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LIVE from the Camino Day 1- feeling really rattled/unsafe- help?

Sandra S

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Nov-Dec 2015
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
 
Last edited:
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
There is no bus to Roncesvalles from Valcarlos but you can call a taxi. The municipal albergue has the telephone number on their desk. Perhaps you will be more at ease if you walk in the left-side verges of the road N 135 facing traffic and not follow the camino path into the wood. Do go prepared with trail snacks and water. There are NO services or water available until Roncesvalles monastery.
Good luck and Buen camino!

MM
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
Hello Sandra!

Greetings to Valcarlos! If you find a dark green woolen blanket there in the "left behind items" place, it's mine... tell it I'm sorry I left it there! I miss it!

But apart from the joking - it's absolutely understandable you're a bit overwhelmed right now. I walked as a solo pilgrim via Valcarlos earlier this year (end of march). Got lost on my way there, got blisters, and was frightened about the next day to Roncesvalles... but, I can tell you, it's worth it.

You start walking on the road for a while, but not long (if you're afraid of cars on the road, pick up a stick, wave it when cars get close. A flash light might help also. But the people driving there know there are pilgrims on the road and are usually very careful) .
After that you mostly walk through the woods. It's exhausting, quite steep at times, and there's only one fountain (which is aqua no potable if I remember correctly), so make sure you've got enough water and some food (bananas, salted nuts... whatever you can get).

It's called the "lower route", but it's still a mountain. It's exhausting if you're not used to walk up mountains... BUT it's beautiful. You will feel so, so good by the time you reach the highest point. The wind will probably blow in your face and it will be cold, but it's a great feeling. Don't be afraid. The road is always close by, if you think you can't walk on anymore, you can get to the road and stop a car or call a taxi, if needed. It's not dangerous. You can do it!!! Ultreya!!!


To add one more thing: on my way to St. Jean I met someone who was on his way to work as a hospitalero. He told me to remember two things: "Ne pas avoir peur, ne pas courir." "Don't be afraid, and don't run." That was my mantra for most of the way, and it turned out to be very true. It helped me a lot, so I thought I'll pass it on. Maybe it will be of use to you, too.
 
Last edited:

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Ok, calm down ;-) Being alone on the road can be frightening if you are not used to it, but it is, at the same time a huge opportunity to grow. Take it easy. Take a day of rest if you need to. Indulge in some chocolate or vino. Pamper yourself and think about how proud you will be of yourself if you stick to it. Being alone is actually healthy as you meet with yourself, you will emerge stronger then before believe me. Buen Camino! SY
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Hi Sandra! You've successfully got the first day under your belt so well done for that! Unfortunately there is more roadside walking for several kms after Valcarlos, but that really is the worst you'll get in the whole Camino. Most of the 'roadside' walking thereafter is on paths separated from the road (usually by drainage ditches), so although bemoaned by guidebook writers, it's not so much a safety issue as an aesthetic one.

If you're alone in a strange place it's not surprising that you become a bit fearful. You also may have high hopes and expectations of your Camino that you're not sure will be met. I'm confident that they will be. If waiting for company will help, then wait for company. Don't let any thoughts of what you 'should' be doing get in the way of living in the moment, sitting in cafes and enjoy the coffee and watching life, if that's what you need. Look at the hills out the back of the albergue at first light.

I often feel grumpy for the first day or so of a Camino. I'm not sure why - I'm not a particularly grumpy person, and I don't have any real reason to feel that way. I think it's maybe just being away from my routine. I must be getting set in my ways! :D

I hope you get into your stride over the next couple of days and start to see how far you've come. Buen Camino!

p.s. Could you have a quick look round and see if my sleeping bag's still there? I accidentally left it on the first night of my first Camino. Doh! (It's red.)
 
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fraluchi

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
One every year since 2007
Hi Sandra! [...] If waiting for company will help, then wait for company. Don't let any thoughts of what you 'should' be doing get in the way of living in the moment, sitting in cafes and enjoy the coffee and watching life, if that's what you need. Look at the hills out the back of the albergue at first light.[...]
I hope you get into your stride over the next couple of days and start to see how far you've come. Buen Camino!
Statistically you are walking during a time of solitary bless on the Camino Francés.:) Once you have mastered the mountain, passed Roncesvalles and arrive in Pamplona, you'll have a different approach and feelings. It's a matter of a few days walking (right now you are in the "verano de San Martin" with nice weather) and getting to meet fellow pilgrims.;) Cheer up and let us know how things are going!:)
 
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CFx5
Norte
Primitivo
CP
Le Puy-SJPP
Via F
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
So sorry you are feeling so vulnerable just now. See how you feel in the morning and follow your instincts. As it is still so early in your journey don't terrify yourself so soon into your journey. Just call a taxi and Get to ronselvelles where there will probably be more pilgrims for you to travel with. From then on, you should be fine. If you do decide to walk, then it might be an idea to take the easier way down on the road as the path is very very steep and you would need your wits about you. If you are worried and distracted and nervous then the path route might prove difficult. At the end of the day, you have a long journey ahead of you and you want to enjoy it so don't beat yourself up so soon if you DO have to get a bit of transport now and then and you need to feel safe for yourself. Just my humble ( practical) opinion. On the other hand you can " feel the fear" and do it anyway"as they say. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and will have a word with my mum" up there" let us know how you get on. Best wishes Annette
 

Cailin O Eire

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked Sarria to Santiago Easter 2014
Hope to walk for 5 days from St Jean Pied De Port to wherever my feet bring me to first week of June 2016
Hi, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling like this, reminds me of how I felt when I was due to be travelling to Biarritz to start walking solo last May/June! I was thinking all a sorts and worrying myself about things that may never happen me whilst walking alone. In the interim before I went I did a mindfulness course and I can honestly say that it helped make my camino!
What you are feeling to me is the culmination of fear brought on by thoughts of the worst case scenarios, try to think more positive, I know what your thinking..easier said than done!!! If you keep walking as someone else above mentioned, you will be stronger in mind for it, but that is just my opinion.
Sometimes when we have too much time to think we can let our imagination run away with us and frighten the life out of ourselves. Just remember they are only thoughts though and not reality, so maybe practice a little bit of mindfulness as you walk, likr liisten out for the crackling of leaves underfoot, take in the different colours of the leaves, take deep breaths and just let those irrational thoughts come and go, telling yourself that that is all they are is thoughts, they aren't real and don't let them ruin your trip, let them come and go but don't dwell on them! Dwell on the positive thoughts like the hot shower and taking off your boots at the end of the day!!
This post probably sounds a bit airy fairy but I do believe some deep breaths and positive thinking will help you on your way and you have the power to start doing both :)
Obviously if your 6th sense ever makes you feel in real danger listen to it, but it doesn't sound like you were in real danger today.
Lots of good luck, positive thoughts and blessings being sent your way.
Rita
 
