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Advice for best plan to reassure my (understandably) concerned family

2020 Camino Guides

Gardener59

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping (2016)
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Welcome to the forum @Gardener59. You will find many of us who walk the Camino regard you as a spring chicken! As for your family here are a few suggestions:

1. Decide yourself whether or not you want to go. Your profile only says "hoping".
2. Introduce your family to this forum. Let them browse through the posts to get an idea of what it is all about.
3. Tell them the statistics - the numbers, the ages, the distances and the places from which people come - here is a thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/pilgrim-statistics-2015.37627/#post-366194
4. Have a smartphone and start a blog or facebook page so they can follow your journey - or if you are not tech savy get them a copy of Brierley's guide book (Ivar's shop) and keep them up to date with your whereabouts, so they can follow your progress.
5. Show them copies of the film "The Way" Starring Martin Sheen, and the documentary "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago".
6. See if there is a local pilgrim group that meets locally (see the sections at the end of the forum) and go to a meeting- you are likely to find support within that group.

And Just Do It!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Gardener59,
Welcome to the forum. As another lone, rickety female, I understand that family concerns are something to deal with. After many years of walking alone, my husband and children have made their peace with it, but my parents, now both in their 90s, worry continually.

I think that the first thing you can do to reassure your family is to let them know that "walking alone" on the Camino Frances in either of the time frames you mentioned, does not mean that you will be walking stretches with no facilities or companionship. There will be lots and lots of other people doing the same thing, and the longest distance between towns or services very rarely exceeds 10 km. This is not a wilderness walk, it's a village to village walk. It will be a rare time when you won't be able to see someone else walking either in front or in back of you. People who don't know anything about the Camino may envision something very different than what it is. This is a route with modern facilities, tons of lodging options, bars and cafes dotted all along the route, and lots of people walking. Even when the camino goes off road, you are never far from one. In fact, some refer to the Camino Frances in the high season months you have suggested for your camino as a "moving sidewalk."

The other thing is to try to arrange for means of contact ahead of time. Your own level of comfort is important here, I think -- if this is a camino to "disconnect" you may have different ideas about staying in touch with the home front than they do. Whatever you decide, I think it's important that your family know when and how often you will be communicating with them. Lots of worried family members have posted here on the forum looking for their loved one, and with one tragic exception they have always found that the person walking was fine but had either forgotten to "call home," or had decided to let the contact with home slide. On the Camino Frances, you will be physically able to get in touch every day if you choose that option, but that may turn your post-camino time into a daily search for a phone or wifi and may detract from your experience. I do try to skype with my family frequently, particularly my worried parents, but they know that it's not always convenient. If a week goes by, then they are allowed to be worried, but that hasn't happened yet. I also carry a Spanish phone with phone service (in addition to my iPhone which I use for wifi only) so that they know they can call me in an emergency.

As far as the medical side of things, Spain has excellent medical care but there is of course no guarantee for any of us. I think that so long as your doctor thinks this is a reasonable thing for you to do, and you agree with him/her, then those are the only two opinions that matter in that division.

Good luck with this, and I just saw that Kanga has posted some very good advice, so hopefully you have a good start on what to think about and what to do. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Rob the Slob

A slob
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid to Santiago (May 2016)
My wife is concerned about me walking by myself, and in fact has only agreed to let me go if I take my SPOT Gen3. This is a device that pings my location up to a satellite and shows it online so she can see where I am -- or at least where I was the last time I was pinged, which can be set for every 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes. The device also has an SOS button, which sends a message to the local emergency services, with your GPS coordinates. Maybe something like this will help ease your family's mind (and yours too, perhaps)?
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
Gardener59:

First, You are 57 and do not need their permission to do anything.

That said, we love our families and do not want them to be uncomfortable while we pursue our dreams.

1. Introduce your family to the forum/
2. Split the first day into two by making a reservation and staying at Orisson.
3. Agree on a reasonable amount of communication. Maybe not everyday but possibly every 3 days or so. Then make sure you conform to agreement.
4. When you communicate, inform them about all the wonderful new friends you are sharing discussions, meals and sleeping quarters along the way. You will rarely be alone unless you want to be.
5. Let the Camino be your guide and all will be well.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk the Camino in fall of 2015....and it's nearly here. Start my walk from St. Jean PP on August 14th.
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
wonderful advice has been given by others already....I completed a solo walk last fall at the age of 76....fabulous experience and I can't wait to do it again. one thing that helped my husband was dropbox...a program that daily sent all my photos from my cell phone/camera to his computer at home as soon as I connected to wifi which was daily. we also texted often thru the day. I sent a text every morning as I left the albergue and a final one before I turned my phone off at night. I also used a program called map my walk and each day they could see my journey for that day online. Facebook was fabulous...I posted a brief paragraph about my day and added about 30 photos....all my friends and family followed my route daily.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
I agree with Kanga and others. Also perhaps you could encourage them to read one of the many Camino books out there. Hundreds of us have written about our experiences - and although many have had discomfort, tiredness, equipment failure and other small calamities - every account I have read glows with the happiness and satisfaction that people have got from the experience. This may help to put their minds - if not at rest - at least in harmony with yours! There is a book list on this forum and also a list of peoples journals/blogs etc.
And if you are a parent - think back - I'm sure there were times when your kids raced off to do something you disapproved of - now it is time to get your own back!!
Personally, my Mother insisted that I had 'Bitten off more than I could chew' - at times she was right - but I still made it in the end...!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Communication with those at home can be so important! During my first solo caminos my husband and I talked when necessary by land-line telephone; since 2008 I have carried a smartphone which also serves as camera and computer on which I blog. Since we both are in our 70's whilst apart we SMS/text each other good morning, briefly cite our daily plans, and text again at day's end. Simple, swift and efficacious this helps keep each of us in the other's loop.

While walking a phone and European assistance number 112 can provide invaluable emergency help. Luckily I have never personally needed such assistance, but over the years have called 112 for other pilgrims who needed fast help and either had no phone or were unable to use a phone. ...In retrospect I would NEVER walk without a phone. Carrying one may help save someone else's life.

