful people I have ever encountered--especially for someone who is so accomplished at and well-known for...being insightful. It never occurred to me that Choquette and her book could be so empty, so irritating, or so lacking in honest observation and understanding. First off, I found it grating the way in which Choquette chose to talk to herself throughout her journey. It was difficult to read after a while. Her self-talk is unforgiving, merciless, and even sometimes cruel. When she faces real problems, she minimizes them. "Stop being such a prima donna!" she tells herself. Be a "good soldier" and ignore the fact that, you know, your toes are black and oozing blood. Better yet, think of all the "people who suffered around the world." Huh? I'm not sure what one has to do with the other, and I especially don't understand what is so wrong with showing yourself some compassion when you are suffering. But my main problem with Choquette is her lack of insight into her own relationships--especially her relationships with her husband and with her father. My God, she trashes her husband so much in this book, it's almost embarrassing to read. Over and over again she digs into him--but not in a way that would show that she has faced her feelings head on, processed the difficult stuff, and really come to some insightful conclusions about him, herself, and their marriage. No, she is passive aggressive and venomous, full of anger and vitriol, ready to cut him apart for (what comes across as) a bunch of piddly "injustices," the insufferable nothings that ALL married people inflict on each other: he rushes her, he always prepares for the worst, he criticizes her for working too much, he irritates her with his breathing. Listen, we've all been there. I've been married 10 years and my husband can definitely get under my skin. But part of marriage is figuring out why you are really upset, learning to process your own feelings before you lash out, giving yourself permission to take a break, deciding what is worth fighting about, and, finally, showing your spouse (and yourself) a bit of grace. I don't mind Choquette's emotions; but I found it so irritating that she just put all this unprocessed negativity out there. It's brutal. And the fact that she feels so justified in ripping him apart publicly baffles me. But while she's waging death-by-a-thousand-cuts on her husband, in the next breath, she's accepting and forgiving--without question--her abusive and callous father. Oh, sure, she toys with the idea that maybe her dad wasn't amazing all the time--you know, when he, like, hit her, or maybe when he told her that she wasn't allowed to talk about any of her accomplishments when she was at home so as not to "take the spotlight off of her mom," or perhaps when he told her to "shut up and disappear." Maybe he wasn't perfect, but--and this is her moment of insight on DAY ONE of her journey--ultimately, she decides he was a "good man" because he took care of his kids; he never let them starve. Standards! The fact that Choquette can be so angry and unforgiving with her husband and yet so completely magnanimous with her abusive dad tells me that she hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of built-up resentment. In my opinion, it sure looks like she just doesn't want to deal with the REAL pain of her childhood. It's easier to hate her husband than to accept that the person who was supposed to love her showed her cruelty instead. Ultimately, I thought this book was just awful. I kept waiting for the turnaround, the insight, the shining moment of inspiration that would indicate to me that Choquette was capable of seeing the role she plays in perpetuating the negative patterns and harmful relationships in her life. But it never came. Instead, in this book, Choquette focused on giving readers a tedious play-by-play of a mostly boring hiking trip without supplying any much-needed depth or wisdom. Such a disappointment. See more of my reviews at www.BugBugBooks.com!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    This is what I loved about the book, and what some didn't, the authenticity. Some reviewers called it whining, narcissism, et al. But I found Sonia Choquette introspective and analyzing. She's on the journey of Camino de Santiago by herself, for this reason. This is her journey and her reflection on troubled relationships including her marriage and her father. I found her relatable and brave. And most of all, encouraging. It's easy to share our good sides with others. To share our vulnerable, tr This is what I loved about the book, and what some didn't, the authenticity. Some reviewers called it whining, narcissism, et al. But I found Sonia Choquette introspective and analyzing. She's on the journey of Camino de Santiago by herself, for this reason. This is her journey and her reflection on troubled relationships including her marriage and her father. I found her relatable and brave. And most of all, encouraging. It's easy to share our good sides with others. To share our vulnerable, true anxious selves? That's an authentic journey, a successful journey, a pilgrimage. Provided by publisher

