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Publisher's Summary

When I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago alone at age 71, it was on a whim. A year and a half earlier, I had had a hip replacement, but felt that I had become complacent in a comfortable retirement and needed to shake up my life. And that’s what I did. 

I knew walking a Camino wouldn’t be easy or pain-free. Despite months of training and preparation, there was no way I could plan for the unexpected. On my third day of walking, an injury on the trail threatened my ability to finish my adventure. It would be more difficult and demanding than I ever imagined, forcing me to reach beyond physical pain and endurance, battle self-doubts, and draw from a spirit within me to finish the walk all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Along the way, I discover unexpected feelings and surprising emotions. 

Walk by My Side takes the listener from the months of preparation in central Mexico to Portugal where I started a 100-mile journey on the Camino Portugues to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. I’ll take you with me as I walk to the rhythm of the endless ocean surf, navigate sprawling suburbs that have engulfed the ancient way, traverse the Camino’s paths and the back roads of Galicia, and savor the tastes of Galician food and wine. 

Along the way, I meet a variety of characters, pilgrims from around the world, who are walking for their own personal reasons, and observe a Camino that is changing to accommodate expansive growth and ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims. 

When I first started writing this book, I had a friend read an early chapter where I started walking the Camino. Her comment to me was “I felt like I was walking with you, walking by your side.” That comment inspired the book’s title and a promise to the listener to maintain that feeling throughout the journey. 

Listen to this travel memoir, and you’ll be there with me...walking by my side. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 John Comando (P)2021 John Comando

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I may be biased

The author is my friend and his description of his experience was sufficiently detailed. He regrets not remembering names of people he met, but I was impressed with as many as he did recall. Never having the desire to walk the Camino, I feel like I now know the pros and cons needed for one to prepare for such an adventure. Still not interested in this walk, the book was intriguing.

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  • Julie
  • 08-29-21

The Route and the Food

if you like memoirs which detail the direction of travel and the many meals taken, then this in the book for you. However, I found this book repetative and missed the personal stories of the experience. John gave very little detail of himself as a person and the stories of those he met. I remember only one about the woman whose relationship had ended. I do appreciate John's past and current physical condition had a vast impact on his experience and were of significant focus.
I have travelled this part of The Camino and my 'journey'
was somewhat different. I relished every step inspite of the exhaustion at the end of the day. For me, the industrial landscape and urbanisation held as much interested as the beauty of the natural landscape, as well as history and architecture of the ancient villages I passed through. I missed the narrative of all these aspects.
I am British and I found the pronunciation of certain words and phrases on such as route, a little odd but that is to be expected. However I was more surprised to hear the mispronunciation of Spanish words, particularly towns. Given that John is a Spanish speaker, I thought he would have taken the time to ensure these were correct. Also 'camino' translates as 'road' and using the phase 'my camino' was irritating. To my ear 'my journey' would be a more accurate.
I agree that when walking only a short part of The Camino staying in hotels you do not delelop close friendships as you might when staying in albergues over a longer period.
On reflection, I think in reading John's book I was expecting to relive more of my own experiences and it was interesting to hear a different perspective.