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Are the longer Caminos a Sabbatical from marriage for some people?

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C clearly

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some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
Er, yes. I certainly see it as such an opportunity. Among many other opportunities.

But I do not recognize myself in any of the stereotypes described. The article left me feeling quite annoyed.
 

jeanineonthecamino

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Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Haha... YES! A sabbatical from marriage and children and any type of responsibility haha. OK - so that isn't WHY I walk - but definitely a bonus! Mind you - my youngest child was 17 when I did my first Camino - so not like I was leaving "littles" behind (of course - depending on family dynamics - that can be therapeutic too). On my first Camino I told work not to call me and told my family "I will call you". And I did call husband every day and my kids intermittently. I often turned my phone off though - so I could completely separate from my real life. I needed the alone time - a lot! My kids did try to call and sometimes they couldn't reach me - but I wasn't too worried because dad was at home. This past summer I didn't turn off my phone nearly as much and my kids didn't attempt to call quite so much, which was nice. Don't get me wrong - I love my family - but sometimes work and family life sucks the energy out of you and walking the Camino is so restful and energizing at the same time.

I wouldn't say though that most people who are married and chose to walk alone - are intentionally taking a Sabbatical from marriage as described by this article though - Maybe for a select few - but it is more like a "side effect" that is welcomed by many including myself. Perhaps a few are doing it as an formal separation - but I think more often it is simply a separate vacation and a break that is welcomed from a significant other. I didn't hear one person say "I miss my significant other" haha. I am sure they did to some extent - but most of us on the journey seemed comfortable with travelling separately from them.

But as @Vacajoe says - some couples walk together and take the Sabbatical from home responsibilities together.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

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Camino Frances 2021, 2022
I should add - I was watching Youtube blogs of Camino Pilgrims before my first Camino. This one lady was definitely doing it as a Catholic pilgrimage and it was all about her faith that she was walking. She was always looking for the religious albergues and going to all of the church services and talked about prayer a lot. I tuned in to a follow up Youtube blog from her to learn that just after she returned home - she decided to file for divorce from her husband. So - her Pilgrimage WAS a sort of Sabbatical (even if not originally intended to be one) and during her reflection while walking - she decided to end a marriage that she wasn't happy in.
 
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AnneO

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Er, yes. I certainly see it as such an opportunity. Among many other opportunities.

But I do not recognize myself in any of the stereotypes described. The article left me feeling quite annoyed.
I agree with this. I was also slightly annoyed by the article. I am sure there are some that do walk as a way to get away from a spouse for a while. But I don’t think choosing to walk alone is an indication that it is the person’s motivation. And if it is, there isn’t anything wrong with that, by the way.

In May I will be walking alone. I am not trying to be away from my husband and my motivation to walk has nothing to do with him or our relationship.

And I hate the insinuation that couples should be together at all times and if they aren’t we need to analyze their motives.
 

Sirron

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An interesting article in the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-six-weeks-the-case-for-a-marriage-sabbatical

Some of the comments on the article suggested that some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
Well, I'm definitely going to be away from my wife for 40ish days and before this the longest we've ever been a part is about 6 days. However, I haven't ever once considered this trip as some sort of sabbatical or anything. I'll keep in touch with her and the kids but it just isn't possible for us to go somewhere together without the kids. So, she had a couple places she wanted to go this past summer so I watched the kids and I'm doing the Camino in 2023. It works for us. We are taking a trip together with the kids next month so we're still doing most things together!
 

Sirron

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May-July 2023
I agree with this. I was also slightly annoyed by the article. I am sure there are some that do walk as a way to get away from a spouse for a while. But I don’t think choosing to walk alone is an indication that it is the person’s motivation. And if it is, there isn’t anything wrong with that, by the way.

In May I will be walking alone. I am not trying to be away from my husband and my motivation to walk has nothing to do with him or our relationship.

And I hate the insinuation that couples should be together at all times and if they aren’t we need to analyze their motives.
I'll be walking in May as well. I wish my wife could go with me but she can't. It's totally cool to do things separately without it meaning you are trying to be away from your spouse!
 
