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Did Pilgrims use iPhones?

Gina73

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
planning June 2020
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
It's great that we are all free to use technology or not.
Buen Camino!
 

SenorJacques

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2020)
I think your question is less "Did Pilgrims use iPhones?" than "Did Pilgrims who made their journey in the pre-electronic era use iPhones?", in which case the answer is obviously not.

But to say that technology somehow somehow detracts from a "real" or "true" or "correct" pilgimage begs the very problematic question of what a "real" pilgrimage is, and whether that definition is resonant to every individual who decides to undertake one.

As @trecile and many others on here have pointed out, we're all free to make our own Camino the way we want to, and for some that involves unplugging as much as possible. And there are those who simply use technology - in the form of an iPhone, an iPad, or another electronic device (or even other types of modern technologies that pilgrims of the past didn't have access to, like luggage forwarding services or Gore-Tex or Booking.com or Compeed patches or lightweight rain ponchos or online discussion forums) simply as tools to make their Camino experience more informed, comfortable and/or rewarding.

If you've decided that technology isn't a tool you need for your own Camino - great! But respect those who choose to use things like apps and GPS and other tools for their own Camino experience.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I am puzzling over your thread title - "Did Pilgrims use iPhones?" Some have done and continue to do so. Others do not. I walked my first Camino without ever seeing a mobile phone, email or any internet site over the entire 800km journey. I have also walked the same route and many others while carrying and using a mobile phone. I do not think there was anything specially rewarding about being technology-free on that first journey: it was simply the norm at the time. And if the medieval pilgrims I suspect you refer to in the thread title could have simplified their journey and maintained contact with home through affordable technology I doubt that the majority would have rejected it as a romantic purist exercise.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
As others have said - people are free to use technology. I can see the apps are handy. Personally I always walk without a smartphone and thus without any apps, and yet I never got lost and always found a bed. Walking without technology and internet access is for me a key point of my walking, as I feel it gives me more time for reflection (and for boredom). However, in no way would I claim that this makes me "a more authentic pilgrim'' than technology users, it is just my personal choice.

In general. It is probably not a good idea to be bothering too much about other people making different choices, particularly not on the camino. There are a lot of people out there, and thus there is (potentially) a lot to be bothered about...
 

Tim Floyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
One of the things I like about walking the Camino is that one can approach it almost any way. Some prefer simple. Some prefer to walk alone. Others like groups. Some like spontaneity. Others plan in detail. Your Camino your way.

I think the same thing applies to technology. Use it a little, a lot, or not at all. If it enhances your experience, fine. To answer your question directly, does it bother me? No. Not at all. In my opinion if technology gives more people the confidence to do it, that is great.

I really admire the notion of just wandering and letting it unfold. That is fantastic. Enjoy,
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
... Is it really necessary?...
Of course it is not necessary. I think you do not even need any maps on many caminos. You can just follow the yellow arrows... and talk to the people if you are not sure.

Is a smartphone convenient? Yes, it is. Several times I walked and then I asked me... did I miss an arrow some hundred meters before... and I looked on my smartphone and I saw whether or not I was on the right way. And if I was tired I was grateful for this convenience.

My smartphone was in flight mode during the day (almost always). But I used the maps & gps, the camera, sometimes the music player, sometimes the e-book function, sometimes as a guide... in the evening I phoned with my family...

I knew a Dutch pilgrim who walked the whole way from his home door in the Netherlands and we wanted to do it with as little technology as possible... so e. g. without a smartphone and without other modern technology like headlamps.

Walk your camino... and use as much or as little technology as you want.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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
As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
When I walk alone, I usually don't carry anything except my cell-phone, like yours, hidden away.
I prefer not to use it unless it's absolutely necessary.
When I am responsible for other pilgrims (trying to word this so it doesn't get deleted), I have to be sure the cell-phone is up and working, and I usually also take an ipad.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
Well. . . I'm thankful for technology's help in accessing the various Caminos. Without the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (taxis), I would have a devil of a time getting there.

