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83 years young

skydiva

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2018
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the effervescently smiling — when not crying — energizer bunny (with debilitating blisters and a built in limp). And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
 

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John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
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Time of past OR future Camino
2021
While only 73, I agree with you on the slower aspects. Last year, I had to face the reality that I couldn't walk 15-18 miles a day any longer without the pleasure going out of the walk. Once you realize that, and cut back to 10-12 max you have more of a day to just sit back and absorb where you are, who you are, and what your priorities are. Still, not looking forward to cutting back anymore. Just glad I can still walk a Camino.
 
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josephmcclain

Active Member
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the energizer bunny. And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
Really, really resounds with me. That is so much my experience, too, in walking the two caminos I have walked. First one at 74 then76 and am determined again to walk after my 80th in a few months. thanks for posting.
 

kwfarq

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre (2017)
Porto-Santiago (2019)
? SJPDP-Burgos (2020?)
While only 73, I agree with you on the slower aspects. Last year, I had to face the reality that I couldn't walk 15-18 miles a day any longer without the pleasure going out of the walk. Once you realize that, and cut back to 10-12 max you have more of a day to just sit back and absorb where you are, who you are, and what your priorities are. Still, not looking forward to cutting back anymore. Just glad I can still walk a Camino.
Thanks for this comment, John. You put it so well. I'm 72 and appear to have slowed down considerably since Porto Caminho in 2019. Now heading to Oviedo for two weeks of walking and hope to do the Porto again in the spring. Back story: I was laid up with a painful right hip that ortho said wasn't ready for replacement. That wasn't my question! I wanted to be back on camino. My doc agreed to prescribe a Chiropractor. Within 7 weeks of work on two scoliosis areas, my hip stopped hurting. I was lightly trekking along glacier in Iceland, without pain. Your words capture exactly how I feel now. All I wanted was to get back on Camino and let the walk take over, at whatever pace I can rise to.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF from Lourdes 2015, CP Porto 2022
Beautifully written.

I never walked that fast, only did 20 km max any given day. I walked more for time than for distance. Wherever I was after 5/6 hours, that was the end of the "stage." I then settled in to my albergue, enjoyed the town or village, and rested.

Start out like an old man so you can finish like a young man, that's my motto. It hasn't failed me yet (fingers crossed).
 

elleley

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (16); Leon-Sarria, Ourense-SdC (17), Burgos-Leon (17), Porto-SdC (18), SalvadorPrimitivo(19)
What a beautiful role you played for your friend! Thank you so much for sharing your story! Your experience inspires me to offer myself to an elder (ha! I am 66...) to do a slow walk on the Camino...especially if otherwise they would not be able to do it. I have walked 5 Caminos and despite knowing better, I rush myself, get caught up in comparisons with other pilgrims and external timelines. It would be as beneficial to me as (hopefully!) to my companion. Ultreia!
 
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bullingtonce

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
I plan to do the Ruta de la Lana in August/September 2021
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the energizer bunny. And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
Seems like you have gained wisdom from your first Camino. Well done.
 

Virginia G.

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the energizer bunny. And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
What a splendid experience! And thanks for including the photo, your smiles are heartwarming.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
April/May 2023
Thank you 'old' folk for your encouraging posts today.
I will be 74 in April next year and am intending to do my first Camino Frances about that time although I'm not sure about the dates as I don't relish crowds or hot weather.
I do live in Cornwall, that is south west Uk.so have no problem with rain!
I did read on previous posts that the Camino get busy towards the end of May. So I am up for some advice about the options, please.
Once again thank you all for your posts which go from helpful to really funny I wanted to put hilarious but couldn't spell it.
Bless you all, I am going to call myself Kernow Mike as in Cornwall.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013
2014
2015
Follow the weather but starting towards the end of April may be your best bet. If you start in SJP, be sure to stay the night in Orisson. Or just start on the other side of the Pyrennes.
I usually start early, esp if it is hot. This usually allows me to be finished about 2 PM. Once you get an idea of how far you can/want to go, if it loois like you can’t make your distance by 2 PM, and it looks busy, locate a private alburgue in advance (in the guidebook) to make a reservation 1 day ahead.
 
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casario

New Member
While my friend and I walked the Frances 'by the book' and took 600 pictures between us. When we got back and reviewed our trip, I decided that the 'by the book' was just getting from point A to point B and although the Camino was the best trip of my life. I will do the Slow Frances in about 63 days next year to experience the culture and people more. I'll be 76 then.
Thanks for your post and your work.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
April/May 2023
Two excellent pieces of advice, thank you. I probably will start towards the end of April and allow my legs along with the environment to set the pace. For me it is to be a pilgrimage not a race where I am looking to learn something about what the future holds for me. Never too old to learn.
My children think I am mad!!!
 

skydiva

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2018
Two excellent pieces of advice, thank you. I probably will start towards the end of April and allow my legs along with the environment to set the pace. For me it is to be a pilgrimage not a race where I am looking to learn something about what the future holds for me. Never too old to learn.
My children think I am mad!!!
I found it really challenging to not get caught up in the excitement of others, and think ‘what am I missing?’. It starts when they pack their bags hurriedly in the wee hours of the morning. And then when they whisked by along the way, sometimes with a quick hello chat but usually just a passing Buen Camino. Much to my companions amusement, I would marvel at his sprightly young age and they would often be amazed and retort ‘if only I could walk the Camino at your age, I would be so blessed.’ He was often tickled. Do that to woman and she would ‘Buen slap’ you 😂 methinks.
 
