Local author Roxey Edwards takes a look at the view during her 2016 journey on the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s trail in Spain. She’s since written a book about the experience in the hopes of helping would-be pilgrims with their journey. — Submitted by Roxey Edwards

Local author Roxey Edwards takes a look at the view during her 2016 journey on the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s trail in Spain. She’s since written a book about the experience in the hopes of helping would-be pilgrims with their journey. — Submitted by Roxey Edwards

Parksville author shares journey on famed 800 km trail

Books, movie inspire Roxey Edwards to walk Camino de Santiago, write book

It’s hard to overstate Roxey Edwards’ love of reading.

“I’ve just retired, and when I was budgeting my life, my biggest concern was would I be able to afford my reading habit,’” said the Parksville author with a laugh.

So it’s perhaps no wonder that a pair of books (and a movie) inspired Edwards to suddenly decide to take an 800-kilometre walking journey in Spain, taking a 38-day journey on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s way.

It’s perhaps also no wonder that Edwards has since written and published a book about the journey, which she took in 2016.

The book appears to be quite popular. Edwards has an author’s night scheduled for the Parksville library on Oct. 25. She donated one of her books to the Vancouver Island Regional Library, and suspects that book may have put on as many kilometres she did on the walk by the time she makes her presentation.

“Without trying to sound airy-fairy, I felt called to do it,” she said of her decision to walk the trail. “I kept getting little nudges in that direction, and I think the final nudge was very strange.”

The book What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim by Jane Christmas, and the movie The Way both contributed to her interest, but it was the book I’m Off Then by Hape Kerkeling that really got her moving.

Suffering her first gall bladder attack, Edwards had to have the stone (lodged in the neck) removed with emergency surgery. While resting up, a book she’d ordered arrived, and, despite feeling too tired to read, Edwards’ husband gave her the book, and she opened the first page.

“The first lines in the book were, ‘I’ve just had my gall bladder removed, and I’m deaf in one ear.’” Edwards, too, is deaf in one ear. “That was like, yeah, I keep getting these messages that I am meant to do this trip.”

In preparation, Edwards began walking home from the Petro Can on Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay back to Parksville, in addition to reading everything she could on the Camino de Santiago.

An important Christian pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James the Great in the Middle Ages, now many thousands of people walk the route every year.

There are hostels and places to eat along the way, and towns and villages (many of them quite small) always find a place for a pilgrim (with a pilgrim’s passport) to sleep, said Edwards, but it’s no cushy excursion.

Despite her study and physical preparations, Edwards said that by day five of walking the trail, she nearly gave up.

“It’s 35 degrees out there and I’m tired and I’m sleeping in bunk beds with strangers all around me and it’s so out of our North American norm,” said Edwards. What made matters worse that day was a mistake in footwear. Because it was so hot, and because the trail ahead didn’t look too challenging, Edwards decided to wear her trekking sandals.

“Bad mistake,” she said. “I never wore trekking sandals again.”

Her feet aching, she arrived to a hostel, and all that was left was a top bunk — hot, and perhaps out of reach for Edwards.

“I was just sort of standing there dismally looking at my top bunk, and this younger man looked at me and he said, ‘Are you OK,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK. My feet just hurt and I’m not sure I can climb up into a top bunk,’ and he said, ‘Take mine.’

“He instantly grabbed everything off of his bottom bunk and carried it over and put it on my top bunk.”

“I met him two or three more times, and he was a Brazilian but he lived in Toronto, and it was his second Camino, and I said, ‘You know, I just get so nervous that I’m going to get somewhere and there’s going to be no bed.’ He said, ‘There will always be a bed. No pilgrim ever sleeps outside on the Camino.’”

Walking the trail, Edwards had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, many of whom shared life stories with her, and some of whom she remains in frequent contact with.

Though a pilgrimage, the trail attracts many people with little to no interest in Christianity or religion. Still, the trail can be a spiritual experience, said Edwards.

“One of the women I walked with, she said she had no religious bent, she would not believe in anything she could not see or could not touch, and I saw her on the second to last night before we walk into Santiago break down to tears in the middle of a church service.

“It’s just a great coming together of humanity.”

Edwards’ decision to write the book detailing her journey, called To Each Their Own Camino, came partially as an interest in sharing up-to-date information on the trail itself.

But it’s not a guide, said Edwards. The book, while instructive, is a telling of her own journey.

The book is available for purchase through Edwards’ website, www.roxeyedwards.ca, and can be rented through the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

The book will also be for sale at Edwards author’s evening at Parksville library (100 Jensen Ave. East) on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Most Read