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Ordinary Magic

Promises I Kept to My Mother Through Life, Illness, and a Very Long Walk on the Camino de Santiago
Narrated by: Cameron Powell
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins

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A terrifying diagnosis. An unbreakable bond. And two unforgettable journeys.

Cameron Powell has always struggled with goodbyes. On the day his marriage ends, he finds out his mother's cancer has returned, and this time, there may be no escape. Faced with the prospect of more chemo and surgery, his German-born mother, Inge, vows to conquer a 500-mile trek across Spain, and Cameron pushes aside his fears to walk by her side.

Joined by a misfit band of adventurers - a politically incorrect Spaniard, a theatrical Frenchwoman, a teenager who's never been far from home - Cameron and Inge write a fierce and funny travelogue about the rocky heights and hidden valleys of the Camino de Santiago. As a Camino memoir in the tradition of James Hitt or Bill Bryson, Ordinary Magic delivers.

But the hardest stretch comes three years later, when Inge's health declines, and Cameron, ready or not, must accept the challenge to remain as present to his mother as he can. Cameron begins to record, in still more chiseled prose, his real-time impressions of life's most difficult voyage. What he created has become one of literature's great love letters and a uniquely unflinching insight into how we all truly can create love and meaning in our lives, even amidst the fear and sadness we ll all face from time to time.

Propelled by the searing immediacy of Cameron's own fear and sadness, this deeply felt memoir opens up new insight into what it means to be a man, and takes us - with wisdom, humor, and an overflowing tenderness - into one of the most challenging journeys true friends can ever take. 

If you like candid mother-son relationships, humorous tales from the trail, and in-the-moment insights on living a life of resilience and purpose, then you'll love Cameron Powell's luminous, inspirational true story about pilgrimage, presence, and letting go.

Ordinary Magic is the love story, lifelong inspiration, and soulful laugh and cry you need in your life right now. You can also join our community celebrating the ordinary magic of love and resilience, and wake up your love for yourself and others.

"Studded with gems of spirited observation and wit. Is this black humor? If so, it's of the most fond and loving sort, and Inge, Powell's mother, emerges as an indelible heroine. Powell is a writer to watch." (Mary Dearborn, Hemingway: A Biography)

"An epic love letter. Stunning, unique, unlike anything I've read before." (Julia Scheeres, Jesus Land: A Memoir)

Powerful, inspiring and, amazingly, almost impossible to put down. (Mary Dearborn, The Happiest Man Alive: A Biography of Henry Miller

Author interview:

How did the story begin?

Mom and I blogged while on the Camino de Santiago. Readers loved the travel writing, and said our journey was inspiring and hilarious. But when the Camino ended, I stopped blogging. I started again when Mom's health began to decline because I just had to write. My decision to share my path with others, on the blog, was one of the best I've ever made. The love was overwhelming, a light in my darkness.

What surprised you most about readers reactions?

People saw the humor in it all. And they kept saying the posts were beautiful. I realized people have a real hunger for what really matters.

What makes this memoir different?

As a story of a mother through the eyes of her son, it's so rare as to be overdue. Readers have really responded to the sheer grit of my mom. And because I have a lifelong fascination with the human mind and heart, I saw a way to make my mom's psychological resilience something every reader can learn from.

©2011 Cameron Powell (P)2019 Cameron Powell

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  • Karina Contreras Gonzalez
  • 15-01-20

Beautiful story

I'll be walking El camino de Santiago in June and I thought the story was going to be only related to it; however, the story is a beautiful story of love and kindness. Thanks Inge for being an inspiration. I wish we would have crossed our caminos.

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  • Thomas
  • 02-12-19

Riveting, gut wrenching, awe inspiring...

This is not your standard travelogue. It is not your standard tale. It is an intimate window into the deepest depths of pain and the highest peaks of adventure.

Recommended for anybody considering hiking the El Camino, anybody who has dealt with or is dealing with cancer… And anybody wanting to savor every last moment of their life. This book encouraged me to start doing that right now!