I find for electronics, that it is less a matter of trying to avoid some sort of 'Pilgrim Experiential Contamination', as it is about minimizing weight and taking a Tech Break every once in a while. What I keep in mind about this kind of thing, is that if electronic technology existed in centuries past, those ancient pilgrims would likely have used it. Just as they would use any modern developments which now exist: Medicine, electricity, transportation, etc.
 

Gina73

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
planning June 2020
One of the things I like about walking the Camino is that one can approach it almost any way. Some prefer simple. Some prefer to walk alone. Others like groups. Some like spontaneity. Others plan in detail. Your Camino your way.

I think the same thing applies to technology. Use it a little, a lot, or not at all. If it enhances your experience, fine. To answer your question directly, does it bother me? No. Not at all. In my opinion if technology gives more people the confidence to do it, that is great.

I really admire the notion of just wandering and letting it unfold. That is fantastic. Enjoy,
Tim- Thank you for your little mantra: "your Camino, your way" -- I'll keep that in mind as I venture off on my own spiritual journey.
 

Gina73

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
planning June 2020
I am puzzling over your thread title - "Did Pilgrims use iPhones?" Some have done and continue to do so. Others do not. I walked my first Camino without ever seeing a mobile phone, email or any internet site over the entire 800km journey. I have also walked the same route and many others while carrying and using a mobile phone. I do not think there was anything specially rewarding about being technology-free on that first journey: it was simply the norm at the time. And if the medieval pilgrims I suspect you refer to in the thread title could have simplified their journey and maintained contact with home through affordable technology I doubt that the majority would have rejected it as a romantic purist exercise.
My question isn't intended for deep thought but mild humor at the notion of technology being a tool for the trip or not.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
Given the changes both in technology and in the camino, I think it would be difficult now WITHOUT a cell phone. Last CF was 2016 and I was dependent on it to make reservations and then confirm before 4pm when they were to be cancelled (I am a slow walker). 2017 for Lisbon to SdC, I could have functioned well without a cellphone.
That said, you can minimize use, although you may find yourself being one of the two people in a cafe not glued to their screen.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
My phone's camera gets a lot of use, but often that's it.
On my last camino I posted some photos and words here at the end of the day - I thought it would be an enjoyable exercise in both the doing and the receiving. And I wanted to try it just to see what the experience was like, because a lot of people post blogs or even vlogs every day.
It was fun but it was also intrusive, contaminating the reflective space with a lot of thinking and planning and other stuff that I don't particularly want to cultivate. So next time it won't happen, not in 'real time,' anyway.

but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary?
Some people say they need to work, some people are addicted to stimulation, and some people would rather do without. I'll own being the in the latter category, but it's not always easy to disengage.

Walking without technology and internet access is for me a key point of my walking, as I feel it gives me more time for reflection (and for boredom).
You put your finger on something no-one talks much about, Marc. Boredom. It's just a mindstate, but most people can't stand it and avoid it all costs. But it's actually beneficial, in ways that are surprising - especially to those among us who never got to experience pre-tech quiet.

So it's worth considering a quiet camino, especially if you are addicted to the distractions that the smartphone brings, and can't imagine being without them.
you may find yourself being one of the two people in a cafe not glued to their screen.
Q.E.D. ;)

I think it would be difficult now WITHOUT a cell phone.
That's not my experience at all. But that's just me. I don't book ahead, unless I'm on a remote camino on a stage without alberges, and mostly not even then.
 
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edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
We have journeyed from eastern Switzerland to SdC with an iPhone. But we use it to take photos, journal, and post our entries when we get wifi. We have never gotten a data plan. If our adult children don't see a post for a few days, we will have an email from one of them the next time we get wifi. They find us so irresponsible. LOL. We love the freedom and finding our way without technology. When we board the airplane in the USA our phone goes on airplane mode until our aircraft lands back in the USA.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
If you allow yourself to be 'bothered' by what other Pilgrims are doing, you'll have a very disappointing Camino! 😟
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious
Maybe that was your intention, but it didn't come across as being funny. Rather, you made your negative opinion quite clear about other people's use of cell phones and technology.

