Another book on the Camino? Yes, but really well written, entertaining and brutally honest. The kind of book that I could not put down, which is why yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a few years: spent the whole day in bed with the pups reading. Well, yes, we did get up for food & bio breaks, but that was it.
I have enjoyed it so much that I had to blog about it and share it with you. The Way, My Way is one of those books you can’t wait to finish, but when you do, you are bummed because you wish there was more. Luckily, Bill Bennett also writes a blog, which he started in 2013 to share his Camino experience with friends and family, only to find it expanded to the world.
“Why are you doing the Camino? Was I doing it to indeed bring forth change? Did I truly believe that I actually needed to change? Or more importantly, that I could change? I was nearly sixty. At that age can you press the reset button and hope that you’ll default to a nicer, less complicated human being? That you can expunge the irksome characteristics of a lived life, and rid yourself of those personality traits that have made life so unnecessarily difficult? For you and for those around you?”
Bill Bennett is an Australian filmmaker based in Sydney with awards and a lot of experience under his belt. He is also a writer, photographer and Adjunct Professor at one of Australia’s leading universities.
In 2013 he finally responded to the call of the Camino and flew to Spain to begin the pilgrimage at Saint Jean Pied-de-Port, in the French Pyrenees, on April 12th. He was not even sure why he was doing this, he just knew he had to.
Along the 800-kilometer walk across Northern Spain, Bennett deals with many challenges, from extreme weather to extreme physical pain, and he faces each with humor and so much self-honesty that at first I was not sure I liked the man. But anyone who is willing to look at himself with gloves off and acknowledge his issues and foibles with that much honesty is worth following through with.
Inevitably, as in all the good Camino stories I have read, the journey becomes a spiritual one of transformation, and a new Bill emerges at the end.
“It took walking the Camino for me to see that there was another way, a simpler way, to live. Without fear, and without excess.”
Besides the honesty and insightfulness of Bill’s Camino experience, I have also enjoyed the photography factor, something I could completely relate to. I myself plan to walk the Camino as a photographer, meaning with the relaxed timing requested by ‘when the light is best’, and reading his photo-related vignettes made me throw my head back and laugh in understanding.
To my delight, I discovered that Bill Bennett has also published a book about photography on the Camino, aptly titled Photo Camino: A Personal Guide to Photography on the Camino. I am expecting delivery for tomorrow.
I have read several really good books of experiences on the Camino, and this is definitely one of the best. I am happy to recommend it to all who have walked the Camino, those who are planning to walk it, and even those who just want a really good book to read.
I have bought and read my copy from iTunes, but it is also available through the Amazon stores.
Of course, tonight I will have to watch The Way – Emilio Estevez’s movie about the Camino – again for possibly the twentieth time.