Read On the Camino by Jason Online


Northwestern Spain, observed with the eye of an artist, chronicling both the good (people, conversations) and the bad (blisters, bedbugs) he encountered on his journey. Full of quiet incidents, odd encounters, small triumphs, and the occasional setback, On the Camino is the first implicitly autobiographical long-form work by a master cartoonist....

Title : On the Camino
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781683960218
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

On the Camino Reviews

  • Greta
    2019-03-13 09:07

    In 2015, the Norwegian cartoonist Jason decided to celebrate his 50th birthday by walking the Camino de Santiago, an historic 500-mile/780 km pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. “It was either this or buying a Porsche!“ (hahaha). "On The Camino" is his graphic memoir of this 32-day trek. When asked if he had a goal before starting to walk, he answers :"To become a bit more open as a person, maybe.But here on the camino, it's easy. You just ask, 'Where are you from?', and you've started a conversation. It's more difficult out in real life. But I don't know if it has changed my life. Isn't that what's supposed to happen on the camino?"Honestly, I'm not surprised this trek hasn't changed Jason's life. His pilgrimage is an endless repetition of this : I walk there, I drink this, I eat that, I meet these persons, I check in at that hostel, I shower, I hand-wash my socks, I fall asleep, I wake up (repeat 32 times). The conversations with his fellow pilgrims seem to revolve around a handful of preset questions : "Where are you from? Why do you walk the camino? Do you know what the weather will be like? Do you know a good hostel? How are your feet?"And that's it. No mindfulness, no emotional or existential insights, no meaningful revelations about his personal experiences. The illustrations in black and white, also don't do justice to the panorama's, which, no doubt, must be exhilarating ; in color. There were a few jokes, and a couple of funny references to movies which, unfortunately, I didn't see. Yeah right... Amazing autumn colors.

  • Sam Quixote
    2019-03-14 11:08

    To mark his 50th birthday in 2015, Norwegian cartoonist Jason decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile pilgrimage in north-western Spain. Which he does. And that’s that!Jason is one of my favourite cartoonists but On the Camino is his weakest book to date. It’s also his first venture into nonfiction which is quite telling because his fictional comics are usually outstanding and fun to read while this autobiographical memoir is very dry, one-note and kinda boring.Nothing happens on the hike besides the predictable blisters and bad weather, none of the people he meets are especially interesting and he uneventfully completes the route. I kept wondering what we were meant to get out of the book; it’s so lacking in insight, purpose, inspiration – anything really! I’m sure it’s a powerful, moving and spiritual experience whether or not you’re religious but we don’t get a sense of its impact (if any) on Jason.I vaguely recall seeing a documentary on the Camino years ago so I knew a bit about the hike going in but it still would’ve been nice to have some context as to what it is and the significance of the route, etc. especially for readers who don’t know about it.The best parts of the book were when Jason let his imagination loose. The mundane reality of hiking is thankfully broken up with dramatic panels of giant slugs, Jason machine-gunning bedbugs and parodies of scenes from famous movies like Blue Velvet. And his own invention, the Camino police, was great – I wish the book had been about that dude solving “Camino crimes” instead! As always, I really enjoyed the art which is simple and spare yet elegantly detailed enough, clean and appealing, particularly the splash pages (a rarity for Jason) – and, of course, nonfiction or not, everyone in it is animal-headed!On the Camino is a well-made comic that’s sporadically interesting and gives you a good idea of what it’s like to walk the trail itself. But listing a series of non-events doesn’t make for a very exciting or engaging read either and I found myself putting it down quite often. It’s just an ok book which is disappointing given that Jason’s comics are usually fantastic. Here’s hoping he goes back to writing fiction again soon because his nonfiction unfortunately ain’t all that!