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JMac56

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF(2015)
CF+Fis(2016)
CP:Porto-SdC-Mux-Fis(2017)
CF:Leon-SdC(2017)
CF+Mux+Fis(2018)
G'day Sandra. It would be a bit trite of me to say "She'll be right, mate!" I know that dark thoughts can creep into your mind at times when walking alone. You have given yourself a wonderful opportunity for self discovery. I hope and pray that you can overcome your fears and walk on, maybe with a buddy for a while? Set small goals. You will feel much better when you reach Roncesvalles. I found wearing a high vis vest and raising my walking pole (politely) to oncoming traffic helped me feel a little safer on the road sections. Buen Camino.
 
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GettingThere

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)

Hi Sandra
I see you come from Melbourne, so you will have had a long and very tiring journey to get to your starting-point at St Jean Pied de Port (assuming you haven't been elsewhere on the way). In addition to that, the planning phase for a major trip like this, even though exciting and enjoyable, uses up a lot of energy and is stressful in its own way. Fatigue, jet lag and stress, combined with the huge anticipation of this great thing you are doing, possibly combined with an unfamiliar country and language if you haven't been there before - a recipe for exactly the kind of reaction you're having. What you are feeling is very normal, as others have said above. I started my camino from Roncesvalles so can't comment on the walk you're facing tomorrow (we changed plans after initially intending to do what you're doing, due to some health issues). Though we did travel that way by car on our way to Roncesvalles! But from everything I've read about walking that route I think you'll be fine. If you feel unsafe walking alone through woodland you could stay on the main road - that's about 4km longer but many do it that way. Just make sure you stick to the left (always!).

One of the options you mention above was to stay another day in Valcarlos and wait for another pilgrim to come along. You could do that, but see how you feel in the morning - you may find you've recovered enough to make a start, if you have a good night's sleep. You've got plenty of time, just plod along and you'll get there! And after Roncesvalles there are no hills anything like that extreme for several more days - and very little walking on main roads for the whole camino. Or as others have suggested, if you really still feel unsafe you could call a taxi and get to Roncesvalles, and start afresh from there. I found it a beautiful place to start, very atmospheric and with lovely gentle paths ahead - apart from going downhill to Zubiri, but you have probably read about that so will be prepared! You could take it easy for the first few days till you get your "camino legs", stay the next night in Viskarret so you're not so tired when you get to that downhill!

Anyway - I think you'll be fine once you have acclimatised a bit. I would say don't make any radical decisions about stopping just yet - give yourself a little time to get "into" the camino. Make Pamplona your goal at first, don't think about the rest, and then when you get there you can reassess. Maybe decide to walk just a bit further and see how it goes. And then you might find that you feel confident enough to continue. You can always have breaks, and if there are places where you really feel unsafe you can take taxis or buses to the next place - but I think by the time you get "into it" you will find your rhythm and you'll meet some other pilgrims and you'll realise you just want to keep going.

Buen camino!
 

vegoodrich

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (October 3-18, 2015)
Frances w/2 Daughters (Sept 22 - Oct 20)
When I get nervous traveling alone in the woods or running in the early morning dark I try and remind myself that my risks of harm are much higher driving around in my car or walking in a crowded city and I don't worry about those things every time I do them :)

It doesn't always work but playing the statistics game in your mind can moderate your feelings a bit.

A good nights sleep and a good breakfast will help, one foot in front of the other!

It is normal to feel unsure when starting on a new adventure, I do all the time. Give it time and try to have fun.

Buen camino!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
All good, sensible, advice. I think we are waiting to hear, with quiet confidence in you, Sandra. Just remember, there are no failures here - just different routes. Keep calm and carry on!
 

susanawee

susanawee
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
Hello Sandra!

Greetings to Valcarlos! If you find a dark green woolen blanket there in the "left behind items" place, it's mine... tell it I'm sorry I left it there! I miss it!

But apart from the joking - it's absolutely understandable you're a bit overwhelmed right now. I walked as a solo pilgrim via Valcarlos earlier this year (end of march). Got lost on my way there, got blisters, and was frightened about the next day to Roncesvalles... but, I can tell you, it's worth it.

You start walking on the road for a while, but not long (if you're afraid of cars on the road, pick up a stick, wave it when cars get close. A flash light might help also. But the people driving there know there are pilgrims on the road and are usually very careful) .
After that you mostly walk through the woods. It's exhausting, quite steep at times, and there's only one fountain (which is aqua no potable if I remember correctly), so make sure you've got enough water and some food (bananas, salted nuts... whatever you can get).

It's called the "lower route", but it's still a mountain. It's exhausting if you're not used to walk up mountains... BUT it's beautiful. You will feel so, so good by the time you reach the highest point. The wind will probably blow in your face and it will be cold, but it's a great feeling. Don't be afraid. The road is always close by, if you think you can't walk on anymore, you can get to the road and stop a car or call a taxi, if needed. It's not dangerous. You can do it!!! Ultreya!!!


To add one more thing: on my way to St. Jean I met someone who was on his way to work as a hospitalero. He told me to remember two things: "Ne pas avoir peur, ne pas courir." "Don't be afraid, and don't run." That was my mantra for most of the way, and it turned out to be very true. It helped me a lot, so I thought I'll pass it on. Maybe it will be of use to you, too.
I love that quote and have committed to mind.
 