  3. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    The Quick Version of Walking Home by Sonia Choquette I woke up.* I ate a PowerBar. I said a prayer to the Universe/God. I ate a PowerBar. I hiked. I ate a PowerBar. I thought some thoughts. I ate a PowerBar. I described some things. I ate a PowerBar. I met some people. I ate a PowerBar. I ate some actual food. I ate a PowerBar. I drank some wine. I wanted to eat a PowerBar** but I was so exhausted that I fell asleep. Repeat formula for each chapter ad nauseum until the author is eventually healed. * The Quick Version of Walking Home by Sonia Choquette I woke up.* I ate a PowerBar. I said a prayer to the Universe/God. I ate a PowerBar. I hiked. I ate a PowerBar. I thought some thoughts. I ate a PowerBar. I described some things. I ate a PowerBar. I met some people. I ate a PowerBar. I ate some actual food. I ate a PowerBar. I drank some wine. I wanted to eat a PowerBar** but I was so exhausted that I fell asleep. Repeat formula for each chapter ad nauseum until the author is eventually healed. *She seriously begins 18/32 chapters with these 3 words. **I swear PowerBar sponsored this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I really enjoyed her journey through the Camino de Santiago, something I would love to do someday. We are all in a pilgrimage of sorts trying to cope the best we can and live up to our expectations and to those others have of us. Sometimes it is wise to take a step back, stop, spend sometime with yourself and decide what you really want. This book inspired me to take that time and to learn how to take better care of myself.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olwen

    If this book doesn't inspire you to do a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, then nothing will! A great travelogue that weaves in spiritual inspiration and self reflection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melanie The Medium

    I am a big fan of Sonia, and I've been interested in walking the Camino, so when I found out about her new book, I ordered a copy right away. This book has a different tone than her others. We're used to seeing the all-positive, peppy, spiritual teacher Sonia. In this book, we see how she feels when dealing with major emotional situations in her personal life. We read about her struggles to not "over-spiritualize" her feelings and instead, to feel them strongly and allow them to flow through her I am a big fan of Sonia, and I've been interested in walking the Camino, so when I found out about her new book, I ordered a copy right away. This book has a different tone than her others. We're used to seeing the all-positive, peppy, spiritual teacher Sonia. In this book, we see how she feels when dealing with major emotional situations in her personal life. We read about her struggles to not "over-spiritualize" her feelings and instead, to feel them strongly and allow them to flow through her. We get glimpses into her childhood, the habitual thinking patterns she's formed, and how those thoughts have affected her happiness in her relationships. I really enjoyed this book. As a spiritual teacher, I could relate to the thought that if you're spiritual, you shouldn't have resentment, anger, fear, etc. I've dealt with releasing those self-judgments as well, and it felt comforting to read that another spiritual teacher whom I respect has gone through that process of accepting all emotions (not just the happy ones) as well. In this book, we see Sonia's humanity. Being spiritual doesn't mean you don't have struggles, and it's that side of Sonia's life that we are privileged to witness in this book. This isn't a book about how to walk the Camino, so if you're looking for one of those, you might want to get a different book instead. Each chapter is more focused on her thoughts and emotions as she walks. There were times when I felt the text was a little too repetitive. There were chapters, especially toward then end, when I thought, "Okay I get it - you were angry and trying to forgive yourself." Each chapter is a day in her walk, but I think several of the days have such similar content that they could have been combined. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, and I'm glad I read it. It's not going to make it to my permanent collection, though. I am planning to pass it along to a family member who I'm sure will enjoy it and be able to relate as well. Thank you for sharing your journey, Sonia!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Pozeg

    I thought it read too much like a self-help book. Which I later realized was printed on the back cover. Then I realized that’s what her actual career pretty much was. I wish I would have known this before the purchase. There were too many reassuring typical self-help questions she "asked" herself throughout the book which were completely directed toward the reader to answer about themselves. She seemed to focus on spirituality and angels and prayers and how every single action and reaction was a I thought it read too much like a self-help book. Which I later realized was printed on the back cover. Then I realized that’s what her actual career pretty much was. I wish I would have known this before the purchase. There were too many reassuring typical self-help questions she "asked" herself throughout the book which were completely directed toward the reader to answer about themselves. She seemed to focus on spirituality and angels and prayers and how every single action and reaction was a sign from God sending her a message. That was the mumbo-jumbo I didn't care much for ,as it became very repetitive throughout the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Iona Stewart

