Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

his trek from the disenchanted to the enlightened is a profound journey of the soul

In 2001 thirtyish German comedian Kerkeling decided to search for God by hiking the 500-mile sacred Camino de Santiago, which starts at the foothills of the Pyrenees and ends at the Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He was following the route of C...
In 2001 thirtyish German comedian Kerkeling decided to search for God by hiking the 500-mile sacred Camino de Santiago, which starts at the foothills of the Pyrenees and ends at the Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He was following the route of Christians who have taken this pilgrimage for at least twelve centuries. With just under forty stops, Kerkeling understood he would need to walk at least 12 miles a day to complete the tour in less than two weeks. He also knew he was an unhealthy couch potato. Still he began his trek heading to the first of just under forty recognized stops on the trail and came close to quitting right then.

His version of the pilgrimage is interesting especially when he talks with workers at the sacred pit stops (irreverent but that is what these locales sound like) and with fellow pilgrims to understand their motives and gain a group inspiration to finish the arduous journey (think Canterbury Tales). Although the readers knows how far Kerkeling traveled in terms of miles/kilometers, the comedian fails to provide a baseline beyond doubting couch potato status so his spiritual awakening never fully comes across. Still his trek from the disenchanted to the enlightened is a profound journey of the soul.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on June 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Don't bother

I purchased this because I am interested in walking the Camino and it was the only book on that subject B&N had in the store, I wish I could return it...for more money than I paid for it. I felt like I had performed a great feat in making it through the whole thing. I d...
I purchased this because I am interested in walking the Camino and it was the only book on that subject B&N had in the store, I wish I could return it...for more money than I paid for it. I felt like I had performed a great feat in making it through the whole thing. I did read it, because I kept hoping that The Way would transform the author. That unfortunately was not the case. He started out a very unhappy sarcastic pompous person and he ended up his journey the same way. He complained the entire trip and was completely self absorbed with his perceived *celebrity* as a comedian...I of course had never heard of him...not living in Germany...and to top it off I never thought his effort at humor was funny. His anecdotes were boring and often cruel and sometimes confusing...I wasn't sure if the translator was perhaps responsible for my confusion or it was just the author's warped view of the world and what is funny and his lack of skill as a writer. I have since ordered other books on walking The Way....and have high hopes....Really don't waste your money.

posted by justry on July 2, 2009

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  • Posted July 9, 2009

    A Memorable Pilgrimage from the Comfort of Your Armchair

    I just returned from a most memorable 500+ mile long journey across the French Alps to Camino de Santiago and I never left my chair except to refill my wine glass. German comedian and author Hape Kerkeling took me along on his pilgrimage through the pages of I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago. Right from the start Kerkeling confesses to being an unlikely pilgrim...more of a couch potato than an adventurer. I too must admit that when I began this literary trek with Hape, I had serious doubts about whether or not I would stick to the journey. For me, a walk means circling the mall three times or a sunset stroll on the beach. I do not relish the thoughts of "roughing it." I was not at all certain that this was "my kind of travel book."

    I was wrong. As we traveled the pages across the snowcapped Pyrenees, through Basque country, Navarra, Rioja and all the way to Galicia, I discovered that this journey was really about self-reflection and self-discovery. The more I read, the more it reinforced my strong belief that when we travel with an open mind and an open heart, we quickly learn that different cultures, beliefs and traditions are not wrong...simply different...and we embrace the differences. We also discover that as human beings we are much more like our fellow pilgrims than we are different. And, as Hape point out: "Sometimes even the most annoying people mean well."

    I particularly enjoyed Hape's self-deprecating humor, his keen perceptions about the people he met and traveled with along the way and his pithy insights (some profound, some playful) the end of each chapter. My personal favorite; "Open your heart and canoodle with the day." (Looking up the definition, I quickly figured out that canoodle is a hip way to say "Make love to the day.")

    First released in German, I'm Off Then quickly became a best seller. No doubt, the English version will also reap awards and significantly increase Kerkeling's fan club.

    Review by Lynne R. Christen
    Author: Travel Wisdom

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    his trek from the disenchanted to the enlightened is a profound journey of the soul

    In 2001 thirtyish German comedian Kerkeling decided to search for God by hiking the 500-mile sacred Camino de Santiago, which starts at the foothills of the Pyrenees and ends at the Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He was following the route of Christians who have taken this pilgrimage for at least twelve centuries. With just under forty stops, Kerkeling understood he would need to walk at least 12 miles a day to complete the tour in less than two weeks. He also knew he was an unhealthy couch potato. Still he began his trek heading to the first of just under forty recognized stops on the trail and came close to quitting right then.

