By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
By Tom Trumble (Penguin, $24.95, softcover, 310 pages)
Taking the slow road turned out to be the fastest way of sorting things out in the life of Melbournian Tom Trumble.
He took the challenge, after a crossroads in his life, and went on an 800-kilometre walk across Spain.
This seriously long hike – the domain of the devout – is on the ancient Christian pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The real attraction of the Camino was its 1200-year history, the pilgrims of different nationalities and the characters they met along the way.
Diligently-kept journals reveal descriptions of the journey, while information of Camino history was gained from reading a lot, stories Trumble picked up along the way, learning of the legends, miracles and gossip that swept along the pilgrimage.
Adhering to the two conditions of the pilgrim pledge and a mapped-out itinerary, Trumble’s route takes him into bars and crossing paths with the wise and ridiculous, the distinctly irreverent and the virtuous; competing with unlikely scholars, enlightened globetrotters and song-happy evangelists. His personal discontented demons are never too far away either.
Trumble doesn’t “dismiss the whole exercise as born of misplaced exuberance”, but notes there’s value in introducing a bit of upheaval in one’s life, resulting from a “marriage of ancient history and personal quest”.
Having made a range of poor career choices including hospitality, journalism, music, policy development, data entry, envelope stuffing and book retailing, he is now on the true path to becoming a writer.
Even though his good friend Dave convinced him to undertake this endurance, the “calculated, well-thought-out decision” to go on a walk worked wonders.
Unholy Pilgrims is an appealing, but cheeky, take on working out what to do with your life.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.