MM
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
First welcome to the forum, before you undertake this journey you need to be somewhat physically and mentally prepared that alone will give your family a reassurance that you would be ok, I'm sorry about your health issues but explain to your Doctor how the camino is structured, do you home work on what is available on the camino in case you need medical attention would be great if you could get a walking companion:) distances walked, accommodations and transport are all flexible so don't fret over that ok buen camino

zzotte
 

Aidan21

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
Hi,
There is some excellent practical advice above re staying in contact with your family and giving them reassurance that the camino is a very safe place for all. I do note that you used the phrase 'this is something I feel a pull to do'. IMHO, this is the most important thing for you. By all means take all the concerns of family on board and make every effort to stay in touch and keep them involved. But first and foremost do this for you when you still can. Do not let this life changing opportunity pass you by because of the concerns (loving no doubt) of others. There are times and circumstances when it really is OK to put your needs first. Maybe this is one of them.
Aidan
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
Gardener59 you can see here on the forum, you have many options to help put your family at ease; I consider Kanga, Peregrina200, mspath and several others to be 'sages' when it comes to advice. Understandable your family might have some concern, but most important is to honour what you feel….and follow it. As pointed out, you are still younger than many of us, so you might point that out to your family. Lots of 'super adults' here (a term used for seniors in parts of Scotland). I celebrated my 80th birthday in Santiago this past November…and I plan to return in 2017, route undecided at this point. My family were my biggest boosters, as of course many of my friends. They all knew what it meant for me to do this. We were in touch, but certainly not on a daily basis; more like once a week. I wish you a fulfilling Buen Camino...
 

trafferty

I believe I'm ready for another adventure!
Camino(s) past & future
june (2016)
Hi, I am 65, female and will be walking my first camino in june. Honestly, I haven't told my family yet because I don't want to hear what they will say. They already think I'm crazy for moving to the woods, off the grid and 4 hours away. They didn't believe I would last more the a year but it has been 4 now. I totally understand how you are feeling and admire you for telling them and not taking the cowards way out like I have, for the moment. Buen camino!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.
You don't need to convince them this is a great idea, and probably won't. But you do need to have a level of confidence in yourself and your preparations, and a plan for communication. I assume that you are at the stage of life where people are not depending on you for their own welfare. So, I like what @Aidan21 said: "first and foremost do this for you when you still can. Do not let this life changing opportunity pass you by because of the concerns (loving no doubt) of others."

My husband and kids have zero interest in doing this, but they don't seem to worry about me! :( I think you'll find that when you get back, your family will be very impressed and proud.

Make up your mind, do your sensible planning, and we'll see you on the camino!
 

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Hi. So much good advice above. I, too, was "drawn" to do it because of my father, but knew my husband and daughter didn't want me to. After a broken kneecap and then two years later a broken wrist, I wanted to go more than ever before something else happened to me. One thing I did before committing to go was do a virtual camino on Google earth's street view, and I showed parts of that to my husband so he could see all the people on it, the terrain, etc., which I think helped him feel more comfortable. Plus I downloaded a free app Viber on my phone, as did the rest of my family. I uploaded pictures just about every night (there were a couple of no wifi nights), and it gave me free phone service back home - a godsend when dealing with my 19 year old daughter. That was in Sept./Oct. of 2013 when I was 67. I have thought and planned on how to get back every day since then, and it now looks like Sept./Oct. of this year will be it - with my husband this time and hopefully my daughter (she will have just graduated from college so that's a bit iffy). So do it - your family will adjust and be assured once you are off and running (walking), with communications in place. And they will be very proud of you. Buen camino, Cherry
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Lots of great advice already.

Try to help your family realise that you will not be alone. In fact you will have dozens of caring people around you.

This example illustrates what I mean. Scroll down the page to 'Saving Pilgrim Susan'.

http://robscamino.com/10th-of-may/

Conversations with other Pilgrims would frequently turn to.....have you seen X, is she going OK. Or Y was getting blisters, is he OK now? People look out for each other all the way.....
 

gidivet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - SJPP to Santiago de Compostela - 24 April to 1 June 2014.
Camino Francés - Short section Sept 2014
Camino Francés - Short section May 2015
Camino Francés and Camino Le Puy short sections - April/May 2016
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
Hi Gardner59, welcome to the forum. I have already seen some excellent responses so not much to add.

You may start alone, but it doesn't taken long to make friends on the Camino.

It's worth ironing out the communication before you go, so you can reassure your loved ones that you're ok and won't disappear off the face of the earth.

Another thought. Would you consider inviting someone to accompany you or to just join you for a few days, e.g. let them meet you in one of the bigger cities for a short break, or wait for you in Santiago - perhaps to enjoy a few more days of transitioning from Pilgim to Tourist.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
At least half the people I met on the Camino were traveling "alone" - I use quotes because like others have said, you aren't actually alone, you just don't have any pre-defined traveling companions. You'll meet people and be able to be as social or solo as you choose, and even if you choose to be solo, other people are always nearby even if you aren't actually interacting with them. For the most part, pilgrims are the most caring and helpful bunch of people anywhere.

Also, you aren't hiking through the back country or anything - this is civilized Spain - much of it rural, but very much civilized. Sometimes it will be 12km from one village to the next, but very often its only 2-3km between villages and towns.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
I did not tell my wife that I wanted to do the Camino de Santiago until after I had already bought airline tickets to Europe...luckily she was very supportive but also very concerned...and this would be my first vacation alone in 25-years of marriage...but my wife looked into my eyes and knew that I was serious and had to try the Camino...that type of family support was not the case with many solo Pilgrims I met on the Camino...the good news is that you don't have to journey alone on the Camino because there are many other solo Pilgrims like you that are looking for travel partners...but if you decide to journey alone I guarantee you on your worst day if you fell on the Camino another Pilgrim will be there to help you in less than an hour...after returning my mother asked me why I wanted to travel on the Camino de Santiago and not somewhere else in the world...I told her "Because on the Camino even when I was alone...I was never alone."
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Setting up smartphones so they send photos directly to Dropbox, Flickr so your family can see what you are doing; setting up anti-virus software so if your phone dies it sends the coordinates of where you are; FB posts with photos or a blog are a hit with everyone...
Make sure you send lots of photos of you sharing good food and wine with your new camino friends LOL. Smartphones can be fun. I once had my daughter phone me as I was checking out the Moorish fort in El Real de la Jara (VDLP) for a video call over FB Messenger. It was really bizarre being able to show her everything that I was looking at, to point out where I had come from and where I planned to walk the next day. I had no idea you could even do that!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Gardener, hello. I am sorry but I disagree with a lot of the advice above. You are an adult, a free adult. You aren't even old! There are pilgrims out there in their 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's!

What is being displayed by your relatives as love is two things, one it is fear, and, two, it is control. It is dysfunctional. You have to knock it on the head right now!

No pandering to it, no giving in, no allowing yourself to be controlled.