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-03-07 06:07

    “Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else.” –Tennessee Williams, Camino Real”Why are you walking the Camino?“Well, I just turned fifty. It was either the Porsche or the Camino. I chose the Camino.”—Jason (this is the one joke he tells along the way; sometimes he gets laughs for it.)Jason is one of my absolute favorite cartoonists ever. I have read everything I could get my hands on and am in the process of owning everything now, too, which is at this point rare for me to do with any author. Jason, a Norwegian cartoonist living in the south of France, turned 50 and decided—though he is not a Christian nor in any obvious way to me spiritual—to walk the Camino Real in Spain, a more than 30 day venture, over 800 km. He grew up in Norway disinterested in nature, and only in recent years, he says, began to notice nature at all. But he walked the walk, doing something unlike anything he had ever done.Jason is a master of minimalism, a simple storyteller with a dry sense of humor. And he draws all his characters—including himself in this, his first autobiographical comic—as animals. Always has done this. Most of his comics are funny and deft and clever, and this is the first long-form comic he has done. So there are many pages without any deft observations or deep insights. Which is what it must have been for him and many others. One foot after the other, no spiritual Saul-on-the Damascus-road epiphanies, sorry. It’s not The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen!Early on in the book things move slowly, and on a quick read you might say the things you learn most about the Camino Real are bedbugs, blisters, snoring in hostels, Café con Leche, small talk with people he meets. Yawn. So if you aren’t religious.. . . what is this thing but a long walk? Yet we get to know Jason in a way we don’t in any of his other comics. He’s an introvert, he goes days without talking to anyone, but gradually, gradually makes some connections. His goal would seem to be a modest one: To be more open with others, and in this quest he is successful. And in the process he depicts little amusing fantasies that he has about taking a machine gun to bugs, things like this. He’s funny, he’s sweet. He likes old movies and Hemingway, references pop culture all the time. He’s everyman, not St.Augustine, which is kind of the point about this book’s accessibility, I think.At one point a couple travelers want to videotape him for a YouTube video they are making of all the people they meet along the way. He says no, he just doesn’t want to be on YouTube. . . but then recognizes the hypocrisy of saying that while planning to put this incident in his book of the trip.Then, he jokes, “If he had asked me, can I draw you as a dog {reminder: Jason draws himself as a dog in this graphic memoir!] that says, ‘Hi, I’m John, from Norway!’ I would have said, ‘Sure! Go ahead!’ So there!”There’s a near-final image where he depicts himself whistling as he passes a graveyard, and then several wordless panels follow of just him walking along, wordless. I’m not now religious, though I see myself as spiritual. I’m putting the Camino Real on my bucket list. Jason says he will make this walk again, and I would be happy to do it with him, either through reading of it or actually walking with him. Either will be fine with me.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2019-03-01 11:15

    Wonderful book about traveling and how we often learn more about "The Road Not Taken" when we meet other travelers "On The Road" - my favorite work so far by Jason.

  • Dan Grible
    2019-03-18 08:10

    Much like the title suggests, On the Camino is a story about a road that goes on and on and on. As endless as the steps that mark each meter of the journey so to is the seemingly endless mediocrity that it entails. Without a plot, the protagonist's raison d'être is non-existent just as was my interest in this comic.Innumerable ancillary characters pop up again and again and again. As minimal as the art that depicts them, so too are their images cast in simplistically applied platonic character molds merely due to their geographic identity. So on and so goes the litany of Americans, Norwegians, Swedes, etc... Words are spoken, and that's about as far as their characterizations go.Flimsy characterizations find themselves gelled with mind-numbingly unimaginative usages of references. Without a modicum of imaginative reduplicating, they feel like puerile stickers just tacked onto the story as the author saw fit. Beyond expanding the size of the papers between the hardcovers, they add little to the enjoyment or scope of the story.This dull pastiche is tenuously sewn together by a very boring sequence of events that includes annoying repetitions of food, drink, and rest. Euros are spent and comestibles are masticated. Digestion occurs off-screen as apparently any enjoyable aspects that could have occurred in the story.All in all, On the Camino is a brainless journey toward a non-existent conclusion with an equally dim The End. The Jason who brilliantly wedded Hitchcock's idiosyncratic approach to mystery is gone. The Jason who cleverly reduplicated Romero's Zombie apocalypse for a modern audience has left the building. And the Jason who successfully synthesized those giants of American Literature,Hemmingway, Joyce, and Fitzgerald to name a few into an enjoyable pastiche that is delightful as it is humorous has taken a bath.On the Road is clearly born of a hangover from a binge-drinking session that would have put Hemingway to shame. With few brain cells leftover, On the Road is the result. A boring, in-cohesive, aimless mess is the illustrated puke we've been offered. Too bad Jason couldn't have choked on it.Two thumbs down.