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jeanineonthecamino

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And I hate the insinuation that couples should be together at all times and if they aren’t we need to analyze their motives.
LOL... like others who have replied - I agree that this article was annoying! But I totally agree with AnneO on this statement! I think there are people who believe couples must do everything together - and if they don't - there is something wrong. Well, if that works for you and your significant other - then great. But WHY must we do everything together to prove we are happy in our marriage? Or to BE happy in our marriage? I think before I got married I just assumed that we would do everything together - but with kids and dogs and a house to run - and different work schedules where our vacation time often isn't approved at the same time - it just hasn't worked out that way. I started working for my kids school district and that gave me summers off to do things with them. But my husband's time off is always in a different season. Now - I look forward to travelling solo much of the time and yet - once in a while we will plan a trip together. It works for us. It is probably why our marriage has lasted as long as it has. We both have "US" time, "Family" time, and "ME" time. It is wonderful. Especially for me - I have more time off each year than he does! haha. Like I said before - the Camino does offer a Sabbatical from marriage and other obligations - but I don't think most of us are doing it "to get away" from our spouse or to decide whether or not to remain married. It is just a break from the real life obligations and the people we leave behind at home (all of them - not just our spouse). And absence can make the heart grow fonder! Hubby and I are often closer when one of us is returning from a vacation.
 

Robo

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I must be missing something. There is no mention of the Camino in the article that I could see.
(In the article it refers to another article by Celia Walden, but that is behind a pay wall)

I didn't find the article that well written. It jumped around all over the place.
It had nothing to do with the type of break we Pilgrims seek, at all. (IMHO)

But in terms of the Camino being a sabbatical? From day to day life and routine. Absolutely.
That's the main reason the Camino draws me back.

From a relationship? Certainly not in my top reasons, but a break can be healthy I think, particularly if normally you are 'joined at the hip'. In the last 2 1/2 years the longest I have been away from Pat is probably..... 8 hours. Once. For an Interstate meeting.

Time alone is good, to reflect on what we have, appreciate what we have......
 

JustJack

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May 2023
I'll be walking the CF in May, and planning to be away for 7 weeks. A sabbatical from my marriage wasn't part of the motivation for doing this, but I've come to view it as an added bonus :). Quite frankly I think the time apart will be a positive thing, and will help us appreciate each other more when I return.

Not seeing my daughter, who will be 14 then, for seven weeks will be difficult, as I've never been away from her for more than a day, but I'm pretty sure it will be much more difficult for me than for her. She will be busy with school and the time will fly by a lot faster for her, whilst I fret and worry about how she's doing.

That said, this is new ground for me, so hard to say at this point where my head will be at when the time comes. I may find myself missing them both and feeling miserable. Regardless, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other until I finish, no matter what.
 
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I must be missing something. There is no mention of the Camino in the article that I could see.
You are not missing anything @Robo , indeed the article does not mention the Camino. It talks about sabbaticals in relationships in a general way.

I was interested in people's comments on the article and so I read the comments on the article on the Guardian website and it is within these comments that the Camino is mentioned by a couple of people.
 

dougfitz

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An interesting article in the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-six-weeks-the-case-for-a-marriage-sabbatical

Some of the comments on the article suggested that some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
The simple answer is no, I don't see the Camino as a sabbatical from my marriage. While my wife and I might be apart, just as we are when she takes time to travel with her daughter, we are not taking a sabbatical from our marriage. It is still there, and given modern communications technology, we still talk to each other every day.

Even when I walked the Gudbrandsdalen in 2012, when there was the prospect that we wouldn't be able to talk to each other for days or weeks, our marriage was still there, even when were weren't together.

Perhaps my Catholic upbringing is coming through here, despite any attempts to repress it! I may not have been good at marriage, but I never saw it as something that could be turned on or off just because the other person was absent.
 
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When I first had an interest to walk the Camino, retirement was coming soon for both of us, and I was very excited to contemplate the idea. In my enthusiasm I started talking to my husband about "us" going, but he was not interested; how could that be?...he'd seen "The Way" with me!🤔😅 After several more attempts at cajoling him, I gave up. I was disappointed, but thankfully one of my sons was able to accompany me as I doubt I would have gone alone.
I was very surprised to find I barely missed him as the stimulation of new sights, sounds, and the beauty of my new surroundings took over my senses. We kept/keep in touch a bit every day which was/is enough. He has had a good attitude about my subsequent Caminos (now 6), which I appreciate as he knows how much they mean to me.
Is my marriage perfect? No it is not, but in addition to the not so great parts, there is a lot of good mixed in for which I am very thankful.
To answer the question, I do not think of these separations as a type of sabbatical.
 
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I often holiday without my husband purely because we have different interests. When I thought about doing the Camino all of 3 weeks ago, I did ask if he wanted to come with me and his answer was no. So I decided to do it myself. So far, 5 days in, it’s been wonderful. I let him know I made it to accommodation every night, I might call if I have something interesting I want to tell him but it’s not the reason I decided to do a Camino.

Although for me, regular time away from each other is great. Time to just focus on yourself and not get admonished in the morning for hogging the covers 😂
 

NM99

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An interesting article in the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-six-weeks-the-case-for-a-marriage-sabbatical

Some of the comments on the article suggested that some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
Having time on my own was certainly the case for me (married 34 years and I had just retired at 59). I didn’t see it as a marriage sabbatical per se, however, I’d always secretly wanted to walk the Camino alone, even though my husband and I had talked of walking it together one day. We have a history of always having a lot of together time (w kids especially) but also a lot of separate time, including mini vacations apart, me with “the girls” and him with his “buddies”. It has always made for interesting stories to tell each other and has allowed us to grow separately while still being together. I was away for 6 weeks on my Camino Francés this spring-summer and there was zero expectation that I had to check in specifically, though I did sporadically. He could see my Facebook and Instagram posts along w everyone else. It was very freeing. And seeing each other on my return felt very rejuvenating, and I had lots of stories to tell.
 
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henrythedog

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I’m not sure I’d subscribe to ‘sabbatical’ exactly; but Mrs Henrythedog and I try our best to encourage the other to do whatever they really want to do, and having personal time away is a necessary and valuable part of that. Whilst we have much in common (same birthday for example) we have much which the other does not love.

It’s good to have space; and good to be close again.
 

lt56ny

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10/22 Aragones/Frances
Er, yes. I certainly see it as such an opportunity. Among many other opportunities.

But I do not recognize myself in any of the stereotypes described. The article left me feeling quite annoyed.
I totally agree with you. I started to get annoyed as soon as I found out that journalist Celia Walden was married to Pierce Morgan. A man among many media "personalities" who I personally am mystified why anyone would care in any manner, shape or form anything he or so many others like him has to say. Of course the first person that reads this may say how love the guy or who are you to judge. Just my opinion. Breaks in marriages or any relationship or job can be very beneficial. When it comes to a relationship break it is up to the two parties involved to determine for themselves the parameters and length of any break. It is no one's business but their own. As for people using the camino for this purpose, it is a personal choice that really deserves no scrutiny or opinion whatsoever. The only thing that would matter regarding this fact is if one pilgrim graces another with an unburdening of problems, hopes desires or whatever brought them to pilgrimage in the first place. All the receiving Pilgrim needs to do is connect, listen, love and acceptance.
 
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An interesting article in the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-six-weeks-the-case-for-a-marriage-sabbatical

Some of the comments on the article suggested that some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
Interesting how people view/judge things... I've done 3 caminos, 2 of them by myself and the first one at the request of my hubby with our 16-year-old at that time. And just this past weekend my hubby was telling some friends that I come a different person after my Caminos. A friend chimed in and said we (wives) come refreshed and ready to serve again sort of idea after we take some days for ourselves.
 
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And just this past weekend my hubby was telling some friends that I come a different person after my Caminos. A friend chimed in and said we (wives) come refreshed and ready to serve again sort of idea after we take some days for ourselves.
Sounds like a rather chauvinistic comment to me...just saying.
 
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Interesting how people view/judge things... I've done 3 caminos, 2 of them by myself and the first one at the request of my hubby with our 16-year-old at that time. And just this past weekend my hubby was telling some friends that I come a different person after my Caminos. A friend chimed in and said we (wives) come refreshed and ready to serve again sort of idea after we take some days for ourselves.

My first proper break without the other half a yoga/fasting retreat. I had already planned a 2 week climbing trip in Greece, but my heart wasn’t in it. I found a retreat in Turkey and made my way there from Greece at the start of the trip, much to the dismay of all our friends.

When I joined them a week later I was so much lighter, mentally, everyone commented that I had changed, where’s the Fi they know and love 😂

They said I was nicer, calmer and slower paced than usual. I guess it turned out to be more than a digestive detox
 
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K_Lynn

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An interesting article in the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-six-weeks-the-case-for-a-marriage-sabbatical

Some of the comments on the article suggested that some people view their Camino as an opportunity to go do something on their own.

What do others think?
My partner and I have an old dog that we do not want to board while away, so we generally vacation separately. I did not see my Camino as a sabbatical, it was something I wanted to do for years and I've always held the opinion that it should be done alone, without a support system in place. We messaged each other every day and face-timed a few times a week. I toured around Spain for another few weeks after walking Camino.
I did meet one gentleman on Camino that was clearly on a sabbatical, (not in the sense of being "single and looking") but as a chance to review and reflect on his marriage. He decided at the end that he would stay with his wife "out of duty" which I honestly find sad. I'd rather be alone than in a marriage with someone that I did not love (or like!).
Another gentleman was walking Frances and was very distraught as his wife decided a few days in that she needed a sabbatical and went off to walk Norte alone. I never did find out what happened to them and if they split or stayed together once they arrived in Santiago.
 

John Holland

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I found this article to be a lot of rubbish. We are all different. Apart from Covid, every year for the past 15 years I have spent six or seven months backpacking around the world (usually in Africa, South America or the 'Stans) as well as doing several long caminos (eg from Germany to Santiago) and other long hikes. My wife does not come with me. She will meet me for a few weeks if I go to Europe (eg after I complete a camino). Our absence from each other has nothing to do with anything mentioned in the article. She and I simply like to do different types of travelling. I love backpacking (though I am in my late 60's) and visiting out of the way countries (eg Sao Tome et Principe) while she can no longer physically do this and needs a proper hotel room. So we allow each other to do what he/she needs to do (eg separate holidays) but sometimes travel together (eg spending a year together in Canada). My caminos have been done simply because I like doing a long hike. As I said we are all different.
 

Rita Flower

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My first Camino in 2007 (a part of a 4 month trip around Europe which I had wanted to do since my 20’s) was definitely a geographic/sabbatical from my marriage and my life in general. I was between careers and had a lot on which I wanted to consider and reflect.
To cut a long story short I returned home to my marriage and within 2 years had moved into different work in my field - a great job I left only recently.
I am in my third Camino right now and this time I there was absolutely no sense of ‘running away’ - it is just something I wanted to do.
We are all different and do things for different reasons at different times. I think the main thing is to use the opportunity that the Camino gives for the benefit of all.
 

Canuckaroo

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Bob from L.A. !

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LOL!!!! " - Sabbatical" - I never thought about approaching the topic with my wife with that word in the conversation. I'll go mention the idea to her and get back to you!
 
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Roland49

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I walked in 2019 for "only" 4 Weeks, 27 days exactly.
And yes, it was a kind of sabbatical, or break, in my marriage.

I used the pilgrimage to get some time off grid, to sort out some thoughts and to reflect the more than 20 years I have been together with my wife. Time for me and my thoughts. Especially the calm and lonely Meseta was very helpful.

For short: after returning from the Camino I gave the learnings and insights half a year to settle. It changed me and the perception of my marriage and relationship.
Finally filed for divorce in spring of 2021. It is a hassle and a real burden and takes several years to get through this process, even if both partners are agreeing.

But the Camino was not the tipping point of my relationship. It was helpful in many ways to be undisturbed by the common duties. In the daily life you do not have the time or chance to really reflect and straighten the strains of the everyday life.

Yes, sometimes it is a sabbatical. And sometime lifechanging decissions are lurking around the next streetcorner.
 
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When I read the original article in The Guardian this is the meaning that I took from what I read:

It was helpful in many ways to be undisturbed by the common duties. In the daily life you do not have the time or chance to really reflect and straighten the strains of the everyday life.

Others seem to have seen different meanings, that is fine. However, this is the theme that I am most interested in and why I made the post.

Just to be really, really clear. I am not asking if you did your Camino in order to gain insight into staying with or leaving a long term relationship.

Some of the early posters mentioned that the time on the Camino provided an unintended opportunity to see themselves in their long term relationships and some even mentioned that their partner/spouse noticed a difference in them and their relationships on return from the Camino.

I reflect on my life from time to time and wonder if the way that I am being is the only way for me?

Have you ever had the experience of doing something or saying something and someone close to you has said "that is very unlike you DoughnutANZ!"

What happens, for me at least, I can't speak for others, is that I develop habitual ways of being and the people closest to me get used to those ways and through their words and actions they tend to hold me within those habitual ways of being.

It is hard enough on its own to change a habitual way of being but add on those around you that you care the most about unknowingly holding you into those ways that they are comfortable with and it can seem imposible to try something else.

In this situation, getting away from your usual relationships with new people who don't know your habitual ways can provide insights and opportunities to try new things.

Again, just to be really clear, this is not some euphemism for starting a new sexual relationship outside of your current one.

Possibly, my use of the word "marriage" in the title threw some people off tack. Anyway, if this opens up the conversation for anyone then please join in.
 

jeanineonthecamino

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Again, just to be really clear, this is not some euphemism for starting a new sexual relationship outside of your current one.
I for one did not see anything you said as being some euphemism for starting a new sexual relationship outside of your current one. And quite frankly - on my two Camino's - I really didn't see signs that people were using the Camino this way at all. I mean - there was the occasional older married guy who was probably "hooking up" with the pretty younger lady he was hanging out with (I use that scenario only because it is what I seemed to be witnessing with 2 "Camino couples") - and I don't know for sure if they WERE "hooking up"... But, for the most, part I didn't find people on the Camino to be "on the prowl" looking to "hook up" with others in a sexual way at all. Lots of close friendships being formed - but for the most part - platonic in nature. Just a lot of people getting to know other people! And lots of inner reflection all around. Some of which might have been with regards to marriage and family - or might have been something totally different.
 

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