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Camino fatigue?

Luka

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Next: Camino Sanabrés (May 2024)
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Hi, Luka. I am not surprised to read your post. You were not in the best of health, from what you posted. Now you are home and probably need time to get your oomph back!
Give it time.
Take a little time to just stop, and breathe.
Your last three questions will offer you answers from your own reflections, although you will receive comments also.
Let me try to say something in response to the questions.
I never thought about 'The Camino' as extraordinary. it was an invitation, and a challenge, and a wonderful achievement. Subsequent caminos have been gifts, of time and opportunity. I live close enough to be able to decide to do another one... but honestly, camino is pilgrimage, for me.
I do not need to walk a recognised camino to Santiago to make a pilgrimage.
I think that is enough for now. be kind to yourself.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I do know I've had days like these.. tiring days, boring days that I question what I'm doing here at all. I'm always glad of my own bed at the end of a camino, but still, the longing comes back. Nothing will ever compare to the magic of that first time, but little bits of magic do still come.. See how you feel about it in a month or two..
 
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me esp. as your experience was not what you wanted. There are a million things to do and see in the world and a millions way to see them each bring their own enjoyment and rewards. Caminos are to a large extent ‘samey’. Same countries, same type of people, same ethos. Of course you meet different folks, stay in different towns, eat tortilla and drink wine in different bars, and may even be in different frames of mind, and walk for different reasons.

I have done 3 caminos, and want to do one more, the VDLP. Iike the familiarity, straightforwardness, the repitition, and so on. It’s different to my normal life. It’s like visiting an old friend, a comfort blanket. The Camino gives me the ability to relax mentally, so I will do the VDLP when I need that…maybe just do one when you feel you ‘need it’?

I am a full time traveller nowadays! Most nights i stay in hostels. I never knew that the occasional night in your own private room, with hot water, could be so special, though if I did it alot he novelty would probably wear off!

Maybe have a real think about what your want next - something challenging - say travelling within a different continent, or a relaxing luxury cruise, a skydiving course, or whatever. Maybe something different in Spain or a European Rail Pass. A Camino is obv. very cheap for you but esp. in Europe you can do a lot of things for not a lot of money. Take your time!
 
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It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Yes, it's sad when you love something so much and then suddenly discover that you've lost the magic. It can happen for any number of reasons, and let's face it, your most recent experience was far from optimal. It doesn't necessarily mean that it's gone forever but clearly you definitely need a break.

I think it's wonderful that you played tourist for once and got to experience another side of the Spain that you love. Let's face it, you see Spain every day, most of us don't. And if you can still see the magic by simply playing tourist for a change, then perhaps it's time to do that and shelve any thought of future caminos for the moment.

I personally strongly dislike road walking, can't stand bars (ironic considering that I managed one), and after a while many of those villages do just blur 1 into another.
When I was younger I spent many years in hostels all over the world, I am sincerely glad that I can now afford to occasionally splash out on a private room. And as to the conversations - it can be hard to steer away from distance and the next days goal. Occasionally I get lucky and have a truly inspiring conversation with somebody about some potentially obscure topic; I've learnt to try and steer it away from the Camino.

Whilst travelling I experienced 'travel fatigue' on many an occasion. I learnt that after a few months of travel I had to stop and do something different for a while (generally by finding a job and a little 'normalcy'). Because otherwise everything that was so special just became the norm, and yes, even boring.

You, like me, seem to spend quite a lot of time on the forum - at least at the moment. You've done multiple caminos over the last few years. You may not always be training for the next one but you certainly seem to have spent a sizeable part of the year doing so. Which means that at present the camino is a large part of your life.

Perhaps it's time to actually go on holiday for a change, and, at home, concentrate for a while on other things that you enjoy?

Just don't forget us ...
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
I would almost imagine that most people who walk Camino only walk one. We are the hardcore here of course who do more. Addictions aren’t always a bad think to lose!!
 
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Luka, what a thoughtful and honest post asking questions that I believe have entered many a pilgrim’s consciousness!

Two immediate issues surface after reading your post and the already wonderful set of comments. How might this experience have been different had you not become ill? I believe most of us struggle on pilgrimage due to the many physical and psychological challenges this activity demands from us in the first place. To become more seriously ill strikes me as a situation that has be be dealt with differently. Your divergence to Salamanca was a good decision because you did what you needed to do for your well being at that moment in time. I think it’s fine to have regrets about getting ill, but not for how you handled the situation. Having courage doesn’t necessarily mean just pushing ahead.

@Flog raises an excellent point about not being able to recapture the full magic from one’s first Camino, but instead only finds it in bits and pieces along The Way. As much as I’ve enjoyed my subsequent Caminos, none of them were as magical as my first one. Therefore, it seems that the expectations for walking and what we hope to find along The Way needs to be adjusted. I know that I have had to do this and thus, the “different” outcome at the end of the day was okay.
 
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Ah, beautiful post, Luka - so real, so honest.
States of mind come and go like clouds in the sky, and the heavy ones are like storms. So it's hard to keep a bigger perspective in the middle of them.

So maybe you're done, maybe not. A bit of space will give things time to settle, as @Kirkie suggested. Then without the immediate reaction to this particular camino alone you'll have a better idea of how you feel towards walking cainos in general.
 
Ah, I do like honest posts ... we never seem to mention it but, isn't doing more than one Camino an odd thing to do?
That first one, for whatever reason we did it, just cannot be replicated .. it lives in our memories .. we have it .. so why go on another? Why do we do that?

I go because I have a mission, doing first aid, so I never travel far, usually keeping to the sections between Pamplona and Logrono where there are seemingly endless casualties (if I take a car with me I also go right up to Roncesvalles and work along from there).
But this year I walked from Fromista - now, I shouldn't have gone as I have a damaged knee that was causing problems but, I am male so fairly stupid at times so of course I went "heavy brace on and it will be ok" ...
I only walked for five days until it collapsed on me and I had to go home but .. on the Meseta there were very few injuries to help with (only five!) so I found myself just walking along as a 'pilgrim' mainly and I too had that feeling - why was I doing this? What was the point?

It surprised me as since my Camino from Moissac in 2005 I had only gone back to do first aid and there I was, essentially being a pilgrim and it all seemed rather pointless - I found I had lost the desire to walk towards St James, (that inner path that runs alongside), so really it was just endless walking, rubbish pilgrim meals, uncomfortable refugios .. yes, the endless 'same' conversations (apart from a couple of great chats) ...

I now know that Camino as pilgrimage is completely over for me and also now know that had I not taken up the fist aid mission but just returned for a second Camino I would have gone home within a week or so.

It surprised me, this revelation I had - strangely, I felt guilty - (and still do) - so haven't mentioned it to anyone.
My knee won't go back to full use now - is from a motorcycle accident 56 years ago and I am now 76 and it is getting pretty bad - so no more walking Camino sections for me .. from now on I will return, carry on the first aid, but with my little car ... just there to find casualties ..

Anyway, long ramble, but yes, I feel the same, entirely the same.

But - Buddha is quoted as saying "Seek happiness for oneself, result misery. Seek happiness for others, result happiness." So if you find Camino starts to pull you again maybe do go back but in a different way?
Hospitelaro? First aider? Masseur? Etc? Just a thought. Thank you for your great post Luka.
 
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I'm with you, Luka.
No more Caminos for me.