    I found this account of Sonia Choquette´s Camino pilgrimage to be enjoyable and enlightening. Her intuition told her to walk the Camino after the sudden death of her brother and father, and the break-up of her long-standing marriage. Sonia´s narrative is down-to earth and reading it is almost like taking the trip oneself, without of course the hassle and pain. We are given detailed descriptions of her breakfasts at the various albergues (hostels); sometimes these were extremely meagre, just a slic I found this account of Sonia Choquette´s Camino pilgrimage to be enjoyable and enlightening. Her intuition told her to walk the Camino after the sudden death of her brother and father, and the break-up of her long-standing marriage. Sonia´s narrative is down-to earth and reading it is almost like taking the trip oneself, without of course the hassle and pain. We are given detailed descriptions of her breakfasts at the various albergues (hostels); sometimes these were extremely meagre, just a slice of dry bread (or perhaps there was some margarine too) and an inferior café con leche, while a few were sumptuous meals. Sonia´s feet became torturously painful and remained so, but she kept on. I greatly admire her strength, courage, perseverance and faith. The Camino is a more than 800-kilometre trek over the Pyrenees and across Northern Spain to Santiago – a spiritual pilgrimage. The Camino was one of the three major pilgrimages in the Catholic faith. It was believed that the bones of James the Apostle were buried in Santiago. Sonia felt in some deep part of her being that she had already walked the path once before. She also felt some connection with the Knights Templar - Crusaders who previously protected pilgrims. Perhaps she had been a Knight Templar herself. Sonia had two bags with her, a relatively light backpack she designated Pilgrim, which she carried on her back, and a heavier bag, Cheater, she sent ahead from stop to stop with a transport service. She also had with her a little “totem friend” called Gumby, who kept her company. She wanted to walk the Camino to become free of the guilt, anger and shame she was carrying. She also wanted to obtain forgiveness and herself to forgive both her father and her husband, Patrick. Sonia allowed herself to feel her emotional pain throughout the journey. When she let go of her dark thoughts she could keep going, but some of them were tenacious so she had to let them be, She nourished herself with Power Bars, and her meals or snacks mostly consisted of egg bocadillos. I tried to let go of judgement of her favourite beverage, Coke, and worried about her excessive use of Ibuprofen, though I understood her need to take them to relieve the pain in her feet. Every day she said a prayer, like this one, for example: “Holy Mother God, my toes hurt. Can you work a miracle and help them heal? I can barely walk. I need your help ----“. There is a chapter for each stage of the path, for instance, from Zubiri to Pamplona. Whenever the pilgrims passed each other, they wished each other “Buen Camino”. She got to know many of the pilgrims, meeting them again and again at various stages of the Way. Each day revealed a new theme, for example, anger. Sonia´s father did not permit her to express anger, and her husband Patrick accused her of not having her anger under control, and she admits this was true. The worst part was her own judgement and shame for feeling angry. She had created a vicious cycle of anger and shame. The more she walked, the more these angry feelings intensified and then subsided. But slowly they began to exit her body, leaving her with quiet instead. Eventually, she started up a steep climb known as the Hill of Forgiveness, and prayed for forgiveness. She realized that she had every right to be angry and would allow it, if necessary, but she would never again be shamed about being angry. She meets up with a pilgrim in whom she can confide, whose name proves to be Patrick, thereafter called “Camino Patrick”, and later another one, to be called “Camino Patrick 2”. (She was not permitted to forget her husband.) The pilgrimage was for Sonia a continuous walking prayer. At the completion of the Camino, Sonia was no longer a broken person “chained to --- the feelings of grief and anger that had been for so long buried inside (her)”.The Camino had healed her of all that. In its place was “a quiet space in my heart, filled with compassion and love for all human beings”. The book also includes various interesting photos from the trip. I highly recommend this book recounting Sonia´s physical and emotional tribulations and spiritual transformation during her captivating Camino pilgrimage.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina’s Word

