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A pet peeve

Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
Last evening I attended a talk intended for people who are interested in walking the Camino. It was not a good talk, the woman spoke only in generalities with no current knowledge, for example she did not know why next year is a Holy Year, she asked me as a member of the audiece. Then she showed "her certificate". We are all proud of and honored by our Compostelas for which we have walked and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. But in the least learn the name of the Compostela and understand that it is a grace, a gift and not an entitlement.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I do share your irritation but perhaps I can play devil's advocate here. Is it possible that the woman was well aware of what a Compostela means and its proper name but deliberately chose to refer to it as "her certificate" to avoid longer explanations to an audience which mostly does not have your prior knowledge and experience?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
@Bradypus, thank you for playing devil's advocate, but I am quite sure of what I said.
People were there to learn but were given no real information.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
Last evening I attended a talk intended for people who are interested in walking the Camino. It was not a good talk, the woman spoke only in generalities with no current knowledge, for example she did not know why next year is a Holy Year, she asked me as a member of the audiece. Then she showed "her certificate". We are all proud of and honored by our Compostelas for which we have walked and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. But in the least learn the name of the Compostela and understand that it is a grace, a gift and not an entitlement.
I've gone to a few Camino talks and wish my own pictures were as good as the speakers. I still call a Credential a Pilgrims Passport, because it identifies its purpose more easily.
I have a few Caminos now and would welcome a speaking engagement, but when I think about it. It might be too much about me. A "How To" talk, a "Packing List" presentation, a "Don't do like I did". Our experiences are all different and personal. I am still reviewing what I have learned, and will resist the next speaking invite.
Sparrow, we were so glad to meet you in Ribadiso and look forward to next time. Our Compostelas collect fresh sello daily wherever we are, some imprinted on our hearts...... Willy & Pam
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
It's quite possible that the speaker was not generally helpful (and might have been quite unhelpful! I've run into this from time to time!) but when I speak on the Camino, I usually refer to the "Compostela, or certificate of pilgrimage," to clarify its purpose.

I also refer to the pilgrim's credential and shy away from calling it a pilgrim's passport-- the reason for this is the two occasions when, in my days an issuer of credentials, I encountered people believing that it was a convenient and inexpensive alternative to a Canadian passport, which cost much more. One of them spent five minutes frothing vulgarities at me from a telephone in her travel agent's office, where she learned that this was not the case.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I have a few Caminos now and would welcome a speaking engagement, but when I think about it. It might be too much about me. A "How To" talk, a "Packing List" presentation, a "Don't do like I did". Our experiences are all different and personal. I am still reviewing what I have learned, and will resist the next speaking invite.
I can understand the reluctance. This year will be the 30th anniversary of my first Camino and I have rather foolishly accepted a request to speak at a gathering of UK pilgrims - the first time I will ever have given a talk about pilgrimage to an audience. A task for which I feel very underqualified and a decision which a substantial part of me is now regretting. Perhaps that is why I was quite so ready to act as devil's advocate for the OP's unfortunate speaker: there but for the grace of God...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
My perspective comes from being a teacher for a good number of years. I would prefer to have a student tell me that they do not know something so I can help them learn rather than pretend that they know when they do not. By the way, I appreciate that you all are sharing your perspectives. After all I will be the first to admit that I have much to learn.
 

