The Way of Saint James books and films
While the Camino de Santiago/Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years and has been part of European cultural history since before the Middle Ages, it became more well-known in America after the movie The Way, starring Martin Sheen, was released in 2011. Prior to 2011, we rarely saw Americans and Canadians on the Camino. But since then, it is just as common to hear an American accent on the path as it is a British one!
While the movie fascinated many people and increased the popularity of walking the Camino, we often meet people who think they can’t walk it because it would be too arduous, too long, or too dangerous. But there are other options! While we provide perhaps the most luxurious and physically comfortable way to walk, there are also lots of ways to walk in between the two extremes, such as having your pack transported for you each day even if you are staying in a refugio.
Whether you want to walk with a pack and sleep in the refugios in bunk beds with fellow pilgrims, or whether you want to walk in a more luxurious and comfortable way with Duperier’s Authentic Journeys, we hope that you will walk at least part of the Camino at least once in your life. For most everyone, it provides life changing moments and an inner peace that is hard to find in daily life. As we always say, there is no right way or wrong way to walk the Camino, just the way that is right for you.
Below are some books and movies about the Way that you may want to read if you are thinking about walking the Camino:
- The Way, a movie starring Martin Sheen, directed by Emilio Estevez “THE WAY is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to France to deal with the tragic loss of his son (played by Emilio Estevez). Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage “The Way of St. James” to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact this trip will have on him. Through unexpected and oftentimes amusing experiences along “The Way,” Tom discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”
- Walking the Camino: 6 Days to Santiago, directed by Lydia Smith “Walking the Camino presents universal themes through personal stories for those seeking to redefine how they live their lives, to deepen their relationship with themselves, and to rediscover their connection with the world in which they live.”
- A Million Steps, by Kurt Koontz “While following the yellow arrows that mark the route, Koontz also navigates through his personal history of addiction, recovery, and love. With outgoing humor and friendliness, he embraces the beauty of the countryside and joyful connections to other pilgrims from around the world. Part diary, part travelogue, A Million Steps is a journey within a journey all the way to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and beyond.”
- The Pilgrimmage, by Paulo Coelho This book is a mystical account of Coelho’s journey on the Camino. The novel serves as part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery. If you are a Coelho fan, you will be intrigued, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
- Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino, by Joyce Rupp “It was not until we returned home that layer upon layer kept being peeled back. Underneath all the layers was one major truth for me: I had to let go of trying to control and have everything go the way I wanted it to go. I needed to look at how I did my life, not so much what I did with my life.”
Our personal favorites are Walk in a Relaxed Manner and The Way. We like Rupp’s book for many reasons, including the fact that she really captures how your journey starts long before you get to the starting point on the path. Your journey starts when you commit to walk the Camino, and really gets in swing when you begin your physical training.
The Way does a nice job of conveying the beauty of the Camino and the day to day reality of walking so many miles in a day and sleeping in the government run refugios, although Martin Sheen rarely seems to get rained on! It is also a really touching story about a father making peace with losing his son.
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