This year has left me sick and exhausted . . . again.

I've taken down my YouTube Channel, have deleted my Facebook Group, and am moving on.
Maybe it's time to see my own country.

Two years ago, I had this feeling/
I said I was done... but after a rest, decided to try one. more. time.
This year was worse.
Maybe I'm just old and tired.
Whatever it is - for me it definitely HAS lost its magic and its meaning.

The Way seems to have become something to check off a bucket list.

This season we experienced more attitudes of entitlement, rudeness, and childish backbiting than ever before.
We had people in one group who couldn't get along with the others and made the group leader's job 24 days of Hell. People formed little cliques and were rude to other group members, refusing to even sleep in the same room in shared bookings. And these were small groups of seven people! I had one person in my group who absolutely could not be satisfied. When I gave an ensuite room to a member who was ill, instead of being kind, she was upset that she had to share a bathroom with TWO other people. Not a dorm room where you shared with 50 pilgrims, but beautiful private room. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING was good enough - and we stay in pretty upscale places. It felt like it was all about "Me! Me! ME!"

The blessed feelings of community, sharing, and kindness among pilgrims were waning.

Instead of being grateful for a clean bed and a warm bowl of soup, people were demanding and complained over meaningless things such as lack of windows, shared bathrooms, or locals who don't carry vegan menu options. The rooms weren't nice enough. The food wasn't good enough. The bags weren't transferred fast enough. The taxis charged too much. And on and on and on ... ad nauseum.

Instead of the sound of trekking poles,
the streets rang with the sound of rolling suitcases,
some as large as steamer trunks.
I'm not kidding!

And then, when we got to Santiago, Compostelas were handed out to people who admitted not walking the last 100k, honestly rendering them meaningless, imo.

I feel weary and disheartened.

I'm glad we experienced the Camino when it was still
a spiritual pilgrimage,
a sweet time of sharing space
and helping each other.

Those will remain good memories.
But I really am done.

I will be leaving this forum as well.
I wish you all the best!

Buen Camino!
Annie, hang on! Listen to Van Morrison! Give yourself time before leaving the forum. As for your words above, let me say: I am reading a book about Empire, because I do not know enough about anything. So far, I see that the same old mistakes are being repeated century after century.
Hang on, Annie. You and Joe have given so much. Wait, then decide.
 
... It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?

Being ill when away from home is horrible. I hope that your cold has gone away and that you are feeling better now.

"Is this feeling recognizable to anyone?"

Yes, the sensation you described is very familiar to me in other contexts. I call it "satiation", i.e., the state that exists when one's need or hunger for some substance or environment or stimulus or personal growth activity has been fully satisfied.

It sounds to me as though, at present, your need or hunger for caminos has been fully satisfied. As you are no longer in a camino-deprived state, the sensations associated with planning and walking caminos have ceased being pleasant/rewarding and have reverted to being neutral.

The sensation of satiation itself is neither good nor bad, it is simply a useful signal that there is *currently* no advantage in continuing that activity, and that the resources that were previously allocated to that activity are now available for use in identifying and pursuing other personal growth activities.

"Will it go away?"

I don't think that anyone can know the answer to that question, even your good self. The hunger might indeed come back after a pause. However, I suspect that were you to persist in walking caminos during periods such as now when your need for camino is already fully satisfied, the walking of caminos would cease being a neutral stimulus and would become actively aversive. It would become work. I hope that that does not happen.

Life presents an infinite array of personal growth opportunities.

Whatever you decide, I hope that you will continue to visit us on this forum from time to time.
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
I'm with you Luka - it's not the same Camino.
 
The Camino was a call that did not cease. It was a gentle plea that caused a hunger in one's soul that sought fulfillment. When the call was no longer heard, the pilgrimage ended.
I am a tourist at heart. I have not met a culture that I did not learn to love and appreciate. I love the challenge of learning new languages, new norms, and different perspectives.
I am grateful to have learned when I am a pilgrim and when I am a traveler/tourist. These modes are deeply different, and the one is not superior to the other. I am not saddened to move from one mode to the other. What keeps me going is the sure knowledge that there are still many places to see and many sacred places to enter.
 
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So many good comments here. @Anniesantiago encapsulated much of what I experienced last year during my 3rd camino. Somewhere along the way (pun intended) the camino has morphed into something else...what, I'm not sure. Maybe covid changed us all, made us more entitled, demanding, more insular?

I think too, as the camino's popularity grew, everything got "pilgrimized". I keep coming back to the "disneyfication" of the camino, meaning it's started to feel like a theme park. Bars start to look the same, pilgrim dinners repeated, albergues lost quirkiness....and feeling despondent the sea of rolling suitcases and pack transfers...And the overall sense of a growing intolerance of any discomfort on the camino. Personally, I don't want all of my needs met on a camino. I go on caminos to leave my worldly comforts behind and change things up. It forces me to solve problems creatively, be resourceful, think ahead, think for myself.

My personal observation: as the camino's popularity has grown, I've noticed more and more helplessness, more entitlement, the need to be accommodated in a certain way that takes the popular saying "it's my camino" too far.

So yes @Luka, I know how you feel!
 
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I've mentioned on other threads that the heart and meaning of the Camino did not come to me until I'd been walking 40+ days on my first Camino and had to end prematurely due my husband's illness. I'd been walking and some days really hating it (still do some days as Kirkie's song indicates). Strangers helped us in a time of need and that changed the whole Camino for me.

The Camino for me now is a pilgrimage to care for others through our volunteer work. Yes, I do still walk to remind myself of what pilgrims need and find important, but the meaning comes from listening to the stories of others, helping them solve their own problems, and providing refuge each night. It takes me out of my own head and helps me open my heart to others.
 
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Yes. On the Podiensis last fall, I felt many times, the "I don't know how many of these I have left in me." It was by far the physically toughest of the 3 prior caminos I have done. Now I will head out to do the Primitivo this summer since my daughter is going. How could I pass that up? I am excited about seeing it through her eyes. And knowing it's not going to be over a month long. But I feel you. I will keep going as long as I can.
 
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I think - there is a time for playing, there is a time for singing, a time for working, a time for walking and - sometimes it is just time to not walk any more. No judgement - what is, is, I invite simply being in the present moment, breathing in and out and repeat...... it is not a failure, it is life.... Thank you for having walked what you have in such a Good Way. No one can predict what will come and so many of us spend time in the past or worry about the future when we forget we only really live in the present moment... With gratitude, Barb
 
Life goes on. People change and grow. The camino is forever changing, and so do are the people who walk it, and maintain it. You've given it loads of attention over the years. Maybe it's time to find a new fascination... I daresay most people who do the camino do. There's no shame in that. Get on with your life!
 
If we're lucky, life will give us many opportunities to experience wonder, beauty, cameraderie, gratitude, and self-reflection. Sometimes they can come in the quiet of a sunny window in a hotel in Salamanca, a bird chirping in your backyard, the majesty of of a Gothic cathedral, or the quiet crunching of your shoes on a gravel path.

I have loved my two caminos, with another coming next Spring - being outdoors, the freedom of a mostly healthy body, the kindness of strangers and fellow pilgrims, the simplicity of a pilgrim's life, the unseen company of those pilgrims from times past, the sense of connection to humanity and divinity, and the sense of accomplishment. But my wife yearns for doing other things too, and I suspect our next circuitous camino will be our last, at least for awhile. For me that's OK - I love the camino, but there are other adventures to experience.

