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Caminos are no 'walks in the park' for introverts

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long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
Norte Spring 2018
#1
Excuse the British English slang in the title. 'No walk in the park' is when something is not easy.

If you are slightly introverted then I'd strongly recommend not doing a Camino solo. Many will start caminos with friends, in pre-arranged groups etc, that's fine of course, but many start alone.

The problem I have is that many of these solo pilgrims find their own groups early on and then shut themselves away from anyone else on their own.

Today I have shared a dorm with three people I have met, one fellow Englishman too who I have spoke with before, but now they are a group they have no interest in inviting me out with them, when it's obvious I am am alone here. They left the dorm without even looking in my direction. We are only in a small albergue, and now I sit alone drinking beer while everyone else thrives in other's company.

Who's fault is it? Mine of course. I still think it's the height of rudeness to leave someone out, and something I would never do. It's a thoughtless act.

So if you are slightly introvert then don't expect open arms and friends on the Camino.
 

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C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
I would call myself "slightly introverted" and am on the VDLP now, 2 days before reaching Astorga. While walking, I have been thinking about your earlier comments about why you left the VDLP, and I intend write something about that later. It is too hard to give a careful commentary "from the road"! However, I'll give it a start here.

I have a continual struggle, or need to find the right balance, in having company, or not. Sometimes I am not as thoughtful of others as would be ideal, sometimes I am. Sometimes I want company and sometimes I don't. It would be hard for another person to read my mind. I have enough trouble reading my own!

So, try to accept that their exclusion was probably not deliberate. Maybe they are all secret introverts who are having trouble themselves! Maybe they are exhausted and can't make the effort. Maybe they were just a bit careless.

Sometimes I am too busy with my own needs to think about needs of strangers. That is my weakness.

I would say, if you are slightly introverted, don't expect anything but do remember that everyone (even extroverts) has limitations.

I hope things pick up for you!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#4
So, try to accept that their exclusion was probably not deliberate. Maybe they are all secret introverts who are having trouble themselves! Maybe they are exhausted and can't make the effort. Maybe they were just a bit careless

I hope things pick up for you!
They probably didn't think twice about it, If I may suggest something, next time, try to say 'can I join you?'
All the best
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#5
I am sorry that you are unhappy with the behaviour of your fellow pilgrims. However I cannot agree with your advice that those who are introverted by nature should not walk solo. I am very shy and awkward in social situations: my wife has often described me as a hermit with a wife and two children. In my everyday life I generally avoid large social gatherings which I find stressful. I value solitude very highly. As you have used a British idiom in your post perhaps I can use a British simile here: for me company is like Marmite - a good and nourishing thing but best taken in small doses and spread very thinly. This carries through into my walking of the caminos. I do not actively seek out the company of my fellow walkers and I certainly do not expect to be included automatically in any social groups which form along the way. Having said that I should add that I have enjoyed many pleasant and memorable encounters with other pilgrims during all of my walks. When I do find friendly and welcoming company during my pilgrimage I consider that to be a bonus and a gift to be received gratefully - not something which is mine by right.
 

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long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
Norte Spring 2018
#6
I knew people would try and defend them or make excuses.

For once just admit that its rude and thoughtless.

Why do I bother.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#7
@long trails, I must admit that I never thought sharing a dormitory created any social obligation on my fellow pilgrims beyond that demanded by observing basic 'albergue etiquette'. Certainly if I had felt that I couldn't walk as a hermit, I would never have walked St Olav's Way, nor would I be contemplating walking the variant of that way from Sundsvall next year. So like @Bradypus, I am not convinced that your advice here, ie not to walk a solo Camino if you are an introvert, is universally applicable.

I also found that if I did want company, it was up to me to make the effort first. I figure that if one is walking alone, particularly later on one's Camino, it sends an implicit message that you are okay with that. As a result, others might be reluctant to make an approach.

And of course, even that might be over-thinking it for some people, and they are equally not socially adept enough, even in a group, to make a polite social enquiry about whether you would like to join them.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#8
I knew people would try and defend them or make excuses.

For once just admit that its rude and thoughtless.

Why do I bother.
They may well have been rude. It is hard to judge that without being there.

Why do we bother? Perhaps to give some alternative explanations that will help us all cope with the ups and downs of life. Maybe "why do I bother" is what they were thinking.
 
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