muddy-mama

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020
I can understand the reluctance. This year will be the 30th anniversary of my first Camino and I have rather foolishly accepted a request to speak at a gathering of UK pilgrims - the first time I will ever have given a talk about pilgrimage to an audience. A task for which I feel very underqualified and a decision which a substantial part of me is now regretting. Perhaps that is why I was quite so ready to act as devil's advocate for the OP's unfortunate speaker: there but for the grace of God...
Bradypus where & when are you giving your talk? If it's not to far from me I would love to hear it.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Last evening I attended a talk intended for people who are interested in walking the Camino. It was not a good talk, the woman spoke only in generalities with no current knowledge, for example she did not know why next year is a Holy Year, she asked me as a member of the audiece. Then she showed "her certificate". We are all proud of and honored by our Compostelas for which we have walked and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. But in the least learn the name of the Compostela and understand that it is a grace, a gift and not an entitlement.
Annoying! – but this is something that happens all the time all over the place: “Underqualified” people giving lectures. Forget about it and move on :)
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I do not give or go to Camino speeches, the forum provides an excellent alternative and I like the wide range of options and experienced expressed here. I get a regular stream of enquiries from would be pilgrims, several have gone on to complete caminos of there own and said they were grateful for my practical advice. Others have been horrified to hear the realities and indignities a pilgramage can entail (including a few who didn't believe you had to propel yourself along the way either on foot or by bike). Unfortunately some of the TV specials and travel pitches overlook many of the details would be pilgrims need to know,
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October 2015 CF; October 2017 PC from Porto; Camino Ingles October 2019; Le Puy (2020)
I do not give or go to Camino speeches, the forum provides an excellent alternative and I like the wide range of options and experienced expressed here. I get a regular stream of enquiries from would be pilgrims, several have gone on to complete caminos of there own and said they were grateful for my practical advice. Others have been horrified to hear the realities and indignities a pilgramage can entail (including a few who didn't believe you had to propel yourself along the way either on foot or by bike). Unfortunately some of the TV specials and travel pitches overlook many of the details would be pilgrims need to know,
On the other hand, it was a Camino presentation by a woman just retired that made me fall in love madly with the Camino in 2014, head over heels. Her talk, with a marvelous slide show, was informative, funny, totally honest about pain and pitfalls, practical and inspirational. Before she had finished, I knew beyond any doubt that I wanted to walk it too, just as she did, from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, carrying my pack, staying in albergues, challenging myself as never before. Because of her talk, I did just that the next fall at the age of 73. Now I’m preparing for my fifth walk and I credit it all to her inspiring talk.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
My husband and I heard a talk from two Norwegians who had walked (I think from Roncesvalles to Santiago?) and had come straight to the Norwegian embassy in Madrid, where we were living at the time, in 1997, and decided this was something we needed to learn more about. In 1998 we drove in parallel to most of the Camino Francés by car, since walking with a 2-year-old did not seem feasible, and in 2004 we walked from Carrión de los Condes - with the kid.
 

formysons

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles - Santiago 2009; Portuguese, Ingles, Finesterre and Muxia - 2019.
On the other hand, it was a Camino presentation by a woman just retired that made me fall in love madly with the Camino in 2014, head over heels. Her talk, with a marvelous slide show, was informative, funny, totally honest about pain and pitfalls, practical and inspirational. Before she had finished, I knew beyond any doubt that I wanted to walk it too, just as she did, from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, carrying my pack, staying in albergues, challenging myself as never before. Because of her talk, I did just that the next fall at the age of 73. Now I’m preparing for my fifth walk and I credit it all to her inspiring talk.
I have walked two Caminos ten years apart and am 75. I was asked to give a talk on my Camino experience to a mens' fellowship who could bring their wives, it being the last meeting of the year. I was asked to talk for 30 minutes, and was quite nervous beforehand as I have never done any public speaking.
As soon as I started talking I was fine, I was on the cobbled roads, sleeping in albergues etc, I got carried away by my wonderful memories, I did not have any audiovisual assistance, just my own feelings. They had to remind me that my time was up, I could have gone on for another hour!! Afterwards they all said that it was the best talk of the year, and I am sure it is only because I spoke from the heart so that they could experience the magic of the Camino.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I went to one of these talks ... after I had already done about three caminos ... thinking it would be a camino fix (much like being here), and the presenter showed many, many, many slides of the people she’d met, listing everyone of their nationalities as she went. Who cares? One slide would have made the point that it’s a multi-national crowd walking. She also gave out inaccurate information based on her one camino several years before. She clearly fudged her answer to a question, making me conclude that she thought she was supposed to be an expert so had to answer. She continues to do the presentation once a year for that centre.

