Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway – My ‘Gap Year’ Pilgrimage

24 Jan

2016australiaday-bloghopOver the last ten years or so it seems like everyone I meet has just done, or is about to do, a pilgrimage.  Those who have returned talk about it ecstatically – it was life changing, they say. The idea attracts me. I visualise the experience as a chance to take stock and maybe change direction.

Some say the modern-day rush of pilgrims began in 1987 after Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Pilgrimage’. The Camino pilgrimage in Spain now has over 200 000 pilgrims each year, compared to 600 in 1985. But the phenomenon is broader than this. The Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan, a 60 day trek to 88 temples is also booming.  Over a decade its numbers have tripled to 150 000 pilgrims every year.

Traditionally, pilgrimages were taken in order to cleanse the pilgrim of their sins. They offered a state of transition which led to transformation. Bad luck with jobs, health or romance are common reasons for pilgrims to set out on the Shikoku walk. Young Japanese women commonly walk alone to recover after a breakup.

A few years ago, inspired by pilgrims’ tales, I started to write a novel about a woman walking the Shikoku pilgrimage. I bought a lot of books and became quite an armchair expert, but I could never find the time to go. The book was on a roll so, loathe to put on the brakes, I got creative and changed the setting.

Arkie, my protagonist, travels no further north than Noosa and no further south than Sydney. She is a ‘do it yourself’ pilgrim, finding transcendence on the highways and byways of my local area on her way to the next ‘big thing’.

In a stroke of serendipity, my husband, my two grown-up kids and myself have now found ourselves perfectly timed to take ‘a gap year’ together (actually a gap six months.). We are planning to do a pilgrimage walk in Japan and also walk the Camino.

arkie cover 2Most people write the book after they do the pilgrimage, but I thought I’d try it the other way around. I’m sure there’s another book in there somewhere.

Leave a comment on this blog to go into the draw for a copy of ‘Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing.’ The prizewinner will be announced on this blog on January 31st. And go to Book’d Out to check out the rest of the blogs with giveaways on the Australia Day Blog Hop.

44 Responses to “Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway – My ‘Gap Year’ Pilgrimage”

  1. Christy January 24, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    Wow! How remarkable. I walked the Camino a year ago and have been trying to figure out how to write about it and about pilgrimage ever since. So far, no luck! Perhaps you have done it the right way around after all 🙂

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 3:08 am #

      Ha, it’s pretty counter-intuitive, isn’t it? But I’m hoping there’s another book in there 🙂

  2. Catherine January 24, 2016 at 3:17 am #

    Going on a pilgrimage sounds like a great idea! Thank you for this giveaway, and I hope your own trip is everything you hope for.

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 3:25 am #

      Thanks Catherine, looking forward to it! Good luck with the giveaway.

  3. Kylie January 24, 2016 at 4:01 am #

    Sounds like an amazing six months for you guys. It’s still on my “one day in the future” list, but hopefully it will happen! Enjoy! 😃

  4. Mary Preston January 24, 2016 at 4:28 am #

    I do think that a pilgrimage could be re-energising. I look forward to a great read.

  5. Jess January 24, 2016 at 4:31 am #

    Hey Lisa,
    You will absolutely love Japan. I haven’t done the walk, but the country and people are so wonderful and helpful despite the language barrier. I hope you and your family love your gap vacation and pilgrimage (that’s so lucky that it all worked out and you can all go together); it’ll be a remarkable experience.

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 6:16 am #

      Thanks Jess, I’ve been listening to a Japanese language app every day so, I have a few phrases now. Very excited!

  6. geckogirlreads January 24, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    I love the idea of a gap year as i never had one i literally went to full time work and just did my year 12 exams!

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      I didn’t have one either. I’m overdue!

  7. womblywoo January 24, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    I love that the blog hop adds so many books to my wishlist! So many I may have missed otherwise!

  8. Amanda Barrett January 24, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    How inspiring, I would love to go on a pilgrimage, love the subject of your novel. Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

      thanks Amanda! Good luck with the giveaway:)

  9. Veronica January 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    I’ve never been overseas but a pilgrimage around Australia sounds like fun to me. Maybe one day.