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Sandra S

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Nov-Dec 2015
Thank you all so much for your beautiful, kind, supportive, and encouraging words. They were a lovely thing to wake up to. I'm off to see the sun on the hills, then think about what to do next. It sounds like a stick and my bright pack cover might be a good start! I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again for having me in your thoughts and for taking the time to share your experiences xxx
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Me guesses that those 'lost items' were those all-important-can't-do-the-Camino-without-its that suddenly became less important as realisation hit that the owner had to carry them for miles on end :rolleyes: Buen Camino! SY
 

Aidan21

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
Hi Sandra,

I see one of the options you mentioned was to NOT do the Camino. You must do as you see fit and I would not like to think of you being frightened or being unsafe. When I find myself in such situations I normally tell myself to take the long view. If I came from Melbourne and finished after 2 days how would I feel when I got back home? I think people regret in life the things they did not do much more than the things they did. To be on the Camino and not walk it I think may be a source of regret that will be with you for the rest of your days. Take heart the Camino is normally a very safe place and the positives far outweigh the negatives. Take your courage in your hands (and take all necessary steps to be safe) and enjoy one of the most positive experiences you will ever have in this life. Walk your Camino and ENJOY!!!

Aidan
 
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Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Sounds like a good night's sleep and some friendly excellent advice gave you the courage to continue.
Don't feel bad about having those feelings.
There ARE times the Camino forces us to face our fears.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Best wishes and BUEN CAMINO!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
The Napoleon route should be closed now..does that mean you are the only Pilgrim who left from SJPdP yesterday? ...or are some ignoring the ban on the Napoleon?

You are not really alone as we are all virtually walking with you ( from all over the world).....keep us updated as you walk.
We are all hoping to hear from you when you reach Roncesvalles today.
Conquering fear is a life changing experience.
Stay strong.
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Conquering fear is a life changing experience.
A mind taken over by fear spins stories whose only purpose is to keep the fear going. Even if we're safe as houses we can all too easily convince ourselves otherwise. Not to be believed!
So I hope the night and some rest has given you courage for the day's very beautiful walk, Sandra. Please let us know how you go!
 
Past OR future Camino
CFx5
Norte
Primitivo
CP
Le Puy-SJPP
Via F
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
Hi Sandra, just wondering how you got on today. Myself and everyone on the forum who read or responded to your post must be willing you onwards and upwards and of course at the top-- downwards in whatever form it took to get you to your destination. I have been thinking of you during the day and have lit a candle for you to light your way. Taking each day as it comes and knowing that so many on this forum are with you in spirit and wishing ( definitely myself) that we we're there too will help you along. Remember too that so many of us are at the other end of an iPad or computer!!! Best wishes Annette
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
Other responses have covered the psychology of walking alone and fear of the unknown, so I'll only add a bit of practical advice -- if you don't already have one, buy an bright safety orange or lime green vest like those worn by road workers to make yourself more visible while walking alongside roadways. There are several stretches along the way ahead where you'll be walking along or beside roads, and I believe that in fact there is a law in Spain that requires wearing some sort of bright clothing. If true, it doesn't seem to be seriously enforced, and you seldom see a safety vest mentioned in pilgrims' packing lists.
 
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Sue M

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Burgos(2012)Leon-Santiago(2013)Sarria- Santiago(Sept 2013),Frances (coach,2013),Le Puy-Conques(May 2014), parish pilgrimage organised for June 2015.
Keep safe and keep going!
 
Past OR future Camino
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
Hi Sandra, sounds like you are doing fine, nothing like a good nights sleep to brighten up your mind and give you the strength to continue!
Looking forward to your future posts on the Camino.
Buen Camino
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Me guesses that those 'lost items' were those all-important-can't-do-the-Camino-without-its that suddenly became less important as realisation hit that the owner had to carry them for miles on end :rolleyes: Buen Camino! SY
My sleeping bag wasn't. I froze for the next month. :-(
 

Carol06

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
Hi Sandra. I am sorry you are feeling like this and hope it gets better for you. And I am sorry my post added to the fear. Yes I will walk that route again, but not on my own. And do follow the arrows. I was with three other women and one of them seemed to know what she was doing and that is where we went wrong.

Maybe a taxi is the best thing if you are alone. Just to Ronscavalles. It is fine after that. I eventually left my three companions and walked on my own. It was wonderful, truly liberating. Good luck and take care.
Buen Camino
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Hi Sandra! Hope today is a bit smoother for you. I am currently in Santiago, and walked the Camino from SJPP primarily alone, without skipping any of the route. That said, I did have several friends who took buses on occasion when they felt like it, for any reason whatsoever.

Honestly, if I had it to do over again, I would probably try to take buses into the big cities, namely Burgos and Leon. Also, as others have suggested, I walked against traffic, and did make some moves with my walking sticks to make myself more visible. I felt better with my bright colored coat on.

As a solo traveler and a woman, there were some areas in which I was absolutely solitary. These areas included areas that would be considered suburbs outside of various cities. and moving through kind of industrial looking areas. Remember: you were walking through the entire country, not just the beautiful parts. You will see everything.

My game plan for areas where I felt A bit edgy was to stay very alert and move fast and assertively. I invariably tripped over a rock or something when I was trying to look confident, which kind of ruined my game plan, ha ha!

Seriously though, talk to people and find someone to either walk with, or walk behind. As a solo traveler who actually liked going solo, I did make time for other women who needed a companion when they felt unsafe. I had to listen to some life stories I wasn't all that interested in on occasion, but that's OK. Remember – – you are still moving and putting 1 foot in front of the other! Part of what I learned on my camino was that I could receive something that I never realized I needed. In other words, an unexpected blessing.

My absolute strongest advice to you is this: be in the moment. As you are walking, do the absolute best walking that you can. Place your feet carefully and treat your body well. If you are mindful in your walking and your breathing, your body will strengthen and so will your mind. Sometimes fear is appropriate. But control it. Let it inform you, and then reason with it.

Buen Camino!

Deb
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Dear Peregrina:
Fact is, you are safer up there than just about anywhere in the world. Bad guys don't bother hanging out in woods that far from civilization, and the weather is predicted very nice for the next couple of days. This is your first big Camino challenge. Face that fear, girl, and keep walking! Only you can do this, and you WILL... millions have done before you, and millions will in the future. We're rooting for you!
 

Sarah80

Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan to walk july 15
Hey Sandra

How are you? I did that route back in July, and even with the record breaking Pilgrim throng I was in, not one person on the day I walked it did I spot from St Jean to Roncesvalles via Valcarlos, infact I stayed in an albergue all by myself on the first night and felt very sorry for myself. I know the stretch you are refering too and I also felt nervous there, but there are almost no times again when you'll be alone like that unless you get up super early (which I did many times and was alone and in the dark in the the trees... spooky!).

