Along the Templar Trail
By Brandon Wilson
Pilgrim’s Tales, Inc.
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
Seven Million Steps to Peace
“Along the Templar Trail” describes Brandon Wilson’s personal pilgrimage for self-exploration as well as an important journey for the cause of peace. Brandon has written and amazing account of a mission that took him from St. Jean de Losne, France to the city of Jerusalem, a distance of 2,620 walking miles.
Brandon’s descriptions are so vivid I could almost feel the pain of blisters forming on his feet as he walked. My back ached along with E’mile’s under the weight of his twenty-seven pound backpack. While tilting back in my recliner I escaped the torture of Brandon’s swollen feet and painful exposed blisters, as I loaded my Gregorian Chant CD’s in the player and lived vicariously the quest of two men traveling two continents on a pilgrimage for peace. I, too, entered the transcendent experience of the Baroque Chapel of the Benedictine Monastery at Beuron, Germany.
Brandon described his quiet contemplation and reflection along his walk this way: “Isolated, I wore the solitude like a comfortable cloak…a primeval sanctuary, the most holy of cathedrals…allowing retrospection and quiet contemplation…”
Although supportive of each other, Brandon and E’mile each faced their own personal quest. They had to individually confront their insecurities, the unknowns, the “what if” questions, the pains, limitations, and fears. Risk, danger, in-climate weather, and the challenge of physical endurance created an air of drama and suspense throughout the odyssey. As nerves became frazzled and patience wore thin the ongoing relationship between the two pilgrims was threatened.
I enjoyed the accounts of “angels” miraculously providing food, lodging, and encouragement at critical stages along the way. Engaging stories of generosity, and camaraderie, demonstrated the universal concern for peace among peoples of every ethnic group, culture, religion, and generation.
Word pictures depict Brandon’s subtle humor, even as these same words portray the reality of the drama of life. “The streets were patched together like an ugly, gray, communist quilt, rife with moth eaten holes. It had more bulges than a fat lady in Spandex. The corridor was strewn with trash, rotting animals, and those ever present plastic liter bottles.” In the midst of all this poverty Brandon experienced another side of life on those rare occasions when at the end of the day he shared meals and the hospitality of emphatic hosts. I enjoyed Brandon’s ongoing descriptions of ethnic cuisine and epicurean delights as well as his commentary of wine aficionados, and his connoisseur’s taste.
Invitations along the way for Brandon and E’mile to appear on TV through interviews reaching over 1,000,000 people demonstrate the power of one or two individuals to make a change when dedicated to a cause. Seed thoughts sown through the media coverage gave opportunity for prejudice to be challenged in hopes of producing needed change.
A gallery of photos depicting highlights of the journey, important monuments, buildings, and locales add a significant dimension to the book, especially for any who may want to consider their own pilgrimage along the Templar Trail as it becomes recognized as an International route for peace.
“Along the Templar Trail” is a timely, important book a must read for every American. This is a step in fostering peace and eliminating the root cause of war. Thought provoking, engaging and inspirational, this is a great read.