One somewhat related comment, I don't know how many different routes you have walked. By the time we finish next Spring's camino, we will have walked nearly 3,500 km of camino routes, and repeated less than 80 km. So if any of a person's fatigue related to the camino comes from re-walking the same route, that is easily rectified.
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Hey Luka, this is not strange to me and I believe is quite normal. With what frequency have you been on the Camino? How often do you read or talk about Caminos?

Last year I did two Caminos, Frances for the second time and Ingles, the latter in December.
I was honestly done with Caminos when I came back home after my last stay in Galicia and for a few months I haven't had the urge to look at Camino things...however slowly the flame has reignited itself and lately I am back in reading and planning mode.
Actually thinking about the next Camino or even living on the Camino for a period of time.

Give it a bit of time and rest, Santiago will call you back.
 
I'm with you Luka - it's not the same Camino.

I have read your longer post, still quoted by @Kirkie. I didn't expect my post would resonate so well. Sorry to read about your last experience, Annie. It is definitely part of the answer why the Camino seemingly lost its luster for me. It seems like it has become a hiking holiday (and sometimes even without the hiking). And yes, even on the Sanabrés I have seen these enormous suitcases. It is all so massive now that it starts to feel more and more like a tourist attraction and a bucketlist thing.

I avoided the Francés for this reason, but I am starting to experience the same on other Caminos, especially when getting closer to Santiago. Not easy to put it into words, but I think I miss the old Camino spirit. Was it a coincidence that almost all pilgrims in the Xunta albergue in Oseira did the tour in the monastery, but that there were only two of us joining the Vespers?
 
One somewhat related comment, I don't know how many different routes you have walked. By the time we finish next Spring's camino, we will have walked nearly 3,500 km of camino routes, and repeated less than 80 km. So if any of a person's fatigue related to the camino comes from re-walking the same route, that is easily rectified.

Same here. I have walked more than 4000 km and hardly anything twice. And the feeling of 'why am I doing this' has never appeared on a section I already walked before.
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Luka, do you walk alone? As in, you do not bring a walking friend from where you are from?
 
Ah, I do like honest posts ... we never seem to mention it but, isn't doing more than one Camino an odd thing to do?
That first one, for whatever reason we did it, just cannot be replicated .. it lives in our memories .. we have it .. so why go on another? Why do we do that?

I go because I have a mission, doing first aid, so I never travel far, usually keeping to the sections between Pamplona and Logrono where there are seemingly endless casualties (if I take a car with me I also go right up to Roncesvalles and work along from there).
But this year I walked from Fromista - now, I shouldn't have gone as I have a damaged knee that was causing problems but, I am male so fairly stupid at times so of course I went "heavy brace on and it will be ok" ...
I only walked for five days until it collapsed on me and I had to go home but .. on the Meseta there were very few injuries to help with (only five!) so I found myself just walking along as a 'pilgrim' mainly and I too had that feeling - why was I doing this? What was the point?

It surprised me as since my Camino from Moissac in 2005 I had only gone back to do first aid and there I was, essentially being a pilgrim and it all seemed rather pointless - I found I had lost the desire to walk towards St James, (that inner path that runs alongside), so really it was just endless walking, rubbish pilgrim meals, uncomfortable refugios .. yes, the endless 'same' conversations (apart from a couple of great chats) ...

I now know that Camino as pilgrimage is completely over for me and also now know that had I not taken up the fist aid mission but just returned for a second Camino I would have gone home within a week or so.

It surprised me, this revelation I had - strangely, I felt guilty - (and still do) - so haven't mentioned it to anyone.
My knee won't go back to full use now - is from a motorcycle accident 56 years ago and I am now 76 and it is getting pretty bad - so no more walking Camino sections for me .. from now on I will return, carry on the first aid, but with my little car ... just there to find casualties ..

Anyway, long ramble, but yes, I feel the same, entirely the same.

But - Buddha is quoted as saying "Seek happiness for oneself, result misery. Seek happiness for others, result happiness." So if you find Camino starts to pull you again maybe do go back but in a different way?
Hospitelaro? First aider? Masseur? Etc? Just a thought. Thank you for your great post Luka.
Wow, thank you for your honesty and your beautiful post!

I think you dropped a penny here. Maybe it is about purpose. My first Caminos were life changing events (result: I live in Spain now). I was looking for answers to big questions (and found them after a couple of 1000 km walking).

Since I live in Spain, I am mostly drawn to the Camino because of that Camino feeling. And also because I just like to hike, and I enjoy the combination of walking solo and having some company in the evening. But I don't walk anymore because of big life questions. So it is maybe more a nostalgic longing for that kind of spirit I felt before. But part of that spirit was of course within me, so it is not so strange that I don't find it that often anymore.

How wonderful you have found a new purpose on the Camino! (I am curious how that works, doing first aid on the Camino, how do the people that need your help find you?) It would be interesting to explore if there would be some kind of new purpose for me too. I recall a week on the Meseta in 2019. For me it was mostly a break after working on a book for 5 months, but somehow several people chose me that week to tell their (very) personal stories. Unintentionally these conversations gave a meaning to my own little pilgrimage: that was apparently my role in that week, to lend a sympathetic ear.

And how wonderful you haven't kept on clinging to a lost feeling, but accepted that your role on the Camino has changed from pilgrim to first aider. ❤️
 
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Hi, Luka. I am not surprised to read your post. You were not in the best of health, from what you posted. Now you are home and probably need time to get your oomph back!
Give it time.
Take a little time to just stop, and breathe.
Your last three questions will offer you answers from your own reflections, although you will receive comments also.
Let me try to say something in response to the questions.
I never thought about 'The Camino' as extraordinary. it was an invitation, and a challenge, and a wonderful achievement. Subsequent caminos have been gifts, of time and opportunity. I live close enough to be able to decide to do another one... but honestly, camino is pilgrimage, for me.
I do not need to walk a recognised camino to Santiago to make a pilgrimage.
I think that is enough for now. be kind to yourself.
Thanks @Kirkie! Giving it a bit of time and space is definitely a good idea.
 
Yes, if I go as a pilgrim, I prefer to walk alone. I have one friend I walk with every now and then, but I call that hiking holidays. Enjoyable, but a different experience.
I see :) Freud said that boredom was a sign of anxiety which I have always found insightful and challenging to dwell on!
 
Sometimes it is simply time to accept that a loved activity is no longer quite as important to you. That might be temporary or it might be permanent. In either case, view it as a nudge or opportunity to consider something else. I especially liked these comments:
The sensation of satiation itself is neither good nor bad, it is simply a useful signal that there is *currently* no advantage in continuing that activity, and that the resources that were previously allocated to that activity are now available for use in identifying and pursuing other personal growth activities.
sometimes it is just time to not walk any more. No judgement - what is, is, I invite simply being in the present moment, breathing in and out and repeat...... it is not a failure, it is life..
Life goes on. People change and grow. The camino is forever changing, and so do are the people who walk it, and maintain it. You've given it loads of attention over the years. Maybe it's time to find a new fascination... I daresay most people who do the camino do. There's no shame in that. Get on with your life!