You say your phone will be deep in your backpack. Is there a particular depth that you think is acceptable?

Try to leave your expectations and assumptions about other people at home.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have used iPhones (or other smart phones). Millions have not.

Just about all pilgrims have relied on technology of one sort or another. Pilgrims who eschew smart phones still use plenty of technologies that were not available to medieval pilgrims. I don't think any medieval pilgrims had anything close to the sophistication of our modern backpacks or footwear, for example. Few of us would prefer to walk without them.

I have done Caminos both with and without a smart phone. In 1989, they were simply not available. In 2016 and 2018, I found that it offered plenty of conveniences. It allows me to keep in touch with other pilgrims when we are not always walking together (very important when I was doing a pilgrimage with my teenage son). It allows me to carry guidebooks and other information (for example, Gilitz and Davidson's Cultural Handbook) without carrying extra weight or taking up space in my backpack. It also provides an excellent camera and music player, and allows me to keep in regular or sporadic touch with family and friends at home, as I choose. And, when I get lost (which I seem to at least once each Camino, no matter how much attention I pay to the yellow arrows) it helps me get back on track.

I'm currently reading a book called "A Hug for the Apostle" by Laurie Dennett. Published in 1987, it tells the story of her walk in 1986 from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela. She didn't carry a smart phone. Instead, she carried a camera, books to read, and cassette deck (to relax with music after a hard day's walk) and used public phones to make regular collect calls back to Canada. I think a smart phone is both less intrusive and a heck of a lot more convenient. (If you are wondering whether the technology she carried prevented her from connecting with other pilgrims or locals, she rarely encountered other pilgrims - this was 1986, after all - and although she had plenty of time with locals, still found herself often alone in hotel rooms or albergues.)

A Camino is a good time to detach. If you find your attachment to your smart phone problematic, a Camino can be a good time to address that. Oth the other hand, if a smart phone is just a useful tool to you, why deprive yourself of it?
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I use my iphone for various purposes, the most vital being to make reservations where there is limited available accommodation which requires telephone booking, as in some less-travelled routes, and to pay my monthly bills. But I found on my last camino that my iphone got in the way of my pilgrimage, because I let it. I had recently found a new author whose books are available through on-line loan from my local library. I will not go into detail, except to say that these books were not helpful for my spiritual purpose and I was not disciplined enough to avoid them. I am now thinking that it might be helpful to have one or two books which I have chosen as suitable for my pilgrimage goals downloaded to my phone for reading when the time is right. But without the iphone the temptation would not have been there, as I would certainly not carry a quantity of frivolous paper books when walking a pilgrim route. So for me it is not the phone but what it makes available to me.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
I accept that I will be using high technology items every step of the way from the modern fabrics in my clothes, materials in my shoes and pack, food that has been grown and harvested using modern farming technology and distributed using modern transport infrastructure and technology. Suggesting one can walk 'technology free' by just avoiding some particular consumer items of modern communications and computing technology just seems silly to me. I am with @Anamya on this. You will need to go naked, and hungry!
 

SenorJacques

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2020)
Maybe that was your intention, but it didn't come across as being funny. Rather, you made your negative opinion quite clear about other people's use of cell phones and technology.

You say your phone will be deep in your backpack. Is there a particular depth that you think is acceptable?

Try to leave your expectations and assumptions about other people at home.
I agree with C clearly: the original post came across as much more prescriptive than "funny". It reminded me of accounts I've read on here of albergues that announce the fact that they don't offer wi-fi with a sign saying "Talk to each other instead" - as if using the internet and talking to fellow pilgrims were two mutually exclusive options, with one option clearly telegraphed as the "correct" one. Most adults are quite capable of making up their own minds about the role technology plays in their Camino experience without being judged, shamed, or forced into that decision.

(There's also the vastly amusing fact that this entire discussion is taking place on the internet, which surely counts as irony in some definition of the term.)
 