    His version of the pilgrimage is interesting especially when he talks with workers at the sacred pit stops (irreverent but that is what these locales sound like) and with fellow pilgrims to understand their motives and gain a group inspiration to finish the arduous journey (think Canterbury Tales). Although the readers knows how far Kerkeling traveled in terms of miles/kilometers, the comedian fails to provide a baseline beyond doubting couch potato status so his spiritual awakening never fully comes across. Still his trek from the disenchanted to the enlightened is a profound journey of the soul.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    I found it a realistic and whimsical look at the journey. this

    I found it a realistic and whimsical look at the journey. this book is the reason why there are so many Germans on the Camino de Santiago. I am anxious to reread now that I have done the 1st half of my Camino.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2009

    Don't bother

    I purchased this because I am interested in walking the Camino and it was the only book on that subject B&N had in the store, I wish I could return it...for more money than I paid for it. I felt like I had performed a great feat in making it through the whole thing. I did read it, because I kept hoping that The Way would transform the author. That unfortunately was not the case. He started out a very unhappy sarcastic pompous person and he ended up his journey the same way. He complained the entire trip and was completely self absorbed with his perceived *celebrity* as a comedian...I of course had never heard of him...not living in Germany...and to top it off I never thought his effort at humor was funny. His anecdotes were boring and often cruel and sometimes confusing...I wasn't sure if the translator was perhaps responsible for my confusion or it was just the author's warped view of the world and what is funny and his lack of skill as a writer. I have since ordered other books on walking The Way....and have high hopes....Really don't waste your money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Recommended for anyone planning to do some or all of the trails.

    This book tells all the interesting sights you encounter on the trails. Learning about the conditions of some of the hostels was interesting. It seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor for anyone to try if they have the time and stamina.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Great book from a modern pilgrim.

    I read this in the original German and loved it. I thought it was an interesting look at what a pilgrimage can be for people today. I have not seen an English translation, so I cannot speak to the quality of the translation.

    I had seen the author on Tv, so I knew what his sense of humor was like and to me his jokes are funny.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2012

    I loved this book! It was funny and entertaining. I first learne

    I loved this book! It was funny and entertaining. I first learned about this book from listening to an interview with the author on public radio. I was impressed with the way he told his story and knew I had to learn more about him and the Camino de Santiago. He represented the trek as a spiritual journey where needs were taken care of just by ordering thigs up from the universe! He didn't start out that way but the Camino changed him. It was exciting to read and I would recommend.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mediocre

    I recently did the Camino de Santiago and met many Germans along the way who recommended that I read this book. It was apparently written by a hilarious German comedian and was full of delicious humor. One German even told me that the English translation was going to be the cause of a major awakening in America with regards to the Camino de Santiago, thus turning it into a major destination for American tourists. I hardly think so. I don't know if this is just a bad translation or if American humor is so very different from that of the Germans, but this book is not hilarious and will cause no revolution in American tourism in Spain. His sentences are short and choppy, his jokes completely base, and I only finished the book because I believe in finishing what I start. Several times I felt like putting the book back on my bookshelf and finding something else more interesting to read. What kept me going was the desire to see how the author describes Santiago de Compostela, which I could have done by simply skipping to the end. Nonetheless, I had paid for the book, so I was determined to finish it. That said, I can't recommend this book if you are in search of a good book about the Camino de Santiago or simply something to entertain yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    "I'm Off Then"... the kind of book you can put down

    For a comedian, it wasn't at all funny. If anything it was pathetic. Hape comes off as a spoiled, whiney, fat, lazy, tit baby. Nuf' said.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Easy, light reading for those who enjoy travel essays

    I heard Hape Kerkeling on a Wisconsin Public Radio program interview. Listening to the interview did persuade me to read this book. Despite the author's apparent celebrity status in Germany, I (not a celebrity!) still felt that I could connect with his thoughts and commentary made from his observations and experiences along the Camino de Santiago. While this book does not result in significant thought-provoking insight, it is an easy, enjoyabe read that most people can relate to. I can't comment on the quality of the tranlation; however, having relatives and friends who live in Germany (and understanding how they speak, their sense of humor, and how they translate their thoughts) I also could apppreciate the one reviewer's sense that many of Mr. Kerkeling's attempts at humor, would fall on blank stares to non-German readers. Still, overall, a good read, if not taken too seriously.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

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