Authors: Kurt Koontz
Tags: #Spiritual, #Love, #Camino de Santiago, #A Million Steps, #Alcohol Addiction, #The Way, #Pilgrimage
A Million Steps
© 2014 Kurt Koontz. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author or publisher (except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages and/or show brief video clips in a review).
The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or website is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or website may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that Internet websites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read.
ISBN 978-061585-292-8 paperback
To Roberta for teaching me love
and Scaughdt for teaching me kindness
“I found that reading A Million Steps was refreshing and engaging. Kurt has a delightful honest style of writing.”
– John Brierley-Author of Camino Pilgrim Guides
“I really enjoyed it - didn’t want to put it down. Lots of really helpful information for people just learning about the Camino.”
– Lydia B. Smith Producer/Director of “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago”
“If you can’t actually do the Camino de Santiago, at least do the next best thing: read his book! You might also beware: if you read the book, you might well find yourself pouring over maps of Spain and talking to your boss about a leave of absence.”
– DR. Robert Barr Bestselling Author
“It’s a fine and vivid diary of a journey and its lasting impact, and it’s a top recommendation for a range of collections, from those interested in travel and spirituality to others strong in autobiography and self-examination.”
– D. Donovan Senior reviewer, MBR
“A journal that evolved into a book about the pilgrimage, its history, landscape, landmarks, and the many details of the pilgrim life. Koontz is a friendly guy with a great sense of humor – at times painful, but the whole is filled with beauty and joy.”
– Light of Consciousness magazine
Summer 2014 issue
Why did I decide to walk nearly 500 miles in a foreign country where I knew no one and could not speak the language? I am still discovering the reasons, but this is what I know so far.
Routines are very natural and common in our lives. I have many of them, including eating the same Kashi cereal almost every day. I find the best way to disengage the autopilot and take over the aircraft is to put myself in an environment or a situation where my comfort boundaries are stretched, pulled, and shattered.
It also sounded like an awesome trip––a historic route walked by millions since the Middle Ages, with hostels to stay in along the way and an official
certificate to receive from the cathedral at the end.
I was attracted to the physical challenge of it. I’d been on cycling trips in Europe before, but this would be something new. It was epic in scale, starting in France, crossing the mountains into Spain, then cutting across Don Quixote plains to the coast. Despite my size and fitness, I wondered if I could do it.
I wanted the alone time for an interior journey. Although I had quit drinking 12 years before, I was still recovering from the aftermath of a long unconscious youth. I had retired early and wanted to contemplate how I was spending the time I had earned for myself. Most of all, I wanted to think about the love of my life, our four-year relationship, and where it was going.
“The first third of the trip is for the body, the second third for the mind, and the last third for the soul,” the Camino saying goes. It was all that for me. A painful experience at times, but so full of beauty and joy by the end, that I wrote it down to share.
Map of Route
Walking Days and Distance
–St Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles
–Roncesvalles to Villava
–Villava to Puente la Reina
–Puente to Villamayor de Monjardín
–Villamayor to Viana
–Viana to Ventosa
–Ventosa to Grañón
–Grañón to Villafranca Montes de Oca
–Villafranca to Burgos
–Burgos to Hornillos del Camino
–Hornillos to Itero de la Vega
–Itero to Carrión de los Condes
–Carrión to Sahagún
–Sahagún to Reliegos
–Reliegos to León
–León to Villar de Mazarife
–Villar to Astorga
–Astorga to Foncebadón
–Foncebadón to Ponferrada
–Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo
–Villafranca to O’Cebreiro
–O’Cebreiro to Triacastela
–Triacastela to Sarria
–Sarria to Portomarín
–Portomarín to Palas de Rei
–Palas to Arzúa
–Arzúa to Arca
–Arca to Santiago de Compostela
About the Title
The title for this book is a rough estimate of the number of steps I took while walking the Camino de Santiago. I made the calculation on day 13 of my trek as I walked along a portion of the path that was parallel to a highway with kilometer markers. Over the course of a kilometer, I counted 1,153 steps. I did the math and discovered that I would take a total of 909,717 steps on the trail between St. Jean Pied-de-Port, where it began, and Santiago de Compostela, where it ended. I added in another 3,000 or so steps per day to cover the walks to dinner and short hikes for sightseeing. One million steps seems a good estimate.
But the journey continues…