    • Lisa Walker January 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

      Thanks Veronica, good luck with the giveaway!

  10. gem January 24, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    this blog hop is fab, thanks for the chance to win!

  11. anniepinkshoes January 25, 2016 at 1:35 am #

    Wow, what an exciting adventure you and your family will have. I’m sure you will come back with a few new books ideas from you pilgrimage.
    Have a great time.

    • Lisa Walker January 25, 2016 at 1:47 am #

      Thanks so much Annie! certainly hoping there’s going to be a book in there…

  12. paula January 25, 2016 at 1:52 am #

    What an awesome gap year to have with your family!! Enjoy 🙂

  13. Sarah ellwood January 25, 2016 at 6:02 am #

    Wow, I’m jealous. I hope you and your family have a gorgeous trip. I imagine it to be very therapeutic to do these walks, and have the time to reflect on life and the blessings we have. Thank you for the chance to win 🙂

    • Lisa Walker January 25, 2016 at 8:09 am #

      Thanks so much Sarah, yes I feel very fortunate. Good luck with the giveaway!

  14. StephMWard January 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    What a wonderful path to a book…or book to a path in this case!

    My husband is currently planning our “pilgrimage” through the UK which turns out to be a seven day pub-to-pub hike. At least that’s a step in the right direction, right?

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing sounds fantastic and is already on my TBR list 🙂 Happy Australia Day!

    • Lisa Walker January 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

      Hi Stephanie, a pub to pub pilgrimage sounds excellent, I could definitely get into that! Hope you’re having a relaxing Australia Day.

  15. Faye Bibby January 26, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Wow Lisa! Well done on realising your walking dreams, that’s great. I didn’t know about the Japanese tradition of “walking off” a breakup but I think it makes sense. I find our own bodies are wonderful healers and often know what to do when the brain, and heart, don’t. Have a wonderful time!

    • Lisa Walker January 26, 2016 at 2:14 am #

      Thanks Faye! Yes, I love walking, it’s good for the soul 🙂 Thanks for coming to my blog, have a great day.

  16. bn100 January 26, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    sounds fun

  17. Nat H January 26, 2016 at 5:48 am #

    This book sounds really interesting… happy australia day 🙂

    • Lisa Walker January 26, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks, Nat. Happy Australia Day to you too!

  18. Kira Jessup (@kirajessup) January 26, 2016 at 6:56 am #

    I’d love to do the full pilgrimage around Australia. Our country is enormous and there’s so much beauty to see. One day I’ll get there 😉

    • Lisa Walker January 26, 2016 at 9:04 am #

      Definitely be good to go around Oz! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  19. Sue Gerhardt Griffiths January 27, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Wow, what an interesting post! Love your idea of a “gap year” pilgrimage! Enjoy your trip with your family, Lisa. After applying for an Aussie passport last year we had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks travelling the east coast of America and cruise the Caribbean. Last month we spent 2 1/2 weeks on Hawaii’s three main islands and this year we’re travelling to Canada and cruising Alaska but our biggest dream is to do a pilgrimage around Australia. Does it count if it’s caravanning our way around?

    As I just said to Sara Foster on her post it’s great to discover new authors through this blog hop and as well as hers I’ve also now added your books to my list.

    • Lisa Walker January 27, 2016 at 3:41 am #

      Thanks Sue! Yes, I think caravanning around Australia totally counts – sounds great. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for visiting and best wishes for all your travels.

  20. lisa heidke (@lisaheidke) January 27, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    Hi Lisa,
    Sounds like you and your family are in for an amazing adventure! Am sure there will definitely be a new book in it. Make sure you post lots of pics! x

    • Lisa Walker January 27, 2016 at 7:36 am #

      Thanks Lisa. I’m a bit of a slack poster, but I’ll try to improve! I hope you’re going well, congrats on your new book, hope there’s another in the pipeline. X Lisa

  21. Stacey January 27, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Ohh taking a gap year sounds like a great idea!

    • Lisa Walker January 27, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks Stacey, getting excited! Good luck with the draw.


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    […] 21. Lisa Walker (AUS) […]

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    […] 21. Lisa Walker (AUS) […]

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