If you go on Camino and die that is alright you know - we all die. You most likely won't die ;)

If you set up a schedule to keep in touch then three things - one, you will be like a child attached to apron strings, and, two, if you miss a call they will all panic and be calling in helicopters and who knows what else. The third thing is this - it is utterly in error to keep in touch with 'home' or 'loved ones'. It is a pilgrimage, a chance - perhaps for only once in your life! - to be free of that world, to leave it behind. To stay in touch is to not be on pilgrimage but to be out for a walk talking about what Susan did in the drug store yesterday - don't do it.

Tell them that you are carrying ID and phone numbers so if anything awful happens they will be contacted, then break all these ties and go on Camino - you know it is your hearts desire - do it.
You could tell everybody NOT to phone you but to send a text ONLY if it is an emergency, then switch your phone on once each evening to check, then switch it off again.

Oh, and you won't be alone, you will be with hundreds, thousands, of marvellous pilgrims - enjoy!!

But I say again - stand up for yourself and knock this controlling behaviour that is labelled 'love' and 'concern' on the head right now!!!

As for health care. Spain is ranked 7th in the world. Canada comes in at 30th and the USA at 37th!!
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I am a little amused by all the concern over supporting the families of older pilgrims. I am 67 and single. When I told my family that I was walking the camino, they were rather ho hum about it. I wasn't going into the Rocky Mountains alone in a busy grizzly area, so there seemed to be very little to worry about. Like Rob the Slob, I have a SPOT emergency beacon, which I took on my camino in the fall of 2015, but wouldn't take it again. There are just too many other pilgrims, almost all with phones, for an emergency beacon to be needed. Step out in courage, as your doctor agrees, and keep your concerned family informed in whatever way is convenient for you. I sent email with photos once a week. After your first camino, they will hopefully calm down and accept whatever adventures you feel called to. All the best and have a wonderful time.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
In the first two responses I was amazed by the info given to you. Take it and enjoy your time, and enjoy it even more knowing you are caring for those back home May you all benefit from those days you are walking.
 
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Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Camino(s) past & future
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
Hi, I'm 66 and walked my first camino (100 miles) in 2013 and my second (200 + miles) in 2014. Currently I'm preparing to walk the French way starting in April. My wife also keeps telling me I'm to old to walk the caminos so I go walk the caminos to prove that I'm not :). Just one of the reasons I walk the way. However, I don't walk them alone.

My advice, go walk your camino and prove your family wrong but please consider a different starting point, like Pamplona. Crossing the Pyrenees can tax even the strongest. You need to walk into your camino by starting with short days and short distances. Something you can't do staring in St. Jean. Buen Camino

Happy Trails
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '2009',Portuguese '2015', Ingles '2015', Fin and Muxia '2015'. Camino from Granada '2017'.
David, so much sense, as usual!
Jacki.
Gardener, hello. I am sorry but I disagree with a lot of the advice above. You are an adult, a free adult. You aren't even old! There are pilgrims out there in their 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's!

What is being displayed by your relatives as love is two things, one it is fear, and, two, it is control. It is dysfunctional. You have to knock it on the head right now!

No pandering to it, no giving in, no allowing yourself to be controlled.

If you go on Camino and die that is alright you know - we all die. You most likely won't die ;)

If you set up a schedule to keep in touch then three things - one, you will be like a child attached to apron strings, and, two, if you miss a call they will all panic and be calling in helicopters and who knows what else. The third thing is this - it is utterly in error to keep in touch with 'home' or 'loved ones'. It is a pilgrimage, a chance - perhaps for only once in your life! - to be free of that world, to leave it behind. To stay in touch is to not be on pilgrimage but to be out for a walk talking about what Susan did in the drug store yesterday - don't do it.

Tell them that you are carrying ID and phone numbers so if anything awful happens they will be contacted, then break all these ties and go on Camino - you know it is your hearts desire - do it.
You could tell everybody NOT to phone you but to send a text ONLY if it is an emergency, then switch your phone on once each evening to check, then switch it off again.

Oh, and you won't be alone, you will be with hundreds, thousands, of marvellous pilgrims - enjoy!!

But I say again - stand up for yourself and knock this controlling behaviour that is labelled 'love' and 'concern' on the head right now!!!

As for health care. Spain is ranked 7th in the world. Canada comes in at 30th and the USA at 37th!!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Yay @David for some excellent points. I don't agree with everything, but that's ok - I make my own decisions! I blog as I go, but that's more for me and for fun. I'm pretty sure a few weeks would pass before my family would call in the helicopters.

Get on with your life and set that good example to your family.
 
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tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
I walked the Camino Francés this fall for the first time at 57 and solo. As others have said, you needn't be alone unless hat is what you prefer. There are plenty who take a slower pace. Regarding health care, it is available along the way. The Spanish pharmacies (Farmacia) are great resources, serving the function of mini-clinics. This is not a wilderness trek where you are completely out of touch and out of reach. I'd get a phone that functions over there so you can communicate. I put an intl SIM in my iPhone. I Facetimed with my wife almost every day. During the day we would text. Facebook is another great way to keep in touch with those back home.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I am sorry David, but if the OPs parents are being affected, rightly or not by the OP's walk, and if the OP gives it a hoot, than any ways to manage that concern is legit. Especially if their wellbeing depends on the OP one way or
Another. The CF is mostly a daily walk in the park, but day after day. And yet a friend of my fathers litterally dropped dead on it. Fine one day, dead the next. Luckily with his wife by his side to manage the paper work, inform the family, etc. Had he been walking alone it would have bee a nightmare for those back home. This is a legitimatr concern with great answerss at the start of the thread.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
For the most part, pilgrims are the most caring and helpful bunch of people anywhere.
Absolutely! I wish the rest of the idiots I have to interact with day to day were like the people I met on Camino.

It is the nature of the Camino, that it attracts a certain 'type'. So you are in this rather artificial bubble perhaps, of living in a World while you are walking, where 95% of the people you meet are just great to be with :) caring, fun, considerate.....

I remarked to my Brother on my return, that it was going to be hard settling back into the 'Real World'.

His response?

Maybe the Camino is how the real World is supposed to be ? ;)

I wish.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
if the OPs parents are being affected...
The original post implied that the concern was all about her welfare, not that anyone at home was needing her. She was worried about their worrying, and was finding it hard to break free to follow her own dream. This is not uncommon for women of a certain age who are used to making sure everyone else is comfortable. I say "go for it" but take a cell phone and good medical insurance.
 

Gardener59

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping (2016)
Hi All,

I am overwhelmed with all your fantastic responses - too many to list individually, but I've taken something from everything advised even where you didn't agree.

