The Day Paulo Coelho Decided to Find the Meaning of Life

Season 5 Episode 525
Aired on 09/14/2014 | CC tv-14
Paulo Coelho, who went on to pen the international best-seller The Alchemist, says that as a young man, he immersed himself in the counterculture of the late '60s. Eager for artistic expression, he also found work as a television writer and wrote lyrics for a Brazilian rockstar.

Still, Paulo says, he wanted more. "I said to my wife, 'Christina, we have everything people can dream of except joy,'" he says in the video above. "So, I have $17,500. Let's get the $17,500 and try to find the meaning of life."

The couple began traveling. They walked the El Camino de Santiago, a historic 500-mile trail that Christian pilgrims have traditionally made from France into northern Spain. Watch as Paulo shares how this journey inspired him to write his successful first novel, The Pilgrimage.

More from this episode

From Paulo Coelho
Paulo reflects on 25 years of The Alchemist

Read an excerpt from his latest novel, Adultery