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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Paths to Pachamama: A Traveler’s Guide to Spirituality by Joseph De La Cruz and Simon Vandekerckhove is a travel as well as a philosophical or spiritual memoir written by two independent travelers. The book is written by Joseph and Simon as a collaborative effort: the chapters alternate between the independent memoirs of the two, while the last couple of chapters are written jointly. Joseph is a young traveler who sets out an extended trip across South America after the death of his mother. Simon is from Belgium and travels to a lot of countries around the globe out of wanderlust. These two cross paths on their respective journeys and find that they can relate to each other’s spiritual experiences along the way—a universal collective consciousness they call Pachamama—and thus this book was formed. The book contains a mixture of travel stories, adventures, narratives about their friends and the people they meet, their backgrounds, their views on subjects such as the universe, its origin and meaning, quantum physics and its laws, how energy transcends matter, universal consciousness, etc. while in the end providing their tips and guidelines for achieving transcendence.
When I first picked up Paths to Pachamama, I was expecting a backpacking travel memoir. In a sense it is this, but it is also a commentary on their individual spiritual experiences and insights. The discussions about energy fields, meditation, breathing techniques, etc. are interesting, although sounding at times as if coming out of a textbook. On the other hand, it is the actual travel experiences I enjoyed more such as the bus rides in South America, the crowded streets of Asia, or the easy friendliness in some countries that overcomes the language barrier, among other things. Both of these authors have distinct writing styles that are each relatable and engaging in their own way. Overall, Paths to Pachamama is a sincere, genuine attempt to pen their thoughts and write their experiences which are both entertaining and educational.