Still, after Roncesvalles, you should be in plenty of company and just avoid setting out too early and you'll not be alone long.
 

Kerstinh47

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 16 May - 29 June, 2014
Hi Sandra.

I hope that by now you're to/past Roncesvalles. My experience included a large amount of fear - especially the first week or two. I've thought a lot about fear since and often wonder if maybe that was one of the most profound take-aways for me...walking through my fears, large and small allowed a sort of 'quieting'. Fear isn't as much of a presence as it was pre-camino. Maybe we are more afraid of fear than of what we are afraid of?

Wishing for you an inspiring journey, my fellow peregrina!

Kerstin
 
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2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Hey, Sandra,
Wondering how you're going, by now hopefully you've been able to face the fear and go for it! Been sending all good wishes for a buen camino....ultreia!
 

Angela Leon

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte from Irun (2015)
Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2016)
Finisterra and Muxia (2016)
Camino Frances WInter 09/12/2016
Hello Sandra, it is normal you feel vulnerable, I make Camino del Norte from Irun until Santiago, alone this year, I confess in some points I feel terrify, no many people around, huge blisters, and I wanted to call off the travelling, but after I realize how struggle I was been out from my comfort zone. The camino take lot of stamina and mental power, and the tears help to realise ourselves from unwanted emotions =). You are very safe, and remember we never walk alone, but with god next to us.
Wish you Buen Camino
 

Juno

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino French Way (2012 - 2014)
SJPDP - Sahagun (June 2015)
Sahagun - Muxia (June 2016)
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
 

Susan G.

A Walking Meditation
Past OR future Camino
2014 (Burgos to Santiago), 2015 (SJPP to Burgos), 2017 (Astorga to Santiago), 2018- Leon to Santiago
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)

Hi Sandra I remember the Valcarlos to Roncesvalles route very well. Did it last year and was with another woman near my age who I happened to meet at the Valcarlos hostel. There were several other pilgrims, much younger and could move much faster. It is a very isolated woodland stretch with steep climbs. It was slippery as there was quite a bit of rain. We had very bad weather at the Roland Pass and took some protection from the high wind and hail at the little church ( was not open, but has an overhang) which is at the intersection with the mountain route. If you could wait for another pilgrim I would do that. If that isn't possible, there is the luggage services which might help you out. Hope this helps!
Susan of Canada
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Thinking about you, Sandra, hoping you'll find some nice pilgrims to walk with. That's how you get your camino family started, and when you get to Santiago you will know a dozen people much better than you thought you could ever get to know anyone in a matter of a few short weeks...
 
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Sandra S

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Nov-Dec 2015
Hello wonderful fellow pilgrims! Thank you again for your amazing words of support and wisdom. I have kept them close to my heart as I've travelled. I did choose to keep going the day after, and walked to Roncesvalles. I began by implementing some of your sage advice- I popped my fluorescent orange pack cover on, bought a great stick, and waved at drivers so they knew I was there. I found the road to be much safer with all those things in place, and by the end of the day thoroughly preferred it to the woodlands! Who would've thought? :)

The pine/beech forest that you spoke of certainly was intimidating, and there were many moments when I literally thought I wouldn't make it. The steepness! The neverendingness! I literally cried when I reached the Pass, from both pride and relief.

The days since have still been difficult. I haven't exercised in ten years and the sheer physicality of the walk is overwhelming more often than not. The constant hills are my current battle, although as with before, the battle is more a mental than a physical one. I have wanted to leave the Camino for all four days, and it has been the support of this forum, my fellow walkers, and my amazing partner back home that have helped me to stick with it. I reached Pamplona and pretty much collapsed, so took a rest day today to regroup physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's definitely helped and I plan on keeping going tomorrow.

Given how hard the first four days have been, I can only imagine how challenging the remainder will be! I have great appreciation for those of you who have finished the walk, and hope to one day join you in that achievement.

Much love to you all, all across the world.

Sandra
 

joeboybollo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Sarria-Santiago (Sept.2014)
Inglese-(Sept.2015)
Hello wonderful fellow pilgrims! Thank you again for your amazing words of support and wisdom. I have kept them close to my heart as I've travelled. I did choose to keep going the day after, and walked to Roncesvalles. I began by implementing some of your sage advice- I popped my fluorescent orange pack cover on, bought a great stick, and waved at drivers so they knew I was there. I found the road to be much safer with all those things in place, and by the end of the day thoroughly preferred it to the woodlands! Who would've thought? :)

The pine/beech forest that you spoke of certainly was intimidating, and there were many moments when I literally thought I wouldn't make it. The steepness! The neverendingness! I literally cried when I reached the Pass, from both pride and relief.

The days since have still been difficult. I haven't exercised in ten years and the sheer physicality of the walk is overwhelming more often than not. The constant hills are my current battle, although as with before, the battle is more a mental than a physical one. I have wanted to leave the Camino for all four days, and it has been the support of this forum, my fellow walkers, and my amazing partner back home that have helped me to stick with it. I reached Pamplona and pretty much collapsed, so took a rest day today to regroup physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's definitely helped and I plan on keeping going tomorrow.

Given how hard the first four days have been, I can only imagine how challenging the remainder will be! I have great appreciation for those of you who have finished the walk, and hope to one day join you in that achievement.

Much love to you all, all across the world.

Sandra
Brilliant Sandra,lovely to hear from you. I am quite certain things will now start to improve on a daily basis.Keep it up and well done for overcoming the fears and challenges you have had so far.
Joe
 
Past OR future Camino
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
Good to hear from you, Sandra.
You are doing so well, keep going. Take rest days, have a sit down, have a cup of cafe con leche in a cafe, enjoy yourself.
Some day in the future you will look back on these hard days and be proud.
Buen camino to you, you have some nice days of walking ahead of you.
 

Interpreter

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks

feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)

Hi Sandra,
I am joining this thread late. I am so glad to hear you made it to Pamplona! I am so amazed about the numerous encouraging responses you received from other caring pilgrims. I counted 44 replies so far! I love the comment above "just let those irrational thoughts come and go, telling yourself that that is all they are is thoughts, they aren't real".