  • Elizabeth A
    2019-03-07 09:15

    I seem to be on a graphic memoir/ visual journal reading spree at the moment, and this is one I was really looking forward to spending some time with. The author turned 50 and decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, a historic 500 mile pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. This is a walk I've had on my travel list for years so expected to really enjoy this book. I did not.You know that Jon Kabat-Zinn saying, wherever you go, there you are? Well, that seems to be especially true for the author, who somehow manages to write a book that is both tedious and boring. How is that even possible? Think about it. The author goes on a solo walk that lasts a bit over a month, covers 500 miles, and he doesn't have a single interesting thing to say? My daily neighborhood walk, which features rabbits, seems more interesting than this book. I kid you not! It is clear that the author is not an outdoor person, and to be fair, long walks/hikes has much repetition: putting one foot in front of the other, finding lodging, the nightly washing of socks and undies, etc. But what about all the people you meet on the way? The people who live there, and the other walkers/pilgrims? The sights, the sounds, the smells, the ambiance of the experience? When you walk, the world unfolds slowing in front of you and there is a lot of time for meditative thinking, but the author seems to be a shy introvert who barely talked to other travelers and kept mostly to himself, so much of that is lost. I've enjoyed other books by the author, and I think this is his first foray into nonfiction, but I much prefer his fictional work. I quite like his anthropomorphic animals and illustration style, but it doesn't really work for this material. The black and white illustrations don't capture a sense of what he's looking at, or the colors of the locales he walks through. The art I liked best are on the front and back covers of the book. We often reach milestone birthdays and do things that we think will change us one way or another, and often that doesn't happen. We are who we are, and maybe that was the point of this memoir. This book got me interested in reading about The Camino again, but this is not one I'd recommend.

  • Melanie
    2019-02-23 05:11

    Had I read this a month ago, I probably would have said, this is charming, 4 stars, right-o. But I've recently returned from Spain and the Camino, so basically there's an image or observation on every page that reminds me of the experience and makes me exclaim things like "stork nests!!!" and "there really should be Camino police!!" Thus: 5 stars.

  • Molly
    2019-02-25 12:21

    I wish there was a little more detail about what, exactly, the Camino is and why Jason/John chose to pursue it (apart from celebrating his 50th birthday), but it's an enjoyable journey despite that. It definitely made me want to learn more about the Camino, why so many people are walking it, and what significance it holds. Jason's art is great, as always, and I am finally getting used to seeing words in his comics.

  • Jeff
    2019-02-27 05:24

    What does any of the following have to do with Jason's account of his 500-mile walk? Nothing. I'm just talking about myself because oftentimes that's what i use Goodreads for.I read about Jason's autobiographical book in The Comics Journal just before leaving home for Seattle. I like to visit good bookstores and buy something when traveling, so this is what i set my sights on. I found it at the Elliot Bay Book Company, which is a great store. From there i walked 2 miles with my brother in law to meet up with our spouses at the Museum of Pop Culture (near the Space Needle, which we'd visited the day before).I read the whole thing at a nice leisurely pace and thereby remained mostly calm while flying home yesterday. That's the power of Jason.I love some authors because they say things i couldn't ever have thought before. Some because they say things in ways that amaze me. Some because they feel like lifelong friends. Some because i feel like they're saying what i wish i had said. I now put Jason in the class of writers who, when they reveal their personality, seem to be showing me major parts of myself. In short, i think i would've had pretty much the same experience that Jason portrays in this book.