I think one of the tricks to a successful talk is to try not to do too much. Don’t try to know everything. Speak from the heart so you are authentic, and the crowd will love it.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I went to one of these talks ... after I had already done about three caminos ... thinking it would be a camino fix (much like being here), and the presenter showed many, many, many slides of the people she’d met, listing everyone of their nationalities as she went. Who cares? One slide would have made the point that it’s a multi-national crowd walking. She also gave out inaccurate information based on her one camino several years before. She clearly fudged her answer to a question, making me conclude that she thought she was supposed to be an expert so had to answer. She continues to do the presentation once a year for that centre.

I think one of the tricks to a successful talk is to try not to do too much. Don’t try to know everything. Speak from the heart so you are authentic, and the crowd will love it.
Reminds me of coming off duty at the Pilgrim Office and bumping into a group I had earlier issued Compostelas to sitting outside one of the bars in the Rúa das Carretas - the blue Voluntario teeshirt is both a blessing and a curse.
On being invited to sit with them, one of they younger women was quite gushing about one of their number: "He's SO knowledgeable, this was his second Camino and he knew ALL the answers!"
Me (with questioning raised eyebrow): "Oh really?"
The Veteran of Two Caminos: "And how many have you done?"
Me: "Six, and I don't even know what the questions are yet."
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I ought to be making up a pancake mix, because i got some buttermilk half price at the supermarket - but you are such a tonic, Jeff!
and I regret not living near wherever the talk will be given by Bradypus...
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If it's in south east England may I come too? We could "strip our sleeves and show our scars" together ;)
I am sure you would be welcome! The brief I have been given is "The changing nature of pilgrimage". I will have to try very hard to resist the temptation to go into full grumpy old fart mode and then regale the audience with war stories and my well-rehearsed 33 point explanation of why things were better in the good old days. I may end up sounding like a Scottish Tony Capstick.... ;)

 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
and the presenter showed many, many, many slides of the people she’d met, listing everyone of their nationalities as she went. Who cares?
Yes, that is a problem. Too many people want to go on and on about an aspect of the Camino that can be very rewarding - friendships made on the Camino, but it can and should be summed up in one or two lines: "I met many interesting people from all over the world, and have formed close friendships with several". You don't need to go on and on about "that time that you were with the Belgian and missed and arrow and..."
When showing a slide of other pilgrims just say "these are some of the many people I met from all over the world". Not "this is Mary from Greece, she was walking the Camino because she just lost her mother, and this is Peter from The Netherlands, he was such a character because..."
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
From my Camino experience, you are more likely to show your scars by stripping off your socks. :)
Have never had a blister in Spain but my co-walker JoJo copped a beaut on the last day into SdC. It poured, she got wet socks and a heel sized blister.
She took a photo of it and we went into the farmacia down at the end of the Rúa Nova where she showed the photo to the pharmacist: "¡Hospital! ¡Ahora!" she said and we did. Fantastic service and I swear the nursing assistant was Reece Witherspoon in scrubs.
Back in England she shared the pic with her son in law, a tough 6' 4" tall, Close Protection bodyguard in the Army, who showed it to his mates: "That's how tough my mother-in-law is, she walked 16k with that!"
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco(2017) Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(2019) CF
I've been blessed with countless opportunities to speak on the Camino. A big part of the preparation is knowing the audience. What is their common thread? Why have I been invited to speak? I've put in effort to create / edit videos to target my audience, used age/situation appropriate language and covered the information according to the time allotted. I do know what you mean by being a witness to a terrible presentation. I attended one at a public library where the young woman spoke more about drinking wine and partying in the evening than anything else about the camino. I was inwardly infuriated as I thought all of the spiritualness, camaraderie, culture, and reverence were lost. Heartbroken. While I know that time constraints on presentations are ever present, I'll never understand that speaker's choices on what was important to present.
I've been afforded a wonderful opportunity to present a 6 class adult learning course at the local university beginning at the end of this month. I've been working on this course for several months and I'm hoping to do the Camino justice. Even 12 hours seems not enough at times ! ( and that's okay...there will be auditors in my class on behalf of the university's curriculum committee assessing me as a presenter and entertaining the possibility of the course being offered as a full credit undergraduate humanities course in the coming year 2121 )
Thank you to the OP, @Sparrow in Texas , for nudging me to check, check, double check all of it... how our beloved camino is reflected to others is imperative.
 