K Turner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August-October 2019 CF
I kept my phone handy on the CF because I had two (older) teenagers at home. I used WiFi to touch base daily, and to handle a couple emergencies. It also helped locate bus routes and purchase tickets. When I couldn't sleep, I listened to my downloaded "Camino" music or read a book on the Kindle app. Let's not even go into all the photos shared with a couple dear friends who would have loved to come, but will never get the chance.

My phone was just one small part of the Camino journey. No regrets!
 

Roger Hogstrom

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2001 and 2006, Via de la plata 2007,2010,2017,2019. CdM 3 times Ruta de la lana (2021
2006 I walked CF with no phone,no camera, no musicplayer. It`s a big difference compared to walk with a smartphone.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I accept that I will be using high technology items every step of the way from the modern fabrics in my clothes, materials in my shoes and pack, food that has been grown and harvested using modern farming technology and distributed using modern transport infrastructure and technology. Suggesting one can walk 'technology free' by just avoiding some particular consumer items of modern communications and computing technology just seems silly to me. I am with @Anamya on this. You will need to go naked, and hungry!
To be completely tech-free I'd probably have to walk naked, then people would mistake me for a flasher :/
Please. Enough of this false equivalence.
Clothes, shoes and equipment made out of modern materials are not addictive attention magnets. I can't remember ever seeing anyone in an albergue or cafe staring at their pack or walking poles. But phones? Yes. All the time.

Which is not to say that people shouldn't take their phones. Just to know that the virtual world they give access to can be addicting, and distancing.
And space from all that has huge benefits.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
. It reminded me of accounts I've read on here of albergues that announce the fact that they don't offer wi-fi with a sign saying "Talk to each other instead" - as if using the internet and talking to fellow pilgrims were two mutually exclusive options
And nobody will judge you if you are sitting in a café reading a book, but if you happen to be reading it on your phone...
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Please. Enough of this false equivalence.
Then let's be clear that using a word like technology when we really are talking about individual behaviours being problematic is then problematic.

Translated, one might be asking: I am concerned that my dependence on seeing the world through the attachment I have to the internet through a handheld computer and communications device is high, perhaps already an addiction. Have others dealt with this?

The point I would make again is that it's not about technology! So let's stop mis-using perfectly good words badly to dress up what the problem really is.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
We haven't changed .. the toys have changed but we are the same. In previous centuries there were plenty of pilgrims who had sexual affairs, wild drinking nights, were debauched ... and many who were on an internal pilgrimage - just read Canterbury Tales .... it is the same then as it is now ... some go on Camino, some go on Pilgrimage.

I do not criticise but there are plainly differences .. one cannot have two masters, and one cannot be in two places at the same time, so to continually communicate with home may improve one's sense of connection but it must neccessarily detract from a pilgrim experience.

It isn't really about the device it is about the mindset. Were you to go to a religious retreat at a monastery or convent the first thing they do is to relieve you of electronic devices .... no one can go through an inner journey if that inner journey is continually interrupted by being able to 'phone home' .... think of it as an extended Mass ... who would use their phone during such a devotion? Exactly - and a pilgrimage is devotion writ large.

There is also a great loss in knowing exactly where one will stay that night or where one will eat ... really, a great loss ... to throw oneself into the unknown and unplanned allows extraordinary things to manifest, need is answered, sometimes in amazing ways, but to plan oneself out of being open to that, to me, is a loss, changing an open and freeing pilgrimage into just another itinerary.

There is also the narcissism .. taking selfie photos of a pilgrim meal or new friends one is with, or the hill, flower, cattle, cat, church, one is walking past ...... the moment one puts a lens in between then the experience is lost ... once one is texting someone about the wonderful meal one is having with other pilgrims one is no longer with those other pilgrims ....

So, we have always been the same .. some go on Camino, some go on Pilgrimage, and the choice is up to the individual.
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
Meh. I think this is a disingenuous afterthought rather than a preface to a humorous inquiry.
I'm guessing that you don't like people using their phones all the time. If I'm honest, the way some people use their technology bothers me too - I remember feeling very lonely when a person that I thought I was chatting with put in some earphones and isolated himself from me, from the chirping birds, and from the Camino. I felt left out. Nothing humorous about it. But, since I carry a device and use it the way that I think makes sense ... (to take photos, write blog posts, and stay in touch with friends) ... who am I to tell Mr. Miserable Earphone User that he's got it all wrong?
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
I think smartphone usage is a controversial topic.