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HRR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sarria 2019;
SJDPP April 27 , 2022
Really, really resounds with me. That is so much my experience, too, in walking the two caminos I have walked. First one at 74 then76 and am determined again to walk after my 80th in a few months. thanks for posting.
Hi there
You can and eill do it again -
My husband and I walked the Camino Frances May/June 2022
- I am in my 80th year and my husband in his 83rd year what an unbelievable adventure - we had so much , laughter, adventures, new friends, in awe of the breathtaking scenery, achieved so much more than we ever dreamt of , but most of all love - and celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary along the way

We plan to walk our 3 rd May Camino 2023
Go with your dreams
HRR
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
CF; Norte; Ingles; Augustine; Portugues Central
Hi there
You can and eill do it again -
My husband and I walked the Camino Frances May/June 2022
- I am in my 80th year and my husband in his 83rd year what an unbelievable adventure - we had so much , laughter, adventures, new friends, in awe of the breathtaking scenery, achieved so much more than we ever dreamt of , but most of all love - and celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary along the way

We plan to walk our 3 rd May Camino 2023
Go with your dreams
HRR
My hero’s!
 

scb3560

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte in Sept 2022
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the effervescently smiling — when not crying — energizer bunny (with debilitating blisters and a built in limp). And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
Your last paragraph is beautifully stated. I have just finished walking the Norte route and am in a bit of a daze as to how to « define » it as friends and family ask how was it. « A moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude « Lovely. And for my camino, apt. Thanks.
 

pac1952

Author of "An Impossible Dream"
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2015); CP (2018); VDLP (planned 2023)
I tend to read quite a lot of posts, but rarely reply. This one, however, was lovely, and warrants a response. Thanks @skydiva. All being well (stars aligning, etc), on 16 September 2023 (delayed from 2022), two days after my 71st birthday, my wife and I will depart Sevilla for the 1,000 klms north to SdC.
 
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Dan

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013
Le Puy 2014
Pennine Way 2015
Del Norte 2016
Arles Route 2018
Way St Francis 2019
Thank you 'old' folk for your encouraging posts today.
I will be 74 in April next year and am intending to do my first Camino Frances about that time although I'm not sure about the dates as I don't relish crowds or hot weather.
I do live in Cornwall, that is south west Uk.so have no problem with rain!
I did read on previous posts that the Camino get busy towards the end of May. So I am up for some advice about the options, please.
Once again thank you all for your posts which go from helpful to really funny I wanted to put hilarious but couldn't spell it.
Bless you all, I am going to call myself Kernow Mike as in Cornwall.
Mike I'm 74 and turn 75 next April - one of the 'old folk'.
Avoid walking in the heat. It's awful with a pack (even without one!). Start early in the Spring. We did the Le Puy route for the 2nd time starting on 28 March this year. Cool, beautiful, and the occasional day of snow.
Over the years we've grown to love the cold, and changeable weather.
Friends & acquaintances our age think we are mad. We think it keeps us sane. You're not "old" Mike. Barring accidents & illness, it is just a number.
Ignore it. Stay fit. Keep trekking. If you can punch through the occasional bout of fatigue then, eventually, (assuming you are inherently healthy - get a checkup) you will feel better than you did at 50.
Take it easy in the morning until you warm up.
If you live in Cornwall then I guess you are inherently tough anyway ;-)
best
Dan
P.S. not pretty - but this was my birthday in April this year - on the way to Ostabat
IMG_0281.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
May, 2023
As a companion on the Camino Frances (from OCebreiro to Santiago) to my new friend and now-adopted uncle: 83 year old Francis, I was struck by how walking the Camino, through the eyes (and pace) of an elder, has re-opened my eyes to the beauty of slowing life down to what others may deem a snail’s pace. In the beginning I was somewhat impatient and not really understanding the full depth of our journey. My first camino in 2018 from SJPdP was not quick by any means but I averaged 22km a day over 42 walking days. It was a tough and pleasurable/love-hate long haul. But I kept going like the effervescently smiling — when not crying — energizer bunny (with debilitating blisters and a built in limp). And the miles flew by at a pace that felt doable each and every day. This journey just ended was more of a mental experience that involved a different level of commitment to mine and Francis’s well-being, through the rain, sun and surprisingly cold days. The end result was similar. A joyous journey that culminated in spectacular memories, beautiful connections and a renewal to my love of all things Camino, including the people from and my lessons learned along the Way.

I implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
Beautiful. Simply put...the world is a better place with people like you in it...
 

Pelerina

Camino Walker
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2011, ongoing.
implore anyone that feels that they are uncertain or unable to walk the Camino, to consider this experience as an undertaking of resilience and beauty that is not defined by the kilometres walked but rather the journey in itself as a moment by moment unfolding of wonder, breath and gratitude. Giving oneself the grace to allow for an experience like no other, with no particular expectations, is a gift that will transform you regardless of age or fitness.
Yes. Gracias. Merci. Thank you @skydiva. 🙏
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
@Bradypus, thanks so much for sharing this remarkable story!
Maybe some of us retirees won't have to hang up our boots for a very long time yet.🤞I think we have a few forum members still walking Caminos at 80+🤔...shorter ones perhaps, but still going.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Time of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
This Spring I finished my 4th Camino, this year being my 80th birthday. I definitely have slowed and easy 15 mile days are things of the past. However, the Camino Magic is still there.
Good for you , it's all about the walk and not about the speed. 🙏
 

grayland

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Yes
I am always surprised that others are surprised that folks are still walking in their 80's. I walked my first camino in 2009 at 71 and have been walking ever since. Fitness is a much bigger factor than the number of years of breathing.:cool:

I have always carried my own pack (as a personal choice) and avoided transportation as much as possible.
 
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