Keep up the good work. My husband and I finished walking the Camino Frances about a month ago. When people ask me what I though of it my answer has been” The Camino is hard on your body but good for your soul.” You will look back at your experience with fond memories. And you will also learn a few lessons along the way. Precious ones! My advice beyond all the wise comments made so far is that you take good care of your feet.

We are rooting for you! Please keep us posted. Buen Camino!
 
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Nicholas Johnson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Cycled Valance to Santiago 2014 and 2015
Congratulatons on staying with it. You WILL find it easier now you have got over the start. You have triumphed over your fears and it is a good feeling when your heart settles. Many years ago I got rather scared whilst rock climbing. I got down at the end and was absoloutely drained physically and mentally. That was many years ago but I remember it like yesterday and treasure the memory. It is not often this day that you get challenged in such a way. Usually when experiencing somethind that we do not like it is over in a instant. Something slow and brooding is much harder to master. I am a retired English Policeman and could tell you many stories of scrapes I have been in. Nothing was as bad (well nearly nothing!) As that lonely time on the hill when it was only me and the BAD THING had not happened but was really bothering me and making me cling on so much.

So congratulations. Put it behind you and only bring the memory out agian when you feel you need to confront something hard. I take my hat of to you for pressing on and wish you God speed for the rest of the Camino. Oh, but not so fast that you miss having fun.

Nicholas
 
Past OR future Camino
CFx5
Norte
Primitivo
CP
Le Puy-SJPP
Via F
Hello wonderful fellow pilgrims! Thank you again for your amazing words of support and wisdom. I have kept them close to my heart as I've travelled. I did choose to keep going the day after, and walked to Roncesvalles. I began by implementing some of your sage advice- I popped my fluorescent orange pack cover on, bought a great stick, and waved at drivers so they knew I was there. I found the road to be much safer with all those things in place, and by the end of the day thoroughly preferred it to the woodlands! Who would've thought? :)

The pine/beech forest that you spoke of certainly was intimidating, and there were many moments when I literally thought I wouldn't make it. The steepness! The neverendingness! I literally cried when I reached the Pass, from both pride and relief.

The days since have still been difficult. I haven't exercised in ten years and the sheer physicality of the walk is overwhelming more often than not. The constant hills are my current battle, although as with before, the battle is more a mental than a physical one. I have wanted to leave the Camino for all four days, and it has been the support of this forum, my fellow walkers, and my amazing partner back home that have helped me to stick with it. I reached Pamplona and pretty much collapsed, so took a rest day today to regroup physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's definitely helped and I plan on keeping going tomorrow.

Given how hard the first four days have been, I can only imagine how challenging the remainder will be! I have great appreciation for those of you who have finished the walk, and hope to one day join you in that achievement.

Much love to you all, all across the world.

Sandra
It is so good to hear from you and how well you have done.you really do deserve a cheer. It's not an easy walk but you say that you have six weeks so short walking days and rest days should be possible and you will find your " mojo" as you go along. The weather looks good there at the moment so that's a bonus. As interpreter above says, take care of your feet too. Keep in touch as we will all be here for the next six weeks and beyond. Buen Camino.annette
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Great to hear from you Sandra! You've tired yourself getting to Pamplona, but you're there! There's nothing ahead of you that's physically more challenging than what you've already achieved. And you'll get stronger as well! I hope the weather's clear when you get to the Pilgrim Monument and see the Camino laid out in front of you. Keep looking after your feet, eat well, and enjoy! Buen Camino!
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Past OR future Camino
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
Hello wonderful fellow pilgrims! Thank you again for your amazing words of support and wisdom. I have kept them close to my heart as I've travelled. I did choose to keep going the day after, and walked to Roncesvalles. I began by implementing some of your sage advice- I popped my fluorescent orange pack cover on, bought a great stick, and waved at drivers so they knew I was there. I found the road to be much safer with all those things in place, and by the end of the day thoroughly preferred it to the woodlands! Who would've thought? :)

The pine/beech forest that you spoke of certainly was intimidating, and there were many moments when I literally thought I wouldn't make it. The steepness! The neverendingness! I literally cried when I reached the Pass, from both pride and relief.

The days since have still been difficult. I haven't exercised in ten years and the sheer physicality of the walk is overwhelming more often than not. The constant hills are my current battle, although as with before, the battle is more a mental than a physical one. I have wanted to leave the Camino for all four days, and it has been the support of this forum, my fellow walkers, and my amazing partner back home that have helped me to stick with it. I reached Pamplona and pretty much collapsed, so took a rest day today to regroup physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's definitely helped and I plan on keeping going tomorrow.

Given how hard the first four days have been, I can only imagine how challenging the remainder will be! I have great appreciation for those of you who have finished the walk, and hope to one day join you in that achievement.

Much love to you all, all across the world.

Sandra
It will continue to get better, both physically and emotionally. Little by little. Remember, he who moves a great mountain, starts by moving a single stone at a time.
 

Armando B. Gonzalez

El Peregrino
Past OR future Camino
Completed El Camino Frances in 2014
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
keep on going.....by the time you have completed the first 100 miles.....you will be just fine.....without pain there is no glory ! !
 
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Aidan21

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
Go Sandra GO!!!!! It is so good to know that you have made it to Pamplona. Now that you have had a major success in getting there know that the worst is over and some beautiful walking days are waiting for you. Take rest when you need it, take care of your feet, look after your body and the Camino will take care of your soul.
Aidan
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Well now. You have now found that you are more courageous, more determined, more brave, then you ever thought you were or expected that you could be - well done!!

The things that happen to us - they are neither good nor bad, they are just things that manifest - it is the inner workings of our front mind (the chattering mind) that causes us problems, not the external reality. The other mind, the deeper mind, the real you, is not afraid, nor is it overwhelmed by what manifests - but you should know that now ;).

As our William Shakespeare once wrote (in Hamlet): - "for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". and the truth of our Caminos is exactly that.

Or like this - exactly like this!!!!

1526844_561927847224393_1449710057_n.jpg




Carry on - one foot in front of the other - and don't forget to laugh, and don't forget to cry.

