The Journey in Between

The author, Keith Foskett, a Brit in his late thirties – early forties, takes long adventurous walks between jobs. He doesn’t seem to have a career or a full time occupation of any sort. He just manages to make enough money, whenever and wherever, to then walk for as long as the money lasts. The description on the book’s cover suggests that he sells some of his travel articles to magazines, but this is never mentioned in his story.

I had trouble with this book. Although, it’s a good basic description of the author’s walk from Le Puy to Finisterre, where he meets some interesting people and becomes a kind of Camino celebrity, he is not a pilgrim. He walks for the simple enjoyment of walking. There is no spiritual quest. He never enters a church, doesn’t attend the pilgrim mass, doesn’t even seek a compostela. However, encounters with women, as lovers, companions and friends occur often on his journey. In fact, he may even be a little homophobic, in the company of men who are different from his strongly male identity.

Fozzie, as he is known, sleeps in a tent or rough often and hates the rules of the hostels when he stays in them. However, he needs a shower from time to time and a better pilgrim meal, so he goes along with the culture even though he never accepts the snoring. Given the sporadic nature of his life and his walk, I am surprised that he writes as well as he does. It’s not great writing, but it is better than I had expected. There are times, though, when his elaborate descriptions, strained use of verbs and overworked imagery had me praying for a Hemingway.

This book would appeal to a young macho who loves walking, needs the freedom of not being tied to a job and enjoys being recognized. I missed the spiritual aspect of the pilgrimage and the emotional engagement with others which “The Journey in Between” never offers.

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