“On My Way Home along St. Olavsleden”

– a new Taiwanese pilgrim diary
My name is Chin-Yu Lee. I am originally from Taiwan and have been living in Trondheim, Norway since 2003. I walked the entire St. Olavsleden from Sundsvall in the summer of 2019. I have written a book about my trip, that has now been published. The Chinese title of my book is “北歐聖奧拉夫朝聖之路:從瑞典到挪威六百公里徒步回家的故事”, which can be directly translated into “The Nordic St. Olav Ways – the story of walking 600km home from Sweden to Norway”. I gave the book an English title: On My Way Home along St. Olavsleden.

My sister was my pilgrim mentor. She did the entire Shikoku Henro in Japan in 2009 and got a book published in 2014. So the idea of writing a book about my experiences along St. Olavsleden has been there since the very beginning. The structure of the book came to me during a morning jog on the third day after I made it home to Trondheim. I remember it was a sunny morning and the city was totally quiet. I’ve really enjoyed my life in Trondheim and this book is in a way my token of gratitude.

I got in contact with my Taiwanese publisher in the beginning of August through the introduction of my sister and delivered my draft of 40 articles by the end of November. It was challenging to combine the writing with my full-time work. I had to be very disciplined. I wrote on average one article every day during the dark month of November. I was very happy to be able to experience the wonderful journey again in this way.

After the draft was delivered, there was still a lot to do. I had to select the photos for the book, write the photo texts and revise the layout over and over. In a way the whole book-making process is like another pilgrimage. I had a lot of communication with my Taiwanese editor. She made a special hand-drawn map of St. Olavsleden for the book out of her own initiative, which gives the book a warm and personal touch. I really appreciated it.

Even though Taiwan has a lot of beautiful nature and mountains, and some people like to walk, I wouldn’t claim hiking in Taiwan is as popular as in Europe. The Taiwanese people have a much more hectic work life. In recent years, the number of pilgrim travellers is growing, to Shikoku Henro, to El Camino towards Santiago. Maybe some will consider St. Olavsleden as an alternative after reading my book.

Any nice hikes in Taiwan I could recommend? Mount Jade in Taiwan is 3952 m above sea level, the highest in Northeastern Asia. A hike to the peak is very nice. I did it with my Norwegian husband many years ago. Otherwise, Taiwan is known for its vivid religious traditions. Taoism and buddhism are deeply rooted in people’s everyday life. The Dajia Mazu pilgrimage in March/April every year is internationally famous. You walk 340 km in nine days together with festive crowds. I’d like to experience that myself some day.

Link to the book.