But I have a funny story...

I had many pilgrim dinner that were nice or wonderful. For example the dinner with a Spanish pilgrim in a lonely albergue on the Camino de Invierno... in spite of her non existing English and my rather limited Spanish... and our limited food resources because we were the only pilgrims and no shops were open but we have not planned for this... but limited language skills, talking with hand and feet and sometimes the help of google translator and sharing all of the food that we could find in our backpacks... e. g. one 0,33ltr can of beer for two pilgrims... can be enough for a wonderful dinner...

Well, but now the funny story: In more than 6 weeks on my camino I had one 'negative' dinner:
We were 3 persons. There was one guy from South Korea…. but I could not talk more with him because of his very limited English.
But really like comedy was the English speaking woman. She used about 85% of her time for the smartphone, 14% of her time for finding the food on her plate and about 1% of her time for interesting communication like ‚yes‘, ’no‘ or ‚hmmmm….‘.
Well, the food was good….
 
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Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
Walking the Frances phone free in 1984, I never imagined that pilgrims would be using such technology in my lifetime, it was science fiction, seen on T.V like Star Trek.
Now it's normal for many and some know nothing else, some don't seem to be able to navigate their own city without one, never mind a foreign country. I'm not against them, they have their uses for some but are not for me, and hope they will never become essential, at least in my lifetime.
I wonder if future pilgrims will be teleporting their way along their Camino and watching a virtual 3d film of their route in the Albergues.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Maybe people should start reflecting more about how they use their smartphones in their daily lives instead of trying to manage how other people use their smartphones on a Camino? 🤔
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
The point I would make again is that it's not about technology! So let's stop mis-using perfectly good words badly to dress up what the problem really
Maybe people should start reflecting more about how they use their smartphones in their daily lives instead of trying to manage how other people use their smartphones on a Camino? 🤔
Agreed, Doug. And I think it's both @Kathar1na. I could repeat David's points above, but he said it very well. If you want an inner journey, unplugging from any place other than here and now without distraction is essential. And no-one needs to do that at home, at least not in the same way. And if someone's 'just walking' all that does not apply.
On some routes a phone with gps is a safety essential!
Unless it is some wild winter Camino in deep snow for some mad reason I disagree - much more fun to get lost ... you never know what will happen next!!
Here I agree with Mike. I got lost without a GPS between Santo Domingo de Silos and Covarrubias by taking a GR route by accident. It was anxiety inducing in spite of being a gorgeous walk...and added 3 hours to an already long day.

This year on the Vasco, the phone's GPS kept that from happening a couple of times, once in a place where had I taken a wrong turn it could have been Bombeiro time. And people go astray on the Frances all the time.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
2006 I walked CF with no phone,no camera, no musicplayer. It`s a big difference compared to walk with a smartphone.
Did you ever walk with a smartphone? For me a smartphone is not more than a replacement for a guide book, novels, a map, pen en paper to write my journal or letters home and so on. It saves a few kilos in my backpack. Things I had in my backpack in pre-smartphone . Apart from the smartphone, to be able to walk a camino in Spain most people depend on all kinds of technological developments ( like many other people have pointed out in this thread) Like all means you use things can be abused ( I'll never forget that after Melide when we came on the Frances from the Primitivo a few young people who played very loud music while walking)
 

longwayhome

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
Looking at your questions " Are Pilgrims loading up on technology?"..well no , I didn't see so much "technology" as in GPS, laptops, solar powered rechargers etc, toted by overburdened pilgrims. Only smart phones (and perhaps a few tablets)..'cause I suppose they are , well.... smart..small , quiet, efficient- torch, map, translating service, communication device, banking service, payment gadget, music library, story teller, historical guide, booking concierge, camera , editing service and entertainment centre.They are part of who I am now and enhance what I know and can do. I learn new ways to meditate while walking for example
, and share the thrill of my son's new job via WhatsApp while perched on a bale of David's hay outside Astorga. Is this detracting from my "self discovery and reflection?" Err..no.