    I've walked the Camino three times and would have loved to be reminded of the places, the path, the history I remember. The book cries out for more detail and description — and a huge edit. There is little detail of The Way itself or the towns, villages, churches etc. The writer mentions the name of each town she stops at in the chapter headings, but there is almost no descriptive feature of the place. It could be Groundhog Day, the same food, the same routine of dumping her bags, sleeping, wash I've walked the Camino three times and would have loved to be reminded of the places, the path, the history I remember. The book cries out for more detail and description — and a huge edit. There is little detail of The Way itself or the towns, villages, churches etc. The writer mentions the name of each town she stops at in the chapter headings, but there is almost no descriptive feature of the place. It could be Groundhog Day, the same food, the same routine of dumping her bags, sleeping, washing, eating. Almost every chapter begins in the same way — get up, click heels, talk about the yellow-brick road, sing lines from The Wizard of Oz, say a prayer (do we really have to read every word of it?). There is a lot of navel-gazing and the whole thing is rather narcissistic. I became bored and frustrated by the repititious depictions of wake, eat, moan, walk, moan, get in late, moan, eat, moan, sleep. Every day was the same for Sonia, how she eats the same foods, the endless bocadillas or egg sandwiches and coffee or Coke. She never tries anything new; she sticks to her Powerbars (88 of them!). The endless moans about her feet, her shoes, the silly reference to 'Cheater' and 'Pilgrim' ... She says repeatedly that she's changed, let go of past stuff, but she doesn't say HOW she did this. She just wakes up after a hard day of walking and declares she's healed from whatever was bothering her. The book could do with a good edit. Repeats of 'so', 'lovely', 'gorgeous', 'beautiful' etc became tiresome. Overdone adjectives and adverbs and a lack of writing imagination weakens the account. Everyone on a pilgrimage reflects on their life, their relationships, how they are in the world. If only this pilgrim had risked more, had left behind her large bags of comforts — her 80+ energy bars, the four pairs of footwear, and extra clothes etc (Spain has shops so she didn't need to take TWO bags of comforts). If only she’d tried staying in the Refugios, or letting go of her safety-blankets, she may have found herself in, as well as on, a different way. But she held onto what is known and safe, her umbilical cords, her material comforts. She kept largely to herself, isolating herself in a cocoon of comfort and the known. It's a pity — she should go again; and this time really trust life and The Way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    I'd glanced at a couple of the reviews prior to reading this book (particularly Ladybugs from December 2014) and have to admit I was a bit worried starting out. Now finished, I am very pleasantly relieved to find myself in complete disagreement with some of the negative reviewers' points. Although I could not personally relate to the author's extremely spiritual nature, I appreciated this side of her due to how insightful it enabled her to be along her journey. Even if some might say she was exce I'd glanced at a couple of the reviews prior to reading this book (particularly Ladybugs from December 2014) and have to admit I was a bit worried starting out. Now finished, I am very pleasantly relieved to find myself in complete disagreement with some of the negative reviewers' points. Although I could not personally relate to the author's extremely spiritual nature, I appreciated this side of her due to how insightful it enabled her to be along her journey. Even if some might say she was excessively analytical and overly metaphorical in every single little thing she encountered on the Camino, in the end it really is only "her Camino" and what she takes from it is hers and hers only. If she wanted to find a reason beyond every small detail and situation that was seen and encountered in the Camino, so be it if it made her experience that much more enriching and worthwhile. I also truly enjoyed her constant monologues, the little conversations she would have in her head and out loud as she fought through her inner demons and outer physical pains. Sure, in one breath she was angry and upset, in another forgiving and agreeable. That is the human condition, and because she was using her Camino journey as a way to battle through her issues, it only makes sense that she would go through a plethora of varying emotions as she walked and worked through her burdens. On a different note, unlike most of the other authors whose memoirs I've read, she spent a majority of her time walking solo, chose to spend the nights in hostels versus the pilgrims' albergues, and did not carry absolutely everything with her but used a transport service for her larger bag and carried only a day backpack. Some might consider this latter point "cheating," but she contentedly nicknamed her big bag "Cheater" and ignored the feeling of "cheating" to opt to do the Camino her way. Bravo! ...and to me an appealing choice. All in all a very enjoyable read. A very genuine and "real" experience, and out of the 5-10 memoirs I've read on the Camino, probably the most honestly insightful one thus far. I can only hope that should the Camino finally call to me, my experience will be as wonderfully honest as hers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    The author's brother and father died within six weeks of each other and then she and her husband separated. She felt she had come to a crisis point in her life and needed to do something to change things. The subject of walking the Camino kept cropping up in her life and she finally decided to take the plunge and do it. The Camino is a pilgrim route across part of France and Spain ending at Santiago De Compostela a total of over five hundred miles in under forty days because that was all the tim The author's brother and father died within six weeks of each other and then she and her husband separated. She felt she had come to a crisis point in her life and needed to do something to change things. The subject of walking the Camino kept cropping up in her life and she finally decided to take the plunge and do it. The Camino is a pilgrim route across part of France and Spain ending at Santiago De Compostela a total of over five hundred miles in under forty days because that was all the time she could spare from her job as a spiritual teacher and guide. I did get a little impatient with her at first when I was reading this book because she didn't do any preparation for the pilgrimage such as going for long walks across rough ground. So she want from walking relatively little to walking anything up to twenty miles a day across rocky, muddy and mountainous terrain. She did however, seem to take everything she was likely to need with her as she took advice from people who had undertaken the same pilgrimage. In the end I realised this was all part of her experience and mine would have been different. I found the book well written and interesting and I have to admire what she did and her willingness to accept that at least some of her relationship and life problems were solely of her own making. She spent a lot of the time during the pilgrimage examining her own life and her writing gives the reader some interesting insights which may well help with their own lives. I thought all the synchronous and symbolic happenings were fascinating and some sent shivers down my spine. I enjoyed her descriptions of the people she met and the places she saw and the black and white photographs served to illustrate the text very well. If anyone is considering undertaking this same pilgrimage then they would do well to read this book to find out what it was like for this one individual and what mistakes not to make. Probably the most important thing I learned from reading it is that everyone's reasons for undertaking a pilgrimage and their experience of it are going to be different even if they are walking side by side.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Zibas