Buen Camino!!!!
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007/8/9, 2011 , 2012/13/14. C.F 2015
Camino Portugues 2017,2018,2019
volunteering
Congratulations Sandra,
Walking over the Pyrenees is no mean feat, especially doing it at the beginning of the Camino. Remember that starting from St. Jean Pied du Port is a fairly recent thing. Up to the time of air travel Europeans started at their own hall door and by the time they reached the Pyrenees they were really fit. You will be amazed at how fit you begin to feel after a week or two.
May God bless you and give you a deep sense of of his loving presence with you as you walk to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela.

Buen Camino
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Woo hoo! Well, done. You GO, girl!
As you can tell, we have all been wondering how you are and are very happy to know.
It gets easier and easier as the body and mind get stronger and stronger. I think day 3 is easily the hardest--the excitement of starting has dissolved and the body is only beginning to adjust.But it DOES adjust, and surprisingly quickly. As for the mind, I can't say it better than David just did.
All our bad habits want to trick us into feeding them. So when fearful or discouraged thoughts come, it helps to just smile sweetly, say "Thank you for sharing" to them, and carry on. They'll hang around like a begging dog for a while but if you don't feed them by believing them they'll eventually get it and go away.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Oh Sandra, what great courage you are showing, what inner fortitude. You give yourself a pat on the back for me, please.

Your thoughts take me straight back to my first camino. I struggled so for the first few weeks; I remember getting as far as Najera and was still finding it hard. So I telephoned my big brother in Australia (on a payphone, it was the days before mobiles). I was crying on the phone and saying; "This is too hard". He just said to me: "You can do it. Just put one foot in front of the other. If you pull out now you will regret it for the rest of your life".

So I stayed with it, taking a day now and then for rest, but always continuing to walk. And here we are, 14 years on, and I'm still walking!
 
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AlwynWellington

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Sandra, hi.

I've just come across your posts in this thread. At first I was worried for you. But as I read on I could sense you had a sense of achievement for what you had done and some concerns for what lies ahead.

From your national song: Advance. From the coat of arms on this side of the ditch: Onward

I wish you well and hope you safely achieve that which you have set for yourself.
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola Sandra - bloody fantastic that you are still walking and have made it to Pamplona. The rest day will do your body and sole a power of good. As Kanga said even when she reached Najera it was still tough. I had the same feelings even when I reached Burgos (and I started in Pamplona). So tomorrow its onward and upward - the view from the Alto del Perdon will inspire you!! A very special Buen Camino;)
 
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Well done, Sandra!
For most, the first week to 10 days is the worst physically and then you get into your stride and everything seems to fall into place.
Personally, I am not a person who would like to walk alone, especially in certain areas ( forests in particular), so an extra "well done", for you to have overcome your fear and doubts!
 

zzotte

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
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Sandra just sing at loud, sing a song you know, make one up it works too, remember you mind can only handle one thought at the time so make it a song it works for me every time :)

Zzotte
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Sandra - where are you now???? You strong and brave pilgrim. You know, to city folk being alone in a forest is an intimidating thing - but it is ok - no drunks or bears!! imagine what it would be like for a forest dweller to suddenly find themselves in a city - they would be terrified ... so .. eventually I think you will come to love the forests.
So - it gets easier from Roncesvalles .... just take it easy, be kind to yourself, talk to pilgrims, make friends - enjoy!!

You are not alone you know, someone walks at your side.

I have posted this elsewhere but I am posting it now for you - keep it in your mind when you need it - Buen Camino Sandra - thank you for being so open and honest.

 
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Sandra - where are you now???? You strong and brave pilgrim. You know, to city folk being alone in a forest is an intimidating thing - but it is ok - no drunks or bears!! imagine what it would be like for a forest dweller to suddenly find themselves in a city - they would be terrified ... so .. eventually I think you will come to love the forests.
So - it gets easier from Roncesvalles .... just take it easy, be kind to yourself, talk to pilgrims, make friends - enjoy!!

You are not alone you know, someone walks at your side.

I have posted this elsewhere but I am posting it now for you - keep it in your mind when you need it - Buen Camino Sandra - thank you for being so open and honest.

Wow!! Just listened to this.beautiful music and words. They will certainly inspire Sandra as they have inspired me.
 

Interpreter

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
Sandra - where are you now???? You strong and brave pilgrim. You know, to city folk being alone in a forest is an intimidating thing - but it is ok - no drunks or bears!! imagine what it would be like for a forest dweller to suddenly find themselves in a city - they would be terrified ... so .. eventually I think you will come to love the forests.
So - it gets easier from Roncesvalles .... just take it easy, be kind to yourself, talk to pilgrims, make friends - enjoy!!

You are not alone you know, someone walks at your side.

I have posted this elsewhere but I am posting it now for you - keep it in your mind when you need it - Buen Camino Sandra - thank you for being so open and honest.

What an inspiration David! Thank you for posting. We are thinking of you Sandra!
 
Last edited:

Cailin O Eire

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked Sarria to Santiago Easter 2014
Hope to walk for 5 days from St Jean Pied De Port to wherever my feet bring me to first week of June 2016
Sandra, I just seem your post, hadn't been on the forum since Daturday. Delighted you have continued walking. My thoughts have stopped with you often since you posted your initial fears, I was willing you on and will continue to do so. From what I have read your walking in the thoughts of many :)
Buen Camino
Rita
 
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Sandra, I just seem your post, hadn't been on the forum since Daturday. Delighted you have continued walking. My thoughts have stopped with you often since you posted your initial fears, I was willing you on and will continue to do so. From what I have read your walking in the thoughts of many :)
Buen Camino
Rita
Has anyone heard from Sandra? It's been a while now and just wondering if you are ok Sandra. Do let us know . We are all still thinking of you.best wishes Annette
 
Past OR future Camino
April 2015
I bet you don't feel lonely now, after all these responses! I suggest calling for a taxi when you need to. As mentioned, after a VERY long trip to Spain, you will need a time to adjust. Roncesvalles is a beautiful place to start, and still in the foothills of the mountains. Don't stop walking, but do feel safe. I know I slept in an Albergue all by myself last May, and it was the most frightened I had been the entire time. Especially after the host told his friends, "solo peregina," pointing to me. Thanks! It was frightening. I wished I had gone back to the other albergue that had pilgrims in it.

Listen to your heart. If you don't feel safe about a stretch, wait for someone to walk with, or taxi/bus ahead. Most bus stops are in the villages by the churches. You've picked a lonley time to walk, with weather concerns....we'll keep you in our prayers!
 