The very second I heard about the Camino I knew somehow was going to do it (or at least make a very good attempt) and immediately (secretly) immersed myself on all things Camino. The more I read the more certain I became that this was happening. But when I raised my head and announced my intentions I hadn't stop to recognise the discrepancy between my understanding of the Camino and my family's. So I will put that right straight away by taking the advice of several of you and introducing them to this forum, 'The Way', YouTube videos and they'll see for themselves that not only am I indeed a spring chicken, but they'll read and hear about about the various adventures and see the fantastic amount of advice - practical and even other type I've been offered here.

Yes, I am 57 and don't need to ask anyone's permission to do anything. But it's a lesson I've learnt late in life so I accept I am suddenly bucking the trend - yes, it's probably about time. I did nearly die last year so my family are understandably nervous (and yes, there is also definitely some control in the mix)), but I would rather drop dead on the trail than look back from the safety of my deathbed not having spoken up about why I need to do this, gotten myself organised and found some way to meet my family half way.

My sister had already offered to come out with me, get me started, and to meet me in Santiago. So I will accept her kind offer, for me and for my family. It looks like compromise is the way to go.

The Camino has already provided because this thread contains all I need to say, for example, okay yes I'll stay in touch via so and so, but not every day.

Perhaps I'll meet one or two of you along the way.

Thank you again, very much appreciated

Gardener59
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
Gardener 59 -- I am 70 and doing my first camino alone in two months. I am not afraid. I am a widow, I am growing older, even if I do nothing I can't stop the process of aging and ultimately dying. I want to live while I am alive, if that makes sense. As far as notifying people goes, I think it is good not to promise something too exact. Keep in touch as you can, but it doesn't work for people back home to panic when what could have happened is no wifi, no cell service, couldn't start your phone, etc etc etc. I have a mother (yes she is still alive) who always, when someone was 10 minutes late, would start imagining the person was in a car accident or something. Your family needs to relax and trust you to do what you need to on the Camino, and be happy for you that you have undertaken a pilgrimage. Buen Camino!
 

Gardener59

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping (2016)
Thanks Imsundaze,

I had to laugh - your mother sounds like mine!

To want to live while alive makes complete and utter sense, and even a more pressing need / desire once bringing up children and working lives are behind us I'm sure. I think that's why my sense of frustration and disappointment was physical before I sought advice here.

There's always a way.

Gardener59
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
Hi All,

I am overwhelmed with all your fantastic responses - too many to list individually, but I've taken something from everything advised even where you didn't agree.

The very second I heard about the Camino I knew somehow was going to do it (or at least make a very good attempt) and immediately (secretly) immersed myself on all things Camino. The more I read the more certain I became that this was happening. But when I raised my head and announced my intentions I hadn't stop to recognise the discrepancy between my understanding of the Camino and my family's. So I will put that right straight away by taking the advice of several of you and introducing them to this forum, 'The Way', YouTube videos and they'll see for themselves that not only am I indeed a spring chicken, but they'll read and hear about about the various adventures and see the fantastic amount of advice - practical and even other type I've been offered here.

Yes, I am 57 and don't need to ask anyone's permission to do anything. But it's a lesson I've learnt late in life so I accept I am suddenly bucking the trend - yes, it's probably about time. I did nearly die last year so my family are understandably nervous (and yes, there is also definitely some control in the mix)), but I would rather drop dead on the trail than look back from the safety of my deathbed not having spoken up about why I need to do this, gotten myself organised and found some way to meet my family half way.

My sister had already offered to come out with me, get me started, and to meet me in Santiago. So I will accept her kind offer, for me and for my family. It looks like compromise is the way to go.

The Camino has already provided because this thread contains all I need to say, for example, okay yes I'll stay in touch via so and so, but not every day.

Perhaps I'll meet one or two of you along the way.

Thank you again, very much appreciated

Gardener59
Another good resource is the documentary "Walking the Camino." This movie gives a good accounting of the actual hiking and living conditions. Plus, nobody dies! One of the parties chronicled is a couple early-seventies Canadian guys.
 

Gracemarie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
I will be doing my first Camino this June-July, and I am so thankful for this forum! This posting has been especially helpful...matches my emotions perfectly. I am 65, in good health, but not a seasoned hiker. Like many others, I have been overwhelmingly drawn to the Camino since first hearing a about it...I know I am intended to do it. I see now that many life experiences have guided me to this moment in my life. My family is concerned, but very supportive. We "older gals" have spent our lives caring for and putting others first...now it is OUR time! I hope to meet you on the path, Gardener59! (Does that mean gardening is a priority? If so we have much in common and could have wonderful chats!). Buen Camino!
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
I don't see a family's concern for their loved one's safety while that person walks hundreds of miles across a country as dysfunctional or controlling - I think it's pretty natural actually. I travel a lot by myself (mostly for work, but sometimes for fun too), and my family used to be very concerned for me when I was gone. They've all basically gotten over it because I go and come back in one piece over and over again, but it took time. Neither of my parents travel, so they can't relate - no personal frame of reference.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I don't see a family's concern for their loved one's safety while that person walks hundreds of miles across a country as dysfunctional or controlling - I think it's pretty natural actually. I travel a lot by myself (mostly for work, but sometimes for fun too), and my family used to be very concerned for me when I was gone. They've all basically gotten over it because I go and come back in one piece over and over again, but it took time. Neither of my parents travel, so they can't relate - no personal frame of reference.
Very good point. My wife worried about me. And as you say, those who know nothing about the Camino sometimes seem to rank it as risky as walking to the North Pole!
That's how I ended up walking the Camino. My wife refused to let me do the 'last 2 degrees' walk to the North Pole :oops: I'm kind of glad she did on reflection ;)

That was the main reason I published a daily Blog. Not just for her, but for other family, work colleagues and friends. They could see I was very much alive and having fun. No need to keep lots of people updated individually.

And for my wife, we chatted every day. Free calls using one of the many apps available. We use 'line'. With time zone differences we would often chat at bedtime or when I woke up (another reason I used private accommodation)

Our frequent chats were not at all intrusive on my Camino or that of others. I tried to always be discrete when 'on the phone'. It enabled me to relax knowing she was OK and vice versa. The connection was so good one day, she even walked 'with me' on a remote section using video chat. I pointed out the scenery along the way and we stopped as other Pilgrims and Cyclists passed. She loved that little 'window' on my Camino.

I reflected often whilst walking about how the Camino can be a rather 'selfish act' in this regard. It was actually a struggle for me at times. The loved ones at home can stress and worry if we don't 'educate' them about the journey before we go, and find ways to keep in touch when we are walking. I am not for one minute suggesting daily online chats or video messaging :eek: But whatever is easy and suits your circumstances.

