Kurt Koontz thought he was well prepared for his 490-mile walking trip on the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. He was fit and strong. He had a good guidebook and all the right equipment. His pilgrim passport would grant him access to the shelter of hostels along the way. But all that, however helpful, did not begin to encompass the grandeur of his external or internal adventure. A Million Steps climbs over the high meadows of the Pyrenees, quests through the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances in the rains of Galicia. 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.
In 2012, Koontz, a retired sales executive, set out to walk the 490 miles of the much-traveled Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. He joins numerous other authors in writing about his steps along the famous path and attempting to extrapolate some life lessons from his journey. But here, Koontz provides more of a set of personal journal entries than a revelatory and deep reflection on life, chronicling in detail the various hostels where he stayed, food that he ate, and friendships he formed along the way. Unfortunately, Koontz's prose is flat and fails to draw readers into his story. Additionally, while on his trip, the author worries about his relationship with girlfriend Roberta, but fails to paint the sort of vivid picture of their life together that would result in reader investment. In the end, Koontz simply observes, "I had no eureka moments on the Camino.... Instead, just like life, I experienced a series of meaningful and small insights. I believe we all have an internal light, and the Camino acts as a rheostat to greatly increase the intensity."
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A Million Steps
Very interesting story.. As well as valuable insights to a future Pilgrim like myself (May 2014).