    For anyone who has considered walking to Santiago de Compostella across northern Spain, this book will provide key insights into the day-to-day rewards and struggles. Whether you feel more encouraged or less after reading "Walking Home" likely depends on your own situation and aspirations. One thing is certain, however. Spending time with nature, having hours of solitude to sort through one's thoughts and emotions is a great gift in this modern, highly connected world. In this case, the author is For anyone who has considered walking to Santiago de Compostella across northern Spain, this book will provide key insights into the day-to-day rewards and struggles. Whether you feel more encouraged or less after reading "Walking Home" likely depends on your own situation and aspirations. One thing is certain, however. Spending time with nature, having hours of solitude to sort through one's thoughts and emotions is a great gift in this modern, highly connected world. In this case, the author is a spiritual teacher who finds herself at a breaking point in her personal life. Her father and brother have recently died, and her marriage is on the brink of collapse. She needs this spiritual respite to work through a lifetime of emotions and events, and this is what the camino challenge provides. Some of the journey is mystical. Some is a hard physical struggle. Some is about companionship on the trail; much is about working through one's own issues by oneself. As a result, the book is as much about the intellectual journey as the physical one. Some may not relate to the author's emotional challenges, but the book provides a broad outline of the landscape, both internal and external. As with most travel stories, there is the unexpected (both good and bad) and the hard slog of simply achieving one's goal, in this case treking 500 miles across Spain with other pilgrims to reach Santiago.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    The travelogue aspect of this memoir - the tiny villages she passed through, the things she saw, the simplicity of her accommodations, the food she ate, the people she met - these were the things I was most interested in as I read, and Choquette brought it to life for me. However, the self-help jargon felt awkward in places, and it was hard to swallow all the past life connections. I wanted more of Choquette’s personal voice, not her professional voice. (2 1/2 stars) More of my thoughts on this The travelogue aspect of this memoir - the tiny villages she passed through, the things she saw, the simplicity of her accommodations, the food she ate, the people she met - these were the things I was most interested in as I read, and Choquette brought it to life for me. However, the self-help jargon felt awkward in places, and it was hard to swallow all the past life connections. I wanted more of Choquette’s personal voice, not her professional voice. (2 1/2 stars) More of my thoughts on this title can be found on my blog at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I absolutely adored reading this book and go so much out of it to help me on my own journey. Whilst the book is about the Camino it is more about Sonia's personal experience whilst walking each day rather than a complete detailed guide book. I thoroughly enjoyed Sonia's honesty about her life, her own demons and her path to self forgiveness. In this book she describes her Camino angels - Sonia, for me you have been my Camino angel. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A self-indulgent and repetitive narration of a pilgrim on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. The writing is unremarkable, and each chapter is merely a rehash of the previous chapter's description of her cafe con leche, her ailments and anger at the people in her life, and her flashbacks to a previous life. As the Spaniards say, "Aburrido!"

