Last updated on November 19th, 2023
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.”
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.
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
Please put code JWREADS in the coupon section. Prices do not include shipping. Items will ship from the US via the USPS.
Book Club Discussion Questions (Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 8 pm EDT)
- What did you know about the Camino before this book? Did the book add new information/value to you?
- What was a favorite passage or story?
- What was one specific thing that you learned about doing the walk from this book?
- Were you tempted to walk after reading it?
- 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),
- Did she know why she was walking initially? Did you see her growth along the way? In which way did that manifest itself?
- 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.”
- 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 [email protected] with a brief description and a tip, and we’ll share them in the session!
Featured Articles on Walking the Camino
Once upon a time, not too long ago, pilgrims could walk the Camino de Santiago without a reservation and a phone. But is it possible now?
In Maria Duenas’ “The Time In Between”, we learn about the Spanish Civil War from the perspective of a seamstress turned skillful spy.
Jane Christmas’s funny memoir of her 780-kilometre trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago to celebrate her 50th birthday and midlife.
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.