PC #107 – A friendly review…

A dear friend, Libby, read my book and sent me an email yesterday, which I’ve now posted below.

The version of the manuscript I sent her though had a first draft epilogue. I changed it in subsequent drafts, and when I read her email I sent her the new epilogue – so I post that too, and her reaction to it.

Libby is not a NY Times critic, or someone unknown to me who’s bought the book from Amazon then sits down to critique it – she is, if you like, friendly fire.

But she’s exactly the demographic for this book – and whilst she’s a mate and a sweet sweet lady, she’s also a hard-headed businesswoman who’s intensely smart doesn’t mince words when she needs to. That’s why I value her comments here.

I am still waiting on the formatting guy – and I’m also still waiting on the cover art from my poster company. Both have been promising delivery for a while now. I’m hoping I’ll get it all by the weekend, and I can begin to get the completed book out onto the e-publishing sites next week.

As soon as it’s all done I will send a copy free to those of you who want one. Let me know if there’s any urgency and I’ll send a pdf – which will be the same text, just not in full book form with the snazzy formatting etc.

Anyway, so here’s what Libby had to say – then my redrafted epilogue – then her response.

Hi Bill,
Just wanted to let you know I finally finished your book – told you I was a slow reader!!

I absolutely loved it. I’m being totally honest when I say I didn’t want it to end – probably much the same as you felt at the end of your walk. I was disappointed right along with you when you walked into Santiago. The last few days seemed to go so fast!

I did miss hearing a few more of your musings once the journey was over, probably because of all I’ve read on the blog, I remember one post in particular where you pinpointed the “meaning of life” down to being about love.

I would have liked to hear more of your conclusions about what you took from the journey.
What’s that saying? – these are not criticisms, merely observations. I thought your writing was honest (alarmingly so!! I now know the state of your undies when you arrived in Santiago!!), witty, and very personable – very you!
As I say, I could have happily read on and on. As a Camino novice, I loved that you didn’t try to hide the difficulties of the walk, but inspired me to think that even I could one day, “step by step” manage a journey like this one – something that I would have seriously considered impossible a few short months ago.
Congratulations Bill! It’s a wonderful book, and one that I am sure will become compulsory reading for all pilgrims past and future. Thank you for allowing me to read it.
Lib xx
Here’s the epilogue that was in the later draft –


To walk the Camino is to do a pilgrimage. 

That’s what I did – I became a pilgrim.

I followed in the footsteps of millions of other pilgrims who, over the years, the decades, the centuries, have made their way to Santiago.

What did I learn?


I learnt to be grateful. Grateful for simple things.

For a bed at night. For clean clothes in the morning. I was grateful when it didn’t rain. I was grateful when the pain receded.

I learnt the meaning of gratitude.


I learnt humility.

My pain humbled me.

Other people humbled me too –

People who walked much further than me. People with pain much greater than mine.

Ultimately though, I was humbled by the occasion. By just walking the Camino.

That in itself was humbling.


I learnt I could achieve big goals by taking small steps.

 A lot of small steps.

But only if I didn’t give up until I’d reached my goal.


I carried everything I needed on my back. Up and down mountains, across plains, over rivers.

My possessions were my burden. Anything unnecessary was an unnecessary burden.

It’s the same in life. My possessions are my burden.


There were so many times I judged people.

People I thought old and frail. People I thought not as capable as me.

Actually I mis-judged them. I was wrong.

I learnt that I must never judge, and never underestimate others.


I discovered I was able to overcome obstacles I didn’t think possible.

And I saw miracles.

My pain left me on the Meseta. My eyesight improved. But perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that I changed.


I learnt that what I fear the most, I bring into my life.

I was scared of steep climbs. Scared I wouldn’t make it. And because of my fear, I nearly didn’t.

I was scared my knee would thwart me.

It nearly did.

What I fear, I attract. 


I discovered a magic mantra: What’s the worst that can happen?

Say that, and my fear disappears.

Because the worst that can happen invariably isn’t so bad after all.

I can deal with it.

So why should I live in fear?


I learnt I could trust my PGS – my Personal Guidance System – my intuition.

It shepherded me dextrously along the Camino.

The times I ignored it were the times I had difficulties.

The times I trusted it were the times I experienced something wonderful or profound.


I learnt that I don’t need to walk the Camino to be a pilgrim.

I can be a pilgrim every day of my life…

If I see my life as a pilgrimage.


That the only thing that matters – that truly matters – is love. 

And here is what Libby said in response –

That’s exactly what I wanted at the end! Your book is now officially perfect!

23 thoughts on “PC #107 – A friendly review…

  1. What a wonderful tribute. Must be pleasing and encouraging to hear. I will be able to say I knew you before you wrote that famous book. Steve


  2. Yes, Bill,

    When all is said and done the “the only thing that matters – that truly matters – is Love”
    You could not have said it any better.



      • Great news. Will it be ready by 20th? If so, would love to have it to read on the plane.
        If this message is a repeat, my apologies. I seem to have lost several posts in the last day or maybe it is my memory which I have lost.
        Can’t wait to read Your wisdom, wit and inspiration.


        • Ah Anne,

          not sure about the inspiration an wisdom, but there’s a bit of within the book!


          I will send you a copy before the 20th, even if the cover art is not completed, but please just give me a prompt in a few days.

          Oh, and as for Jen’s “outfit” for the dinner tonight – I’ll take a photo for you of how she’s dressed. She doesn’t tend to buy many clothes, but she always looks beautiful no matter what she’s wearing.

          Thank you! Bill


  3. Leaving for el camino on September 24, 2013. Will celebrate my 67th birthday in Pamplona on September 28th. Started reading your blog back in April and have enjoyed you and all your followers.


    • Hey Connie –

      what a way to mark your birthday!!

      how fantastic! And how remarkable that you’re undertaking this at the tender age of 67.

      I hope these last few days of preparation go well. Can I ask, is this your first Camino?



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