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    Another Camino memoir, and dear Mother-Father God or whatever it is that Choquette says, this was not the book for me and I was not the reader for this book. The premise is there: Choquette had suffered significant losses, and she needed a change: she picked the Camino de Santiago. She had no hiking experience and no Spanish, but she was ready to throw some degree of caution to the wind and go anyway. She had blisters and aches and tears, but she did it. But oof it's hard to get past the narration Another Camino memoir, and dear Mother-Father God or whatever it is that Choquette says, this was not the book for me and I was not the reader for this book. The premise is there: Choquette had suffered significant losses, and she needed a change: she picked the Camino de Santiago. She had no hiking experience and no Spanish, but she was ready to throw some degree of caution to the wind and go anyway. She had blisters and aches and tears, but she did it. But oof it's hard to get past the narration. Look: I don't care that Choquette accepted rides and had her backpack sent on ahead and all that; I don't care what she believes in a spiritual/religious sense; I don't care that she felt the need to bring 75 PowerBars with her. Everyone walks their own Camino—things that were important to me (e.g., carrying my bag) do not have to have significance to anyone else. However...as a reader, I do care how the story is told. And while I was not literally banging my head against a wall here...well. I don't know. I think that, for a book by somebody who works as a spiritual teacher (I'm not really sure what that means—I'm guessing it's laid out in enough detail in her previous books that she didn't feel the need to include it here), there'd be more self-awareness in the writing. Let me come back a moment to the PowerBars: look, on the Camino, I ate a lot of granola bars. A lot of them. Also yoghurt and fruit. I've had people ask in disbelief 'What kind of person goes to Spain and doesn't eat all the delicious Spanish food?' and been like, well, NOW YOU KNOW. I'm a neurotic vegetarian whose eating is, shall we say, not always ordered, and I was doing the best I could, and that meant a lot of granola bars. So no, I don't care that Choquette felt the need to eat PowerBars instead of 'all the delicious Spanish food', but...but...I don't need to hear about PowerBars on every other page.I hope they have a market along the way, I thought, or I won't have enough bars to last the entire way. I wasn't too worried about it, however. I knew I would be passing through several towns and even large cities, and could eventually pick up anything I needed. It's just that I loved my chocolate-mint PowerBars and quite frankly didn't want to run out. (78) Why was I in such a hurry that I forgot to pack a PowerBar? This was serious. It's not like I could stop a passing pilgrim and ask if he or she had any food. At least that was the last thing I wanted to do. (157) I overheard them [a French group] discussing the "sad American" who didn't have any sense but to eat a PowerBar instead of delicious food, not realizing I spoke French. It wasn't true. I did have the sense to eat well, just not the interest to go to the lengths they did to make it happen. (166)(Throw in a worry every three pages or so about whether or not her 75 PowerBars will last the trip, and you have the general gist.) And the bag...again, I get it: it's not important to everyone, or possible for everyone, to carry their backpack. But there were so many little ironies: I quickly registered for the night and got a key to my room, she says, happy to hear that the caretaker had already taken Cheater upstairs. On the Camino you are on your own with the bag, so extra assistance like this was rare. (201) Okay, maybe? Except she wasn't alone with 'Cheater' (her send-ahead bag), because somebody else was shuttling it every day. It sort of felt like, because Choquette shunned the albergues (pilgrim hostels, a very communal experience) and tried to spend most of her walking time alone, she didn't really understand that pilgrims aren't usually, I don't know, given the royal treatment. Or this: He laughed. "Are you sure you want to carry a big rock?" "Absolutely! I am transporting my bag, so I can carry a really big rock." (209) Here she's talking about picking up a rock to carry with her and leave at the Cruz de Ferro (not, please note, the 'Cruz Ferro' as she repeatedly calls it—there are a number of other incorrect (if nitpicky) Camino details throughout the book—e.g., the number of men who swing the botafumeiro; the fact that she calls it the 'Butofumeiro'). This rock is meant to represent burdens left behind. Not everyone does it, obviously, and it's usually just a token pebble (for what it's worth, I forgot to bring a pebble from home, so I picked mine up on day three or four). It's never clear how big Choquette's is (are we talking fist-sized or grapefruit-sized?) except that it's 'big', but more to the point...I just find it so funny that she's on the one hand unable to let go of the security of her 'extra' bag, and on the other hand using that extra bag to claim a bigger 'burden' rock. Again: if it made her happy (which it seems to have done), that's fine! I just wish that, in writing about it, she'd acknowledged the irony/connection. I don't know. It's the little things. It's the point in the book where she says this: It was just plain fatigue. I had walked an average of 29 kilometers (18 miles) for the past 25 days in a row, and it was just too much today (282). Except, guess what? She includes daily kilometer counts, so I averaged them...and came up with an average of 22.24 km (13.82 miles) per day up to that point. I don't care about the distance, but I care about the consistency. And sometimes it's things that just make me sad: Coming all this way and being in the sacred energy of the Camino was something to protect and savor. It was so easy to get dragged down with inane conversation that took one far away from its power if you allowed it (155). I made some amazing friendships on the Camino, and it's sad to me that she would shrug much of the conversation I had, conversation I cherished, off as 'inane'. (I spent a lot more time flying solo on the Camino Portugués, and it's true: solo walking is a very different experience—but that does not make it better, or worse, and I was at the end of the day so glad to have had so much of both.) It's (again) fine that a more solitary experience was what she was seeking, but I wished...maybe that she'd glimpsed the other side of things a little more often. "Please end!" I screamed in my dramatic fashion to the Camino, as it kept going and going and going. "I'm tired of walking today. Let it end!" (282) Let's replace 'the Camino' with 'the book' and 'tired of walking' with 'tired of reading', and there you go.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Stevenson

    An interesting and enjoyable story about one woman's experience of walking the Camino de Santiago. Details her challenges and triumphs - was a fascinating read. Made me want to take the journey for myself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Bright

