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23 y/o American looking for help planning to my first Camino!

ProulxKR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping to walk the Camino Frances in September of this year!
#1
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
April / May Camino Frances 2013
Portuguese Camino May of 2014
St. jean to pomplona, - Santander to Oviedo, SAN Salvador to Leon , to Santiago in 2015
2017 March -- VDLP Seville to Santiago
#2
Hola,
Start http://www.americanpilgrims.org/. Good resource,
Go to local chapters see if any in your area.
Most important, purchase hiking foot wear now, start walking, build up to comfortable 10 mi walk before you leave.
Purchase guide book, good info in it also. Packing list, etc.
contact me if you have questions I live in Massachusetts
Hope this helps,
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#3
It would be helpful if you would list specific questions you have. You certainly can do the Camino without going with someone else. Many, including me, have. The thing is, you may go alone but you won’t be alone, unless you really want to be.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Invierno
#4
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
Good for you! I love your spontaneity! Have fun in your planning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 15, 2015
#5
Do not feel as if you have to be 100% prepared for your walk, things have a way of working out and a lot of the best experiences are the unexpected ones. Be spontaneous and allow a natural flow to happen, be open to positive experiences and you will meet the most amazing people on your journey and perhaps the occasional upsetting one. Stay positive, enjoy
 

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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
C. de Salvador/Primitivo (2018)
#6
My personal recommendation is not to find someone (you don't otherwise know) ahead of time to walk with you. There are many ways you could turn out to be incompatible; personality-wise, goal-wise, pace-wise. You will meet Plenty of people along the way and you will find those who naturally fit with you. Go alone! Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#7
Welcome @ProulxKR,

I tend to agree with @JillGat, unless you have your heart set on it I would wait until I get to St Jean, or whatever starting point you choose before finding a walking partner or partners. Over the course of possibly 800km even a little thing like walking 1/2 a km/h slower or faster than the other person can be a major issue. The first couple of days on Camino are one big meet and greet, I don't know the exact statisitics but I guess about 30% start off solo and part of the joy of the walk is meeting new, interesting people from all over the world that perhaps you'd never meet or think to talk to in any other environment. Of course there's nothing wrong with finding someone to start with but perhaps make it clear that you're both free to go your own way if it's not working out.

Beyond that as @Cliff175 says the best thing you can do now is make sure you're comfortable walking in your footwear and with your kit, nothing will perfectly replicate Camino conditions but at least get a feel for your equipment. I also found packing videos on Youtube very useful, just search for camino packing and you'll be spoilt for choice but I would say the general rule is that what you think you need is way more than you actually do need.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

dink56

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino santiago 2015
camino portugues 2018
#8
I did the CF alone in 2014 and will do the CP again alone in September this year. The beauty of going it alone is you get to walk at your own pace and stop where and when you want. I wouldnt be too concerned about not starting with someone else, you will meet all sorts of people on the way, loose them at some point, then run into them again, and you get to choose how much or how little time you want to spend with them, i think this only make the experience better. Just travel light and make sure your shoes are well worn in, the rest you will work out along the way. Enjoy
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#10
Plenty of advice to be found here on the forum, daily concerns found in any of the guidebooks - Brierley easy to find good enough. My only advice, give yourself plenty of time to actually enjoy the Camino, it is not a foot race nor a marathon - take the entire experience from yourself - get up and walk if you want don't if you are not up for it, enjoy fellow pilgrims you with whom are walking, go slower for the company if you must fix a meeting place for lunch/evening with those who are going faster. Slow down to enjoy the view, the art, the architecture. One last bit, plan your travel well, it is not difficult to reach SJPP, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Bilbao all will work. Getting back home is easier, quicker, and less expensive from Spain, SdC has a small user friendly airport not many flights so book well ahead, SdC is also served by bus and train which will get you back to Madrid easy enough other cities will require changing trains/buses. Paris? Just over a 1000 kilometers, half of Western Europe just to catch a plane? You decide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#11
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago, 2018)
#12
19, American, almost 2 weeks into the Camino Frances solo :) I'd definitely like to echo the people saying not to find someone to walk with! Unless you just want a pal to run into once or twice and laugh about how you chatted on Facebook messenger xD I've been walking at a snail pace because I was unable to train (I was living in Casablanca right before I came to Spain, so I walked a lot but it was all flat, also Ramadan xD) and I have more time than most of the pilgrims I started with, so I end up meeting new people a lot because everyone gets ahead of me!

Having more time is definitely a luxury if you can afford it!

