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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,647 ratings  ·  501 reviews
I'm Off Then has sold more than three million copies in Germany and has been translated into eleven languages. The number of pilgrims along the Camino has increased by 20 percent since the book was published. Hape Kerkeling's spiritual journey has struck a chord.

Overweight, overworked, and disenchanted, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage acr
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Free Press (first published 2006)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  6,647 ratings  ·  501 reviews

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Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, el-camino
I'm rereading this as I'll try to walk the same path to Santiago de Compostela starting this Friday.....Seeing that another overweight couch potato has done this, helps getting over my growing panic...... ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the English translation of "I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago." The author is a very famous German comedian who undertakes the 500 miles pilgrimage with hopes of spiritual and physical improvement. For the first half of the book, I'll admit I was rather frustrated with his approach. He hitchhikes, takes buses and trains, relaxes on several extended breaks and refuses to stay in the refugios (inexpensive dormitories) where most pilgrims stay. Instead he stay ...more
Ms. Smartarse
Translated into English, as I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago.

Hans Peter "Hape" Kerkeling is a comedian of some reputation in Germany. Despite bei g a self-proclaimed couch potato, he sets out to walk the Camino de Santiago... all 800 km of it. Ok, make that most of it, and definitely include the last 100km.

Modern-day pilgrim from the back

Things started out really well, with Kerkeling setting a suitably doubtful tone for this entire endeavor.
We have his grandmother's old prophecy on the one han
This is the first time I've included a rotten book here on GoodReads. Pure and simple, this is an act of revenge.

It seemed to have such potential- written by a German comedian (or was that perhaps an ominous warning?), sold over 3 million copies, was all about hiking a historically famous spiritual hike along the roof of Spain...

The man was out of shape and shouldn't have undertaken it. The reader is subjected to innumerable references to how much his feet hurt and that he doesn't like walking
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, 2017-read, germany
Showmaster, comedian and actor Hape Kerkeling is a national treasure, and this travel memoir about his pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago firmly held the number 1-spot on the bestseller list for 100 (!) weeks. What makes Kerkeling so popular is (at least in my opinion) that no matter what he does - be it impersonating Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, playing whacky politician Horst Schlämmer or hosting "Strictly Come Dancing" - he always radiates a positive, empathic attitude without being sh ...more
Toria (Please call me Leo)
I usually like a pilgrim journey or an adventure book once in a while but this didn't work for me. Wasn't serious enough to get on this journey and didn't think he did much of a self journey either. I do not know anything except this book about Hape Kerkling and maybe I've would have enjoyed it more if I had and wouldn't gave had same expectations on this. ...more
Hape Kerkeling, one of Germany's finest comedians, describes his pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. The adventures on his way are almost too good to be true. It's a story about trusting in oneself and others, about friendship, about enduring terrible conditions and finding joy in the little things. Hape's humour and way of storytelling are simply irresistible. I had a wonderful time listening to this.

The reader: Hape himself reads his story, and he is of course first choice. He knows his stuf
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Of the other celebrity Camino books I've read,

I give Shirley McLaine's one star, and Paulo Coelho's three. This was the most enjoyable by far just because Kerkeling—a superstar comedian in Germany—doesn't take himself so seriously. I would say that not all of the humor translates from the German, and his account isn't mindblowing, (of the three Coelho's is certainly the most so, if that's what you're looking for), as he keeps much of the spiritual content of his experience private. Yet I respec
Stacey Neve
Apr 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Take my review and rating with a grain of salt I suppose, since I didn't finish the book. On the other hand, I pretty much never give up in the middle of a book. I can remember only one other time that I did that.

I stopped reading for two reasons. First, the writing was choppy and awkward. I'm not sure if that was a problem in the writing/editing process or if something was lost in translation, but periodically there would be a random sentence or thought in the middle of a paragraph that seeming
Eva Müller
Well, this was an odd experience the second time round. Still got teary-eyed at the end.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was sent to my sister Patti, who then passed it along to me. Since we’re going to be walking a section of the Camino soon, I was happy to have the opportunity to enjoy someone else’s walk vicariously. The author, a German comedian, tells a lighthearted story with deft touches of a more serious nature. I enjoyed the book very much. (I see that Kerkeling has also written a book about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. I’d like to read that, too, if it gets translated into English.)
Apr 20, 2022 rated it liked it
A different perspective on the Camino than other books I’ve read. I enjoyed the candid account as I prepare for my Camino (and wonder how much has changed in 20 years). Some slower bits where he veers away from talking about the Camino- I skimmed through those pages as I was personally not overly interested in them, but they might be entertaining/interesting to others.
I'm looking into the Camino Santiago experience for the first time. I have been following the blog of someone from church, viewed The Way, saw the Walking the Camino documentary, talked about it with my cousin (who has a friend who wants to walk it) and then ran into the man who heads the area Camino group at my Tai Chi class - all within the last three weeks. I started reading this book which I ran across while browsing Camino titles on Amazon. I also read the reviews - good and bad. And heard ...more
Jasmin Martin
This is an okay book. I know he's a comedian, and not a hiker, but I expected more about the hiking of the Jakobsweg and less about how he was almost dying some of the way. I guess it wasn't the right book for me. Aimed at another kind of audience. But I learned some interesting things about the Jakobsweg, including the history. ...more
Diane Malone
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't think I'd like this based on synopsis and several bad reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed this diary of hiking the Camino de Santiago. Not a religious tract, but a funny, insightful meditative piece. ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
A book written by a German pilgrim about his journey on the Camino de Santiago. I read this after my own walk this fall, and it was a fun read. His experience (10 years prior to mine) was quite different, and it was interesting to see how much the Camino has changed in such a short time.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
i was glad to be done. Found the author to be judgmental and unlikeable
Holger Haase
Hape Kerkeling is a German entertainer and comedian (yeah, I know) and this is a diary of his 6-week journey on the Santiago de Compostela way.