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Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)
Has anyone heard From Sandra?? I notice that her last visit to the forum was on Dec 9th.which is almost 3 weeks ago.I'm sure that all the good people that responded to your/ her post would like to know if you are safe and well and how you are getting on. Annette
 

Fiona Lyon

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago de Compostela (January 2016)
Hi Sandra.

We are yet to start this hike (we are days away from Sarria), but I usually hike alone so I understand that 'stuff' does on in your mind whilst out on trails. That is all it is though- thoughts and fears.

Remember every day is a new day- you may sleep better, feel more energised, have a different outlook/focus and in no time you will look back on those feelings of trepidation and smile as they fade. You are never truly alone on a hiking trail. There will be someone around the corner to share some trail magic- keep the faith.

Smiles,
Fiona :)
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
No, and looking at her profile page she logged into the forum the last time 9th December. But I don't think there is a reason to worry. She did her Camino until and to wherever she had to go to. SY
 
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Has anyone heard if she finished?
I have been checking Sandra's profile every so often and the last time that she checked in was 9th Dec. At one stage I contacted the moderators to see if they knew anything about Sandra whereabouts. Considering her original post, I do find it a bit worrying that no contact has been made or comment posted. I do wonder what has happened and if Sandra has indeed finished her journey?
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Ok, I think, sad as it is, this is a case of somebody needing emotional support at some stage of life but not realising that we all got involved and need closure also. In short, she did her way, wherever it finished but didn't consider to update us about it. I don't think there is a reason to worry. Buen Camino, SY
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have been checking Sandra's profile every so often and the last time that she checked in was 9th Dec. At one stage I contacted the moderators to see if they knew anything about Sandra whereabouts. Considering her original post, I do find it a bit worrying that no contact has been made or comment posted. I do wonder what has happened and if Sandra has indeed finished her journey?

I feel quite humbled, all you lovely pilgrims keeping an eye out for Sandra. I just assumed she'd arrived :oops:
Pity the name 'bad pilgrim' is already taken, it would have suited me! :rolleyes:
 
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I feel quite humbled, all you lovely pilgrims keeping an eye out for Sandra. I just assumed she'd arrived :oops:
Pity the name 'bad pilgrim' is already taken, it would have suited me! :rolleyes:
No no, defenitely not,you must not think that way domigee. It's hard to keep track of everyone all the time. I guess it's just certain posts stick in ones mind and Sandra seemed so unsure and anxious that first time she posted. So many lovely people responded and it seemed to encourage her to continue. Also the death of Denise not so long ago is still fresh in the mind of many. So perhaps Syates is right and we just need to know if Sandra arrived home to Australia safely.best wishes Annette
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I am sure she has, if not there would be missing person notices allover the internet. My personal guess, please @Sandra S forgive me if I am wrong, is that she left the way earlier then she planned and is now feeling slightly conscious about posting about this decision. SY
 
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I am sure she has, if not there would be missing person notices allover the internet. My personal guess, please @Sandra S forgive me if I am wrong, is that she left the way earlier then she planned and is now feeling slightly conscious about posting about this decision. SY
Yes, thanks for that,I'm sure you are right.hopefully we will hear from her again in the future and hope that she does find her own "way. God bless . Annette
 

Sandra S

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Nov-Dec 2015
Hello my lovely support crew!

I'm so sorry to have been out of touch! I absolutely should have updated and can't believe I let it slip my mind. I hope you can forgive me.

I ended up walking 200km of the Camino, to Najera. It was an amazing, challenging, life-changing, confronting, beautiful, heartwarming, painful, stunning experience that allowed me to learn so much, to grow in ways I never imagined, and to achieve things that I would have thought were far beyond my personal capacities. I have found a new strength and stubbornness within me that doesn't let me tell myself that I'm not capable of things.

I chose not to continue for a multitude of reasons, and that in itself was quite a powerful experience. I found that saying 'no' in response to what I needed and wanted for my body and mind was exceptionally empowering, particularity as it was a very unpopular decision :) This was reflective of many other experiences that I've had in my life and will no doubt continue to have, so it was exactly what I needed it to be and a lesson I very much needed to learn.

As they say, the Camino begins the moment it enters your heart and continues long after the hiking boots have been put away. My Camino began when I made the decision to come at the beginning of last year, and the inner work that I did in the lead-up was extraordinary. The experience on the trail felt so magnified that it's hard to believe it was so short! I feel like I really conquered something amazing. And, of course, I still think, feel, reflect on, and talk about all the things I gained, so it is still very much a part of my being.

I may choose to return, and I may not. I may choose to do the whole thing again, or start from Najera and see how far I want to go, or walk from Siarra, or not come at all. I don't know, but I learnt that listening to my soul is the key thing in these situations so will continue to do that.

When I say that you were all such an amazing part of my experience and I can't begin to thank you enough, the words just don't feel sufficient. I have experienced a lot of darkness in my life, often at the hands of other people, so to experience the overwhelming love and support from you all when I really needed it was something of a healing experience. Thank you for participating in that, and for being the kind of people that I know we all are at heart. I honestly wish you could just be a 'Personal Sandra Support Crew' any time I faced difficulties! Imagine if we all had a community like that helping to lift us up when we had fallen. The world would truly be a more magical place if it was filled with hearts like yours.

Much love to you all (from Poland!),

Sandra
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Sandra,

All your Forum digital friends and family will be so very pleased and relieved to hear from you once again!! It is good to learn that you are safe and well. Do indeed keep following your personal camino wherever you may be.

In the the truest sense Ultreia!

MM
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I sure am glad to hear from you and that you are well as for

... I honestly wish you could just be a 'Personal Sandra Support Crew' any time I faced difficulties! Imagine if we all had a community like that helping to lift us up when we had fallen. The world would truly be a more magical place if it was filled with hearts like yours. ...

And why not? The forum is already this for many of us, so why not for you? Buen Camino de la vida, SY
 
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Hello my lovely support crew!

I'm so sorry to have been out of touch! I absolutely should have updated and can't believe I let it slip my mind. I hope you can forgive me.

I ended up walking 200km of the Camino, to Najera. It was an amazing, challenging, life-changing, confronting, beautiful, heartwarming, painful, stunning experience that allowed me to learn so much, to grow in ways I never imagined, and to achieve things that I would have thought were far beyond my personal capacities. I have found a new strength and stubbornness within me that doesn't let me tell myself that I'm not capable of things.