I don't think it is so helpful to focus on blaming "the Camino" and its changes. I have not walked on a crowded Camino for a few years, so these changes have not been a factor, but I am still feeling some of this disinterest after my last experience. It is a feeling within me, not something that the Camino can provide! There were several contributing factors, that I understand and accept.

For me it is very important to continue walking at home, for my health and pleasure, whether or not I ever go to Spain again. You are living there, so it might be harder to separate the Camino from your non-Camino life. However, maybe you have "put all your eggs in one basket," and it is time to diversify and develop some other interests. The Camino can still come and go in your life.
 
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Maybe it is a feeling of loss. Of clinging on to something that existed in the past. For years it seemed so easy: my go to for a couple of enjoyable weeks was the Camino. It was like a candy store, so many Caminos to choose from, always the same recipe that I liked so much: walking in nature, staying in unknown villages, meeting fellow pilgrims. But the formula doesn't seem to work anymore like it used to.
 
I see :) Freud said that boredom was a sign of anxiety which I have always found insightful and challenging to dwell on!
Ah yes, I do believe boredom can be very useful and even necessary. Northern France, back in the old days. A sleepy village and no wifi. Learned a lot from those never ending afternoons.
 
Sometimes it is simply time to accept that a loved activity is no longer quite as important to you. That might be temporary or it might be permanent. In either case, view it as a nudge or opportunity to consider something else. I especially liked these comments:




I don't think it is so helpful to focus on blaming "the Camino" and its changes. I have not walked on a crowded Camino for a few years, so these changes have not been a factor, but I am still feeling some of this disinterest after my last experience. It is a feeling within me, not something that the Camino can provide! There were several contributing factors, that I understand and accept.

For me it is very important to continue walking at home, for my health and pleasure, whether or not I ever go to Spain again. You are living there, so it might be harder to separate the Camino from your non-Camino life. However, maybe you have "put all your eggs in one basket," and it is time to diversify and develop some other interests. The Camino can still come and go in your life.
Thanks @C clearly, spot on. And I agree about those comments. I think I do have to accept that the old formula doesn't work that well anymore. And I do agree that it also opens up loads of new opportunities. It will just take a bit of time to adjust the mind.
 
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I am still walking my first camino ... but it reminds me a lot several silent retreats I did ... I loved them so much but unexpecetedly in 2017 I had to cut it short due to illness of my father ... and somehow I felt it was the last silent retreat and so far it has been ... sometimes we change in unexpected ways and are invited to listen and wait ... and we are called somewhere else entirely ...
As everyone else said do take care of yourself ... mind, body and soul
 
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Thanks Luka....It is good to know that I am not alone in the many posts expressed here.
I cannot find the interest in another Camino....as many of the veterans have shared....it simply has changed to something that is not recognized.
The posts on this forum have gradually changed to reflect the changed attitude on the Camino routes.
I no longer check in on the forum on a daily basis and find myself drifting further and further away from Camino things.

But...it is always great to here from long time friends like Luka and the other friends who have posted on this welcome thread topic.
 
It is interesting. I hesitated to post this thread. Why bother people on a pilgrims forum with not wanting to walk the Camino again? But I am really glad I did and your valuable insights are very helpful. Thank you all for that. The Camino spirit definitely still exists on this forum. 🙂
 
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Luka I too walked first in 2011 and was on this forum asking endless questions and found some good advice. A few years ago I walked some very pleasant Caminos in Portugal to Santiago and one not to Santiago but Fatima and some Coastal towns. I came home saying That's me done with Camino. This year a Camino friend suggested the Primitivo and I said Yes, she then suggested the San Salvador as an add on and I said Yes. I'm not long back and I too was taken ill but managed to keep walking. I am now thinking of going back and doing a few more routes maybe even this year. I have to confess I simply ignored some people who started the "where are you from" conversation, I have developed techniques to not engage which are not perhaps "acceptable" but I accept it's essential for my enjoyment and need to keep quiet and usually walk alone.
I think my few years not even thinking about Camino was restorative. When I go on Holidays to Spain and Italy it's usually walking orientated. I think the Camino provides an opportunity to walk fabulous pathways, stay in places out of the way and lets me walk and eat and sleep. And on this Camino I met a very small group of amazing Pilgrims. (and some not quite as amazing!). Rest up Luka take a break from the Forum and see what will happen. For sure it will be something good for you.
 
Hi Luka,
I sympathise with this disillusionment. To some degree, I felt a little of it myself. I THINK for me , that maybe it's because I'm beginning to feel the discomforts a little more than I used to. I'm 66 and in the other areas of my life, I'm allowing myself more comfort, rather than less. I've decided that for me, the camino still holds its magic BUT I'm no longer going to end up in Santiago and I'm no longer going to travel any of the last 100ks. I also think perhaps fewer days tham 35, might be more beneficial. Fingers crossed, that'll do the trick. xx
 
Luka, Your post has struck a chord with so many of us. I have been experiencing a different feeling about why I should no longer walk a camino. I have wondered if the Camino has been telling me I am done. What do I mean? In 2019, I walked half the Le Puy with every intention of returning to complete it. After Covid, in 2021, I did return -with my husband for the first time- and 3 days into our walk, he fell and strained a quad muscle - essentially ending this attempt. In 2022, we went to Porto to walk the Camino Portuguese. The night before we would start walking, I ended up in the emergency and then the cardiac ICU of the Porto hospitals for 8 hours of surgery. In summer 2023, I felt recuperated enough to once again head for France, but when I told my cardiologist, he said that was a bad idea, and again I did not go. So is the spirit of the Camino telling me no more, your pilgrimage way is no longer on a camino. You must make your own way now?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Luka, Your post has struck a chord with so many of us. I have been experiencing a different feeling about why I should no longer walk a camino. I have wondered if the Camino has been telling me I am done. What do I mean? In 2019, I walked half the Le Puy with every intention of returning to complete it. After Covid, in 2021, I did return -with my husband for the first time- and 3 days into our walk, he fell and strained a quad muscle - essentially ending this attempt. In 2022, we went to Porto to walk the Camino Portuguese. The night before we would start walking, I ended up in the emergency and then the cardiac ICU of the Porto hospitals for 8 hours of surgery. In summer 2023, I felt recuperated enough to once again head for France, but when I told my cardiologist, he said that was a bad idea, and again I did not go. So is the spirit of the Camino telling me no more, your pilgrimage way is no longer on a camino. You must make your own way now?
I can indeed imagine it feels like your body is telling you it has been enough. I didn't have such a severe experience as you did in Porto, but it could be that my body is trying to teach me a similar lesson. Last summer I had to quit my Camino because of a recurring Achilles tendons injury and cardiac arrhythmia and this time I got feverish and catched a cold.
 
I have walked six Caminos over the past 15 years and will spend 8 days on the Portuguese this fall (but will end before the last 100km). Enjoyed the time outdoors, the tiny towns, scenery, keeping an aging body fit, - interspersed with surprises of spirituality, the feeling of wonder and appreciation for life itself.

The big question is can I know when it’s time to stop without having a disappointing experience. To quit while I can still hit the high notes.
 
