Brandon Wilson’s Award-Winning “Along the Templar Trail”
In this time of political grandstanding, it is refreshing to hear about someone who quite literally, “walks the talk.” Recently, author/photographer Brandon Wilson and his 68-year-old French friend completed an eleven-country walk for peace from France to Jerusalem. In doing so, they founded the “Templar Trail.”
Wilson’s inspiring book about their odyssey, “Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace” (2008) has been translated by Imke Healy and published by Pilgrim’s Tales in a new German edition, “Auf dem Templerweg: Sieben Millionen Schritte für den Frieden” (November 2011). The English edition won the 2009 Lowell Thomas Gold Award for BEST TRAVEL BOOK from the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers Foundation (SATWF).
This true chronicle interweaves adventure, intrigue, wit and social commentary into an entertaining Chaucerian tale about overcoming odds and discovering the secret to creating peace. The courageous journey from France to Jerusalem traced one marched a millennium ago by those who became the first Knights Templar. Like those men, the modern pilgrims’ walk was filled with extreme highs and lows. The men trekked 2620-miles (the equivalent to crossing the U.S.) across difficult terrains in extreme climates, from the freezing Black Forest to Turkey’s broiling plains. There was the mental test of hiking 30-50 km., a virtual marathon, each day. However, the pair frequently met “angels” whose random acts of kindness bolstered their resolve. But when war erupted between Israel and Lebanon, violence mounted in Damascus, and Hemorrhagic Fever raged in Turkey, everything became uncertain – except for their steadfast and perhaps life-threatening resolve.
Their trek attracted the attention of national television networks and major newspapers along the route, allowing them to spread an impassioned message of peace to millions of Christians, Muslims and Jews alike throughout eleven countries. Without exception, those ordinary people echoed their call to focus on our commonality instead of our differences – and the urgency of resolving our problems before it’s too late.
Asked why he set-off on this quest, Wilson explained, “I’m convinced that one person can still make a difference in today’s world – and the time is now. It’s time for truth and tolerance, instead of blindly following a road of mutual destruction. I’m re-establishing this Templar Trail as an international path of peace for people of all cultures, faiths and nationalities. Let’s set aside our differences; let’s walk as one.”
This tale of empowerment stands as a strong testimony to the courage of the human spirit. Arun Gandhi, president of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, calls it, “A fascinating testimony of faith and gumption…A must read.”
About Brandon Wilson
Brandon Wilson is no novice to these types of historic journeys. This world adventurer and perpetual pilgrim has walked five of the world’s most important pilgrimage trails: the Camino de Santiago and Via de la Plata across Spain, the St. Olav’s Way across Norway, and he was the first American to walk the 1150-mile Via Francigena from England to Rome. His fascination began when he and his wife Cheryl became the first western couple to walk a traditional Buddhist pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal in 1991. Still going strong, he and his wife recently were among the first to hike the challenging Via Alpina the length of the Alps for 1200 miles from Trieste to Monte Carlo.
Brandon Wilson is also the award-winning author of Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith (2004), Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa (2005), and Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps (2010), recipient of the 2010 Book of the Year Bronze Award from ForeWord Reviews. His story “Life When Hell Freezes Over” appeared in They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories from the Legendary Explorers Club (The Lyons Press/Globe Pequot, 2007). His photos have won awards from National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines. He is a member of the prestigious Explorers Club.
“A vivid and eye-opening blend of history, adventure, religion, mysticism and modern conflict… We cannot resist being swept along with the fervor of this quest. It is simply one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time, and one that proves that with the right combination of character and determination great things can be done, and the eyes of the world can be opened.” ~ Richard Bangs, adventurer/author/host of the PBS series Richard Bangs’ Adventures With Purpose
“More than the mere adventure of two brave men, it is a grand and noble quest for peace, as well as a spiritual voyage that will leave readers emotionally and intellectually replenished…I immensely enjoyed reading this book. His writing combines a marvelous sense of Zen with good humor, and his personal style makes you feel as if you were there taking part in it all…” ~
Midwest Book Review
“If we want peace on earth, we must make the effort to embody peace with each step. Brandon Wilson’s inspiring journey, told beautifully in this book, is a living example of peacemaking.” ~ Cindy Sheehan, noted peace activist
“A rhapsody on the theme of pilgrimage. May Brandon Wilson’s goal of fostering peace along the glory roads of the world inspire a trail of pilgrims to create their own sacred journeys in the interest of world peace.” ~ Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and The Book of Roads
“Rich with descriptive detail, replete with humour and never lacking in the life-altering experiences of his previous journeys, Along The Templar Trail is arguably Wilson’s most personal, passionate book yet – a resolute plea for compassion in an often intolerant world…” ~ C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen
Auf dem Templerweg: Sieben Millionen Schritte für den Frieden
Author/Photographer: Brandon Wilson
Translator: Imke Healy
Publication Date: November 28, 2011
Page Count: 330
Trim Size: 6” X 9”
Photos/Map Illustrations: 44
Distribution: Ingram, Gardner & Bertrams
Price: $14.95 perfect paperback
Audience: 15 – adult/nonfiction
Available at your favorite bookstore or website. For a preview: http://www.pilgrimstales.com