I think it's also important to have a way that those at home can contact you in emergency. Email is obviously the easiest. (just carry a smart phone). I set up an email account just for my Camino, and only gave it to 2 people for emergency messages only. I never looked at my day to day email accounts :p

So to summarise my 2 cents worth.

  1. Educate those who might worry, before you go.
  2. And have some form of communication to keep them updated and for emergencies, that is not intrusive to your Camino.....

After thought. I was talking to an old friend today who was 'amazed' at my accomplishment of walking 700+ kms across Spain! People who know nothing about the Camino often think it is akin to climbing Everest or something. Maybe we should not let the 'cat out of the bag' by telling them it is basically a 'Sunday Walk' from café to café, that you get to do in great company..........every day ;)

I almost feel guilty having done it! :oops:
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
The Mothers of Gardener59, Imsundaze and my Mother all have 'catastrophic' thinking! Be wary as it is catching... I have spent large parts of my life not doing things I yearned to do because, 'it looks dangerous', 'I might get hurt', 'I might die'. I had huge anxiety before I first set out on Camino. All unfounded, I did not die in a tidal wave off Portugal, I didn't get eaten by a bear in the Pyrenees, I didn't get crushed by a lorry anywhere at all... Ok - a close call with a bus, a few bee stings and a painful root canal problem did cause me some consternation - all of which could of just as easily happened at home!
So anyone suffering from this catastrophic thinking, recognise it and banish it - and get on with your life!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Absolutely - of course it is natural for our loved ones to worry - but Gardener wrote about convincing them that
"I am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless". - there is a difference between natural worry and encouraging people to live their lives and that natural concern tipping over into a control that leads the person to plaintive cries for help and advice on how to deal with it on the forum, don't you think?
 

Gardener59

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping (2016)
Hi everyone, again thanks to all for the ongoing discussion, different perspectives and guidance. And I'm glad there are others who are getting something from this thread.

Yes Gracemarie, I'm a very keen gardener - pottering around in awe of the beauty of every in my little sanctuary nourishes my soul.

I consider myself blessed to have loved ones in my life, who love me and want to keep me safe. But David is right that the concern can unconsciously end up "tipping over" into control. But if I recognise that then it is up to me to (finally) stand up for myself. I am a big girl now (regardless of any health issues - as the doctors have given me the nod I just need to make sensible arrangements), and November_moon makes a very good point - once I start going and returning safely from trips my family's anxiety will drop.

Rob, thank you for your very succinct summary.

Gardener59
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Hi, I am 65, female and will be walking my first camino in june. Honestly, I haven't told my family yet because I don't want to hear what they will say. They already think I'm crazy for moving to the woods, off the grid and 4 hours away. They didn't believe I would last more the a year but it has been 4 now. I totally understand how you are feeling and admire you for telling them and not taking the cowards way out like I have, for the moment. Buen camino!
The last time I walked the Camino I didn't tell anybody in my family until the day before I left and that's only because I needed a ride to the airport and someone to watch my pickup truck while I was gone, ha ha.
Not sure what they think about my multiple trips on the Camino, but I have gotten a couple of raised eyebrows discussing it. The ironic bit is that I never got such responses when I went away in the Marines for five years or later lived and worked in Afghanistan for another five, ha ha.
Of course I know they love me and only want me to be happy, but I too don't like the prospect of having to explain why I would do it again.
 

trafferty

I believe I'm ready for another adventure!
Camino(s) past & future
june (2016)
"Yes, I am 57 and don't need to ask anyone's permission to do anything. But it's a lesson I've learnt late in life so I accept I am suddenly bucking the trend - yes, it's probably about time. I did nearly die last year so my family are understandably nervous (and yes, there is also definitely some control in the mix)), but I would rather drop dead on the trail than look back from the safety of my deathbed not havingspoken up about why I need to do this,gotten myself organised and foundsome way to meet my family half way."

So still haven't told my family but I went for a physical last week and my doctor was very excited for me and asked about my training. I got a huge smile and told him I was afraid he was going to be very negative and tell me I couldn't go. He said "nobody can tell you you can't go.. " it really hit me that that's what I have been feeling. Not that that has ever stopped me from doing what I really want to do, but I think it's the feeling of family trying to tame me because I "should" live a certain way. My father rode his Harley from Las Vegas back home to ny when he was 83. I thought he was going to kill himself but understood he would rather die that way than sitting in his lazy boy. I'm a lot more like my father than I ever realized.....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014, Portuguese 2015, Finisterre 2015, Norte 2017, Aragones 2018, V d Plata 2019
I can only echo what Kanga wrote - my mother didnt stop worrying until after she'd watched the film "The Way". I know some dont like that film but for me it captured the essence of the camino. That and keeping in touch would be my advice. Dont be afraid to book places in advance as well if you feel its necessary.
Good luck
Duncan
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
A few thoughts from a 53 year old:

Last March/April, I texted home each night to my husband that my 13 yo son and I were safe, had had a good day, and that my feet were a mess.
I found that many people looked out for us on the Camino.
We were rarely alone, but were sometimes. And sometimes I told my son to go on and walk ahead and I was completely alone. Perhaps now, after Denise's murder, I would make sure that we stuck together more.. but I felt safe on the Camino.
My son and I hike in the wilderness here in the US where we don't see people for hours/days, and I am more nervous about crazy people when there is no one else around.
There are no bears, raccoons, skunks, coyotes etc. on the Camino.
There are hospitals very close by.... and restaurants and hotels, and cafes.
I could always call a taxi if I needed to on the Camino.
Make sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. (Spain's equivalent of 911, which I don't remember right off.)
Show your family the movie "The Way". It will help them see it's safe.
You are in danger of being killed or dying here in the US (cars, heart attack, stroke, crime, gun violence). Trying something new makes us look closely at the risks involved, doing what is familiar or habitual makes us minimize the risks.

Kate
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
1. WELCOME TO THE CLUB!
2. I concur with and endorse EVERYTHING stated by my fellow veteran pilgrims above. There is a LOT of hugely interesting information here., both in this dialog, and across the Forum.
3. Use the "search" function at the top of the page to find just about anything using a key work; e.g. rucksack, bots, walking sticks, medications....
4. You are in VERY good company.

I have one thing to add that I did not recall seeing above.

5. I always leave a communication plan (C/P) with my family.

This plan states how to contact me in an emergency, and explains that there is a six-hour time difference between them and me (in Spain). It provides my e-mail address, text, and voice numbers.

