Walking has been the constant in Ailsa Piper's life. Setting down one foot after the other takes her to a transformative-and transcendent-place.
Her bestselling memoir Sinning Across Spain was inspired by the tradition of medieval walkers who were paid by others to carry their sins to holy places. The cargo included anger, envy, pride and lust. She hiked alone through the endless olive groves of the Camino Mozárabe, from the legendary southern city of Granada toward the centuries-old pilgrim destination, Santiago de Compostela, in the far north-west of Spain.
In dusty pueblos and epic landscapes, miracles found her. Angels in both name and nature eased her path.
When faced with the untimely death of her husband, Peter, her 'true north', Ailsa returned to the Camino trail, this time in France, to walk through her sorrow.
This second pilgrimage is the story of a walk where the burden is her own grief, not the sins of others, and which ultimately sees her walking into life and hope.
Ailsa Piper grew up in Western Australia, but has lived in both Sydney and Melbourne. She has made her professional life in the arts, having worked as a writer, director, actor, teacher, speaker and broadcaster—but, for her, the most important labels are ‘walker’ and ‘friend’. Ailsa was co-winner of the Patrick White Playwright’s Award for her script Small Mercies. Her passionate commitment to communicating with those she loves is reflected in her book The Attachment: Letters From A Most Unlikely Friendship, which was co-authored by Tony Doherty. She is a collector of postcards, a student of three Romance languages, and a hopeless swimmer—but she is taking lessons. She is always taking lessons ...