In “The Long Road Home” Alesa Teague Reclaims her Life Along the Camino de Santiago

Last updated on September 1st, 2021

Featured image:  The Camino de Santiago, from Envato Elements

A 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain

By Carolyn Ray, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, JourneyWoman

As part of our Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel Experiences series, we’re featuring three books that go deeper into the lifetime must-dos as recommended by women for women. First on our list is the Camino de Santiago with “The Long Road Home” by Alesa Teague. Our next two books focus on Africa and Antarctica (our full 2021 list is here!) I’m reading several books on the Camino right now, in addition to hosting our virtual sessions and it seems there’s no end of stories, tips and advice. We hope you enjoy this one!

When Alesa sets off on a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain known as the Camino de Santiago, she can’t yet fully express why she would undertake such a challenging trek. All she knows is she needs to get far, far away from her pain and everything she knows … an irretrievably broken marriage, a traumatic bout with cancer, a deep river of depression leaving her little desire to even continue living and isolating her further from her beloved teenage daughter. Desperate to reconcile her past and find meaning again, she sells her business and abandons her life for five weeks to walk the Camino with just a backpack and a prayer. Little did she know that something had to die on the journey in order for her to really live again.

“I convinced myself it was all going to be better than okay once I left him. I had at one time loved him with my whole heart. I’d spent the last year overcoming pain, regret, illness, and tried to rediscover myself as I dated men who weren’t good for me just to prove to him that I could. In retrospect, I hadn’t wanted, nor needed, any men—I simply hadn’t realized it. I mindlessly thought I wasn’t alright if I didn’t have someone. It had hurt my pride that he’d moved on so quickly.”
― Alesa Teague 

Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards – November 5th, 2014 -“The Long Road Home is perfect armchair traveling for our modern, stressed-out age. Teague takes the reader with her on the Camino de Santiago on what is a traditional 500 mile journey by foot that Christian pilgrims have been making for centuries. Teague’s journaling of this trip is interspersed with difficult memories, some traumatic, of the type that present-day pilgrims try to make sense of or come to terms with as they journey, usually on foot.  Teague is an engaging writer and a kind person. She includes details from her reflections as well as graphic moments of her daily treks so that the reader does feel her psychological and physical pain. I liked all the information she included on her feet and legs, which went through unbelievable trauma. Reading about her swollen feet and the blisters she endured made me wonder if I could make such a journey. Also, the struggle she underwent almost every night in finding a place to sleep that she could tolerate was eye opening. I liked learning about her accommodations because it helped me see traveling in a new light. It was an easy book to read and my only regret was the lack of photographs. I thought the most romantic moment was Nacho’s hammock waiting in the forest despite the fact that Niklas was Teague’s true Camino love. Niklas seemed like the most patient person I have ever read about. The reader ends the book wishing the author well and many blessings. This is a very enjoyable, interesting book. There are only minor typos, as in any self-published book.”

About the Author

Alesa and her twin were born in a small town in the wilds of Wyoming where antelope outnumber people 1,000 to 1.

Alesa is also busy raising her teenage daughter with much sarcastic humor and hoping she turns out relatively unscathed, as a result. Inspiring through action, she travels and writes about either her journey or those people that she meets along the way who touch her heart.

Your book club co-hosts, Wendy and Carolyn, invite you to join us for a Camino interlude with Alesa’s book and join us at our monthly book club on August 18  at 8 pm EDT, for a facilitated discussion on the book, its themes, and even a little Spanish. Our book club operates on a Pay-What-You-Can model. We thank you for your generosity and kindness.
Please note, as of June 1, our event registration will change to Eventbrite. You will still be able to access future book club meetings on our site but the ticketing will come from Eventbrite. More details to follow. Thank you! 

Once-in-a-Lifetime Book Box:  Camino de Santiago, Antarctica and Africa 

We’ve partnered with the Wordy Traveler to offer you a special subscription box that includes three paperback books (or a code for ebook download), ethically sourced premium tea evocative of the region, a reading light and a JourneyWoman small recycled plastic luggage tag and red JourneyWoman safety whistle/keychain. This allows you to get all three books at a discounted price with plenty of time to read them in advance!

This special box includes: 

  • The Long Road Home: One Woman’s True Story of Reclaiming Her Life Along the Legendary Camino de Santiago by Alesa Teague 
  •  Our House in Arusha, by Sara Tucker 
  • Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler 

Kindle version here   Paperback version here 

Please put code JWREADS in the coupon section. Prices do not include shipping. Items will ship from the US via the USPS.

books in a suitcase box
A scenic look over the countryside in Devon, UK

When the Camino Calls, Follow Your Heart

When the Camino de Santiago in Spain calls, women follow their hearts to walk this once-in-a-lifetime solo travel experience.

Read More

Book Club Discussion Questions (Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 8 pm EDT)

  1. What did you know about the Camino before this book?  Did the book add new information/value to you?
  2. What was a favorite passage or story?
  3. What was one specific thing that you learned about doing the walk from this book?
  4. Were you tempted to walk after reading it?
  5. Did you feel she was complaining a lot?  From a review, “Once you get over the self pity part (and there’s a lot of that that keeps on going and going and going through most of the book),
  6. Did she know why she was walking initially? Did you see her growth along the way? In which way did that manifest itself?
  7. Alesa said, “I convinced myself it was all going to be better than okay once I left him. I had at one time loved him with my whole heart. I’d spent the last year overcoming pain, regret, illness, and tried to rediscover myself as I dated men who weren’t good for me just to prove to him that I could. In retrospect, I hadn’t wanted, nor needed, any men—I simply hadn’t realized it. I mindlessly thought I wasn’t alright if I didn’t have someone. It had hurt my pride that he’d moved on so quickly.”
  8. Do you feel her journey showed this, or did she fall back into thinking she needed to be validated by a man?

We’d Love Your Photographs and Tips on the Camino! 

Do you have photos of the Camino to share? Send them to editor@journeywoman.com with a brief description and a tip, and we’ll share them in the session!

 

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Your Imagination Can Take You Places

Now more than ever, we're finding camaraderie and inspiration through novels. Join us each month as we discuss a different book, suggested by our community, about a faraway land.

Carolyn is the Publisher + Editor-in-Chief of JourneyWoman and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC). A Canadian raised in South Florida, Carolyn loves all things Spanish, historic destinations and always has her backpack ready to go.

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We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

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