Dilbin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Irun to Santander del Norte
Last evening I attended a talk intended for people who are interested in walking the Camino. It was not a good talk, the woman spoke only in generalities with no current knowledge, for example she did not know why next year is a Holy Year, she asked me as a member of the audiece. Then she showed "her certificate". We are all proud of and honored by our Compostelas for which we have walked and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. But in the least learn the name of the Compostela and understand that it is a grace, a gift and not an entitlement.
Personally I couldn't care less about the Compostela. Each person walks for their own reasons. After walking from Irun to Lavacolla and finding yourself behind wannabe pilgrims walking with hands in pockets strolling along and they can also get the Compostela.??? Anyway on a personal note I would decribe walking the Camino as a wonderful form of meditation.
 

Dilbin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Irun to Santander del Norte
Personally I couldn't care less about the Compostela. Each person walks for their own reasons. After walking from Irun to Lavacolla and finding yourself behind wannabe pilgrims walking with hands in pockets strolling along and they can also get the Compostela.??? Anyway on a personal note I would decribe walking the Camino as a wonderful form of meditation
P.s thats no disrespect to the Camino or Compostela. I just believe it has lost all significance and the only way it can be saved is the responsibility of each and every genuine pilgrim
 

erith long

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camin0 Frances (2004, 2008), Camino Portugues (2010), Camino del Norte (2012) Via de la Plata planing April92014), CaminoiPortugues (2015.)
I can understand the reluctance. This year will be the 30th anniversary of my first Camino and I have rather foolishly accepted a request to speak at a gathering of UK pilgrims - the first time I will ever have given a talk about pilgrimage to an audience. A task for which I feel very underqualified and a decision which a substantial part of me is now regretting. Perhaps that is why I was quite so ready to act as devil's advocate for the OP's unfortunate speaker: there but for the grace of God...
hello Bradypus, when and where in the UK will you talk take place, I would like to attend if it is possible
 

Bobcat77

CF March-May 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
I've done just one Camino: Frances, all 740k. 2019 & loved it @ 69 years. I did feel such a snob as we neared Sarria and encountered what I called "tourists". Then I realised that everybody walks their own Camino, whether that's one week or 6 weeks. We all need to be a little bit humble, don't you think? Having done it, I'd feel quite confident about doing a talk. I learned long ago to say "sorry I don't know" & invite questioner to talk to me after, when I can direct them here or wherever might be appropriate.
BTW, I don't know why this is a holy year either, but that doesn't invalidate my 6 week trek and it's experiences and memories. Buen Camino y'all.
 

isobelmtl

New Member
On the other hand, it was a Camino presentation by a woman just retired that made me fall in love madly with the Camino in 2014, head over heels. Her talk, with a marvelous slide show, was informative, funny, totally honest about pain and pitfalls, practical and inspirational. Before she had finished, I knew beyond any doubt that I wanted to walk it too, just as she did, from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, carrying my pack, staying in albergues, challenging myself as never before. Because of her talk, I did just that the next fall at the age of 73. Now I’m preparing for my fifth walk and I credit it all to her inspiring talk.
I'm doing my first Camino in May and I'm 73 too! I'm a bit scared but I have to do this
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I've done just one Camino: Frances, all 740k. 2019 & loved it @ 69 years. I did feel such a snob as we neared Sarria and encountered what I called "tourists". Then I realised that everybody walks their own Camino, whether that's one week or 6 weeks. We all need to be a little bit humble, don't you think? Having done it, I'd feel quite confident about doing a talk. I learned long ago to say "sorry I don't know" & invite questioner to talk to me after, when I can direct them here or wherever might be appropriate.
BTW, I don't know why this is a holy year either, but that doesn't invalidate my 6 week trek and it's experiences and memories. Buen Camino y'all.
Holy years occur the years when Saint James’ Day falls on a Sunday. This is not a holy year, 2021 is.
 