  • Ignacio
    2019-02-22 06:12

    He disfrutado con este recuerdo del Camino de Santiago, en parte porque he caminado hasta Santiago dos veces y lo que cuenta me resulta muy cercano (salvo alguna que otra inexactitud sin mayor importancia). A la narración le sienta muy bien la secuencia de viñetas 2x2, apenas rota por algún panel a toda página dedicada a una imagen icónica. Induce una sensación reiterativa y un ritmo que se ajusta como un guante a esa sucesión de encuentros, conversaciones, hábitos donde terminas perdiendo de vista qué día de la semana es. Lo que mejor funciona es la interrupción del relato para situar tres o cuatro viñetas cómicas que funcionan como contrapunto. Unos alivios cómicos muy divertidos. Se echan en falta algunas conversaciones cuñadas o momentos sentimentales de las que se dan cada día, pero supongo que la timidez del autor limitó mucho las interacciones.

  • Kim Hakkenberg
    2019-03-21 10:56

    This was my very first graphic novel and though I enjoyed the experience I was disappointed in the author’s approach to something I consider a spiritual undertaking or at least an opportunity for self discovery. There was none of that and it felt quite hollow.

  • Kent Winward
    2019-03-12 10:55

    A Norwegian introvert cartoonist goes on a pilgrimage and draws everyone as birds and dogs -- the book becomes a pilgrimage in itself for the reader -- and without all the walking.

  • Emily
    2019-03-02 12:13

    Jason has never let me down. It was fun to read a personal account of his experience as a traveler on the Camino. I think he is one of the best comic artists when it comes to small, quiet moments that make his stories feel true and characters relatable, even if they are drawn as animals.

  • Kenya Starflight
    2019-03-08 06:21

    The works of Jason aren't for all tastes -- despite his "funny talking animal" art style and settings, his subject matter is usually melancholy, contemplative, and quite adult in content. Still, his work has intrigued me, and it keeps me thinking long after I've set the book down and moved on. And while I've by no means read all his work, I daresay that "On the Camino" is the best of his works I've read thus far. It's a thoughtful memoir that chronicles his travels down Spain's Camino Trail without coming across as a travelogue or an advertisement, and gives us a quiet yet revealing look at his thoughts along the way."On the Camino" tells the story of the author-illustrator's journey on the Camino Trail, which has long served as a religious pilgrimage but also attracts hikers and tourists from around the world who want to see the sights, find some sort of spiritual or personal insight, or just consider the Camino an item on their bucket list. As Jason makes the trek he encounters fellow walkers from around the world, makes friends, gets lost, suffers blisters and bedbugs, puts up with snoring bunkmates and obnoxious selfie-takers, and reflects on his own personal reasons for hiking the trail. And even as he questions just why he decided to take this crazy journey in the first place, he does find some measure of peace and makes unexpected connections with others along the way.Unlike the other works of Jason's I've read, "On the Camino" is strictly in black and white save the cover. This doesn't detract from the graphic novel in my mind -- Jason's style still captures the important details, and clearly depicts the quiet beauty of the Camino trail and the towns and villages he passes through along the way. His characters tend to have few facial expressions, relying on words and body language to convey their emotions, but he manages to pull it off well.Jason's journey isn't played for a ton of comedic value -- though there are funny moments -- so don't expect A Walk in the Woods level of laughs as you read. Jason chooses to portray his journey as a reflective one rather than a comedy of errors, and he ponders on the nature of his journey -- and how modern society and technology have changed how this trail is now traveled -- as he goes. And there are occasional "imagine spots" along the way, though I never felt that these detracted from the story but added to it.A quiet and contemplative, yet strangely touching and revealing, graphic-novel memoir, "On the Camino" is not only a good read, it tempts me to get into shape so I can walk the Camino at some point as well. It's a journey I'm glad Jason took his readers on, and I'm glad he chose to share something so personal with the world.