    A delightful book. I love the idea of a pilgrimage. I’ve loved Choquette’s teaching on intuition for years now. It was humbling to have her describe her fears, flaws and need for forgiveness, even as a well-known spiritual writer and teacher. Her journey shows that no one can avoid life’s lessons in growth, no matter how knowledgeable they are on the topic.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    We all lose our way in life now and then. This is part of what being human is all about. We may not like when it happens, but if we can find the strength and courage to look for the gifts, we can oftentimes find them. It even happens to best-selling authors and those who really seem to have it all together, as was the case with author and spiritual teacher, Sonia Choquette. I was drawn to this book for many reasons. One of which having felt in a transition for the past two years, I find myself so We all lose our way in life now and then. This is part of what being human is all about. We may not like when it happens, but if we can find the strength and courage to look for the gifts, we can oftentimes find them. It even happens to best-selling authors and those who really seem to have it all together, as was the case with author and spiritual teacher, Sonia Choquette. I was drawn to this book for many reasons. One of which having felt in a transition for the past two years, I find myself sometimes trying to make peace with this place inside me that can feel ungrounded (but doing much better these days!). After two close family members die, Sonia's marriage on the rocks, and colleagues who had let her down, she fell apart. What made it difficult for her is that so many didn't understand. After all, she is a world-renowned intuitive guide and teacher. Who'd think they ever fall apart, right? While some of us may not take the steps Sonia did that would frighten many people to do, I think we can absolutely learn from her journey back to the center of who she is and what matters most to her. She set out to walk the legendary Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile trek over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain. While a grueling task on a physical level, it opened her spirit up to be willing to visit past pain and issues she thought she had dealt with. This ultimately led her to forgiving many, and most of all, forgiving herself. Every step she took she wrestled with the million thoughts of her ego that tried to drag her down. But in the end she found her way back to grace and who she believes is at the heart of who she truly is. I resonated in so many ways with this book, as I believe many others will too. I think I can safely say we each have found ourselves, at least one time in our life, wondering how we strayed so far from the path of what it is that matters most to us. I don't think I'd ever want to set out on the age-old practice of pilgrimage, walking the distant as Sonia did. But what I appreciate is that if Sonia can do what she did, many of us can certainly give thought to how we can find a way in which we can move back into the heart of what brings us joy when we feel lost. Sonia's story gives us that hope.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frederic

    It was an OK read, not more than this. I felt like I was reading a pilgrim journal, but it missed those real and genuine gold nuggets that I was expecting to find in this book. I learned more about the different type of shoes and how her feet were hurting more than anything else. I watched and listened a couple of Sonia Choquette interviews about this book and that's why I decided to buy it. Everything was said and done in the interview, I did not learn anything new by reading the book. What was It was an OK read, not more than this. I felt like I was reading a pilgrim journal, but it missed those real and genuine gold nuggets that I was expecting to find in this book. I learned more about the different type of shoes and how her feet were hurting more than anything else. I watched and listened a couple of Sonia Choquette interviews about this book and that's why I decided to buy it. Everything was said and done in the interview, I did not learn anything new by reading the book. What was not said in the interview was her constant hurt and her focus on her feet, power bar, drinking coke and red wine. While I am sure it was a deep spiritual experience for Sonia Choquette, I felt like her book was superficial rather than introspective. I have seen glimpse of vulnerability here and there, but not as much as what she was showing in her interviews. I still waited to have those raw emotions exposed on those pages.. to have her share all she dealt with in a vibrant way but that never came. I felt as if she held back a lot. In that type of book it is either all in or not, and in my humble opinion she did not decide to go all in. Bottom line, this is the second Sonia Choquette book I read and I can tell you she is not my cup of tea. I do think she is doing a great job, but I fail to connect with her. Listen to her interviews about the book and you will have it in its entirety (especially the one with Lilou).

  21. 5 out of 5

    C

    I really love reading about The Camino. I learned some very important new things in Sonia's book that I hadn't heard about from other authors who have done the trek. For example, the most useful part was knowing that I didn't have to stay in an albergue (my main concern being that I wouldn't be fast enough to ever get a bed) but that I could stay in other hostels or inns. The other being that I could ship my bag ahead! My favourite part was when Sonia talked about taking fear with you or taking I really love reading about The Camino. I learned some very important new things in Sonia's book that I hadn't heard about from other authors who have done the trek. For example, the most useful part was knowing that I didn't have to stay in an albergue (my main concern being that I wouldn't be fast enough to ever get a bed) but that I could stay in other hostels or inns. The other being that I could ship my bag ahead! My favourite part was when Sonia talked about taking fear with you or taking love with you (in life). However, the rest of the book... I do not know how she made the whole book about her inner thoughts when each chapter seemed to be revisiting the exact same dilemma: how she was too giving to other people and how her relationships were messed up because of it. I wasn't using a bookmark so when I opened the book to start reading again, I would often have to read an entire chapter before realizing that I hadn't read that chapter yet... except that it had almost the exact same chapter as the last chapter I had just read the day before. I have been a huge Choquette fan for many years AND I am so interested in The Camino so I thought that these two together would be fantastic but it just wasn't what I was expecting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Burger