And "Is it really necessary? " No..of course not, but I like to walk the Camino of my times and interact with it as a pilgrim of this age.

I fact it is very important to me to be part of the history of pilgrimage by walking the walk of 2018/20 and beyond , with the boots and iPhone of my era .This underscores for me the relevance of pilgrimage through all ages , that we can and do interact with our route and its history regardless of our techno-status.
 

Roger Hogstrom

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2001 and 2006, Via de la plata 2007,2010,2017,2019. CdM 3 times Ruta de la lana (2021
Did you ever walk with a smartphone? For me a smartphone is not more than a replacement for a guide book, novels, a map, pen en paper to write my journal or letters home and so on. It saves a few kilos in my backpack. Things I had in my backpack in pre-smartphone . Apart from the smartphone, to be able to walk a camino in Spain most people depend on all kinds of technological developments ( like many other people have pointed out in this thread) Like all means you use things can be abused ( I'll never forget that after Melide when we came on the Frances from the Primitivo a few young people who played very loud music while walking)
I use it the same that you do. I just think that on the camino I like to be around people not occupied with there phones. Thats all.
 

longwayhome

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
So, we have always been the same .. some go on Camino, some go on Pilgrimage, and the choice is up to the individual.
[/QUOTE]

I felt surprised to learn that my inner journey could be perhaps incomplete, and that I am making a Camino, but perhaps not a pilgrimage if I take selfies, or pictures of a meal and tweet them ??

Well no I never have tweeted actually, but I do suspect true pilgrimage is a thing that shape shifts according to its times. It is an inward journey captured in the timescape we inhabit. The challenge is to make that pilgrimage of heart, within our own time, a meaningful one.

The challenge is to be able to be one with our technologies and one with our journey while judging no one else.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
So, we have always been the same .. some go on Camino, some go on Pilgrimage, and the choice is up to the individual.
The challenge is to be able to be one with our technologies and one with our journey while judging no one else.
[/QUOTE]


HHmm .. correct me if I am wrong but I thought that pilgrimage was aimed at our being one with our God, not with our technologies ...
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I do suspect true pilgrimage is a thing that shape shifts according to its times. It is an inward journey captured in the timescape we inhabit. The challenge is to make that pilgrimage of heart, within our own time, a meaningful one.
I will likely take some flak for this, but over the last decade or so, there has been (at least in my neck of the spiritual woods) and a steady 'dumbing-down' in what constitutes a retreat, in a way that trends to making it more and more palatable, and less challenging. The same trend definitely applies to the camino. There are things that people do now as a matter of course that would never have happened or been necessary before. Booking accommodation ahead, blogging, luggage transport, and bringing and using (or yes, @Antonius Vaessen, abusing) all manner of gadgets.

But is it less of a pilgrimage for that?
I think for some people yes, and for some people not at all.
It depends on their relationship with the gadgets and everything else that makes this path do-able for many who otherwise could never have imagined walking the camino the way it was when it was more spartan.

I'll never forget that after Melide when we came on the Frances from the Primitivo a few young people who played very loud music while walking)
This kind of thing brings out the worst in me, I have to say...:oops:
I didn't see so much "technology" as in GPS, laptops, solar powered rechargers etc, toted by overburdened pilgrims.
One year I was walking in early March, at a time when lots of Korean students were on a break from University. One guy had three laptops. He must have been carrying 30 kilos.
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
I don’t use a smart phone either at home or on the Camino, and I have never felt the need to acquire one. If I lose my way I am guided either by my compass or by the kindness of strangers. I don’t make advance bookings, but I’m not too troubled about where I’ll spend the night. So why is mine a low-tech but by no means a no-tech Camino? Because I bring my much travelled touring bike, waterproof panniers, and lightweight tarp, all testaments to modern technology. We’re none of us technological innocents!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
I will look forward to your own view, after you walk in June 2020. I am not being funny, or facetious. I have only skimmed some of the replies, and have no intention of upsetting anyone by having a contrary opinion. Today, I do not need to be on the other end of a disagreement! See how you get on. Consider others at home who might need to know you are ok, and a simple emoji in whatsapp would keep them happy!
Meantime, thanks for the question, and maybe I will think twice before checking the time of the next bus to get me home from shopping, and just walk! Buen camino when it happens.
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
Everyone walks their own Camino. I don't own a smartphone (tried it - couldn't get on with it) but that's probably a generational thing. In the 60's, early 70's, I and my friends spent school/university holidays hitchhiking across Europe with nothing more than a paper map and a Youth Hostel card. No-one phoned home, even when it was possible. We relied on the self-confidence of youth and the kindness of strangers.

