The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I first read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho back in 9th grade. It was a book suggested to me by my homeroom teacher.  This book has been such an important part of my journey in life that I even quote it on my Welcome Page.

It was the week before spring break. My classmates were talking about their upcoming trips to South Carolina or Florida before morning announcements. My teacher heard the conversation and my disinterest. When the bell rang and everyone shuffled out of homeroom, she approahced me and asked where I was going for break. My upbringing was very modest. My father was a machine operator while my mom was a seamtress in a clothing factory.  So I explained to her that my family didn’t go on vacation.

The next day when the bell rang at the end of morning announcement, my homeroom teacher handed me The Alchemst and suggested I read it during break. She said it is a story that could change my life.

I’ve read this book multiple times since 9th grade; it seems her words rang true.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
― The Alchemist by  Paulo Coelho.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho follows a young shepard boy named Santiago who keeps having a recurring dream about traveling to Egypt searching for hidden treasure.  Each time he is about to learn the location of this treasure he wakes. Later on he meets a fortune teller that interprets his dream pretty straightfoward. She tells Santiago to travel to Egypt where he will surely find the treasure from his dreams. Santiago meets different people along his journey who help him grow even when it means he must face many painful obstacles.

This is an epic story about self-discovery, falling down many times but always getting back up. It is about facing fears and taking action so we can continuously grow and evolve. Ultimately, this book is about following our dreams.

The Alchemist didn’t change my life in some dramatic flare. I don’t think I fully understood how the messages applied to my life in 9th grade. An immediate effect was that I began to read a lot more. Books were my vacations growing up. Reading led to me wanting to be a writer. I remember a short novella I wrote during the summer before 10th grade. I wrote 150 handwritten pages and only shared it with two of my best friends. Writing my first long story sparked about a dozen or so ideas for stories I wanted to write. But “life,” guidance counselors, and my dad who was afraid to have his life relived through me guided me in a different direction. Whatever life that was suppose to be never ended up happening.

When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

The messages and themes in The Alchemist revealed themselves throughout my life.  They revealed themselves when I enlisted in the U.S. Army and last year when I decided to take back the reins of my life. I couldn’t work on someone else’s dream. I needed to reconnect with my own.

For the past year I’ve been creating a location independent lifestyle for myself while offering communication and writing as a freelancer. Making this decision brought me back to writing again, starting with creating The Kindred Traveler. More importantly, I finally started writing my book which has been floating in my mind for the past 10 years.

I’ve had some amazing experiences this past year. It hasn’t been all easy though. I’ve struggled a lot more than I have succeeded and I’ve made dozen of mistakes. Despite whatever setbacks, I’m forging my own way and that makes me happy.

I always keep a copy of The Alchemist with me with a dozen or so bookmarked passages. Sometimes having a simple reminder when things seem to get a bit out of hand helps me realign and refocus.

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”
― The Alchemist by  Paulo Coelho.

If you need a good summer read with an inspiring message, get the book today through the link below: