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considering canceling my trip :(

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Camino Frances topics' started by MrsBath, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    I am two months from my planned departure, and my anxiety is mounting and mounting. I think I've known all along that I might not be capable physically or mentally but I was able to stave off my feelings by obsessively shopping and planning. Now I've got my gear pretty well sorted, I've made my plans for getting there and back, and I even started telling people I was going, but I'm feeling worse and worse, can't sleep, anxiousness is bleeding over into my work and family life....I just don't know what to do.

    It's embarrassing to have told people, but that's not a good enough reason to try to walk 500 miles!

    Physically, I've been training, and so far I'm okay, but I don't think my back and feet can actually take this type of journey. In fact, a back injury is kind of what got me going on this plan - I figured I better try before I get any older and more broken, but I don't think my back is really healed enough at this point.

    Most of all, I don't know why I'm doing this, and I don't think I really want to do it. I have definitely been romanticizing and fantasizing but glossing over the downsides. There's a part of myself that thinks I should like this kind of an adventure, but I don't think I will.

    I know this forum is full of kind, successful, Camino-lovers who might not relate, but i don't have anyone else to talk to about it, at least not yet.

    Has anyone else felt this? What did you do?
     
  2. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Go. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, bus. If no bus, taxi. If no taxi, train. On the CF, there is so much infrastructure it is possible to walk a few steps, well maybe, a few kilometres, tire and find aid. I met a 69 year-old woman who walked so slowly, I could have walked backwards and kept up with her. She said, if it took her two months to finish, she would. On Camino 2014, I badly sprained ankle; stupidly walked about two weeks before resting. Yet, I rested for eight days then set off again. In 2002, a 72 year-old from UK averaged 10-12 kilometers daily. Examine your fears, identify, then make non-emotion based decision. To go or not to go that is the question.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  3. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member Donating Member

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    I cannot pretend to know what you are going through and wish you all the best in your decision. All I have to offer is that I don't recall regretting things I have done but only things that I have not done. For me the Camino is not so much a walk but a pilgrimage. It is time with my thoughts and prayers, time and experiences a little out of my comfort zone, and time to meet and appreciate different people and cultures. It is not really much concern to me if I walk the whole way (what ever that means) or if I use some other form of transportation alone or with a group. It is the time spent, the experiences, introspection, etc. If I could not walk the distance I would be happy/content using other means and still stop along the way to enjoy/experience what the pilgrimage has to offer. I don't believe there is only one way to do a pilgrimage nor do I believe there is a right or wrong way. There is only your way and what you receive and what you will experience will be due to the fact that you are there and open to it. I would encourage you to go by whatever means suit you at this time and enjoy the experiences with no excuses to anyone. Very few people in this world are able or willing to do a pilgrimage by any means. I have no idea why I did my first pilgrimage other than I felt called to do it. For me it was a wonderful experience that helped me grow as a person and I truly wish that everyone would take the opportunity and be open to the experience however they accomplish it.

    Buen Camino.

    Mike
     
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  4. JRO

    JRO Member Donating Member

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    OH, anxiety!!! Such nasty stuff. I'm feeling for you and wishing you deep, calming breaths. If you don't really want to do this, then DON'T. Doesn't matter who you have told, sometimes plans change. That being said, I'm in my late fifties and did part of the Camino last June. I, too, worried about knee injuries, if I could keep up with my much taller husband, and what that might do to our relationship. What I found when I actually walked was that:

    1) Almost anyone who is reasonably mobile and has prepared (you said you have done that) can walk IF they are willing to walk only as much in one day as they feel up to, stopping when they are tired.
    2) There are options, such as buses if one is just too pooped, ill, or has an injury that happens or flares up.
    3) There will be other people in very similar circumstances to yours....guaranteed. (So you will have company)
    4) You will find kindness in unexpected places, which will help you heal, or simply relax and make a plan.
    5) Even if you only do a bit of the Camino, you will meet new people, see new places, experience new things. It's truly life-giving! (And you don't have to kill yourself to find all of these things).

    What if you viewed this as simply a "trip" that you have planned, but acknowledging that you might make changes as you go? Even allowing yourself to cut if short IF YOU NEED TO? You might find that by giving yourself permission, it wouldn't feel so overwhelming. That is truly the essence of travel.....the delicious opportunity to move away from what we have planned for ourselves....the Camino beckons to just that type of opportunity. And whatever you decide, it will be fine.
     
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  5. good_old_shoes

    good_old_shoes Member Donating Member

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    Dear Mrs Bath,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your anxiety. BUT...

    … it's a normal thing to happen to many, if not most people who have never done anything like the Camino before. You're walking out into the unknown, quite literally. Of course that makes your thoughts go wild about all the things that might go wrong!

    If a personal opinion might help... I was enthusiastic about my first Camino while planning and training. I was so happy and excited, really looking forward to it. But the minute I told others about it, it all went down. People tried to talk me out of it, to discourage me. I started to wonder whether I would be able to make it, whether it would be a good idea to go, at all. I was physically okay but wasn't sure if I was strong enough mentally.

    But you know what? It turned to be out one of the best decisions I ever made, and one of the best things I ever did.

    It's ok not to be sure. What's to lose? If you get to Spain and realize your back hurts too much while walking, there's pack transport, or you might rent a bike to put your gear on that. And if you realize the Camino is not for you alltogether, you can just take a bus to the beach and have a nice holiday. Nothing to lose.


    I have written this before on other threads, but I'll repeat: On the bus to France I met a hospitalero, who told me to remember two things:

    "Don't be afraid, and don't run"


    That turned out to be good advice.


    Whatever happens and whatever decision you make,
    Buen Camino!
     
    amparo, rbtustin, Hollie C and 26 others like this.
  6. MinaKamina

    MinaKamina Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi MrsBath, you do not have to do this, and try to fogive yourself for thinking that you Must Do It All At The Same Time And Love Every Minute Of It.
    Make yourself a Plan B that you can feel at ease with. "If I'm not happy once I'm on the Camino, I will take a break and find myself a nice beach..." or whatever would make you happy.

    Have a great time!
     
  7. auburnfive

    auburnfive Member Donating Member

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    Mrs Bath
    There are many ways to do a Camino. It is the walking and the company that make the experience. You could start off with a plan for a 2 week trip, have all your rooms booked ( with short distances) and have your luggage transferred for you - also pre-arranged. Then make a decision, that is enough, continue with more flexibility, or as previous. Starting in Pamplona might make it easier, too. I have helped some friends with such a trip, and if you send me a private message can also assist you, its my hobby!
     
  8. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    Thank you everyone for your kind replies! I feel a little better just saying it out loud, and I emailed a friend, too.

    I think the reality is sinking in, and I'm not so sure of my motivations. I need to think, but productively, not this anxious ruminating.

    It doesn't help that this has been the rainiest winter in history where I live, and training in the rain is bumming me out, a lot. And that's one walk at a time, coming home to my own shower and bed.

    I have some time, I"m not going to rush my decision, but I'm having serious doubts about the whole idea. I'm also looking into tours, in case I decide to still go, but in a smaller way.
     
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  9. FRL

    FRL New Member

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    Dear Mrs. Bath,
    I probably could have written the same post. My pre-Camino excitement has turned to anxiety. I have shopped and packed and even joined a gym for two months. What I haven't done is walked! Well, not more than once a week for about three to five miles. (It's always snowing or below freezing and I am good at excuses.) I seem to think that because I want to do it, I can. But I really have no idea if my endurance and determination are strong enough. How will I know if I don't try? I've told everyone I know about the trip hoping that their prayers and encouragement will keep me walking. But I also felt that if I told a lot of people (and invested money) I wouldn't back out...and so I won't. I wish you the all the best...
     
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  10. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I did get the "what the hell am I doing and why" feeling, but knew that if I didn't try that I would regret it.
    And I figured that if I really didn't like it I could just go home, or maybe hang out on a sunny Spanish beach for a while. :D

    Try not to think of it as 500 MILES, but as a series of daily walks, with alternative transportation available if you need it.

    And the Camino isn't just about the walking. It's about the time you have to just be without the concerns of daily life. It's about meeting fellow pilgrims. It's about exploring the villages and culture of Spain. The walking is incidental to all that.
     
  11. good_old_shoes

    good_old_shoes Member Donating Member

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    The thing is, you'll never know what walking the Camino is like unless you tried. Apparently something called you, otherwise you wouldn't have considered doing it, and wouldn't have planned and booked a flight. Don't ignore being called because of fear. Once you walked for a while, you'll know for sure whether to continue or catch a bus to the beach instead. It's both fine, but don't give up before trying! That's usually something people regret more than changing plans.

    Ultreia!
     
  12. JimGeier

    JimGeier Active Member Donating Member

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    Mrs. Bath,

    Welcome to the Camino Forum.
    When I walked the Camino Frances a year ago, I became ill, badly enough that the doctors in Carion de las Condes had me transported to the hospital in Palencia. I was in a very dark state of mind, thinking that my Camino was over, I was going home, and I had failed. When I asked the admitting doctor if there was an airport close to start my journey home, she replied, "Aren't you walking the Camino de Santiago?" to which I replied, "Yes, but I'm ill and cannot continue." She then told me, "Your Camino is important. We are going to get you well so you can continue your Camino. When you walk into the cathedral in Santiago, you will understand." They did get me well and I started walking again two days later. I walked into the cathedral in Santiago and it was magnificent.

    Mrs. Bath, your Camino is important. Whatever got you to plan and prepare and contemplate is an important journey. Your Camino, in whatever form it manifests is important, be it walking the whole way from Saint Jean Pied de port to Santiago or a one week, or two week stage. The anxiety before I started and what you are confronting is real, and for me was a part of the journey. As Sir Edmond Hillary has been quoted as saying, "You do not conquer the mountain, you conquer yourself."

    I wish you a Buen Camino!

    --jim--
     
  13. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I just saw this posted on the Camigas group page on Facebook. (if you're on Facebook you should join it)
    20140313-2154091.jpg
     
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  14. Purky

    Purky Active Member Donating Member

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    I found that most of my initial anxiety before I started was rooted in the fact that I tried to picture the camino I was to undertake as a whole. And that is simply too big to take in, so I got anxious. Overwhelmed is also a way to describe it.
    The trick that helped me is to look at it another way. Try to look at it day by day, step by step. Don't let the total number of days or miles boggle your mind, because it is just a number. It is an abstract idea.
    Instead, picture a situation where you walk 15 or 20 km and then call it a day. Tomorrow you'll do the same, or more, or less. But that will be tomorrow. So cut the camino in chunks that are easier to deal with. Take it a day at the time, and before you know it, you will have walked a distance that will amaze you.
    Bottom line: try it, and decide if it is something for you while doing it. If not, go home early or hit the beach. If it is, keep going.
     
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  15. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I just had another thought. Do you know anyone who has already walked the Camino? It can be really helpful to sit down and talk face to face with someone who has done it.
    I didn't personally know anyone who had, but I entered my hometown in the search on the forum and found a woman about my age who had walked the previous year. I messaged her, and we got together for coffee a couple of times before I left. It was great getting first hand knowledge face to face.
     
  16. Chacharm

    Chacharm Active Member Donating Member

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    I think it might help if you looked at this from a different perspective. The fact that you used the term "successful" to describe other peregrinos tells me a lot. Also, the Camino isn't 500 miles. The camino encompasses thousands of miles. Your camino is as long as you make it. And put your mind at rest - you will DEFINITELY have days when you want to leave or your knees/back/feet hurt. You will have mornings where you think it is so gloriously beautiful you never want to leave. Personally, I went to bed planning to leave the camino nearly every other night - but woke ready to go again every morning.

    My second Camino I fell down the stairs at an albuergue and broke my ankle. I ended up driving all along the southern coasts of Spain and France and the Italian riviera and had a BLAST. My 3rd Camino was cold and wet and I spent much of it coughing and sneezing and having to stay in hotels so I didn't get others sick. I left after 4 weeks and spent the rest of my time eating in Italy. Was that an unsuccessful camino? I had a great time and I still loved it. Last camino I walked with a woman in her late 60s who was experiencing terrible swelling in her legs. She started walking for about 3 hours every morning and then calling a cab so that she stayed with the same group and stayed on her schedule. I walked once with a young German girl who left in Pamplona because her knees hurt and she felt like using sticks was cheating (!?!). She still walked from SJPP to Pamplona. She still had a camino.

    Also, I was sick with anxiety before my first camino. Did I have everything I needed (I did...and far more.)? Was I in adequate shape? How would I get from the airport to SJPP - everyone else seemed to know and I was clueless! My pack was way too big and way too heavy. I sent it ahead every day.
    What you are embarking on is a personal experience - not a camp. Just like any other trip you can change course when you like. The only way you won't be able to tailor it to your wants and needs is if you don't go at all. What motivations do you need to go on an adventure?
    Relax! This is FUN and EXCITING - not scary work. The only way to change it from the great unknown is to go and do it and know it.

    Let's say you go and spend a week. Just a week. You'll meet a bunch of people who were also extremely anxious, who also don't know what the first night in the albuergue will be like. You'll be blown away by how hard the first day is - and how incredibly beautiful it is. And you'll all have dinner that night and talk about that. And you'll all set out at your own pace the next day in all kinds of weather and find your own paces and most of you will meet up again that night at the next albuergue and eat and drink some wine and take a hot shower and wash your socks and sleep like babies. You will start thinking about how to get out of it, where you can go instead, where the next bus station is, the next train station. And the next morning you will wake, have a cup of coffee with a peregrino you really enjoy and walk a little or the whole way with them and decide you can stick it out a little longer. You'll be bored, you'll likely wander off the trail here and there, you'll meet fascinating, wonderful people, you'll meet silly people, you'll seek out some and avoid others and then find yourself seeking out the ones you were avoiding. You'll drink excellent coffee and wine and eat some pretty different and delicious foods and talk gear and terrain and language and have long philosophical discussions about the camino as a metaphor for life.

    For most of us there aren't that many moments in life where we have such a clear option for being brave. I think you'll be disappointed in yourself if you choose the safe option here. Take the plunge - I think you'll be very glad you did.
     
  17. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    MrsBath, actually no there's need to know for sure why you felt called to go--it's enough that you were--or why there's a volcano of anxiety now. Just breathe into it, give it space...feel it, but don't feed it the juicy thoughts that come with the stories about "500 miles" or even (drumroll) "THE Camino." Those are the same kind of thoughts that created the monsters under the bed or in the closet when we were little. Over-focus on how much of a big deal this is, and it will paralyze you.

    But you know how to walk. You've probably walked that far already in your life, more than once. This is just one step after another. Step by step by step. Day by day.
    And you'll get there.
    If you don't at least make an attempt it will gnaw at you until you know whether you can, or not. And if you try and decide the beach is a better thing to do--that's nice too.

    May you have ease, and the courage to follow your heart, wherever it goes!
    Buen Camino, peregrina! (You think your camino starts in St Jean? Think again. You've started already.;))

    Edit~ Someone shared this Georgia O'Keefe quote with me and I love it, as I'm a scared bunny too sometimes:
    "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  18. LWisz

    LWisz New Member

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    Hello Mrs Bath,
    I do understand how you feel. My sister (in her 70's) and myself (in my 60's) are leaving in less then 4 weeks and the preparation has been like planning a wedding. Just all fun picking out everything and no reality. I started walking and now I'm up to 7 miles . Shocking for me, I'm certainly not in the best shape and overweight. There is fear of my legs or feet not making it. I cant tell you what to decide, but I can tell you fear is not your friend. Always plan for worst case scenario and go. Worst case your back starts to hurt, you let your back pack travel to your next destination. Worst case-you need to rest a day, then rest a day. It you need support when your down, please pm me and I will give you my number and we can chat.
    I hope you take the leap and go.
    Buen Camino
     
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  19. Davie Blisters

    Davie Blisters Ministry of Silly Walks Donating Member

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    Dear Mrs Bath,
    Don't be so hard on yourself!
    The anxiety you are feeling is what separates you from lesser mortals.
    500 miles does sound ridiculous, but not in a day, it can be broken down into 5, 10 or 15 miles per day.
    Also, as stated above : take a bus/train, have an extra days stopover - who cares whether you do 500 or 200?
    Yes, there are wonderful people on this forum who will offer their support - multiply that 1,000 fold when you walk the Way.
    Buen Camino
    Davie
     
  20. Redjen

    Redjen New Member

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    I can't say I know exactly how you feel, but I have definitely had "what am I thinking moments" I live in Oregon and am a "non traditional"( nice way of saying old) law student. I feel like I haven't walked enough due to rain and studying, I'm leaving 4 days after finals and 2 days after my 49th birthday and have made up a ton of excuses in my head. But I'm doing this, I'm starting in Leon May 3 or 4 and have decided to meander as far as I can in 20 days.

    I've learned that life is as much about the inner journey as the outer one and it sounds like you're already starting your inner Camino.

    It appears our time frame will overlap and I hope to see you. I'm the fluffy redhead in the red boots.

    Burn Camino
     
  21. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    We have had moments of thinking 'we must be mad' before each Camino. I suspect that many people do doubt whether it is right or not as the date approaches. Others have set out, maybe overfull of confidence, and then found that the Camino is not for them.
    My feeling is that if you cancel you will always wonder if you should have gone. However if you go and find it is not for you then don't beat yourself up over it. Find a place to go for a time to unwind and enjoy Spain. Or take a ride further down the Camino and walk a section nearer or into Santiago. There is no rule that you have to walk 500miles, only the final 100kms if you want a certificate/Compostela, nor is there any rule about where you start or which actual Camino you walk of the many official routes.
    Whatever you decide may you find the right way forward for you. :)
     
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  22. J Willhaus

    J Willhaus Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi MrsBath,
    If you have decided not to walk that is totally OK. You don't have to apologize or be embarrassed. It is fine to change your mind. My husband and I are middle-aged (54 and 67) and out of shape. I won't lie, it is not that easy, but if you just get up with the mind set that you will walk today, it does create a routine. We walked about 16-20 km per day. We met some wonderful people and saw some lovely things. We will go back again someday soon, but I have decided that the Frances is too long for me and so will go a shorter route next time or start somewhere closer to Santiago. In the end, we walked for 45 days. Phil got violently ill about 3 days from Santiago and I did not feel bad about calling a cab to take us to a comfortable place where he could rest and recover. The people who helped me take care of him were hotel keepers who were as kind and caring as any hospitalero we had met and that experience added to the memory of the care and kindness we received all along the way. You will know what is right for you regardless of whether you go or not. Phil wants to "finish" his last three days and that is his goal for a future journey. Even if your walking journey is cut short, it does not diminish what you accomplish.
    Janet
     
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  23. Mikel Olivares

    Mikel Olivares Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Zizur Mayor- Navarra- Spain.
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2012, 13, 14,15, 16, Camino Francés.
    2016, Camino Portugués from Oporto
    2017, San Salvador.
    Hi Mrs Bath.
    Come visit us. We are waiting you with open arms.
    You lose the fear and the worries.
    You will never regret it.
    You will be welcomed in Spain and you will enjoy our country in company of pilgrims from all over the world.
    Buen Camino.
     
  24. hecate105

    hecate105 Active Member

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    2009 Portuguese 2009 Estellas, 2014 Aurelia, 2016 St Davids, 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P
    I was in total anxiety mode before my first camino - my Mother told me i was 'biting off more than i could chew' . But i did it. I have had many adventures walking and cycling and ALWAYS get anxiety and worry beforehand. The trick is to put the worry to one side (as they say - worry is a waste of good energy...) and still get on with what you want to do. Fear can stop you doing the beautiful, amazing things you want to do - but only if you let it...
    Better just to say - ok - I'm worried/anxious/fearful but i will just put one foot in front of the other and see where i get... And wherever you get is where you need to be... :)
    I set off on april's fool's day to go to Spain to cycle the Via de Plata - and i have woken in the night worrying about it. Will i keep up with the others? I haven't trained at all, will i cope? Can i cycle that far? Will i/shall I/what if...?
    It's just mind-noise. I will get up on the 1st of april and go - yippee! and i hope in May - so will you!:D
     
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  25. Gazelle2

    Gazelle2 New Member

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    I leave on the 24th May for my 4th Camino , am I nervous and doubting myself? Yes I am !!
    Once you start your journey and realise that everyone is in the same boat as you, as there is never any quarantee one will finish it, but that doesn't not matter as whatever time you spend on the Camino is time you will never forget.
    You will love it, when you get down you will meet someone that will lift you .
    Take each day as it comes and remember it is not a 500 mile walk , it is a daily walk of 10 to 15 miles, spent in the finest kindest of company you will ever meet.
     
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  26. HikeTall

    HikeTall Member Donating Member

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    Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
    Dear MrsBath. What you're feeling is totally natural. But go! Trust me. No matter what happens... you won't regret it. I promise. Wether you finish or not isn't important. It will be an amazing adventure! And you'll be so glad you did it. Because at the end of our lives, it's never the things we did do that we regret...it's ALWAYS the things we didn't do that will haunt us the most.

    On a personal note, four months ago I lost my brother. He died suddenly & without warning from a brain aneurysm. He was young & fit and had many dreams. He was in the process of making a career change that he was very excited about. Now he's gone & I am trying to make sense of it all.

    Even tho we went on many adventures together, there were still so many things I wanted to do & share with him. And it hurts.

    A few months before he died, I told him of my plans to quit my job & travel the world. I told him I wanted to kick off my new found freedom with an epic walk. Either the Appalachian trail, or the Camino de Santiago. He was very supportive & even helped me design the logo for my travel blog "Hike Tall" .

    I quit my job and will start traveling this summer.

    I hope you overcome your fears and go. Life is short, so hike tall! I wish you a bien Camino.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  27. WayWalker

    WayWalker Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances, St. Jean to Santiago Sept/Oct 2013 Camino Finnesterre Santiago to Finnesterre Oct.2013
    Camino Portuguese Lisboa to Santiago Sept/Oct 2016
    Camino do Costal October 2016
    Variante Espiritual October 2016
    Camino Muxia Santiago to Muxia October 2016
    How will you feel when you cancel? Will it likely become a regret for the rest of your life? A what if? Lots of good advice here. I got a huge blister and hip pain on my training for my Camino Frances. My mind said you will never make it. I went anyway and had NO problems physically whatsoever beyond the normal aches and pains. You will feel good about yourself if you go. Doesn't matter if you complete it or not. Buen Camino!!!
     
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  28. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
    Hello dear one,
    In 2015 I walked the Camino Frances from SJPP to Santiago. It took me 54 days. Yep.
    I was the slowest walker on the Way. I did half stages, and 6 times I got a hotel room with (sigh) my own bathroom, because sometimes you just need your own bathroom. Slow and steady meant I never made what you call a "Camino Family", but this can be a good thing.
    1. I only know 2 jokes, and I had a fresh audience every night.
    2. I slept in a different bed every night, which made me more aware of my surroundings (think 2am pee call in the dark)
    3. I took lots of photos. I listened to lots of stories. I smelled the roses.
    4. I got to know ME. All that silence brings up things in your head that you thought you'd dealt with and deleted. It's like junk mail in your brain that you re-read and it finally makes sense.
    5. I was in shock, carrying my little sister's ashes, so I didn't know I *couldn't* do it. Then it was done and I was like "Wow, you just walked over 500 miles girl. You deserve chocolate."
    On day 11 I seriously thought about quitting. I had a brief flash of sanity that agreed with my boys when they said I was crazy. Then I woke up the next morning and remembered the grandkids, who thought I was cool, and called me Adventure Nana, and I knew I just had to do one more day. Then one more. Then one more.
    Everyone does it their own way. I heard some pilgrims making fun of "tour-a-grenos", people who just do the last 100k and don't carry packs. But if I could have persuaded my little sister to do just that part I'm sure she would have received an inner blessing just as important as the ones who backpacked from Switzerland and slept in the fields. Do it your way.
    Anxiety? Sure. You'll have that.
    And Jubilation. And Pride. And blisters. And a closer understanding of who you are and why you are here.
    Was that what called you to do your Camino in the first place?
     
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  29. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    I'm so sorry for your loss, Hike Tall. Bien Camino to you.
     
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  30. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Sydney Australia & Bangkok Thailand
    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF SJPdP to SdC
    (May 2015)
    Alone.
    ------------------------------
    CF Sarria to SdC
    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Dear MrsBath. What great and caring advice you've received already. And this is from the type of people you will meet on your journey ;)

    I would only add, that:

    I started my first Camino injured. I could barely walk carrying my full pack. But I knew I wanted to do this.
    So I looked at what was realistic for me to do.
    I got a lot of my gear transported each day, which is easy to do. They'll show you how to arrange that at your accommodation each night.
    My goal each day, was to just walk another day. If I made it through the day I was happy.
    This made me make the most of each day, because I really did not expect to complete the journey.
    Each day was a blessing to me.
    Even each day, I didn't really focus on my end point, but just the next water stop, coffee stop, lunch stop. Just the next couple of hours.
    And those hours added up to days, and days to weeks.
    Even about 130 kms from Santiago, my injury got worse, and I seriously doubted I would make it.
    So I skipped forward a day by transport, and walked even shorter days. 9 days from Sarria I think.
    And every day I was so glad I was there and every day I gave thanks that I was still able to keep going.
    And I made it........

    But even had I not made, I would still have been overjoyed with the experience. It would have been worth all the planning, the anxiety, travel, the expense, just to have walked one day on the Camino.

    I met wonderful people who for various reasons could not walk far each day, or had limited time, and they would hop ahead a bit using transport. And I was always delighted to bump into them down the road again and to hear how they were going....

    Why not promise yourself that you'll try it for just a few days, and see how you go. You might be surprised how well you cope. ;)
    And even if you find it hard and have to transport forward here and there. So what? Lots do. What a glorious place to be :)

    As we look back on our lives I think we often regret the things we did not do, rather than the things we did do :oops:

    Try a few days......and don't try too hard :)

    P.S. If you really want to experience the Pyrenees, but are worried about that big climb out of St Jean, take the Mountain Shuttle! On my 2nd day I met a German guy who did just that. He started at the 'top'. Enjoyed the view, and walked down into Roncesvalles. There is more than one way to 'skin a cat'. Yuk. Is there another saying that means the same thing? :eek:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  31. zrexer

    zrexer Active Member

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    Have been on the Camino Frances Route 3 times. 2014 Ponferrada to Santiago. 2015 Burgos to Ponferrada and 2016 St.Jean to Burgos and then bus to Sarria and walk into Santiago but with different overnight stops.
    Camino Portugal from Porto - April 2017
    Getting cold feet is not something to be embarrassed about, completely normal for something out of your comfort zone.

    I'll be honest, my first trip on the Camino started out for the wrong reasons. My wife was going to go, with or without me. Not knowing much about Spain, I went as I was concerned for her safety. In one day of walking I fell in love with all things Camino and Spain. This year will be my forth in a row going on one. Absolutely some of the best experiences of my life have been on a Camino.

    I believe if you don't go, you will always regret it. "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for things we did not do that is inconsolable." Sydney J. Harris.

    As many other s have posted in detail their is an incredible amount of support on the Camino Frances route. You don't need to walk every step. Cab some sections if you need to. Consider a supported trip where your gear is forwarded each day and you walk with a light day pack. Don't worry about finishing it all in one go. Due to time constraints while I was still working, we had to break the Camino Frances into three separate trips as I could not take 5 weeks off in a row to do it all in one go.

    You can do this...
     
  32. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    I"m so sorry for you loss, Hike Tall. I wish you a blessed Camino.
     
  33. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances October 2013
    Camino Frances April 2017
    Mrs Bath - you have been called to the Camino. Many have said that here.
    Fear is just an emotion and it cannot hurt you.
    If you want to train and the weather is bad then go to a gym and get on a treadmill, no more suffering crap weather!
    Go to a shop where you can buy some homeopathic remedies - get one for anxiety and start taking it - it will help enormously. I am a Naturopath and Homeopath. Get Bach Flowers 'Rescue Remedy' if you can't find a homeo remedy.
    I am planning my 2nd Camino, was getting the 'geeze what are you doing???' thoughts and started to feel a bit anxious. When I examined why, my answer came. It was just too soon. I didn't want to leave Australia in 2 weeks time and travel all that way, walk for 20 days and then come home to my job - I was fitting in with work and not being true to myself and doing what was right for me. My mother was also worried about me going, she is 79 and thinks I am crazy to want to walk again. Ok, dealt with all the worry and now I am getting excited.
    Why am I doing the Camino again? Because I am craving the freedom of just having a change of clothes and some toiletries in my pack and just going. Who knows how far I will walk each day? This time I am doing it my way, stopping when I want, walking as far as I want. I don't know what the real reason is for me going, but I have been called again. Something wonderful is going to come out of it for me. Something wonderful will come out of it for you.
    Regret is something that eats at people. Do what is right for you. Get the remedies I suggested, take them today and when you feel a bit calmer then make a decision. Remember, fear is only an emotion.
    The Camino is awesome - I took a couple of buses and taxis and cut out some sections and guess what? I will do it again. I will stay in Hostals or hotels when I want to again.
    Everyone here has a story to tell and one day you will be helping another person out when they are about to embark on an adventure and they feel anxious. You will be telling them they will have an awesome time and to go and to enjoy it.
    Have fun, get excited, go!
     
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  34. Jules67

    Jules67 Starting my Camino April 2017 Donating Member

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    SJPDP in April 2017
    Dear Mrs Bath

    I am so glad I stumbled across your message and all of those kind replies, you see, I leave in 3 weeks (10th April 2017) and like you, I've never done anything like this before but i was romanticised into doing it and got carried away. I too bought all the gear and told everyone only to be asked if was stupid etc..
    Now I have all the anxieties your going through, sleepless nights, I constantly ask myself 'why am I doing this' no answer comes to me...
    I've no sense of direction, I have to get two planes, one cab and a train over two days before I even start..
    I know exactly what your going through but after reading the helpful replies here and you beginning this discussion has helped me.. Just knowing that it's normal to feel this anxious is putting my mind at rest.
    I told a friend how I was feeling and all she said was. 'Go and if it's not for you, you just come back home..simple' and so I'm going...
    I do hope you go, if it's not this year then maybe the next or just do what I'm doing, 'go and come back home if it's not right..
    Good luck with your decision. It's your life and you can decide what's best for you.
     
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  35. Redjen

    Redjen New Member

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    This made me tear up.
     
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  36. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
    Rejen I am sooo sorry! The usual effect I have on people is laughter, like when they see me in my flannel pajamas in the morning with that crazy bedhead hair coming out of the communal bathroom wondering "what is that smell?"
    I can make pilgrims walk faster and further than they were going to after a sight like that.
    And have breakfast allllll to myself.
     
  37. waveprof

    waveprof Enthusiast Donating Member

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    May-June 2013, Camino Frances
    I don't think any of us can really advise you if you should go or not. But I do think this: If you don't go, don't do a Camino tour. It will either a) ring hollow and be a waste b) ring true and make you wish you'd actually done it. Take a Spanish vacation, maybe visit Santiago, but don't follow the route on a tour. It is likely to backfire.

    That said, someone above has good advice. Start walking. If you can't walk much each day, bus. There are ways to sort of kind of "do it" that aren't as extreme as resorting to a packaged tour. Just my .02
     
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  38. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF SJPdP to SdC
    (May 2015)
    Alone.
    ------------------------------
    CF Sarria to SdC
    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    What a dear and sensible friend you have! :)

    We tend to 'over think' things at times don't we?
     
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  39. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    So much kindness!! I am brought to tears, but in a sweet way :):(

    I don't fear regrets. I've never regretted any difficult decision I've made, probably because I agonize about it so much!

    If the state of my back allows, and the torrential rains let up, I will train tomorrow. I really do (when healthy) feel good walking, and it's great for thinking. The thing about my particular back injury is that if it doesn't calm right back down, an international plane ride is not in the cards. And I don't really enjoy "relaxing" vacations, lol, that's something that drew me to the Camino!

    I'll grieve a bit if I don't go, but I won't have regrets. This just might not be the right time.

    I really am on my own camino already, aren't I? :D Face to face with my limitations and deciding how I want to respond to them.
     
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  40. waveprof

    waveprof Enthusiast Donating Member

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    Another thought: there are services that ship your pack each day to the next place you plan to stop. NOthing I ever considered (not like you can ship a 14 month old, and he was our heaviest bag! lol). But it might help with your back if you didnt have to carry anything
     
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  41. KenMullen

    KenMullen New Member

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    el Camino frances (dos veces)
    MrsBath, Winston Churchill said 'never, never, never give in' and I would like to second it (kindly). I am 78 and did much of the CF and the CP in the past. I am going to do about 100km this year (with my daughter). I think that once you have done a couple of days, you will get your 'hiking legs' and surprise yourself. It is sometimes hard overcoming one's fears, but I say 'go for it'. Good luck and Buen Camino.
     
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  42. Jules67

    Jules67 Starting my Camino April 2017 Donating Member

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    We definitely do Robo.. It's good to talk to good listeners who think outside the box for us when we need answers.
     
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  43. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Active Member Donating Member

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    MrsBath,

    The above is the critical part of your original post. You really need to answer this for yourself -- and for no one else. Do you really want to do this? If your honest answer is no, then don't do it -- the heck with what "everyone else" thinks or believes or says. If your honest answer is yes, then begin by changing the way you're thinking about it.

    There is an old saying that, for you at this moment, is loaded with significance. "The longest journey begins with but a single step." Rather than considering, and being daunted by, the magnitude of the entire pilgrimage, break it down into smaller bits. "All I have to do right now is walk to [short-term destination]. Then I'll consider my options." That short-term destination can be yards or kilometers away; it just needs to be something you're reasonably confident that you can achieve. Once you're there, then consider your next step. Repeat as many times as necessary.

    Should you decide to make the journey, just keep reminding yourself that, at any point along the way you can decide to rest a few days, take a bus to your next destination, or do something entirely different. You can pack up your stuff and come home anywhere along the way.

    All of this is your choice, and yours alone. All I ask is that you consider what I've written here -- what we've all written here -- and then come back to let us know how things are going.

    -- Glenn
     
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  44. Elizabeth_B

    Elizabeth_B Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2014), Camino Madrid/Levante/Sanabres (2016)
    MrsBath, there is some wonderful big-hearted advice here. I have both laughed and teared up over these posts. My thing is - I believe in adventures, and I like to think of Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings) at 100 yrs + feeling like another adventure. The camino certainly is an adventure, with the associated anxieties and excitement. I have done two - the first (Frances), I just loved, despite the usual adjustments for sore feet, tiredness, a short bout of sickness etc. The second camino (Madrid/VdlP) provided a different set of challenges for me: some boredom (this surprised me), a bit of loneliness (also surprising) and navigating my way on my own, not in a stream of fellow pilgrims. They have both enriched my life immeasurably. This years adventure is climbing Mt Kilimanjaro - and yes I am excited but also quite apprehensive, with plenty of 'what-ifs' whirling in my head.
    I'm rambling on here I'm afraid - MrsBath it's great that you have posted your concerns on here, as I and no doubt others have appreciated the sharing of our very human doubts and fears about such undertakings so thank you for that! My two cents worth would include - forget the 500 miles (or 800 km, that sounds worse!), it's just a series of day walks, as long, short or frequent as you wish to make them. Buen Camino!
     
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  45. jumpingin2014

    jumpingin2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    I didn't have time to read all the responses but I read a lot of them. I would suggest you try the Camino out for a week or 2 and see how it goes. I think you are right to worry about hurting yourself and as such maybe just try a small portion of it and see how it goes. I found most days you would hit albergues every hour or so along the way. Most were small and not that fancy but you could find one. Cell phones are cheap enough and finding taxis is easy as most of the bars/cafes along the way have their numbers posted - or they will call for you. I just suggest you set a smaller goal and I think you will enjoy it. I think you are quite right though if you plan an entire camino and breakdown a few days later .................. it might be disappointing for you. Who knows - maybe you will cancel your flight back and keeping walking :)

    Mark
     
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  46. ouroboros

    ouroboros Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino Frances from St. Jean to Santiago (2012)
    Camino Portuguese Porto-Santiago (2017)
    Take heart!
    I trained with a few lame walks with backpack in the horrible month of July in Washington, DC...just 5 km and I was wiped out from 90% humidity and heat. I just could not do it. So I just walked when I felt like it in the cool of the evening without gear or concern for distance-- neither my husband nor I really trained. We were 53 years old. We only did 7 km that first day straight up...what a trial by fire! But that is the pilgrim's trial by fire, up the Napoleon route. But many other pilgrims start in Pamplona on the more level part of the Camino...Then they build up and get strong gradually. The body responds surprisingly well, provided you are gentle and in tune with yourself, take it slow, drink lots of water, and realize you will always find a bed and and a meal due to your trust in the hospitality of others, which is very real! It is a series of day hikes, and with so much company to help you keep the faith, keep the faith you will!
    One of your trials is to get through your fears, so step back and look at it as an existential test, set before you by St. James himself.
    Buen Camino, dear pilgrim...
     
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  47. HikeTall

    HikeTall Member Donating Member

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    Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
    Thank you MrsBath. I'm taking it day by day. When I eventually go, I know I will have a blessed Camino.

    I just reread what you wrote in your original post however, and it made me think. How you didn't know how you felt about going now. - That's okay.

    I just wanted to let you know that I related to that. You see, I was all gung ho & excited about traveling 6 months ago. Really jazzed. And I still am. But now I'm wrestling with some emotions, & feeling a bit guilty about being excited because my brother isn't here to share it with me. I know he would want me to go. And I will. I guess it's all part of the grieving process. I've got time until the summer to sort my feelings.

    So when I told you enthusiastically to just GO! Please know that only you can decide wether you are ready or not. Or if the desire is even there. I think if someone was pressuring you to go that'd be different. Then don't go. But from what you wrote, it sounds like you've been thinking about it for awhile. Researching, shopping, preparing. To me, that sounds like the desire is definitely there! Nobody puts that much thought & action into something they don't really want to do. So that is why I enthusiastically wrote you should go! And I still feel that way.

    It's natural to get nervous right before a big decision. It wouldn't be an adventure if you didn't! We can talk ourselves out of anything if we think too much.

    But all of my best memories are when I've broken out of my comfort zone and followed my heart & gone on an adventure. It never turns out exactly the way You plan. Just like life. So don't get so caught up in finding meaning now. If the desire & curiosity is there, and you think you're ready, then that is enough. The meaning of the journey will reveal itself to you along the way once you walk into the unknown.

    Think it over by all means. But get excited too. Weigh the pros & cons. Which feels better? Do the "rocking chair" test. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself years into the future when you're sitting in your rocking chair looking back on your long life. All the things you've done & seen. First imagine that you DID walk the Camino. Imagine all the things you saw & experienced while walking. All the people you met, the food you ate. Really FEEL it.

    Now open your eyes.

    Do the same thing, but this time imagine you did not go. How does that feel? Don't base it on fear. Just on how you'd feel if you didn't go.

    Compare your feelings. You'll find your answer.

    Bien Camino! (Whatever road you choose!) - Regan
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  48. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    CF SJPdP to SdC
    (May 2015)
    Alone.
    ------------------------------
    CF Sarria to SdC
    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Reading this thread again I was reminded of that wonderful quote at the end of Hank Leukart's Video. (which is one of my favourite Camino videos)

    He recalls how a Nun told him: The Camino is God's dream of how people should be when they are with each other.

    Here's his video link:
     
  49. Jose J. Martinez

    Jose J. Martinez New Member

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    Grab a stone and promise yourself to set it at the Cruz de ferro...and you will be on your way.
     
  50. linda piso

    linda piso Member Donating Member

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    I'm not sure what to say. I want to tell you to ignore the anxious feelings you are having right now as they appear to be normal. I have read many women's Camino Stories and each one had the same questions and fear you expressed on the way to the airport, on the plane and in SJPdP - each one expressed concern about what they were doing, why they were doing it, and doubted if they could do it, but they pushed on and wrote beautifully about their experience. I won't tell you to ignore your feelings because only you know if they have merit, or if they are just normal fear of the unknown. If you know yourself well enough you will know if you are convincing yourself you can't do it out of fear or if you should call it off because of health. Be honest with yourself, don't be embarrassed, and if you truly are embarrassed to cancel because of what others will think, then I'm going to bet your feelings are coming from fear alone and not ability or health. Again only you can make that decision. I have not done the full Frances and hope to next year - I really don't believe I have it in me to do it, but I'm going to give it a try and if I have to stop, at least I tried - it's for me, not others so I don't care what people say if I have to stop.... I didn't think I could do the English Way last year, but I did and I loved it - there were some hills to climb there and it was HOT, but I did it and what I wouldn't give to climb one of those hills today, again! I will pray that you make the best decision for yourself.
     
  51. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Active Member Donating Member

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    Yes.
     
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  52. Jacintha Warren

    Jacintha Warren New Member

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    It's not 500 miles, it's simply one step at a time. That's how I'm viewing it for my first trip on 1st May, all the best.
     
  53. Annie Little

    Annie Little Active Member Donating Member

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  54. Annie Little

    Annie Little Active Member Donating Member

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    Ohhh ... me responses went into the body of the quote for some reason :D
     
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  55. Turning48

    Turning48 New Member

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    Planning to hike The Camino May/June 2017
    Don't cancel! I'll be starting the same time as you arriving mid-May. We CAN do this. :) Sometimes I think the same thoughts, but then I just stop them. I realize it's fear and that is something I just have to conquer. We go through life once and we need to live it without regrets. This is a bucket list trip for me after crossing paths with someone three years ago who just finished hiking the Camino. I have not been able to stop thinking about doing this ever since I met him - synchronicity at it's finest. Maybe you can find that moment again when you were really excited about doing this and started planning? When you start feeling doubts, just honor whatever feeling you are thinking at the moment, like "feeling doubt," "feeling anxious," etc. and for the next 2 minutes, do not add any additional thoughts or dialogue to what you are feeling. Let your mind go empty and your feelings will be truly dissolve within 2 minutes and you will feel better. (Thank you Pema Chodron for teaching me how to do this!). I hope to see you on the Camino!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  56. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    Oh, @HikeTall! You are speaking my language. I am so mixed up right now.

    This might be off-topic for a Camino board, but I am struggling with some family-of-origin issues. I think I thought I could keep coasting along, year after year, just avoiding the giant elephant in the room of how messed up certain dynamics are within my family, which includes a brother who died young, unexpectedly, and estranged from all of us. This was several years ago, and it was a complicated story, so I wouldn't say it's a causal factor of my anxiety now, but the unspoken rules in my family are still working the same way, you know? And it's not working for me anymore.

    Certain things that happened over the summer, and at Christmas, and then just last weekend, are flashing huge neon NOT OK signs at me. It's dawning on me that I may have, at least in part, chosen this year for the Camino in the hope that it would give me an excuse to opt out of family expectations without incurring displeasure. But last weekend it became even more clear that there's nothing I can do to avoid incurring family displeasure (because my family is messed up!), and Camino or no Camino, I will have to take steps to change how I respond to it. This will "rock the boat", if you will, which is terrifying.

    My back problems, and other stress-exacerbated problems do exist, and I'm (hopefully) not exaggerating them or minimizing them, but really, 2 months out it's too early to tell if they really will keep me from the Camino.

    I've scheduled medical and shrink appointments for next week, and I feel good about that. This crisis has me shook!

    I feel Camino-blessed already, no matter what happens next.
     
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  57. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    >
    A rather disjointed answer from me:
    I met a guy with cerebral palsy who did the whole French way on crutches. It took him 3 months but it was possible. He had to get a lift back once when an albergue was full. That's all. He never took a bus or anything. There is so much flexibility. Just make sure you are not rushed for time.
    With a light pack, walking will most likely help your back. It does mine.
    Doing Camino is not running away from problems, it's a time to process and think. Really have time to think properly, in a way you just can't in everyday life.
    Every day on a Camino is hard, it's just hard in different ways. The variety of hard makes it bearable.
     
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  58. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    St Olav and Francés (2016)
    Baztanés and Francés (May 2017)
    MrsBath, yes...your journey has begun--this is what the Camino does. And in the end we come through into the clear light of day.
    Too much thinking is definitely poison--you will know in your gut what you should do, whether it be go or stay. Either way you'll have to deal with life. Either way. But if you go, you'll have a foundation of confidence that comes from the walking--and through it all, that will be a refuge that you would otherwise not have.

    I don't know if you're into poetry, but this may resonate:

    The Journey
    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice—
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    "Mend my life!"
    each voice cried.
    But you didn't stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    —Mary Oliver
     
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  59. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    The Camino de Santiago is a journey of the spirit, full of great challenges. Your camino has evidently already begun. You've felt the call, and responding is bringing down all kinds of resistance.
    Which may just mean you have something really important waiting for you on the other side.
    Don't over-think this. You are already committed to at least starting the trip. Set aside your doubts and fears and just give it a try, at least. If you still hate it after a week, at least you will have put in a good effort. Pack it in and go home -- this journey really is not for everyone.
    But if you do give it a week, I bet you won't give up. You may go slowly, it might hurt in many kinds of ways, but you'll make it all the way. And you will come out the other side transformed, amazed at your achievement.
     
  60. HellsKitchen

    HellsKitchen New Member

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    Dear Mrs. Bath,
    I am leaving in 10 days to walk my first camino at age 64. This thread has been wonderful to read. I've been daydreaming of canceling, too, possibly hiding in my apartment for 5 weeks and telling everyone I did go.
    Besides the anxiety issue, you have physical ones as well. Have you talked to a doctor you respect or a physical therapist who knows your condition? Advice from a couple of professionals might help you make up your mind and/or alleviate any guilt if they say postpone.
    Anne
    PS I particularly like seeing that all of the replies have a "like" from you.
     
  61. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    So beautiful. Thank you.

    Here's one from my collection of faves:

    The Best of It

    However carved up
    or pared down we get,
    we keep on making
    the best of it as though
    it doesn't matter that
    our acre's down to
    a square foot. As
    though our garden
    could be one bean
    and we'd rejoice if
    it flourishes, as
    though one bean
    could nourish us.


    Poem: "The Best of It" by Kay Ryan, from The Niagara River. Š Grove Press, New York. Reprinted with permission.
     
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  62. mjfisher02

    mjfisher02 New Member

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    I was almost in the same boat as you a few months ago. The decision to go, then the planning, then the obsessive planning and shopping, then the doubt of being able to do this. I too told people. Got mixed response feedback. But then it hit me. Don't know when or where but it came to me.
    I use and believe these sayings everyday in my life.
    -If you don't get on the plane, you know exactly what you are going back too. If you do, the rest of your life is unwritten.
    -The best journeys answer questions you didn't even think to ask in the beginning.

    Plus the feeling of this is my life and I asked myself if I want to keep watching and reading about others living what I want to live, or do I want to be the one actually doing it.
    It was like a warm blanket coming over me.
     
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  63. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF SJPdP to SdC
    (May 2015)
    Alone.
    ------------------------------
    CF Sarria to SdC
    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Dear Mrs Bath.

    I think you need this Camino more than you realise...... ;)
    We all get ourselves in a bit of a mess at times. And often the way forward is so hard to see or even comprehend.

    In my 60 years I have found no better way to 'unload', get some clear thinking time and start to put my life back in perspective, than the rhythm of the Camino. Walk, Think, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. ;)

    Life becomes very simple and basic, and with that comes such clarity. And tears, and laughter and joy. I found myself weeping at times and at others singing at the top of my voice (alone of course) at the sheer joy of living I was starting to experience.

    Of course part of the whole experience, is the wonderful people you will meet along the way, and forge instant friendships with and have amazing, often very personal discussions, like we do here, only to move on and meet others as your journey unfolds.

    Good luck with your decision :)

    Buen Camino.
     
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  64. MrsBath

    MrsBath New Member

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    First-time Camino walker! Starting Camino Frances mid-May.
    Buon Camino! Throwing a few "likes" around is the least I can do to express all the gratitude I feel. :)
     
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  65. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    Did you hear about that artist that faked going travelling with Photoshop?

    I still get nervous and I have been on a fair few Caminos now, and travelled extensively on my own in India, Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia. You are stepping from one world into another one that's quite hard to imagine. But really it's a very straightforward and helpful world.

    There is a lot of talk about how great pilgrims are and the sense of community and that. I want to put a word in for the Spanish people who are literally the best of the best of the best. The kindest, funniest, nicest people in the world. I have learnt Spanish since the age of 17 and am still a student at the Instituto Cervantes, and why - because I love talking to Spanish people. Here's an example: on the Via de la Plata I got the beginnings of septicemia. Not only did I get daily medical and nursing care in a local clinic, I was holed up in the Zaguan de la Plata albergue, nurtured by Antonio and his son Antonio. Day 1 they put me to bed, day 2 I lay by the pool and Antonio Sr plied me with home made liquor (mixed badly with the mega antibiotics I was on, which he referred to as el doping). Day 3 I was still shaky - they took me to see their horses. Day 4 they took me to the Fiesta. Day 5 they kissed me goodbye and saw me on my way.

    Just do it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  66. elkwoman

    elkwoman New Member

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    Camino June 2017
    I cannot sit still long. The thought of every plane ride makes me cringe. I have discovered those international flights use really big planes. So I get up and walk around. What a relief.

    You can train on the plane :)
    The camino is calling !
     
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  67. Magda2017

    Magda2017 New Member

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    April 2017 Cycling
    Has anyone else felt this? What did you do?[/QUOTE]

    Hi MrsBath, I'm starting my first Camino in two weeks. I decided about three months ago and have been occupied with preparing. But I've also suffered with anxiety on and off the entire time, I'm worried about everything! I don't have much advise but I've heard the the Camino provides and you're never alone. That provides me with enough comfort to keep going, but if you choose to cancel, that's okay too! I'm pretty sure the Camino will be there for a long time ;)
     
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  68. Tigger

    Tigger Guest

    Don't not go. I am a Camino virgin and scared witless with 4 weeks to go.
     
  69. HikeTall

    HikeTall Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
    Dear MrsBath. I'm glad my story resonated with you. We are all human, and we all have stories. So don't beat yourself up okay? Nobody's family situation is ever perfect. And remember, you can never truly change or control other people or what they think about you. So don't even try. Waste of energy. You can only control & change yourself. So focus on that. You'll be much happier. Believe me.

    In two months, If you are mentally & physically up to walking the Camino, I definitely would. Sometimes a change of scenery is the absolute best way to think through a problem. It'll give you a fresh perspective. Besides having a great time, you'll come back stronger and perhaps better able to deal with your family situation.

    But if for whatever reason you honestly don't feel ready now(either physically or mentally)...go next year. The Camino de Santiago isn't going away. It will always be there waiting for you. So no worries!

    Anyway, best of luck to you.
     
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  70. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie Donating Member

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    Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017
    What you do is, just go. None of us had the experience we envisioned having.

    It is part of the pilgrim experience to feel anxiety - this is an opportunity to also experience faith.
    It is part of the pilgrim experience to discover limitations - this is an opportunity to accept one's imperfections.
    It is a part of the pilgrim experience to learn one's insufficiencies - this is an opportunity to accept the kindness of others.
    It is part of the pilgrim experience to find oneself lost and alone - this is an opportunity to accept friendship from strangers.

    It's not about how far you walk, or how fast. It's about being open to the change within.

    So go.
     
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  71. Julie Urbahn

    Julie Urbahn New Member

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    Hi

    I felt exactly the same and I found that I was actually doing too much prep, reading too much, hearing others' stories etc, so I decided to call the preparation a halt and just trust myself to make the Camino my own experience and journey. I kept telling myself I was scared and anxious and a dear friend gave me a new mantra - "I am quietly cautious, but incredibly optimistic." That seemed to help me. Also, we can overplan, so I decided to just plan how to get there, my first 2 days and when I needed to finish. Then I took each day as it came. Also, I was never alone as I made the most fantastic friends who all helped each other. Go for it! You won't regret it.
     
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  72. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member Donating Member

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    What date are you starting in SJPP?
     
  73. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Very true
     
  74. jgpryde

    jgpryde Member Donating Member

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    "limitations" may be too strong. I think you are face to face with your own challenges. In this regard, you are ahead of other first timers (such as myself) who will likely be astonished that the Camino is not a walk in the park.

    I like your revelation that your Camino doesn't start in SJPdP.


    Ultreia! - http://caminoways.com/what-does-ultreia-mean
    The word ‘Ultreia’ (also ‘ultrella’ or ‘ultreya’) comes from Latin and it means ‘beyond’. Ultreia is another pilgrim salute, like the more popular ‘Buen Camino!’. While ‘Buen Camino’ literally means ‘have a good journey, a good Camino’, the meaning of ‘Ultreia!’ goes a bit deeper, implying encouragement to keep going, reaching ‘beyond’, heading onwards.



    -Jason
     
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  75. Ahhhs

    Ahhhs Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPdP to Santiago, May 2015
    Porto to Santiago, April 2016
    Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago, April 2016
    Camino Del Norte, April 2017
    Just go and start.
    And remind yourself you can stop at any time.
    Any time.
    Day 2 or day 37.
    But I bet you don't.

    Buen Camino.
     
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  76. nathanael

    nathanael Guest

    Hey there don't give up. At least make the effort to try and see this adventure through.I also had a back injury and only once did I have problems but was able to get medical help and only lost one day which was a great rest day.My knees are not the best but I manage with natural meds. Go through with it give it a chance , if by chance you cannot go through with it it's not a problem. When I did my first Camino I had to quit after two weeks because of bronchitis. I went back the next year and now I'm doing my 10th. Camino. Rest days are important on a Camino it's not a race but an adventure of a life time. The best to you.
     
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  77. Francis Terrance

    Francis Terrance New Member

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    Camino de Santiago August September 2014
    Camino Portgues May June 2016
     
  78. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
    MrsBath,
    I met a woman who prayed for a different person in her life everyday of her camino. Each day was totally committed to praying for that one person. I met a woman dealing with childhood molestation and whether to divorce her husband upon Camino return, and so on and on, a Catholic priest dealing with his AIDS diagnosis. If you can: hit the road. You'll find something. Camino is not a panacea. But, it helps lighten life's load.
    Again, try and go.
    Buen camino!
     
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  79. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
    A few days after leaving my little sister's ashes at Cruz de Ferro I was ready to give up. She was the reason I was walking, and she was no longer with me.
    A little old retired priest in the back of the church listened to me talk about Fay and why I thought my Camino was accomplished.
    "You walk for yourself", he told me. "In her honor, in your grief, but you always walk for yourself. You are still walking because you are not done yet."
    So this time when I go back I am walking (again) for me. She'll be there, in the beautiful vistas and the friendly cats she loved, and in everyone else's smile, as will your brother.
    We all just have to figure out why we are walking, and the Camino will do the rest.
     
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  80. Mick McQueen

    Mick McQueen https://www.facebook.com/groups/ Donating Member

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    I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
    The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
    I have had two back operations in the last three weeks and I will be attempting the Camino de Santiago, I died on the operating table and if I die on the Camino......so what nothing ventured nothing gain hasta la vista baby
     
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  81. William Garza

    William Garza Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Mrs.Bath.
    L5-S1
    T5-6-7-9
    C4 and a few other mysterious terms..
    Yet when my time comes, I will go

    There is always a way,at your own pace
    Deep within your sphere of control
    Pain...is inevitable
    Suffering is optional....

    When your ready? I think the road will surely and swiftly rise to meet you.
     
  82. PlutseligPilegrim

    PlutseligPilegrim Frances-Norte-Levante-Portugues Donating Member

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    Lebaniego Way-Primitivo November 2017
    Dear MrsBath.

    We are all in our own process regarding our pilgremage.

    It seems that you have started a camino allready .....fighting mixed emotions and having different reactions to what lays ahead.

    Good for you!

    If your mind is blurred or confused....?....just stay put.....stay at homesoil .....enjoying nature on walks near home.

    The Camino will not leave you. It's awaiting you and your sole when ready. In doubt for eternity maybe ....but in due time....you are willingly ready

    Buen Camino
     
    amparo, marylynn, Magda2017 and 3 others like this.
  83. Introibo

    Introibo Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
    Mrs Baff

    Buen Camino

    After all these lovely responses you'd better come back on here
    and tell us how it all went.
     
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  84. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Well, I have heard if you die on the Camino you go straight to Heaven.
    Not on the Stairway to heaven, it's an ESCALATOR!!!
    Enjoy the ride. Just remember to stand to the right, people will be passing to the left.
     
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  85. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Francés (2014, 2015)
    St Olav and Francés (2016)
    Baztanés and Francés (May 2017)
    Coleen, you sure weren't behind the door when God was giving out a sense of humor.
    Thanks for that--it brightens my day.
    :D
    Standing to the right....:)
     
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  86. sicada123

    sicada123 Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    first Camino francais Sept/Oct (2016)
    Second Camino Niort Sept/Oct (2018)

    Hi

    In part you have done the hard work......................be realistic in your expectations of your own physical, mental and spiritual capabilities. I did my first Camino at the age of 71 in 2016 (set/oct) I completed the St Jean De Pied de Port to Santiago (Camino Frances 500 miles) in 27 days, no rest days. At the outset, my aim was to say "thank you". No other reason, no other expectations of the Camino. I figured I have been lucky and had a blessed life, just kneeling down on fitted carpet in a centrally heated dwelling with my foreanrms resting on a duvet just didn't cut it..........so, I planned my trip having done thorough research. the best decision I made was to stay over at Refugio Orisson as my first stopover rather than attempt St Jean Pied De Port to Roncesvalles in one hit. Now here is the good bit. The time passed very quickly, the miles just rolled away and I stayed in some wonderful Albergues, Municipals and Donnativos.

    I met some wonderful people and didn't experience boredom in spite of the fact that I was a fist time lone traveller. Incidentally, I had never carried a backpack in my life and I had never stayed in a hostel. I wanted the simplest most basic experience and I was not dissappointed. I am now planning a second Camino along the Del Niort route which I understand is a bit more difficult but more scenic?