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Maybe it's time to not walk. Maybe it's time to step into a different role -- the one who enables others to make the walk. Have you served as a hospitalera?
You can also join others in activism, keeping the Camino (and other cultural treasures) free from over-development and exploitation, ensuring the laws on the books are enforced so our grandkids can have nice things, too.
I have lived and served on the camino for a long time, and God do I know what Camino burnout feels like! My home circumstances keep me from taking long walks now and renewing that "vibe," but I keep my spirits alive by remembering "it is in giving that we receive."
We have gained so much from the people along the Way. I encourage every veteran to take an opportunity to pass that delicious "camino spirit" to these great new waves of pilgrims. It's our turn.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I’d kind of planned my swan-song Camino this year and then got distracted by Magna Grecia and the early Christian churches of southern Italy. The echoes of Byzantium on the walls of a monastery cut into the rock of ages gives a context I’d nearly lost sight of.

The linear city we call the Camino Frances has no draw for me now. There’s far too much more to be explored and experienced. Some of my trip has been beyond challenging but far more satisfying than another game of “follow the rucksack in front”. Some of our accommodation would make Albergue San Juan de Ortega seem like a Parador (😉). Some of the kindnesses received were enough to bring a tear to this old grumps eye.

So, where does that leave Camino and my beloved Spain? Always nibbling at my consciousness I guess. But I’ve enjoyed NOT being on Camino this year. @Luka take a break, take a hike ( in the non perjorative 😉). Do what you can that gives you pleasure.

“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”

Edna St. Vincent Millay
 
Hi Luka, I appreciate your honesty and also find value and appreciate the comments from others who have responded to your very candid thread.

I have just counted and see I have been to Spain eight times, and also France and Italy; all to walk various Caminos. I have enjoyed them all, but the magic was definitely in the first one on the Frances in 2015 as an early retiree. Although that same magic is not the same after so many years, my enjoyment of them all in different ways has kept me returning time and again.
I admit on my recent Sanabres there were a few times looking down at the ground underfoot with rocks and mud to pick my way through that I did ask myself "Why am I compelled to still do this?"...and I don't really have a definite answer. Then when I arrived in Santiago, I enjoyed watching all the exuberant newbies who were so excited and pumped up to be in the square, having arrived with backpacks and poles, but I no longer experience any of that same enthusiasm. In fact, I preferred mostly to spend time in my awesome apartment, and for the first time I didn't go in the Cathedral.🫣 In my two days in Santiago, my highlight was meeting virtual friend, @JennyH94 for dinner.🙂

I need time to sit back and evaluate more, but I think I may choose to return to France or Italy next time for a change and combine the walking I've loved with a bit more sightseeing. The word pilgrim no longer seems to really describe me if I am honest, and staying in albergues is now more a novelty as my preference has been private lodgings for the last several years.
These are just a few of my thoughts and ramblings at the moment as I contemplate what you have said.
 
Hi Luka, I appreciate your honesty and also find value and appreciate the comments from others who have responded to your very candid thread.

I have just counted and see I have been to Spain eight times, and also France and Italy; all to walk various Caminos. I have enjoyed them all, but the magic was definitely in the first one on the Frances in 2015 as an early retiree. Although that same magic is not the same after so many years, my enjoyment of them all in different ways has kept me returning time and again.
I admit on my recent Sanabres there were a few times looking down at the ground underfoot with rocks and mud to pick my way through that I did ask myself "Why am I compelled to still do this?"...and I don't really have a definite answer. Then when I arrived in Santiago, I enjoyed watching all the exuberant newbies who were so excited and pumped up to be in the square, having arrived with backpacks and poles, but I no longer experience any of that same enthusiasm. In fact, I preferred mostly to spend time in my awesome apartment, and for the first time I didn't go in the Cathedral.🫣 In my two days in Santiago, my highlight was meeting virtual friend, @JennyH94 for dinner.🙂

I need time to sit back and evaluate more, but I think I may choose to return to France or Italy next time for a change and combine the walking I've loved with a bit more sightseeing. The word pilgrim no longer seems to really describe me if I am honest, and staying in albergues is now more a novelty as my preference has been private lodgings for the last several years.
These are just a few of my thoughts and ramblings at the moment as I contemplate what you have said.
I didn’t go into the cathedral either, for the first time.
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Hey Luka, on the Frances now, the one route I always swore I wouldn’t do. I lost every bit of Magic on this one. Just couldn’t sync in, wasn’t enjoying it. All the newbies were so excited and proud they had booked every accommodation. Caught in two large Korean tour groups, one smaller Aussie one and a group of Utah college kids ( but got a great medieval architecture lesson from the prof in Castrojeriz!). No matter what I did, really long stages, half day, I couldn’t break out of the crowds. But around Burgos, I spent a day walking with a slightly irreverent, very open and funny Australian priest. We talked and talked and there was a glimpse of purpose again. Then there was an incredibly sweet moment with the Hontanas nun…gifted with the small medallion, a hug on the shoulder and stroking my hair, there was a beautiful sense of love and absolute peace. I’m not Catholic but started searching for masses, vespers, any religious experience. It worked. I repeatedly go for blessing after blessing. Most are warm, kind and thoughtful, even taking a few seconds longer to reach out to this Protestant pilgrim. There’s been a couple of grouchy older priests who begrudgingly made the sign of the cross very quickly over me but they were the exception, not the rule. Will I do the Frances again? I don’t know. But the friends I’ve walked with and the locals reaching out to a solo female traveler have been heartwarming. I hope you find your Magic again. Honestly, in this crazy world, Caminos are the only place I find peace.
 
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I mean this in the nicest way possible... I think it might be time for you to break up with the camino... maybe a trial separation. If you have tied all your happiness to walking caminos and are now feeling jaded then perhaps it's time for something new ? I don't mean walking thru different places either...

The camino changes, we change... everything changes and we all have to adapt. I hope you can move on and find some peace in something else :)
 
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Maybe it's time to not walk. Maybe it's time to step into a different role -- the one who enables others to make the walk. Have you served as a hospitalera?
You can also join others in activism, keeping the Camino (and other cultural treasures) free from over-development and exploitation, ensuring the laws on the books are enforced so our grandkids can have nice things, too.
I have lived and served on the camino for a long time, and God do I know what Camino burnout feels like! My home circumstances keep me from taking long walks now and renewing that "vibe," but I keep my spirits alive by remembering "it is in giving that we receive."
We have gained so much from the people along the Way. I encourage every veteran to take an opportunity to pass that delicious "camino spirit" to these great new waves of pilgrims. It's our turn.
Yes, I served as hospitalera once in a donativo albergue for 2,5 weeks. It wore me out. To the extend that I locked myself up in the bathroom with a book. It wasn't the cleaning and the cooking, it was the social part. I am too much of an introvert to be hospitalera.

And yes, I will think about a way to contribute to the Camino. Waymarking, picking up rubbish, and activism could be an option too. Anything to keep the Camino spirit alive. Anna, the owner of Aves del Paso on the Norte, let pilgrims write 'buen camino notes', a message from one pilgrim to another. It could be something as simple as that.
 
I need time to sit back and evaluate more, but I think I may choose to return to France or Italy next time for a change and combine the walking I've loved with a bit more sightseeing. The word pilgrim no longer seems to really describe me if I am honest, and staying in albergues is now more a novelty as my preference has been private lodgings for the last several years.
These are just a few of my thoughts and ramblings at the moment as I contemplate what you have said.
Thanks for your honest response, @Camino Chrissy! I am also considering something similar. Maybe not a Camino, but a hiking trail somewhere in France. Or England, but that seems an expensive expediton. A change of scenery.
 
