TNRL Books on the Move: An Unexpected Adventure on the Camino

At Thompson-Nicola Regional Library, we love hearing about the unique journeys our library books take with their readers. Recently, one of our patrons shared an inspiring story about her extraordinary trip along the Camino de Santiago, accompanied by a TNRL book.

Last fall, I was lucky enough to fulfill a bucket list trip to Spain, and while I was there, I also biked up the coast of Portugal. The Portugal part of the journey evolved from a desire to experience the Camino del Santiago.  The Camino is known to be a sacred pilgrimage with many beginnings, all of which end at a cathedral in the Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela, where the body of St. James the apostle is said to be interred. 

I didn’t know very much about the Camino, and was having trouble finding a reliable source of information online, so I dropped by my local library to take out a few books on the topic.  Time flew by as I prepared for my trip, and when departure day came, I found I still hadn’t read them, so I took them with me.

My journey began in Porto, Portugal.  I had rented an e-bike, which got delivered to my hostel, and after collecting my first stamp in my Pilgrim’s passport known as “La Credencia” from the cathedral in Porto, I began on my way, heading north up the Portuguese coast.

It was late November, and the weather had begun to settle into its classical winter pattern of wetness. Nevertheless, it was beautiful, and I savoured every minute of the journey. I pedaled through moss-covered, narrow alleys with confusing turns, catching only occasional glimpses of the iconic yellow arrows that guided the pilgrims’ way.  

 

The route took me along boardwalks over golden sand beaches by the sea, zig zagged along the borders of agricultural fields, and wound through eucalyptus forests where the tires of my bike crunched the acorn nuts, releasing the fresh, spicy oils into the moist air.  The scenery and architectural history were astonishing, and there were many “Camino angels” along the way who understand and serve the magic of healing and transformation that comes with the experience.

One of my constant companions was a book borrowed from the Kamloops Library, which traveled with me through the winding paths and historic sites. However, as the journey concluded in Santiago de Compostela, an unexpected twist occurred – I left the library book behind in a hostel aptly named KM-0.

The experience of the Camino was transformative, offering gifts of self-forgiveness, the strength to work through grief, and the acceptance of help. In spite of the many challenges such as the rain, getting lost, and painful body parts, my only regret was that the trip was too short!

To read more about my adventures on the Camino and also through Spain, please visit my travel blog at: alisounpayne.wordpress.com

This story is a testament to how our library books accompany us on real-life adventures, becoming a part of our personal journeys. Have you ever taken a library book on an adventure? We’d love to hear your stories! Share them with us on social media.

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