Author Stephanie Dale with her book My Pilgrims Heart – a “journey of marriage” and going across Europe on foot.
Author Stephanie Dale with her book My Pilgrims Heart – a “journey of marriage” and going across Europe on foot. Felicia Kosegi

Trekking Europe was no walkover

FORMER Tweed Daily News journalist Stephanie Dale sold everything to join her son Ben on a pilgrimage walking from Rome to Istanbul five years ago.

The result is a book not only about that expedition but about the journey of marriage and the start of a new journey into self-publishing.

Ms Dale was in Murwillumbah yesterday at Zebra’s Bookshop above the Escape art gallery and cafe in Brisbane Street to locally promote the book “My Pilgrim’s Heart’.

But she admits that years later she thinks of walking across most of Europe as “crazy”.

“These days I shake my head and laugh at the very thought,” she said. “At the time though, it seemed like an amazing opportunity. My son was walking from Canterbury (in England) to Jerusalem. He is the only person I know who would do something like that.

“So if I was going to have this kind of adventure - walking through unknown lands in the company of someone I trusted - then this was the time to do it.”

Ms Dale said the subsequent book was “not only a traveller’s diary” but a stimulating exploration of marriage.

“For some people it’s a grassroots journey through little-known and perhaps even frightening countries,” she said.

“For others, the book is only about marriage. Fascinatingly, to me, no two responses have been the same - I know of only two people who read the book I think I actually wrote.”

Ms Dale said her former husband, who is not named in the book, had given it “his blessing” but she has no idea what he thinks of it. “We live in different countries and although we parted amicably, we don’t cross paths,” she said.

As for the arduous walk Ms Dale said she did not quite realise how emotionally and physically hard it would be.

She suffered blisters, her shoulders suffered from the weight of her backpack and she went “full throttle” while her marriage of less than a year was “complicated”.

“I blogged the geography online in the evenings, and made notes on the internal themes as I was walking,” said Ms Dale referring to the book’s underlying issues on the nature of obligation in a marriage and the traps of sex, money.

Ms Dale has since set up her own publishing company Voyager Moon. ‘My Pilgrim’s Heart, A Woman’s Journey Through Marriage and Other Foreign Lands’ is published by Voyager Moon and is available at local bookshops or by visiting www.voyagermoon.com.



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