  • Travis Mueller
    2019-02-28 07:58

    An interesting read by an artist/author whose other works I have generally enjoyed. I have an abiding interest in traveling by foot, not just hiking but actually traveling to somewhere new. I think this is why pilgrimage routes, which have not only purpose, but history and cultural connections, are so interesting to me, despite being an atheist. Of course, my first exposure to the idea of a set route (and not just a vague notion that one might travel "on pilgrimage" to some holy site or other) was 88-temple tour of Shikoku as well as some other Buddhist routes in Japan. Christian routes are less appealing to me, but that is probably part of the value of this book, a chance to vicariously experience something that I otherwise wouldn't. And though I've never traveled on such a route, I have traveled alone in a foreign country, so that aspect of the story resonated with me. I also enjoyed the occasional bits of absurdist humor and the strange things the author imagined on the trail.

  • David
    2019-03-22 11:15


  • Seth
    2019-02-21 07:17

    Quiet & introspective. I especially loved his visual puns and imaginings

  • Liralen
    2019-03-16 05:20

    I absolutely loved this quiet graphic memoir of walking the Camino. I suspect that some of the appeal is context-specific: I walked the same route across Spain that Jason did, in the same year (though, as far as I can tell, I was there several months ahead of him), and recognised many of the places he draws. The drawings are simple but evocative: if you've been there, you'll know the exact locations of some of the places he puts on paper. If you've been on the Camino at all, you'll recognise many of the situations and types of character even if not the exact ones.It's odd, because I've struggled through some of the Camino memoirs that are very straightforward—ones that really just go from start to finish and don't bring in something 'other' to set the story apart. Jason's story itself is one of those straightforward ones: there are no big revelations, no fascinating characters; he doesn't seem to be walking the Camino for any particular/deep reason. Yet the artwork and the gentle, self-deprecating humour really do set this one apart. Would recommend. Will read again.

  • Hildegunn Hodne
    2019-02-26 11:11

    This autobiographical travel log captures a lost in space feeling that is endearing and easy to relate to. With crisp and clear drawings he lets the reader partake in his walk along the pilgrim route from France to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Sharing some ups, but mostly downs, the people he meets along the way and his feelings and thoughts as he progresses.

  • Matisse
    2019-03-14 12:10

    There's something heartbreaking about this book. Jason's quest takes so long, and we get to know him and his occasional companions so well...and then it's over. There's even a brief section on how things simply end, and that life is about the small victories. That's a pretty powerful message, now that I think on it. = )

  • Tom
    2019-02-26 08:07

    Jason's account of his 500-mile walk through the Spanish countryside in honor of his 50th birthday. Since this is autobiographical, the book lacks some of the goofy plot twists of his fictional cartoons, but the art is solid, and his not-quite-willed detachment from others still comes through. In tone and mood, On the Camino reminds me of Lewis Trondheim's autobiographical works.

  • Nick Van
    2019-03-19 12:17

    Superb, perhaps Jason's best work to date. As ever, he says so much with so little, but the clearly autobiographical story gives this book a richness and depth not seen before. A masterpiece by a master artist.

  • Bookthreat
    2019-02-21 06:13

    Read our review at

  • Jasmin Martin
    2019-02-22 04:11

    Love his humour which breaks up what could be a silent book. But his scenes and silence are perfect too. Worth reading for any budding or ardent fan of comic books.

  • Michael
    2019-03-19 08:00

    Obviously Jason's most personal work, and one of his best. His dry wit and small observations are in strong form, the artwork is gorgeous as always. Definitely worth your time.

  • Jesse Hill
    2019-03-23 04:14

    Jason's chronicle of his trip walking the Camino is a good example of autobio comics done well.