    If you are thinking of walking the Camino, this book will give you some helpful information, but since it is more a story of one woman's pilgrimage, no doubt some of your questions will go unanswered. I do appreciate stories about someone taking a journey in order to gain enlightenment, but at times Choquette's recounting seems a bit self-indulgent. Maybe that is the point, but I just don't think I would have an internal crisis or personal eureka moment EVERY day of a walk like this. It all seem If you are thinking of walking the Camino, this book will give you some helpful information, but since it is more a story of one woman's pilgrimage, no doubt some of your questions will go unanswered. I do appreciate stories about someone taking a journey in order to gain enlightenment, but at times Choquette's recounting seems a bit self-indulgent. Maybe that is the point, but I just don't think I would have an internal crisis or personal eureka moment EVERY day of a walk like this. It all seemed a bit too neat and tidy to me, especially that the weather conditions and health of the pilgrim were perfectly lining up with the lessons she needed to learn. At times I felt as if I were walking 500 miles while reading this book, & I was getting pretty tired of it toward the end. However, I came to really like the author, and I found myself wishing her well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I like Sonia Choquette and I'll be honest, part of the appeal of this was that I wondered how someone who's so intuitive and immersed in a spiritual belief system would find herself at a point of cracking. The book just validated my belief that no matter how "evolved" we are, life just throws curveball after curveball and bruises and breaks the best of us. If you don't like spiritual stuff, this one probably isn't for you, but I enjoyed it. The commentary on the coffee and meals could be a bit t I like Sonia Choquette and I'll be honest, part of the appeal of this was that I wondered how someone who's so intuitive and immersed in a spiritual belief system would find herself at a point of cracking. The book just validated my belief that no matter how "evolved" we are, life just throws curveball after curveball and bruises and breaks the best of us. If you don't like spiritual stuff, this one probably isn't for you, but I enjoyed it. The commentary on the coffee and meals could be a bit tedious but I felt like it actually fit in with the rhythm of the book...she is talking about a really long walk, after all. By the way, it did make me want to walk across Spain as well, so if anyone else reads it and decides to add that to their bucket list, let's talk.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Beatty

    I loved every step of the way. I didn't want to put the book down but I had to at times and when I came back it seemed to have a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason; right? Reading this book opened my eyes & heart to so many things that I didn't realize I needed them to be opened to. Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is now on my bucket list. A gem for everyone just waiting to be explored. I loved every step of the way. I didn't want to put the book down but I had to at times and when I came back it seemed to have a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason; right? Reading this book opened my eyes & heart to so many things that I didn't realize I needed them to be opened to. Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is now on my bucket list. A gem for everyone just waiting to be explored.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Interesting because I learned all about the Camino pilgrimage. I had no idea so many folks walk this every year. I was pretty turned off by her constant mumbo jumbo of spirit guides, past lives, angel guides etc... It was non stop. I should have just googled the pilgrimage rather than slough my way thru this way too long book

  26. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I have read probably 20 books on the Camino de Santiago, and walked a portion of it myself, so the details on the Camino itself were not new to me. The story of her own "healing" were interesting in a voyeuristic sort of a way for a while, but got old by the end. If you are into spiritual healing you might enjoy this, but as a tale of the Camino, there are better choices.

  27. 5 out of 5

    T

    Wow! Her path really resonated with me . I love her direct contact with spirit . I loved your healing journey . Puts me in a state of contemplation. Thank you Sonia, your book was really a blessing for me and many blessings to you

  28. 5 out of 5

    Glen Tucker

    Amazing story and one which resonated with me deeply. Sonia's description of her healing on the Camino, seemed to match my life's experience so it was deeply moving and so honest. I felt I was there with her all the way!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom Torkelson

    Unless you're thinking about walking the Compostela pilgrimage, don't bother with this one. Or even if you're thinking of going, you could still skip this one and be just fine...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    This was exactly what I needed to read right now. Thanks, Universe!

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