Paul S.

Absolute Beginner
Camino(s) past & future
Almere-Fisterra via Namur, Vézelay, St. Jean PdP, Irun, Camino del Norte (February-June 2016)
...one of they younger women was quite gushing about one of their number: "He's SO knowledgeable, this was his second Camino and he knew ALL the answers!"
Me (with questioning raised eyebrow): "Oh really?"
The Veteran of Two Caminos: "And how many have you done?"
Me: "Six, and I don't even know what the questions are yet."
This, Sir, has made my day.
 

clearskies

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Here and there
And this is why I ask folks who would not know much about the Camino to contact pilgrim societies or associations...folks who know these things.
 

clearskies

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Here and there
I've done just one Camino: Frances, all 740k. 2019 & loved it @ 69 years. I did feel such a snob as we neared Sarria and encountered what I called "tourists". Then I realised that everybody walks their own Camino, whether that's one week or 6 weeks. We all need to be a little bit humble, don't you think? Having done it, I'd feel quite confident about doing a talk. I learned long ago to say "sorry I don't know" & invite questioner to talk to me after, when I can direct them here or wherever might be appropriate.
BTW, I don't know why this is a holy year either, but that doesn't invalidate my 6 week trek and it's experiences and memories. Buen Camino y'all.
Your experience is as important as one who has walked it 5 times over
 

Bobcat77

CF March-May 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
Thank you Clearskies.
Paul S. treats me like the "tourists" I encountered. My Camino talk could be brilliant, funny, informative and inspiring. It's my experience and as such it's valid.
Bad speakers show in every sphere of life.
 

Bobcat77

CF March-May 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
Sorry. Don't know why my post seems to be in Excel mode. Odd.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Thank you Clearskies.
Paul S. treats me like the "tourists" I encountered. My Camino talk could be brilliant, funny, informative and inspiring. It's my experience and as such it's valid.
Bad speakers show in every sphere of life.
I must have missed the part where Paul S was referring to you. The only post I saw of his was supporting one by Jeff Crawley.

The post by Jeff Crawley also didn't seem to be about you. It was about a nameless pilgrim who claimed to know all the answers and, when faced with a hint of a question, responded by asking how many caminos the questioner had done.

That doesn't sound like you. Or is there another post by Paul S that I am missing?
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
Last evening I attended a talk intended for people who are interested in walking the Camino. It was not a good talk, the woman spoke only in generalities with no current knowledge, for example she did not know why next year is a Holy Year, she asked me as a member of the audiece. Then she showed "her certificate". We are all proud of and honored by our Compostelas for which we have walked and there is nothing wrong with sharing it. But in the least learn the name of the Compostela and understand that it is a grace, a gift and not an entitlement.
Perhaps you should give a talk.
 

firstshirt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
November (2018)
I have done a talk about the Portugues Camino. I definitely knew my audience. They were interested walker/hikers in an organization known as ALDHA-Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association. As highfalutin as that might sound it is an amiable group, some very accomplished hikers, but all are welcome no matter your hiking/walking history. No one claims to be an expert (although there are quite a few) but steps up to enlighten, as best they can, fellow members about walks around the world. My audience was interested in the "nuts and bolts" of my Camino-period. My presentation was geared to that and I answered their questions honestly and always in good faith. No complaints-when they left, they knew more than when I started. However their reason for doing a Camino remained a mystery-perhaps it was because that aspect of doing a Camino can be intensely personal. I think some folks need to lighten up a bit on motivations and methods of others doing THEIR Camino. There is a saying on the Appalachian Trail, HYOH=Hike Your Own Hike, maybe we should adapt that to walking Caminos, WYOW=Walk Your Own Walk.
 
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