I mean this in the nicest way possible... I think it might be time for you to break up with the camino... maybe a trial separation. If you have tied all your happiness to walking caminos and are now feeling jaded then perhaps it's time for something new ? I don't mean walking thru different places either...

The camino changes, we change... everything changes and we all have to adapt. I hope you can move on and find some peace in something else :)
Yes, a shift of focus would be good and refreshing. Fortunately I don't get all my happiness from walking Caminos. There is definitely more in life. And I have always loved hiking (long before I discovered the Camino), so I won't give up on that. There is much more than following shells.
 
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I haven't reached your stage yet, I am just about to get the train to Stansted Airport before flying to Biarritz tomorrow for my 3rd Camino - still excited about what lies ahead, slightly later than before so the scenery will be different. Yippee!
 
I haven't reached your stage yet, I am just about to get the train to Stansted Airport before flying to Biarritz tomorrow for my 3rd Camino - still excited about what lies ahead, slightly later than before so the scenery will be different. Yippee!
It is exciting for me to read the excitement and anticipation in others, such as yourself, and thankfully I usually still feel some of that, too.
 
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Luka,
I am a reader behind the scenes of many of these threads and I don't know if my contribution will be of any use...I hope so.
I have read many of your contributions and valuable and interesting they are.
My experience, for what it is worth, is all about balance. Sometimes less is more. I say this as someone who has very often got the balance wrong and focussed too heavily on some things to the detriment of others.
Take a breather and enjoy life....your passion and interest will return. Variety is the spice of life and sometimes it is only about recharging and rediscovery. A bit like a book you have read many years ago and have picked up and reread. The enjoyment is still there to be discovered anew.
 
Hi Luka,
I did the CF 7 years ago followed by the Le Puy camino 6 years ago. 5 years ago I tried the Camino del Norte but gave up due to no accommodation. I was unwell as well with a bad cold. I remember thinking like you how repetitive the camino was and Spain I had seen before.I ended up going to Morocco on a tour. The tour was definitely not my thing. Last year I repeated the CF in October and despite two weeks of rain and a tolerable cold loved it. Perhaps you just need a break.
 
Lots of great responses here @Luka .

Not sure I have much to add, other than I totally 'get' where you are coming from.

Our first Camino is rather like a first love I think.
So special that we want to 'revisit' that feeling again and again.
But first loves are special, because they are the first.

My first Camino was certainly the 'best' in that sense.
Because it was so new, the whole experience, the people, the food, the physical aspects.......

I also 'get' that the Camino is changing.

On many Facebook groups there are very strong responses to anyone who dares to criticise the manner in which people undertake a Camino. Booking ahead and luggage transfer appears to be the norm now. And I would certainly not take 'sides' on that. People will walk it as they wish.

It just saddens me sometimes to think that so many people might miss some of the wonderful aspects and life lessons that the Camino can teach us. But I try to bite my lip. I was guilty of this myself too. Avoiding communal sleeping areas till last year. It's often only through experiencing something first hand, that we understand the attraction or not. But we shouldn't try to impose our Camino ideas on others.

I spent 3 days on the Frances last year. And whilst it was wonderful, that was enough. It felt like the final 100 kms from Sarria. (and it was the Astorga to Ponferrada sections)

It's wasn't bad. It's just not what I fell in love with back in 2015. (I was quite a late commer).
The popular routes are different now.
Not worse, not better, just different.

And those walking these routes for the first time will fall in love, just like we did.
But they'll fall in love with what they find now.

I did a lot of soul seraching on my last Camino, which was a blend of the VdlP, Frances, Invierno and Fisterra.

I truly loved each of the 4 bits. But none of them individually 'had it all' for me.
Not like that first Frances back in 2015.

At the end, I wondered if that Camino might be my last.
On the final day, my summary video basically implied.........I'm done.

But I'm not. :rolleyes:

I think I'm learning to enjoy a Camino in a much broader sense now.
Not trying to 'chase the Dragon' as someone said earlier.

But enjoying each new Camino for what it is. Not what I hope it to be.

And another lesson I learned last year I think, was that I shouldn't ever repeat a Camino route.
A new route keeps things fresh and exciting and somewhat unexpected.

Maybe @Luka we can get too much of a good thing?
Perhaps a break would be good.
See if the 'yearning' resurfaces after a break?

Best Wishes.

Sorry to ramble on. :oops:
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I'm with you Luka - it's not the same Camino.

Hope you hang around @Anniesantiago. It would be a pity to see you go.

I wonder if perhaps it's the repeat walks on the Frances that has demoralised you?

And whilst I realise it's your guided tours that take you there.
Maybe gift yourself at some stage, a more remote route.
It might just feed your soul what it needs.
"Far from the madding crowd”

Perhaps routes with few accomodation options and no luggage transfer might be the refuge for us repeat offenders.

Regardless. Best Wishes. :)
 
After having a beautiful day yesterday ( see my posts), I lost some Magic today. It didn’t help that it was a hot sweaty slog this afternoon. I was really looking forward to a cute, more remote Albergue, surely full of wonderful Camino Magic. I left the dinner table when things got heated with racist bigots, a no go for me. Came upstairs to my room over the bar to the bass thump of disco music and a family with a bunch of younger kids in the bunk rooms next to me amused themselves by slamming doors over and over and over… Ahhh… the Lord gives Magic and the Lord takes it away, too…
 
It feels like I have lost the Camino magic.
Hi Luka, I have no idea if this option will be of any help at all, but 5 years after walking a camino every year, I decided to take a group (in 2017) from my local hiking club. (There are several threads in the archives, so I won’t go into the reasons why.)

I didn’t want to make any money out of it, I just wanted them to experience the Camino Magic as much as I had, so I just organized it all.

It was interesting, as not only did they learn a lot, but I did too. I’m still learning as I still bring groups occasionally. They are often very religious and they have to save very hard all year to be able to finance their trip, so we have to stay in the cheaper hostels, but all that may go a long way in their appreciation of everything along the way.

I get a lot of joy in being able to help them get to the camino, walk some of it, and get back home again. And I am surely blessed that I have the finances to be able to do this.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is, when I take a group on the camino ALL my attention is on looking after them, checking, checking and double checking that all is in order, so that I forget anything about my own needs and wants.

Then +- 6 months later I’ll book a flight and walk a camino on my own, out of season, enjoy just being me, on my own, staying at anywhere that’s open (the cheapest), meeting other hardcore winter peregrinas heading for Santiago . . .

. . . and feel the Magic again.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I first saw this thread earlier this week, on Tuesday. I believe that is when it first appeared. I have read it through, repeatedly, in the days since. When I first read it, I was keeping vigil at my wife's bedside in a Washington, DC hospital. She was there for over three-weeks, for reconstructive surgery on her intestines.

Without too much detail, my wife became acutely ill a year ago, suffering the loss of three-quarters of her small intestine. Over the past year, a team of world-class specialists have been working to get Cynthia strong enough for the surgery she had in early May, to reconnect her remaining bits. The surgery went splendidly, But, minor infections kept her in hospital longer than hoped for.

We are home now. My wife is on the mend. We have a path forward. My daily role now is that of nurse and close companion, helping my wife heal the rest of the way. As was the case last year, we will have nurses and therapists coming to our home to help Cynthia.

