On September 14, 2012, I found myself in St. Jean Pied-de-Port staring at the French Pyrenees. Doubt had entered my mind and I wondered, “What am I doing here. Today is nice, but can I actually do this day in and day our for 490 miles?” Over the next 28 days, I had a life altering experience that fills my head and heart with joy on a daily basis. It is hard to imagine that the anniversary of my first step is a few weeks from today.
Just like the walk in Spain, the last year has been loaded with new experiences. On the negative side, I broke up with the love of my life and have been slowly healing a wounded heart. On the positive side, I launched an entirely new endeavor into the literary world by self publishing my first book, “A Million Steps”. For six months, the majority of each day consisted of typing, dreaming of typing, drinking homemade vanilla lattes, and typing. For rest and relaxation, I created a PowerPoint presentation about the trip and spoke to any group that would have me. Over 2.000 people in my local community were kind enough to listen to my passionate tale. It was a nice break from typing.
Between typing and talking, I worked very closely with an editor. Without the help of Jeanette Germain, there would be no book. I sent my 70,000 word rambling blob to her and she returned 31 distinct chapters. In her possession, the blob must have taken its own Camino as it transformed into an unrecognizable manuscript. Over a four month period, we worked closely to refine and polish the words. She really did an exceptional job of keeping my voice in the book.
Here is a blurb 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…
Book Description: Kurt Koontz thought he was well prepared for his 490-mile walking trip on the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. He was fit and strong. He had a good guidebook and all the right equipment. His pilgrim passport would grant him access to the shelter of hostels along the way. But all that, however helpful, did not begin to encompass the grandeur of his external or internal adventure. A Million Steps climbs over the high meadows of the Pyrenees, quests through the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances in the rains of Galicia. While following the yellow arrows that mark the route, Koontz also navigates through his personal history of addiction, recovery, and love. With outgoing humor and friendliness, he embraces the beauty of the countryside and joyful connections to other pilgrims from around the world. Part diary, part travelogue, A Million Steps is a journey within a journey all the way to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and beyond.
My baby has been born!
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