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  • Blanket of Stars: Thru-Hiking the Camino de Santiago

  • Travel Adventures, Volume 1
  • By: C.W. Lockhart
  • Narrated by: C.W. Lockhart
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Blanket of Stars: Thru-Hiking the Camino de Santiago

By: C.W. Lockhart
Narrated by: C.W. Lockhart
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Publisher's Summary

An unlikely pilgrim battles agoraphobia to reclaim life beyond the sofa. The 800-kilometer journey along the Camino Frances provides a scenic backdrop to ponder midlife crisis and chronic illness, an empty nest and marital discord, military service and post-traumatic stress, rage and grief, heartbreak and fear - and the way forward. 

El Camino de Santiago, known fondly as "The Way", is a matrix of trails with starting points across Europe leading to the sacred relics of Saint James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Often considered a Catholic pilgrimage, this ancient route predates Christianity. The Way continues to evolve, attracting spiritual seekers with and without religion, thru-hikers, fitness junkies, history buffs, and the curious. 

Armed with humor, grit, and a backpack named Little Agnus, Lockhart tackles emotional and physical obstacles, shares adventures with pilgrims from all over the world, mothers traveling teens, endures blisters and bicycle seats, and embraces the glory of Mother Nature and the intrinsic spirituality of peregrination. She finds herself transcending from a human being on a spiritual quest to a spiritual being on a human quest.

©2018 C.W. Lockhart (P)2018 C.W. Lockhart

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Camino Dreaming

Great story. I did find the narrator a little whinny and annoying at times but still, a beautiful journey through the Camino.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Honest, raw and at times unfiltered

Blanket of Stars is a Camino memoir by American C.W. Lockhart. As the author walks the Camino Frances from Pamplona to Santiago, she confronts anxiety, trauma and fear as well as the physical challenges that come with walking and cycling this ancient path. The account is full of vulnerability and humour and the writing is raw and unfiltered, with the author holding little back about herself and others. Whilst this is often engaging, it can also be challenging and may put some readers off. The book is available as a paperback, ebook and as an audio-book read by the author, which I listed to.

Typical of most Camino memoirs, Lockhart tells the tale stage by stage, revealing other details of her life to give the reader a better sense of the challenges and trauma that she carries with her along the way. A constant refrain throughout the book is “resetting”, be it to regain her emotional equilibrium, ditch a walking companion, or when she is ditched by others. Each of these minor resets eventually leads to a major life reset for the author, who describes walking as: “good medicine” and “the perfect medium for finding and maintaining equilibrium.”

Lockhart also spends time confronting “Camino Purist Syndrome”, though thankfully she is more judgemental of herself than she is of others. She occasionally fast forwards, choosing not to walk some parts of the journey and sends her bag ahead to preserve her stamina and her feet. In a very humorous section, she even hires a bike with another pilgrim to cut down her time on the Meseta, but finds this much harder than walking. I quite enjoyed the flexibility she allowed herself and the ways in which she was able to keep herself and others going.

Lockhart walks with the mantra, “I will greet each pilgrim with love and kindness in my heart”, and although she is tested at times, she mostly lives up to this aspiration. Characters like Luke, an Australian pilgrim, are depicted with all their flaws and moral ambiguity, yet also with some sympathy. Raul, however, is another matter all together. These shadows aside, the tale is punctuated with regular acts of human kindness particularly from locals living along the Camino who regularly surprise the author with their generosity. Lockhart meets numerous Camino Angels and is an engel herself to others.

Whilst I found C.W. Lockhart a difficult companion to begin with, I was gradually drawn into her transformation and glad I didn’t do a reset and ditch her to walk with someone else. Day by day, Lockhart achieves both a sense of physical and psychological balance, eventually feeling “safe and happy and grateful.” A colourful ensemble cast accompanies Lockhart on her journey, sometimes providing cameos and other times as recurring characters, as she moves in and out of the endless stream of pilgrims and tourists making their way to Santiago de Compostela.

This is a journey that is ultimately unfinished, even though Lockhart reaches Santiago and attends the Pilgrim mass. Lockhart understands the importance of the journey and that Santiago is merely an end, not THE END. In her won words: “I did not walk into Santiago today to end my pilgrimage. I am not attending mass to check the last box on my peregrino-to-do list. For me, there is no end. And for this, I am profoundly grateful.”

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Mono tone and boring.

I found the author to be a self centred and have an approach that many take, maybe should have realised that before going, very negative approach.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

i really loved this booked,

really loved this booked and although I am not intending to walk the frances I loved her voice her tone and her journey

highly recommended

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