I also have a European friend or two who can serve as an emergency (ICE) contact in case I am medically disabled and need a friend to help out. While these folks do not live in Spain or near the Camino, they are in the same time zone and, in an extreme emergency, will come to help me.

Also, the C/P states when they should expect to hear from me. For example, I must call my 83-year old mother every Sunday at noon (her time). My immediate family knows I am available every evening on e-mail and on "Face Time (Apple devices). If they send me a message telling me to phone home, I do, at the first opportunity.

Otherwise, I tend not to phone home every evening. I am on Camino. If they NEED to speak to me or see me on a Face Time call, they can each evening. But the phone does not control my Camino. I control the phone. It is a tool, not a shackle.

In a family emergency, they know to send me a text message. While I turn voice capability off during the day, I can still receive text on my iPhone through the data connection I am using for GPS and internet capability during the day for weather, directions, and hotel reservations. The incoming iMessage will "ping." I may not see it or hear it immediately, but I do glance at it whenever I stop at a cafe, for lunch etc.

Finally, and slightly off topic. I always buy trip insurance from the airline. Most policies include medical evacuation to return you home, in addition to all the routine stuff like trip cancellation insurance, lost baggage insurance and assistance, etc. It is very cheap for the coverage. They typically do not cover hazardous or extreme sports. However, hiking is walking, is not alpine mountain climbing, and is covered. I fly on UA and their policies are adequate to my needs.

I walked my first camino, solo, at 59, in 2013. Like many of us, of a certain age, I too have medical issues. I have to carry an addition 3-4 pounds of medical supplies and nutritional supplements, in addition to my regular rucksack load.

True, the concerns of a woman are different. But, and as others clearly established here, you are only as ALONE as you choose to be.

I hope this helps....You GO girl!
 
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Parisian

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010, 2015
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
HI Gardener59. I am a woman who walked the French Camino solo when I was 65 and never felt alone. Since then I had Some medical issues. I was determined to walk the Camino and last year, 5 years later at 70 and solo I walked the last 200K of the Poetuguese Camino. My family was so concerned. I solved it by using my 'Find iPhone' app. . At home on the iMac, they could see where I was each day. They found this such a relief and I didn't have to check in so much. No one knows how it feels to worry as much as our loved ones. Hope this helped. Best to your Camino. Elin
 
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eeddowes

Wayfarer
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2014)
VDLP / C.Sanabres (2017)
I think fear of the unknown played largely into the concerns of my parents when I left to walk solo at age 54. I had my own fears of the unknown, but they dissipated rather quickly a couple days after jumping in. It was at this point when I realized I needed to order a copy of the Brierley's guide and have it sent to their home. Then, every 4 or 5 days I'd send an email to tell them where I had been, along with my reflections. With the guide in hand, they could "follow" me. Dad even marked up the book and its maps. I also sent postcards along the way - a means of communicating travel experiences that they are well familiar with and would look forward to.
 

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
Gardener 59 -- I am 70 and doing my first camino alone in two months. I am not afraid. I am a widow, I am growing older, even if I do nothing I can't stop the process of aging and ultimately dying. I want to live while I am alive, if that makes sense. As far as notifying people goes, I think it is good not to promise something too exact. Keep in touch as you can, but it doesn't work for people back home to panic when what could have happened is no wifi, no cell service, couldn't start your phone, etc etc etc. I have a mother (yes she is still alive) who always, when someone was 10 minutes late, would start imagining the person was in a car accident or something. Your family needs to relax and trust you to do what you need to on the Camino, and be happy for you that you have undertaken a pilgrimage. Buen Camino!
I put off walking the Camino for over 20 years because I was afraid of doing pretty much anything alone. Finally, when I was 49, my son was available to go with me. The very first day I met a 60 year old woman walking alone. Later I met a 74 year old woman alone. I was absolutely amazed! I saw both of those women - and many other peregrinas a sola I had met along the way - in Santiago.
I think one of the most important things I gleaned from my first Camino is that being alone can be every bit as much fun as being with someone else - and that I do not need to be afraid.
But I didn't know that before I went. I couldn't imagine the Camino and I couldn't imagine myself off on an adventure by myself. So why should my family be able to do that? Today, 4 years later - no one worries when I go off to another country on my own. Everyone has to get whatever assurance they need and then they're OK - but neither they nor you will understand that until you have tried, Gardener59. Trust me - things will go wrong. That is what things do... but most things are fixed or taken care of and you move on. The good outweighs the problematic and you get stronger and more self assured and more capable every day. And if you run into a problem you can't deal with on the Camino you find a different way to have an adventure and start planning your Camino all over again (and that is half the fun!).
You can do it and you are going to have the best time of your life!
 

AudreyT

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April "2016"
Hi there, My family also had some reservations about me doing this trek alone. One thing I have joined is a facebook group made up of women looking out for other women on the Camino. It is called Camigas. They have a spreadsheet so you enter the dates you will be going and see other women who will be walking at the same time as you. You can connect with these women before hand to become familiar before you go. They also have a patch with their logo on it, to put on your backpack. That way, Camigas can recognize each other on the trail and if you need help you know you can go to them or they can come to you. I am doing my camino in April and have connected with a few ladies through Camigas already. Here is the link for their fb page.
https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1622859181284411&tsid=0.15151520213112235&source=typeahead
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
My sister had already offered to come out with me, get me started
Maybe that would be good. On the other hand, if the two of you stay together in a private room in SJPP and she waves you off on the path in the morning, you would have missed the first opportunity to make friends with other pilgrims in the albergue the night before, a wonderful start to Day 1. Maybe you should wave her off at the train station and you stay an extra night on your own! Make it your own pilgrimage from that day.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
I can appreciate that some women are fearful alone and I do respect those feelings. Fortunately I'm not one of them. I love my time on my own, even when I was a younger age. But do be careful not to spread the fear. It can build quickly. I had emergency numbers, a Smartphone to make any necessary calls and lots of fellow pilgrims to walk with, when I chose to do that. I also carried a whistle, but it wasn't out of fear; it was in case of any injury I might incur. Trust in the Camino Angels. I lost count of mine. But having a plan can certainly add to your feeling of well being. Buen Camino.
 

Forestgirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Frances
2017 Portuguese, Muxia y Fisterra,
Ingles, Primativo
2018 Frances
2019 Norte
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
Hi there,
I, too, have some health issues and plan on taking 60 days to finish the Camino. (March 29-May31) While I'm away, I want my family and friends to have as much information that I can offer so they may feel better about my choices. I will give them copies of all my paperwork from flights to passports to drivers license to birth certificate ect. I'm also including the names, address and other contact information to government offices from both United States and Spain. I even included the post office address and phone numbers along with samples of how to address international parcels or envelopes. I am including any email address that can offer support, advice and can access friends of the Camino community, like the Camino forum and APOC. I figure knowledge is power and I want my family to have at their fingertip a wealth of information to comfort their concerns and fill them with a plethora of options to find me should they need it. However, they all are aware that I plan on NOT having a set schedule and that I'm doing this for myself and probably won't be anywhere on a certain given date. I will Skype or text when I can, but they must, along with me, take a leap of faith that everything is going to workout just as it's supposed to...and there's no use in trying to control it. The Camino will have what I need and I trust in that wisdom. I hope my family will as well.
I hope this will help you. Maybe I'm a bit overly detailed (or perhaps cold hearted), but if the roles were reversed I think this would help me feel better.
Best of luck
Buen Camino
Jennifer
 

vgen5122

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (August 19-sept 30,2013) (8/2017)
I would be grateful for any guidance on how I can achieve my first pilgrimage, please.

I am a 57 year old with some health issues, although I've spoken with my doctors have been given the okay. I feel drawn to walk from St Jean to Santiago alone and slowly, soaking up all the path has to offer. I am no longer working so won't be pressured by an end date, though I have been expecting I would need around 60 days to complete the journey. Understandably, my family are concerned about me being a lone, rickety female and, as this is something I feel a pull to do, I wouldn't expect any of them to have to undertake such a journey unless it was their dream as well. I wouldn't feel right to leave them worrying as it would probably mean an unpleasant 8 weeks for them and a lesser experience than I would've hope for myself - worrying about them worrying about me! Somehow I need /intend to walk the pilgrimage, but, while recognising there can be no guarantees, I need to offer my loved ones some level of reassurance that I am being as sensible as possible / have opted for the best plan I can manage, and am not having a mid-life crisis and being reckless.

I would like to go May / Jun (this year, once I have completed jury service) or Sept / Oct, if I'm able to get flights, etc. I have been preparing by walking (not fanatically), just upping my stamina, mileage etc., and using the forum to guide me on what gear to take (a big thank to you all for this).

Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

Does anyone have any advice how I can make this work for both me and my family?

Many thanks for any tips or guidance.

Gardener59
If your doctor has given the OK and the concern is that you are doing this journey alone-this was my experience:

1) On the Camino you are never alone when you are alone. There will be other people there who are your age or older, and who go as fast or as slow as you do.
2) If you don't feel well and want to stop-you can.
3) If you get tired of walking, pilgrims are able to get taxi or in the towns take a bus.
4) If you have a phone, people can text you.
5) There is wifi in Spain. Your love ones can email you. They can follow you on a map as you travel from place to place.
I will celebrate my 70th birthday while walking on the Camino late Aug/Sept. Just go and keep in touch with family at night by text or email.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
My wife is concerned about me walking by myself, and in fact has only agreed to let me go if I take my SPOT Gen3. This is a device that pings my location up to a satellite and shows it online so she can see where I am -- or at least where I was the last time I was pinged, which can be set for every 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes. The device also has an SOS button, which sends a message to the local emergency services, with your GPS coordinates. Maybe something like this will help ease your family's mind (and yours too, perhaps)?
WOW - an emergency locator beacon, maybe a bit "over the top". Yes (imho) a GPS might be useful on some of the lesser travelled caminos, but on the Frances not really!
I thought going on pilgrimage was a way of escaping from "home issues"- not having big brother/sister/partner looking over your shoulder 24/7. As for walking by yourself - well if you start in St Jean - by Pamplona you will established a lose knit "camino family" that you will see three or four days per week and who will be able to support you (mentally and physically) on your journey to Santiago. Buen Camino and Good Luck. Cheers for now!:);)
 

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
"Yes, I am 57 and don't need to ask anyone's permission to do anything. But it's a lesson I've learnt late in life so I accept I am suddenly bucking the trend - yes, it's probably about time. I did nearly die last year so my family are understandably nervous (and yes, there is also definitely some control in the mix)), but I would rather drop dead on the trail than look back from the safety of my deathbed not havingspoken up about why I need to do this,gotten myself organised and foundsome way to meet my family half way."

So still haven't told my family but I went for a physical last week and my doctor was very excited for me and asked about my training. I got a huge smile and told him I was afraid he was going to be very negative and tell me I couldn't go. He said "nobody can tell you you can't go.. " it really hit me that that's what I have been feeling. Not that that has ever stopped me from doing what I really want to do, but I think it's the feeling of family trying to tame me because I "should" live a certain way. My father rode his Harley from Las Vegas back home to ny when he was 83. I thought he was going to kill himself but understood he would rather die that way than sitting in his lazy boy. I'm a lot more like my father than I ever realized.....
Hi trafferty - if you're ever down towards the Albany area let me know - anything I can help you with in planning your trip I would be more than glad to do. Just pm me - Cherry
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
Wow, such great advice here!! The only thing I would add is to consider doing it in Sept/Oct. I say this because my fiancé and I did it in Sept/Oct last year and we had wonderful weather, (save for three days of rain the day after we entered Galicia). From what I understand the weather in May can be a bit unpredictable so you may have to consider packing bulkier clothing because of this, or, as always, you can buy stuff there if you discover you need it. Also, one thing you can do to give yourself a bit of a break, is to send your backpack ahead with companies like Jacotrans. We did this on the days that were in excess of 30kms or when it was a super-hot day anticipated. It was wonderful and spared our backs and knees, but if you do this, you must bring a little day-pack so you can still take your water and snacks and money with you. Also, if at any time you don't feel safe, just tag along with other pilgrims for that stretch of the route. We also rented bikes to get across the meseta which cut that part of our trip down from 7 days to 2.5 days but we did this because we did have a time limit on our camino, (we did it in 32 days, two full rest days included). Not for everyone but it was fun to mix it up a little and go on the bikes, although our bums did not appreciate it!! LOL.

Buen Camino!!
 

Rob the Slob

A slob
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid to Santiago (May 2016)
WOW - an emergency locator beacon, maybe a bit "over the top". Yes (imho) a GPS might be useful on some of the lesser travelled caminos, but on the Frances not really!
I thought going on pilgrimage was a way of escaping from "home issues"- not having big brother/sister/partner looking over your shoulder 24/7. As for walking by yourself - well if you start in St Jean - by Pamplona you will established a lose knit "camino family" that you will see three or four days per week and who will be able to support you (mentally and physically) on your journey to Santiago. Buen Camino and Good Luck. Cheers for now!:);)
It's for my wife's peace of mind. What kind of husband would I be if I spend a month walking across Spain without considering her feelings and thoughts on the matter?
 