I'll also echo that you don't need to be 100% prepared for the Camino, although being prepared will save you quite a bit of pain and time in many cases! I showed up in SJPP with no training, a horrible backpack (no hip straps, was a little bit falling apart), shoes that were too small (spoiler alert: big mistake), and missing gear (poles - highly recommend for all of the mountains, rain poncho). I have a lot of blisters and detouring to decathlon isn't the best use of my time, but I've figured everything out and people are really helpful (what would I do without someone running after me in the street to tell me by backpack is completely wrong and then readjusting every single strap? XD)

Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#13
The most critical issues now are choosing not only the correct footwear and a backpack and what clothes you need.
Lots to trial and to build up stamina. The feet are potentially the weakest link.
The book “Backpacks, Boots & Blisters” is all about getting ready. Includes a packing list with weights of individual items. Check it out at Amazon.
Do the prep, have confidence and the Camino will look after you.
Happymarkos
 

ProulxKR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping to walk the Camino Frances in September of this year!
#16
It would be helpful if you would list specific questions you have. You certainly can do the Camino without going with someone else. Many, including me, have. The thing is, you may go alone but you won’t be alone, unless you really want to be.
One question...I have a very specific diet. Do most people carry food with them or just rely on what they buy/can find in various stops and towns?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
#17
My personal recommendation is not to find someone (you don't otherwise know) ahead of time to walk with you. There are many ways you could turn out to be incompatible; personality-wise, goal-wise, pace-wise. You will meet Plenty of people along the way and you will find those who naturally fit with you. Go alone! Buen Camino.
One question...I have a very specific diet. Do most people carry food with them or just rely on what they buy/can find in various stops and towns?
I am a vegetarian,and on the primitivo last fall,had to compromise my eating habits. What do you mean about your special diet? Are you lactose-intolerant or something more serious? You can always carry food,and there are many supermacdos,that have everything. About walking with another; it is often difficult. You do not know how different people are until you walk and live with them. They get up at different times,walk at different paces,want to stop and see different things,eat at different places,etc. I guarantee you will meet many wonderful people on the way,and as others have so rightly said,you will find someone who walks at your pace,and fits well into all of the other things. And by the way,Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#18
One question...I have a very specific diet. Do most people carry food with them or just rely on what they buy/can find in various stops and towns?
Most people don't carry their food with them, as most foods can be found along the way. And carrying extra weight should be avoided where possible.

Are you able to share what specific dietry needs you have?

Is it more of a diet 'preference' or medical requirement? Forum Members will be able to advise how they coped in either case.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#19
One question...I have a very specific diet. Do most people carry food with them or just rely on what they buy/can find in various stops and towns?
I would carry food for lunch and maybe a snack, but otherwise I tried not to carry a lot of food. There are markets along the way to resupply at.
 

SMBHNL

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: 2016, 2017. CP: April 2018
#21
Wear running shoes a size and a half bigger than usual. If they feel too big, use one or two thin foam inserts (like odor eaters) that you can remove as your feet swell. Wool socks only, no matter what anyone else tells you. Use KT tape to PREVENT blisters, bring 2 rolls. Carry inexpensive waterproof shoes if you want them; you’ll probably only need them a couple of times. Shoot for a 15 lb bag. If you can, spend a extra day in each of the big cities. Have fun!
 

Bob P

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
#22
Good trail runners, light pack, all the time you can muster. That's all you need. Don't plan, don't schedule, just enjoy! At 23 you will have no problems. "The Way will provide" is true. Just enjoy it !! I'm 60, had zero reservations and had a blast on the CF in April/ May. You will meet people every day. Don't worry, be happy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Santiago, Frances. From Saint Jean Pier de Port to Finisterra. Year 2015
#23
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
Hi!
I am publishing a book about it with a different voice and style that is already there based on my own experience and will go along with my other book of contemplations for the Camino. Let me know specific question and I will copy the chapter here for you. I just finished today the chapter of how to get there. The book is ready, just missing just one chapter about art history and ready to go to the copy editor so I should have everything you need. I have been asked many times and experired many people. This is a way for me to be really specific and clear. Happy to help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Camino Frances begins August 10,2017
#24
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
A good time to do the Frances and you will, as others have said, will meet a lot of people to walk with. Plan a stay at Orisson for a night then onto Roncevalles the next day ! :)
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#25
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
Buy John Brierley's book.
 

Teej41

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2018
#26
Hello! I am looking to walk a large part or all of the Camino Frances in the next two months (I know short notice) and I'd like any and all advice you have for doing the route on your own. Also, if there is anyone looking to walk the route around the same time (Sept 2018), please let me know!
I'll be starting the Camino Frances on Sat 22 September and I'm alone (at the moment). Starting from St Jean Pied de Port. It's all new to me as well. I'm looking forward to getting going. Good Luck with your preparations.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
#27
100% agree with everyone about trying out walking on your own. I don't say "alone" because you're almost never alone unless you want to be. Nice to have that option, since what you want can change from day to day (or even hour to hour!) I walked SJPdP to Santiago, on my own, in 2016, and I was 60 year old. That said, you could also check out the Facebook group: Camigas (Camino Amigas). It's all about women helping other women do the pilgrimage on their own, if that's what they want. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaminoBuddySystemForWomen/
 

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