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I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago (2006)

by Hape Kerkeling

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7872327,777 (3.89)26
From one of Germany's most beloved celebrities, a cross between Bill Bryson and Paulo Coelho. It has sold over 3 million copies and been translated into eleven different languages. Pilgrims have increased along the Camino by 20 percent since the book was published. Hape Kerkeling's spiritual epiphany has struck a nerve. Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish Shrine of St. James, a 1,200-year-old journey undertaken by nearly 100,000 people every year. But that didn't stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Along the way, lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this utterly frank, engaging book. Simply by struggling with his physical limitations and the rigors of long-distance walking, he discovered a deep sense of peace that transformed his life and allowed him to forgive himself, and others, more readily. He learned something every day, and he took to finishing each entry with his daily lessons. Filled with quirky fellow pilgrims, historic landscapes, and Kerkeling's self-deprecating sense of humor, I'm Off Then is an inspiring travelogue, a publishing phenomenon, and a spiritual journey unlike any other.… (more)
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» See also 26 mentions

English (11)  German (8)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This gets 2 stars instead of 1 because the author had a soft spot for animals and was kind to many dogs along his route. From many of his interactions, I think he might like dogs more than people. I decided about halfway through the book that I didn’t really like this guy, who picked and chose who he’d be civil to along the Camino. Once he made some real friends that he hiked the route with, his attitude picked up a little, but he still thought himself perfectly justified to just not respond to people who were trying to connect with him.

I walked the Camino with my husband in 1996. Of course the experience would be different for a newly married couple who had recently celebrated their first anniversary. Kerkeling was on his own, and so our approaches to the route and the people on it, and their approaches and reactions to us would be different. But still, we met people we didn’t like and kept running into them too, but we didn’t just refuse to talk to them when we saw them. Kerkeling does this on many occasions in the book, and his detailed critique of a German couple after eavesdropping on them in a hotel was where I first started really disliking this guy. He only speaks to the people he deems worthy of his time.

Besides that, the book just wasn’t consistently enjoyable to read, with his kooky philosophical ramblings and judgments of his fellow hikers. He did have a couple of religious metaphors that I thought were quite good, but overall, the spiritual commentary seemed kind of fluffy to me.

Reading this did inspire me to get out my old journal to consult my own attitudes and memories, so I am glad that I read it. Walking the Camino de Santiago is one of the great memories of my life, so a refresher about the places and challenges of the pilgrimage was welcome.
( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
I love this book so much!!!!!! "Drop the thought". ( )
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
Hape Kerkeling, Deutschlands vielseitigster TV-Entertainer, lief zu Fuß zum Grab des heiligen Jakob – über 600 Kilometer durch Spanien bis nach Santiago de Compostela – und erlebte die reinigende Kraft der Pilgerreise. Ein außergewöhnliches Buch voller Witz, Weisheit und Wärme, ein ehrlicher Bericht über die Suche nach Gott und sich selbst und den unschätzbaren Wert des Wanderns.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
I love this book so much!!!!!! "Drop the thought". ( )
  Jinjer.Hundley | Mar 24, 2018 |
Suffered in translation, I think, but the journey was interesting. Read on recommendation.
  bookczuk | Dec 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hape Kerkelingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hunfeld, KatjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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De weg stelt maar één vraag: wie ben je?
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I dedicate this page to my beloved grandma Berta,and...
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"Ich bin dann mal weg!"
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From one of Germany's most beloved celebrities, a cross between Bill Bryson and Paulo Coelho. It has sold over 3 million copies and been translated into eleven different languages. Pilgrims have increased along the Camino by 20 percent since the book was published. Hape Kerkeling's spiritual epiphany has struck a nerve. Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish Shrine of St. James, a 1,200-year-old journey undertaken by nearly 100,000 people every year. But that didn't stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Along the way, lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this utterly frank, engaging book. Simply by struggling with his physical limitations and the rigors of long-distance walking, he discovered a deep sense of peace that transformed his life and allowed him to forgive himself, and others, more readily. He learned something every day, and he took to finishing each entry with his daily lessons. Filled with quirky fellow pilgrims, historic landscapes, and Kerkeling's self-deprecating sense of humor, I'm Off Then is an inspiring travelogue, a publishing phenomenon, and a spiritual journey unlike any other.

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