Having said that, I usually carry a Kindle these days for reading material and to email my wife and let her know where I am.

Oh, and a Merry Christmas to you all!
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
It depends on their relationship with the gadgets and everything else that makes this path do-able for many who otherwise could never have imagined walking the camino the way it was when it was more spartan.
One guy had three laptops. He must have been carrying 30 kilos.
Maybe the guy was the ultimate Pilgrim 2.0, exampling that the dialectic nature of history will lead to the synthesis of its apparent contradictions. At least, carrying 30 kilo of technology seems like a perfect synthesis between 'a more spartan approach' and the use of technology. :)
 

Dsavid Keyte

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
Camino Lebaniego 2017
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
To each his own
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
OOOH... I've hovered over the keyboard since this thread appeared. I do wonder if @kirkie has the right idea... maybe it's best to not offer contrary opinion today.... but... but...

No matter what the intent of the post I think that some of the replies are a little telling. So many folks who've replied are saying that they have a smartphone but they hardly use/keep it tucked away/only in an emergency. It's almost like we have to hold up our hands and admit to something bad... almost as if taking a smartphone means that we had a lesser experience or that maybe we're not 'true pilgrims'? Oooh I know that will be contentious (sorry!) but it's just an observation... take a look back at how many folks are making sort of excuses for taking a phone. It's just a bit sad don't you think?

I take a phone. I bought my first smartphone for my first camino. I have all my medical records stored on it... a few family photos for when I'm homesick... copies of my passport/prescriptions/travel tickets/insurance... I take ooodles of photos... I keep a journal... I download a few books... I have my guidebooks... I use maps... I have the alertcop app... I have an app that tells me which stars I'm looking at in the night sky which is pretty cool and I've also downloaded 'what three words' app. I've made calls and been called... our housesitter rang as I walked over the hospital route on the Primitivo because the cat was ill... my husband messages me when I'm walking alone because he worries. I search spotify when I want some music to fit my mood, like finding Georgia when I was chilling in a fab forest and it made me smile (by the way I use just one earphone so I'm present and quiet) when I hear that song now I'm taken back to that forest and that's cool... oh and there's Shazam! I LOVE Shazam! I walked by a house on the Norte and a song was playing... I had never heard it before and I would have never have heard it again without Shazam...I cannot tell you how much finding this song enhanced my world... and now it is forever etched on my heart as a camino song and when I hear it I feel such peace and joy... all down to a little app on my phone.


I've used all of the above and I've used google to look up 'stuff' en route... anything from the history of a town or a monument... to what's on the menu... to when somewhere opens... and even why the rocks are formed like they are... I LOVE researching and reading about the places I walk through. I love taking time to just sit and read and learn and just take it all in. And I've looked at the great information folks have posted here... I got to see amazing Flamenco in Madrid because it was recommended on this forum.

My walk is enhanced by all this knowledge... does having a phone mean I don't talk to other pilgrims... of course not and honestly it is a little insulting to assume that it would. As someone said already the two are not mutually exclusive. Does it mean I spend my day on the phone... of course not.

If you don't wish to carry a smartphone and if you wish to disconnect when you're walking then your walk will 100% be richer for your choice... but I don't think that's true for everyone.