    You are all set.......Just do it, but do check your expectations. I started with the lowest common denominator, consequently, the whole experience exceeded my expectations. One other thing which helped me was that no one knew I was doing it apart from my wife and 3 children and they were sworn to secrecy. I didn't make contact with anyone until I was 20 days into the experince, it was brief just to say I was fine. I had an open ended return date in that I didn't book my flight home until I arrived in Santiago. My guess is that you will have long lasting regrets if you don't follow through and complete your Camino as intended. My family had no real idea what date I would return to the U.K. I figured about six weeks so you can imagine my wifes surprise as I turned up on the doorstep weeks ahead of her expectations. However, a note of caution, forget the romance and the fantasizing. Go with simple and reality and put faith in your inner strength.

    Buen Camino
     
  87. HikeTall

    HikeTall Member Donating Member

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    Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
    Thanks for sharing your story Coleen. So sorry for the loss of your sister. My brother loved cats too. I'm taking care of his two buddies Monkey & Minnie now. I can tell they miss him, but they constantly make me smile & have helped me so much these last few months.

    I totally agree with what you wrote tho. How it's so important that we honor the ones we've lost, but that Life does goes on & we have to keep moving forward for ourselves. It's hard. I'm still kinda stuck in that emotional limbo. Somewhere btwn grieving & moving forward. Between accepting this new reality & still not believing it's real. But I'm slowly getting back on my path. Little by little. Day by day.

    I know someday soon I will jump back into my life full force & live with passion again. My brother, like your sister will always be with me. And the best way we can honor them is to always make sure we follow our heart & live our lives to the fullest.

    I planned to walk the Camino for myself way before this. And that hasn't changed. It'll just be different now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    amparo, HedaP, HeidiL and 3 others like this.
  88. Yossi Fuchs

    Yossi Fuchs Member Donating Member

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    May 2016
    Like many other people, I think you are over-rating the difficulties of walking the camino. I am a 68 year old man and last May I started off from Pamplona, skipped the Burgos - Leon stretch, continued to Santiago, from there to Muxia on the Atlantic coast and down to Finistere. Believe me; no big deal... I did not do any training beforehand. I started on April 28th and finished on May 30th.
    Don't let the posts here scare you; walk at you own pace, take it easy and you will enjoy it immensely.
    Buen Camino!
    P.S.
    If you still don't feel like doing it than don't. You don't owe anything to anybody; do what feels right to you. By the way, on may 15th I am taking my wife to complete what I didn't do last year; SJPP to Pamplona.
    Yossi Fuchs
     
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  89. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
    C. Inglés 2011
    C. Primitivo '12
    Norte-C. de la Reina '13
    C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
    Sometimes we need to be away from a situation to see it clearly and how to cope with it. A new perspective and strength. Maybe this is what the Camino can give you. Scary - yes; worth it - hopefully yes too.
     
    amparo, JohnMcM, JenCamino and 4 others like this.
  90. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (66 days, May-July 2015)
    Hello @MrsBath.

    I'm a bit slow responding to your post. My inclination is to encourage you to go although I am reluctant to actually advise this given your back condition. If you do go perhaps you should start in Pamplona to avoid the harder walking in the mountains. Even from there though you still have the Alto de Perdon. I think I've read more complaints about the downhill portion than the uphill. So, on the side of caution, perhaps you should start on the other side of the hill. But for a bit more adventure than a bus ride you could raft the Rio Arga to Puente de Reina. The Hotel Jakue has a raft trip from Pamplona to Puente de Reina (I have not taken this trip.) Their webpage (in Spanish) is http://www.chofert.com/detalle/pase...puente-la-reina-barcas-raft-rally-fotográfico and a Google translation is at https://translate.google.com/transl...aft-rally-fotogr%C3%A1fico&edit-text=&act=url

    Not that I want you to think that you can't do the camino but maybe have a backup plan in case you do have to stop walking this year. Vacationing here and there has been mentioned earlier but, keeping with an adventuring theme, perhaps you could attend a cooking school or learn Spanish. Actually a new thread you could put on your watchlist has just been started "Best language school for over 60s in Spain". Also, try a Google search for homestays in spain teach learn.

    You mentioned that you were going to talk with someone soon about whether to do the camino or not. You could print out this thread so she/he has a fuller understanding of your feelings and what you have been hearing from others about them.

    I'm really hoping that there is a buen camino for you soon even if not this year.
     
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  91. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
    James Michener called the Camino "the finest journey in Spain and one of the best two or three best in the world" He did most of it in a car. Stayed in no albergues. Studied the history, churches local lore. Have a good plan B, a bus schedule, some guidebooks, and have a fine journey!
     
  92. Purple Backpack

    Purple Backpack Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    "Fear is stupid. So are regrets." ~Marilyn Monroe (perhaps the Queen of No Regrets?)

    Kind of a trite answer to a serious question but sometimes, you just have to go for it. When I get really stressed out, I use "Give it to God" as a kind of mantra. Things can get really overwhelming in life and I figure He can take care of problems better than me. It takes the pressure off and lets me forget for a while. And, honestly, things work out, whether I worry or not.

    No fear! No regrets!

    And this holds true on all kinds of life journeys, not just walking on a pilgrimage trail.

    PS: As WilliamGarza posted, the road will rise up to meet you. I'm willing to bet the sun will shine warm on your face, too.
     
    amparo, Hutton24 and ouroboros like this.
  93. Jules67

    Jules67 Starting my Camino April 2017 Donating Member

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    SJPDP in April 2017
    Hi. I arrive at SJPDP on the 11th April and will stay the night there just to gather my thoughts, eat and sleep then will start the next morning on the 12th. How about you?
     
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  94. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    (2009): Camino Frances
    (2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
    (2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
    (2014): SJpdP-Astorga
    (2015): Astorga-SdC
    (2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
    (2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
    (2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
    Don't look back. You have been there. Always search forward.
    The thing most people regret on their death bed is what they did not do.
    For many people, the Camino is a doorway to an inproved life. Maybe for you too? Take the gamble...

    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  95. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    A lot of replies here, and I didn't read them all, so I may be echoing something previously said, but just stick with your plan on walking the Camino, but have a contingency plan of sending your pack ahead on the days you are not up to walking with it. If that's 10% of the Camino or 90% of it that you do that, so what? Just go and experience it.
    Carry a daypack for the days you don't carry your full sized one. Keep your rain stuff, fleece, snacks and water in the daypack. A lot of pilgrims do it that way.
    ultreia
     
  96. Trude

    Trude Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
    Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
     
  97. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    (2009): Camino Frances
    (2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
    (2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
    (2014): SJpdP-Astorga
    (2015): Astorga-SdC
    (2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
    (2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
    (2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
    It's called an excuse, and you know it. ;) But it is really only up to you.:)

    Some motivation...:

    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/rolling-walker.43996/#post-455672
    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...iscapacitados-sila-rohlstuhle-jakobsweg.3550/
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  98. tillyjones

    tillyjones Active Member Donating Member

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    VDLP May 2017
    I have not read all of these responses in detail. Of course I echo all of the encouragements, and definitely you could just go and take it one day at a time, not worrying about how you 'should' go about doing it, just do it however makes sense for you.

    I didn't however, see any taking the other approach. Our guts are wise. If your gut is telling you this is not the right time, then perhaps it isn't. It isn't the end of the world if you cancel. And you needn't feel badly if you do. We all just have to do what is right for us in the moment.

    Being in pain is no fun, and the camino is definitely a strain on the body so if you truly think your body is not up to it, then maybe better to wait. (Of course there are always a number of solutions to some of those things, but then I go back to supporting the other side)

    A somewhat unrelated story...I had planned a two week camping trip months in advance, but as it approached, I no longer really wanted to go. But, the plans were made...expenses were paid, people knew. So I went. Spent the time and energy to pack up, drove for 8 hours, spent one night and knew that my heart just really wasn't in it. I didn't want to be there. So packed up and drove back home. Should have listened to my gut in the first place.
     
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  99. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member Donating Member

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    (2009): Camino Frances
    (2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
    (2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
    (2014): SJpdP-Astorga
    (2015): Astorga-SdC
    (2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
    (2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
    (2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
    Magic post, Jim. The truth of The Camino explained. TommelOpp.png
     
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  100. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Active Member Donating Member

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    .
    Once again you put your finger directly on the core issue/challenge. It sounds like you were going to use the Camino as a means of escape/avoidance. The Camino is many things, but THAT isn't one of them; actually it's quite the opposite.

    I'm pleased and more than a little relieved to learn that you are seeking help.
     
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