It's a book that's been well received in Germany (and apparently also translated into English) and some of my German friends and family were raving on about it but must admit that I didn't find it very well written.

I have often pondered the idea of walking the Camino myself but can't say I am feeling very inspired about it after reading this. Luckily I kn
Jan 10, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then, I come across a travelogue that was highly entertaining, I absolutely enjoy reading it. This is one such book. As much as I have been here in Germany for almost a decade now, I still am not familiar with the regular characters in media, so I have no idea who Hape Kerkeling is. I just happen to have picked up this book, as this is a travelogue of his experiences as he walked the Camino de Santiago. This is one of the most famous hiking trails out there, and yes, I am intereste ...more
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel, 2011
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 ...more
I always wanted to read the book but never found the time to do so. When I watched the movie in 2015 my mum lent me the book but I had to return it without reading it. The never-ending story of a too long tbr...

To start with, I'm not much of a fan of Hape Kerkeling. I don't dislike him but can't actually say what he does for a living as I'm not interested in comedians. Let's say, I'm aware of the fact that he exists and has many fans.
What intrigued me about the book was the story of someone not
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
You know you're reading a great piece of travel writing when every page makes you want to book the next flight out of town. That's how I felt about 'I'm Off Then,' which is German comedian Hepe Kerkeling's account of his 2001 pilgrimage along Spain's thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago. This is a trip I desperately want to make myself, so I initially picked this book up to inform myself about the reality of this 800 km journey in northern Spain. It didn't take long, however, before I started to ...more
Nov 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm off Then by Hape Kerkeling * I first read about this book a few months ago in Out Magazine [they named it, along with Terry Galloway's Mean Little deaf Queer, as a book to look forward to:] and promptly forgot about it until my friend Austin brought a copy to book group thinking I'd enjoy it. What can I say? Austin knows me pretty well; I loved it!
Each year tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage from St Jean Pied de Port to the Santiago de Compestela (The Way of St James) in Northe
Beth Foote
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: camino-books
This is the most fun Camino memoir I've read so far.

When I walked the Camino last summer I walked with several German-speaking pilgrims and they all asked me, "Have you read Hape Kerkeling's book??"and I said, "Who??" They couldn't believe that I'd never heard of him.

Well, now I have read his book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He would be good company on the Camino. I liked his style---he got up late in the morning, had lots of cafe con leche, and stayed mostly in hotels.

But he makes wonderful
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The content was of special interest to me since I will be walking the same pilgrimage later this year. It was nice to read someone else's reflections written during the ramble. Walking hours a day, usually alone, makes for a lot of time in which to reflect, one of my favourite bits was when he was thinking about how in his normal life he looks different every day but is the same inside, whereas on the pilgrimage he looks the same every day, but is so different inside, sometimes even from one hou ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, memoir, own
This book and I did not start off on the right foot. Why does the author use so many exclamation marks! I’ve never seen so many exclamation points is a book! Ever! When I found out that the author is a comedian I thought well... maybe he’s funny in German. I don’t know how well his style translated into English. For the first chunk of the book all he did was complain about how hot it was in Spain, how much his feet hurt, how late he started out on the trail that day. I warmed up to him as the bo ...more
Jill Bowman
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Wow. I loved that book. I leave in a week to walk the first third of the Camino de Santiago. I have no doubt that after my return I will reread that book from the other side of the story.
It is now 12 years after that pilgrimage of Hape's. It'll be interesting to see what has changed. I KNOW that more people walk it. We'll see what else...
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book it was a fun read. I was sorry at the end of the book that the pilgrimage didn't keep going and what became the main characters went their separate ways. The journey was insightful and everyday was different. I found this in a used bookstore and I thought I would give it a shot, I am so glad I did. ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting book - and, although I recognize it is dated, it inspires me to want to walk PART of the Camino! That said - I would recommend it to folks who have walked the Camino or who are considering the walk - I'm not sure that it has a broader appeal, although Kerkelling's humor and insights are appealing! ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Almost painfully average prose, heavily Christian themes, despite assurances in the introductory parts, flat humour and a lot of whining about living without luxury. It is not offensive or illegible, but it is the lowest form of prose that I could finish. The most powerful endorsment I can manage is to say 'It is a book that has a story in it, that goes from the beginning to the end'. ...more
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  The glint of fangs in the dark, the sound of tap-tap-tapping at your window, the howling of wind (or is it just wind?) in the trees...that's...
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“It’s funny, at home you look different on the outside with each new day, yet on the inside you stay virtually the same. Here you’re always the same on the outside, but on the inside you change by the hour.” 3 likes
“My pilgrimage can be interpreted as a parable of my path through life. It was a difficult birth - which is literally true in my case. At the beginning of the route - and in my childhood - I had trouble hitting my stride. Until the middle of my path through life, no matter how many positive experiences I enjoyed, I experienced many twists and turns that sometimes threw me off-course. But at about the midpoint of my journey, I started moving cheerfully toward my destination. It almost seems as though the Camino has seen fit to grant me a little peek into my future. Serenity might be a goal worth pursuing.” 1 likes
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