I chose not to continue for a multitude of reasons, and that in itself was quite a powerful experience. I found that saying 'no' in response to what I needed and wanted for my body and mind was exceptionally empowering, particularity as it was a very unpopular decision :) This was reflective of many other experiences that I've had in my life and will no doubt continue to have, so it was exactly what I needed it to be and a lesson I very much needed to learn.

As they say, the Camino begins the moment it enters your heart and continues long after the hiking boots have been put away. My Camino began when I made the decision to come at the beginning of last year, and the inner work that I did in the lead-up was extraordinary. The experience on the trail felt so magnified that it's hard to believe it was so short! I feel like I really conquered something amazing. And, of course, I still think, feel, reflect on, and talk about all the things I gained, so it is still very much a part of my being.

I may choose to return, and I may not. I may choose to do the whole thing again, or start from Najera and see how far I want to go, or walk from Siarra, or not come at all. I don't know, but I learnt that listening to my soul is the key thing in these situations so will continue to do that.

When I say that you were all such an amazing part of my experience and I can't begin to thank you enough, the words just don't feel sufficient. I have experienced a lot of darkness in my life, often at the hands of other people, so to experience the overwhelming love and support from you all when I really needed it was something of a healing experience. Thank you for participating in that, and for being the kind of people that I know we all are at heart. I honestly wish you could just be a 'Personal Sandra Support Crew' any time I faced difficulties! Imagine if we all had a community like that helping to lift us up when we had fallen. The world would truly be a more magical place if it was filled with hearts like yours.

Much love to you all (from Poland!),

Sandra
Thank you Sandra for letting us all know that you are safe and well and for sharing your experience with us. Congratulations on getting to Najera. You are a true pilgrim in your heart,regardless of the distance walked. I'm sure al of us on this forum truly wish for you the words of the old Irish blessing. " may the road rise to meet you. the wind be always at your back. The the sun shine bright upon your face. The rain fall soft upon your head. And until we hear from you again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
 
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Hola Sandra (from a fellow Aussie). Don't feel worried about having stopped walking your camino at Najera, after all it was your camino. Returning and either starting from St Jean or resuming at Najera is not unusual. I ran into another pilgrim from home and he was completing his camino after a 9 year break (resumed in Leon). As for the 'Personal Sandra Support Crew' well on the basis that we are non-professional counsellors, feel free to ask for a hug or a shoulder to cry on.
As for returning to the camino - well go and enjoy Poland (in winter I am impressed) then take the rest of 2016 to renew/refresh and think about 2017 as a return option. Cheers:);):D
 

Cailin O Eire

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked Sarria to Santiago Easter 2014
Hope to walk for 5 days from St Jean Pied De Port to wherever my feet bring me to first week of June 2016
Hi Sandra,

Great to hear from you, you are still on camino, for life's journey it is fair to say is one long camino!

Best wishes on your lives journey,
Rita
 

diggs

Member
Past OR future Camino
April - May 2016
Hi all! I started my Camino at SJPDP this morning, and the first half of the day was amazing. I was the only one who took the route to Valcarlos, and loved the morning fog, vistas, and solitude. I had some really incredible moments and felt so profoundly grateful to be having this experience.

In the afternoon, however, my feelings started to change in response to a few different things. Firstly, there was a stretch in a woodland area in which I started to feel unsafe, in that I realised how isolated and potentially at risk I was. Then there was a stretch of narrow, winding road in which I didn't always have room to move safely to the side when cars were coming, especially around blind corners. I found that I had to be hyper vigilant, and spent the whole afternoon stressed about not being hit by a car. Walking past my first pilgrim grave/marker didn't help.

By the time I reached Valcarlos, I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed. Having read the guidebook, I'm aware that there are many stretches that are similar to today's- isolated woodlands, winding roads with no edges and hairpin turns. I don't want to spend six weeks feeling stressed and fearful, and am wondering whether to choose to spend my time doing something else. Tomorrow's stretch to Roncesvalles is looming in my mind, especially given it's equally split between a major road and isolated woodland- and especially after reading @Carol06's post in this thread! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-personal-everest.37046/#post-353525

My thoughts at the moment are that I could:

- Choose not to do the Camino, which would be awfully disappointing but which I would rather do than do it and feel unsafe the whole time

- Catch a bus (if there is one from Valcarlos!) to a further point, perhaps missing at least tomorrow's dangerous stretch

- Do the whole thing, including tomorrow, if it's not actually as bad as I think it is

- Stay in Valcarlos tomorrow, as I believe there's another pilgrim coming, and walk the next stretch with her

Any thoughts, suggestions, experiences, wisdom, kind words, etc. would be most welcomed! Thanks in advance :)

Hi Sandra, I have a favor to ask. I am leaving in April and have a service dog. Would you be so kind as to ask at the places you stay overnight if they accept service dogs? He is a real service dog, not therapy dog. I have to figure out how I am going to make this work. Thank you in advance and best of luck!
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Hi Sandra, I have a favor to ask. I am leaving in April and have a service dog. Would you be so kind as to ask at the places you stay overnight if they accept service dogs? He is a real service dog, not therapy dog. I have to figure out how I am going to make this work. Thank you in advance and best of luck!

@diggs -- I know how eager you are to get information, but just a cursory glance over Sandra's thread is enough to learn that she is no longer on the Camino.

Best of luck--
 

diggs

Member
Past OR future Camino
April - May 2016
@diggs -- I know how eager you are to get information, but just a cursory glance over Sandra's thread is enough to learn that she is no longer on the Camino.

Best of luck--
Thanks Camino Debrita, I figured that out right after I posted. I made an assumption that if it were yellow and stated "live" it was current. My bad.
 
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CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Thanks Camino Debrita, I figured that out right after I posted. I made an assumption that if it were yellow and stated "live" it was current. My bad.
I love your dog. I'm wondering when you are going on Camino! I'm in Oregon, and was thinking, "He could bring his dog here!" We have a pond, a farm, a yellow lab, chickens, cows...

I would not take any of my dogs on Camino, but some of the younger people did. It looked hard on the dogs.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Just caught up with this thread, very pleased 'all's well that ends well' .
All the very best Sandra:)
 

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