Gardener59

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping (2016)
Thank you all yet again.

The advice and encouragement continues to come and I am amazed, grateful and appreciative of everything I've been given.

There is a showing of 'Six ways to Santiago' locally next week and I am going with four family members. Thanks Tomnorth - I think it's the same film you suggested.

AudreyT - thank you for the link, that's a fantastic resource.

C clearly - great point!

ShaLaw - never considered mixing it up a bit on a bike - definitely worth a thought. And am probably leaning towards September.

Movinmaggie - I hope I'm not spreading any fear. In fact it is my lack of fear that's part if the issue. I have none - only concern for loved ones. Rob summarised it much more succinctly than I could.

Urban Trekker I note your guidance and suggestion about considering another start point. Maybe. But I think your advice has pointed out that maybe I need to allow for extra rest before and immediately after the Pyrenees than I would have considered so thank you.

And thanks to everyone with the varied communication plans and tools (most I've never heard of!).

Very much appreciated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have visited the Cathedral in 2011, but not in a pilgrimage. I plan to go within the next 3 or 4 years by my 50th birthday.
Hello. I am kind of in the same boat, however, my husband is worried about several things. Money, safety. and thinking I am leaving the family (while he works full time) and enjoying a 2 month vacation (haha). I am working little by little to talk him into it, but so far no go. I too am wanting to go May/June and start in SJPDP, will you? I sure hope I can convince him, meanwhile, I am training, buying things little by little and breaking in my boots. Have abackpack, but may return for a smaller one. Anyone want to offer me advice on what to do, please help! Maybe I will get to go and you and I can meet up! I am 46 and would be there for my 47th birthday!
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
One thing to add, if you decide to rent a bike to cross the meseta, is to make sure to send your pack ahead on those days because your balance really gets thrown off if it's bungeed to the back of your bike. If your bike starts to fall it will just keep on going!! I know this from experience and had bruises in my inner thighs for days to prove it!! Lol. We had our bikes delivered to the most amazing albergue, La Fabrica in Tardajos and I must say I wished we would have waited one extra day to rent them as there was a crazy hill to climb on our first day....but maybe it would have been easier if we had of sent our packs ahead that day.
 

Rob the Slob

A slob
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid to Santiago (May 2016)
A group of Dutch hikers got caught in a snowstorm in Norway this week, and were found and rescued after they used the SOS function on their SPOT device. My wife is now very much reassured that it works and that I'll be that much safer carrying mine.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have visited the Cathedral in 2011, but not in a pilgrimage. I plan to go within the next 3 or 4 years by my 50th birthday.
I did not tell my wife that I wanted to do the Camino de Santiago until after I had already bought airline tickets to Europe...luckily she was very supportive but also very concerned...and this would be my first vacation alone in 25-years of marriage...but my wife looked into my eyes and knew that I was serious and had to try the Camino...that type of family support was not the case with many solo Pilgrims I met on the Camino...the good news is that you don't have to journey alone on the Camino because there are many other solo Pilgrims like you that are looking for travel partners...but if you decide to journey alone I guarantee you on your worst day if you fell on the Camino another Pilgrim will be there to help you in less than an hour...after returning my mother asked me why I wanted to travel on the Camino de Santiago and not somewhere else in the world...I told her "Because on the Camino even when I was alone...I was never alone."
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have visited the Cathedral in 2011, but not in a pilgrimage. I plan to go within the next 3 or 4 years by my 50th birthday.
Kind of makes me chuckly
Kind of makes me chuckle. My husband reluctantly said I could go, but then was glad I hadn't bought a ticket yet. I bought it last night and today he was gryping about money, so I Havne't told him yet I bought a ticket last night!
 

Thomas@Albany

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Part Oct. 5 2018 (StJ)-Oct. 19 (Boadillo); 2nd Part May 5 (Boadilla) to May 26, 2019.
I am still a while from doing the Camino (August-September 2019, after I retire on July 1 that year), but I find all these comments very inspirational. I live in Albany, NY, by the way.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
If your family is likely to worry (my mum said I'd bitten off more than I could chew when I first went a' pilgrimage!) how about showing them this forum or giving them a book to read (Spanish Steps by Tim Moore is excellent. And very funny) it could put their minds at rest or at least help them understand your yearning to do it. There are also good historic type guides that show the cultural/historic/religious significance of the Camino. You might end up tempting them to join you!
 
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
I am sorry David, but if the OPs parents are being affected, rightly or not by the OP's walk, and if the OP gives it a hoot, than any ways to manage that concern is legit. Especially if their wellbeing depends on the OP one way or
Another. The CF is mostly a daily walk in the park, but day after day. And yet a friend of my fathers litterally dropped dead on it. Fine one day, dead the next. Luckily with his wife by his side to manage the paper work, inform the family, etc. Had he been walking alone it would have bee a nightmare for those back home. This is a legitimatr concern with great answerss at the start of the thread.
Others have given some very practical tips, which may well be of use to the original poster. It might be that her family members have not travelled much overseas, and are projecting their fears on to her. Spain is not a third-world country, and the Camino Francese is so well-travelled that their concerns are not well-founded, even if they be strongly and sincerely held.

I told my family that I would send them postcards every few days, and did so-- they seemed happy with this. As well, I let them know that I would only pick up my email about once a week. While this was in the days of finding the casa cultural for a public computer (2002), and wifi has made that limitation passé, I found that not being involved in every current and eddy of family dynamics was a liberating factor.

Pilgrims on their own, and of a certain age (the French have a delicate way of putting it) should always have with their passports a sheet with contact information and medication etc in case they are unconscious or, indeed, die, and possibly with instructions in the latter case (i.e., just send back the ashes, or whatever they might wish). In the latter case, take comfort in the legend that those who die on pilgrimage skip purgatory and just whistle on through, waving cheerily at their former managers, bishops, call centre supervisors, and elected representatives as they boil in the inferno below.
 

John H.

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
Carpe diem! Install FaceTime (Apple phones) or Skype Video (any phone) and video chat your family back home once in a while to tell them and show them what you are doing, seeing and experiencing. Free Wifi is very accessible on the Camino even if you do not have a data plan. Their anxiety should diminish, and their joy for you and jealousy may rise. (When you return home, all of you will be surprised at how little there was to worry about.) Have a wonderful time.
 

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