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on May 19, 2013 :
What a truly inspirational read for anybody contemplating such a journey. If you haven't thought of doing so, then I am sure after reading of Sue and Catherine's day to day experiences and challenges you may just add it to your Bucket List.
As I was reading, I too felt that I was walking alongside them.
My husband and myself will in fact be doing this same trek this coming September. I must admit to having had quite a few concerns about being able to achieve what Sue and Catherine have achieved. I know it will not be a walk in the park so to speak but having now read Sue's book through from cover to cover twice now, I am feeling more sure of myself.
What an amazing achievement for you both and to be sisters and able to share this journey together is also quite special.
Thank you for writing such an inspirational book and allowing others to share your journey.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 24, 2013 :
I felt both inspired and grounded as I read Sue's Kiwi Sister's Camino de Santiago rendition. I had heard much of the trip when the sisters were planning their journey. Months of preparation and excitement, then I’d heard of their experiences after the pilgrimage had been completed. What a pleasure to now read of their trek as experienced on a day-by-day basis. I was amazed at the spiritual, personal and physical challenges of the trip. A desire to leave the fast pace of life, put on a pack, clasp a set of trekking poles, put on a pair of tramping boots and go …, go …, go … for 800kms across the top of Spain was inspiring. Wow - what a incredible accomplishment. Sue introduces the touchstones discovered and learnt throughout the trip ‘Get over yourself’, ‘Self Care’, ‘Let Go’, ‘Be in the Present’, ‘Receive Gracefully’, and ‘Ask for Help’. These Sue uses as chapter headings. She describes the beautiful scenery, takes you into cafes, historical sites, bunkhouses, bustleing villages, on and upward into wide open spaces. I felt inspired that a month of walking could be so lifechanging. Many say, including Sue, that one returns to their life different and that the discovery of one’s inner and outer strength stays with you long term. Even settling back into normal life takes time, so strong has been the impact of the journey. Sue points out that the changes to her life were hard to articulate, but it was clear that her internal compass had shifted, permanently. As I read, I felt grounded as I heard and felt the physical challenges that the journey demanded. It seemed hard. Both sisters experienced physical ills during the trip, and needed to take time out to rest, and receive treatment too. Sue goes on to outline essential equipment to take, and shows the process of having to discard 'stuff' from one's pack that may have been important at home, but could be done without on 'The Way'. I loved Sue's explanations of the merino underwear. I can't imagine wearing it. But I shall when I walk the trail with my son in 2014. Thank you Sue and Catherine for sharing your stories, and walking me through the Camino in your shoes.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 20, 2012 :
The Kiwi Sisters’ Camino de Santiago is much more than a simple travel narrative: it’s an inspiring reflection on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Sue Dwan talks about an experience many people will never have – walking the 800 km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail across northern Spain.
Despite having very little knowledge of the local language and customs, Sue and her sister Catherine set off every day into an unpredictable landscape that exists far beyond their comfort zones.
A kaleidoscope of changing scenes and experiences opens up: walking in the early morning under moonlight; eating simple food with fellow travellers; the physical challenges that come with persistent lack of sleep, crippling blisters, food poisoning and leg pain. But despite these obstacles, kind strangers – or ‘angels’ – show up on an almost daily basis to provide support and relief.
While pushing her body beyond what it can reasonably handle, Sue’s self-awareness becomes more acute. She sees key experiences as significant, larger lessons about what it is to be human – and it’s impossible not to think about these lessons as they might apply to your own life.
The book is a fascinating insight into how to prepare, experience and recover from an epic and challenging journey. It should be compulsory reading for anyone considering walking the Camino trail. But it’s equally relevant to the less adventurous – the insights offered here could help people who may be facing many other kinds of seemingly impossible challenges.
(review of free book)