I mention this because it has a direct affect on my Camino activities. But, I wanted to ruminate over my feelings for this thread and to frame a cogent and useful contribution to the thread before replying. It has been four days now. I think I am ready to try to help.

In this life, context is everything. My experiences caring for my wife over the past year or more have added a profound new context to my, more than a decade history with the Camino de Santiago.

I walked my first Camino (Frances) in 2013. While I was not pursuing this pilgrimage for religious purposes, it nonetheless affected me in a deep, profound, and lasting way. It literally changed my life moving forward.

Coming off this experience, I learned about the volunteer opportunities from a volunteer at the old pilgrim office, when I arrived to get my first Compostela. My nearly six-weeks of experience with the Camino Frances, and Santiago de Compostela, compelled me to learn more.

Long story short - the next year, I walked the Camino Frances once again, and started my first volunteer stint the following week. I made new friends and am still in correspondence with them. I consider the staff at the Pilgrim Office to be my second family. They like me, and i hold them all in great affection.

I proceeded to walk additional; Caminos in 2015 (Porto), 2016 (Madrid), 2017 (Lisbon), 2018, and 2019 (Primitivo). COVID interrupted my 2020 plans, as it did for most everyone. Personal medical issues and surgery scuppered my 2021 and 2022 Camino plans.

When not walking a Camino, I was trying to work as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office at Santiago. I managed to do this most every year except for 2020 - the year that wasn't.

I am certain many of you are familiar with the adage: "man plans - God laughs..." Well, I planned to walk a Camino each year, followed by a second trip to Sanitago to volunteer. Things were going wonderfully, until God, Karma, whatever, intervened.

My wife's serious illness necessarily derailed my 2023 and 2024 Camino and volunteering aspirations.

So, here I sit. I have had a wonderful run with the Camino de Santiago. I still want to do more as long as I am physically able. Am I a Camino Addict as some have inferred above? I do not know. But I just want more.

In addressing the issue of waning interest in the Camino, I offer the following tidbits and observations from my experiences:

Pursuing a walking Camino, or repeated Caminos, falls within the ambit of Ecclesiastes :31, which affirms two important reminders:

"The things we go through in life are not in vain. Our situations will not last forever. If you are in a certain season of life, you can be confident the season will come to an end at some point.

This verse serves as a reminder that our circumstances will change and that is something we can come to expect in life. Whatever God takes us through has purpose, perhaps to deepen our faith or to help us achieve breakthrough in an area of life.

We will get over our sorrows. We will get out of the valley. We will go through hardships. And whatever season of life we find ourselves in, it will have a beginning and it will have an end. We will enter new seasons, too. Ones that bring relief, hope, or a deeper sense of faith."

Stated otherwise, there is a time or season for walking a Camino, serving as a volunteer or participating in a local Camino chapter. Also true, there is a a time or season when one must put these pastimes and interests aside for the greater good, or for the good of another person.

I am going through one of those episodes now - and have been for the past 15 months. During that time, I very nearly lost my wife of 45-years twice, our beloved pet cat passed from cancer, and my mother passed in July. We have no children. My responsibilities for my wife precluded me from traveling - anywhere for any reason. So mom's cremains have not yet been interred with my late father. The family insists on waiting for Cynthia to be able to be present. But, it weighs heavily on me.

My considered advice for my global Camino family - writ large - is to accept that there are times when your interest in all things Camino, and especially investing the time and effort to walk a pilgrimage, may wane. Even without external influences, as in my experience, just having too much of a "good thing" can dull your appreciation of, interest in, or motivation to undertake another Camino.

I can offer the analog of a child who wants, craves, and begs for a particular Christmas gift. All year long, this child will go on, harping about how this thing will make everything good in the child's life.

So, sacrifices are made, trade-offs are made, choices are taken. On Christmas, the child is presented with the object of his or her desires as a gift.

We have all seen this, either first-hand as a child, or as a parent or other relative. The child unwraps the gift with extreme glee and happiness. They play with the toy for perhaps up to one-hour - or less - then sets the craved for thing aside and moves onto some other stimulation.

I suggest that for some pilgrims, the same sort of paradigm holds for the first or second Camino. After the "new" wears off, we become more complacent, jaded, or simply take the privilege of being able to walk pilgrimage for granted. We are seeing this, elevated to a grand scale with the recent, sharp increase in organized tour groups, "tourigrinos," and "short-walkers" who only do the minimum needed to be eligible for a Compostela.

Here, I differentiate those "short walkers" who cannot do more for any number of reasons, from those who CHOOSE to do the least effort possible. I respect the effort, if it is all you are capable to do.

There are some pilgrims who walk a different Camino every year, or several Caminos each year. When these pilgrims express ennui or disappointment - as is the thrust of this dialog - the reason (perceived or not) may be stimulus overload. Too much of a good thing, in a defined period of time.

The classical approach to dealing with anyone who suffers from this sort of "binge behavior" is to meter or attenuate these behaviors with alternative behaviors. I have several observations and recommendations in this context:

1. Indeed, there is a season and a time for everything and every activity. Remaining on Camino constantly will, over time, dull the appropriate appreciation of it.

2. In my experience, too much of a good thing, particularly in a constrained period, also contributes to this lassitude or ennui.

3. The "trick" as it were, seems to be to meter one's Camino exposure while maintaining a constant level of interest. As another analog, I offer the parallel concept of the Camino as a dining buffet, at which the diner picks and chooses their small portions, over time. This, is in opposition to binging on a large, multi course formal meal, served within a relatively short period of time - until one become physically ill from gluttony.

4. It seems to me that the "solution" to the problem of too much Camino or "Camino fatigue" as discussed in this thread, is to:
- accept that there is a time or season for everything
- while we are, indeed, "addicted to the Camino," it is a treatable condition.
- we can chose to do good for others in our "off seasons." These periods of time away from direct Camino activities can be personalized to suit each person. For example:
  • I spend about one-hour each day on this forum trying to help others, and
  • I devote at least one-hour daily teaching myself Spanish using Duolingo.com - I have been doing so without a break - for over six-years. When I am away from my main computer, I have an app on my iPhone that allows me to continue my Spanish lessons, I even kept my streak intact while keeping vigil with my wife in hospital, using ear buds.
  • I try to remain active within the local chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino. While my present nursing responsibilities restrict the time I can be away from home, I remain a member and follow activities very closely.
My point is, that we can be actively and continuously involved with activities or pursuits that further our interest in the Camino - writ large - while not following an all-or-nothing approach. That approach adopts the belief that the best thing is to walk Camino every year, or all the time, until one gets mentally sick of it, then, to complain of Camino fatigue.

My alternative suggestion is to find other, tangental Camino-related activities or pursuits that maintain your interest level at a point where it can be restored to full activity, when that time or season is upon you. That is exactly what I am doing at present. It is like marching in place, or riding a stationary bicycle instead of doing so outside.

The Camino de Santiago has existed for more than 1200 years, the Cathedral in Santiago has been present for about 900 years. The Camino, as a concept and practice, is eternal. It will be there when you are restored to health or a good emotional balance regarding the benefits of pilgrimage.

Until then, there are many, varied activities you can do to help others, maintain your interest level, learn more, and perhaps make informed decisions regarding your future participation.

I am here to answer any questions, and I sincerely hope my input has helped.