  • Kend
    2019-03-09 06:02

    I found this book interesting for a variety of reasons; others have commented upon the fact that it feels somewhat one-note, but I happen to think part of the pleasure and the point of this book is that it's entirely concerned with the mundane trivialities of trail walking. Jason is compelled to organize his sensations--and perhaps distract himself from the agonies of sore feet and so forth--by listing. He names, categorizes, and lists any number of things. It's an anthology of trailside experience, and I love that! It reminds me of some of the same impulses as documented by Robert Macfarlane in The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot and Rebecca Solnit in Wanderlust: A History of Walking. There are many mysteries when it comes to walking, but the greatest of all is why we walk. Jason steadfastly resists sharing--both with his trail companions and with his readers--some deep reason for doing what he's doing. For being on the Camino de Santiago. It's simply not the point of this book, and in having made that clear, Jason demands respect for this little mystery. And look, it's not a perfect book or a perfect comic. But it's a light, fast read--I knocked it out in less than an hour--and I found it incredibly soothing. I highly recommend it as a palate cleanser.

  • Deb
    2019-02-22 08:00

    I picked this book up at the library. I plan to walk part of the Camino. I'm reading up on it. This is a quick read. It is not like walking a 500 mile pilgrimage. On the Camino is a graphic novel with weird doglike characters. My first review paragraph above is like the writing in this graphic novel. Very basic. The dog and cat people wear goofy hats. It's like Go Dog Go, but without humor or fun pictures. or beautiful colors. I guess it's not like Dr. Seuss at all. NO FUN. (On the Camino's font is in ALL CAPS.) The book was repetitious. Jason washed his socks, a lot. His feet hurt. He stayed at hostels. Sometimes he talked to others. Sometimes not. Sometimes he was alone. Sometimes not. Seriously, publisher, isn't this just someone's mostly unedited journal? In some ways, I feel like this was published to help Jason buy his Porsche. Because there were no expressions of spirituality, I could not put this on my spiritual shelf. Since the 9th century, most people have walked the Camino for spiritual reasons, hence the term pilgrimage. I hope I get more out of my Camino trip than Jason did.

  • Björn
    2019-03-08 11:21

    Svona frekar beint-áfram saga af Jakobsveginum. Ég geri ráð fyrir að þetta hafi verið vigtugri reynsla fyrir höfundinn en honum tekst að miðla á þessum síðum. Bestu sögurnar sem Jason skrifar eru snúningur bókmenntahefð á borð við scifi, noir, hrylling osfrv.; fólkið abstraktað í dýragervum en tilfinningar og örlög óskaplega mannleg. Þessi sjálfsævilega saga er óskaplega mannleg en ég fæ aldrei á tilfinninguna að það leynist eitthvað bakvið tjöldin. (Nema kannske í samtalinu við „Camino-lögregluna“, sem er einmitt einn af sterkustu punktunum.) Og sjónarhornið er bundið við hann einan, þessa vægu sálarkrísu sem hann tekst á við og veginn frá degi til dags. Sem er ekki endilega verra, en þessi saga er bara ekki eins grípandi og skáldskapurinn hans..Það er í sjálfu sér ekki þörf fyrir mikinn strúktúr aukalega, þegar sagan gengur út á að ganga þennan veg. Þá er komið upphaf og endir, og Jason fylgir því. Eitt af markmiðum hans á ferðinni er að kynnast fólki og þróunin á þeirri sögu er sannfærandi. Og hún er stundum fyndin. En á heildina litið er þetta ekki alveg nógu sannfærandi.

  • Jason
    2019-03-17 09:20

    Full disclosure: I love this author's work, I have never walked "the Camino," but I have participated in extended retreats and continue to seek various forms of illumination and enlightenment by whatever means necessary. I get where some of the low- to middling-reviewers are coming from—Jason's minimalism (and let's be honest, his absurdism—these are bipedal dogs on this pilgrimage, after all) doesn't seem to do justice to something so vast and profound as a month-long, at-least-semi-sacred hike. And yet so often the real spiritual stuff in life boils down to the day-in-day-out, repetitive, quotidian, quiet, not-quite-what-you-expect, and that is what Jason captures here so graphically, as he daily increases his politeness, exercises his extroversion muscles, and endures until the end, when he gets to dip his weary feet into the Atlantic.