Tom
 
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After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
I can 100% relate to your ‘Camino Fatigue.’ I’ve walked several various Camino routes since 2013 and I felt exactly the same way as you at some point during each Camino. Whenever I felt this way I’d check into a decent hotel for a couple of days for some R&R, privacy and to simply explore some of these wonderful towns and cities. Today, I no longer have the ‘Camino Itch,’ instead I have now chosen to expand my horizons and explore other parts of the world which I find most rewarding. Perhaps I had somehow ‘overstayed my welcome’ on the Camino. In life, there is a time and place for everything. I’m immensely grateful for my time on the Camino(s) as well as the memories.
 
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
Its probably just the contrast between a sunny beautiful Salamanca, what a grand, welcoming plaza. Marvellous places to see and eat in. It has a lovely Albergue. The sun can shine on the Camino.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?

Hi Luka - For many years I spent holidays in a beautiful village in France. Every time I visited I felt at peace there no matter what was going on in my life and I always came away renewed and refreshed. Then one year, like you and your experience of the Camino, I realised that I had lost its magic. It took some time to work out why that had happened. In the end I think that place had been there for me at a particular time in my life and that the time had come for me to move on. But I was surprised at the sense of loss I felt when I realised the magic had gone. So go gently and in time you may realise why the magic of the Camino has faded and what that is telling you.
 
Thank you all, also to new forum members who took the effort to reply. This topic has been very helpful and I got a lot of insights from everything that has been written here. I think I just need a bit of time to contemplate. Answers will come, but not by tomorrow. Ironically a long walk would help... 🙈
 
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I sincerely hope my input has helped.
Hi Tom, I appreciate the time you have taken to share some of your personal, behind the scenes life, and I value your input; observations and opinions. Your love for the Camino and Spain certainly shines through.
I am certain the soles of your hiking shoes will hit the trail once again when the time is right for you.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Thank you Luka for your honest and refreshing post. I have been walking caminos in France, Italy and Spain since 2012 and my enthusiasm has gradually worn away. The initial excitement of my first Camino is remembered fondly and I have many other wonderful memories from all the places I have been. I am currently doing a pilgrimage a few weeks at a time from Rome to Santiago, I very nearly abandoned it last year but decided to see it through and then call it a day. I can then enjoy holidays without a backpack. . Perhaps when I arrive in Santiago next year I might change my mind, but I doubt it.
 
Not much to add without the risk of being repetitive of many elegant responses above.

2017 marked my last to date after four forays. Back then, I barely recognized the Camino culture's change in just a half-dozen years.

There is a sense of loss, to be sure. But I have plenty of other things to keep me busy and "would be" pilgrims keep finding their way to me for pre-Camino counseling.

Of course, I direct them to the Forum but many seem to want more personalized advice than they are willing to obtain here.

So, take heart. There are many ways to contribute and lots of other things to do.

"It's a big world...but I wouldn't want to paint it." (Steven Wright?)

B
 
Thank you for posting. I got home a week ago from my 5th Camino and I’m also wondering if it is my last. The weather was so bad, I had tendinitis then strep throat and I was still trying to figure out a way to make it on foot to Santiago to get another compostela that wouldve ended up with my others, stacked in a corner of my basement. The lightbulb came on when a friend, very innocently I may add, asked if I was having a good time. I couldn’t really answer honestly. I saw changes, I was bored during some (most) sections, there were more pilgrims and they too have changed. I’m older and less committed and less able to walk long distances. I could go on… no need. It was a great addiction till it wasn’t anymore. I may do a few shorter Camino’s here and there but I’m not pulling out the hair shirt anymore.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
After walking in rainy and chilly Galicia for about a week I ended up in a warm hotel room, feverish and with a cold. And I asked myself: why am I doing this? It felt like truancy, but I decided to spend my last couple of days in a studio in sunny Salamanca. And I loved it. I loved being dry and warm, having supermarkets around me, being able to cook, museums to visit, exotic restaurants to eat, having my own bathroom and a big double bed all to myself. I loved it a bit too much, the contrast was striking.

I am now back home for two days and wondering if I should take a break from the Camino. My first one was in 2011 and I have called myself a Camino addict since. But it feels like the spark has left me. The road walking, the same bars everywhere, the boring afternoons in dusty villages, albergue life, the conversations about distances, where did you start, which Caminos did you walk.

It feels like I have lost the Camino magic. And that is quite a sad feeling. Is it Camino fatigue? Has the Camino become too ordinary? Is this feeling recognizable to anyone? Will it go away?
What do I know? I am not in your shoes. My only perspective and it could well be wrong: the Camino does not serve you. You serve the Camino. It is the Camino's terms, not yours. Chuck
 
@Luka, thank you so much for such a thought provoking post.
It has elicited answers that show just what a great and supportive community this forum is.
Perhaps the Camino has given all the lessons it has for you? Maybe the reason you enjoyed your time in Salamanca so much was that it had different lessons for you?
 
But, I wanted to ruminate over my feelings for this thread and to frame a cogent and useful contribution to the thread before replying. It has been four days now. I think I am ready to try to help.
I am moved by your thoughts and carefully chosen words to express what is in your heart. We often hear « angels live among us » and right now you are an angel caring for your much loved wife. I sense that whatever you undertake, it has purpose for you. Purpose is what keeps us young at heart and connected to each other and our planet. Thank you Tom for your continued support of this community and for posting today.

It is honest and heartfelt threads like these, where kindness shines through. Thank you Luka for sharing your thoughts. All the replies gave me food for thought. ❤️
 
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Found Magic last night, Luka. Rabanal. Gregorian chants at 7 pm were wonderful. But went back at 9:30 pm and the Magic happened. Didn’t record but linking one I found online, thought others may enjoy. And if anyone has a link to the Rabanal chants, I’d love it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EG2oiF2tow
 
It's helpful to remember that doing repeat caminos is a rather modern innovation. Back in the day, walking to Santiago was a once-in-a -lifetime event... and then you got to walk back home! People made their wills before they left, and made sure the family, business, and personal affairs were squared-away. So many people never made it home again. The ones who did could bask in the admiration of others for the rest of their lives, and be buried when they died with their scallop shell.
We hear about a few outliers who repeated the trip, but for most, it was "one and done." Burnout was not a common affliction, I imagine.
 
I somehow blissfully missed this thread until today. It's so sad to read about how so many people who once obviously loved the Camino feel it has lost it's spark for them, and certainly, some of the horror stories are quite sobering of how people have been finding it this year. So I get it.

It is also good to read the few posts of people for whom the Camino still has its sparkle.

I can't comment from a place of many years of Camino experience though, and in fact a year has yet to pass since my one and only Camino.

But, my Camino, it was one of the most amazing, beautiful and magical experiences of my life, even the bad bits. Beginners luck maybe, and I doubt very much it would be the same again, but I would expect I would still enjoy it without preconceptions.

I hope that the Camino in some way shape or form can continue on for everyone for whom it was once special.
 
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We too appreciate the many posts here. We stepped back from walking the Camino after our final one in 2015 (Ribadeo to San Andrés - Ruta do Mar - and then the Inglés from Ferrol). We wanted to 'quit' on a high and then returned with the car (2016-18) to re-visit some of the places we had passed through when walking. It was the right decision for us, as has been occasional breaks from posting on the forum. We are still here but more in the background..... with so many good memories to enjoy.
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

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