I was going to end my post by saying that this question is unhelpful because it causes divisions but I've changed my mind... it's been really useful reading all the comments and I honestly did stop and consider @VNwalking's reply... it made a lot of sense and it's a viewpoint that I would not have seen without the post. So now I totally understand why someone would prefer to not take their smartphone and I totally respect that.

I guess it's a bit like shoes... we're all different and have different needs. As long as we're not imposing our position on others and as long we are considerate of those around us then does it matter too much?

☺
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
Two winters ago we had one pilgrim who was walking electronics free on purpose and another by accident was walking electronics free when his devices crashed. Both were having a great pilgrimage. My husband is reattached to his phone than I am, but mostly we do not use phones during our walking. He likes to snap a few photos and I usually forget where my phone is and let the battery run down (even here at home.) I could easily do a Camino without it. I do find that pilgrim's use Whatsap and other communication apps to stay in touch on the Camino. Many of the non-Spanish pilgrim's only use their devices on WiFi and not while walking so it may seem more obvious when they are at a bar or albergue with WiFi. Last year our albergue did not have WiFi so we did not see many phones.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
I like my google maps and accommodation apps etc. And have no sense of direction at all - so probably would still be going round in circles around Burgos if I didn’t have met apps 😆
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I like the fact that the phone can supply me with up to date weather forecasts and GPS tracks. This doesn't detract from the Camino experience. It actually helps, in that I don't have to worry about things as much and can concentrate on walking, thinking, and listening. For me, it's a matter of safety (not in the crime sense) and awareness. Even the pilgrims had the Codex Calixtinus.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
I found it difficult to buy the empty amphora with which to connect by a piece of twine and talk to the trees. I had to drink the wine first and was then out of my skull and talking in tongues. :) mind you it was a great way of dealing with wretched pilgrims who fled past at some speed! Each to his own sez me but if I want to avoid technology I avoid pilgrims. :)

yours aye,

the malingerer.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Being woken up at ten past three in the morning by someone's smart phone finally did it for me!

I do carry one, but keep it switched off, a great tool for emergencies ... and we humans, ever since we picked up a stick, we like tools.

so, two choices ... Android and iPhone ...

Android? .. a robot that looks like a human being?

iPhone? .. Apple? Well, we know what happened when the first person took an apple from some snake of a salesperson ... ;):eek::D
 

SusanSmyth

Happy Member 😋
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 Francés
March 2018 Inglés
June 2019 Madrid
I had no need for technology on tge Francés because everything is so clearly marked. However, on the Madrid and especially on the Lebaniego/Vadiniense I would have been seriously lost. So for me it depends on the Camino.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
There is also a great loss in knowing exactly where one will stay that night or where one will eat ... really, a great loss ... to throw oneself into the unknown and unplanned allows extraordinary things to manifest, need is answered, sometimes in amazing ways, but to plan oneself out of being open to that, to me, is a loss, changing an open and freeing pilgrimage into just another itinerary.
Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you here, but this was interesting to read today, because just this morning I was listening to espisode 37 of Dave Whitsun's The Camino Podcast, wherein he interviews Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage. In the interview, he mentions that some people like to prepare extensively for their pilgrimage while others like to throw themselves into (in your words) "the unknown and unplanned". How important is preparation to making a trip a pilgrimage, he asked. Phil's answer was unequivocal. Without planning and preparation it is not a pilgrimage, in his opinion.

It is interesting to see how people can come to such different conclusions about what is essential to pilgrimage.

(For me, all that is essential is that the traveler consider themselves a pilgrim - and sometimes not even that, for I sometimes consider people pilgrims when they don't recognize that in themselves.)
 

wjohnk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
On my first Camino in September (Portuguese Coastal), I just had a basic mobile phone which was little used. The absence of UK political news was bliss. The presence of friendly pilgrims from many different countries was also bliss - not to mention the friendly Spaniards and Portuguese. I do not see the need for smart phones on Camino.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
I will look forward to your own view, after you walk in June 2020.
Which Camino will it be? The Francés is supposed to be very well marked with a great choice of accommodation, so no problem finding your way. (Can’t tell, because I have not walked it yet)....

All this modern technology nonsense! What's wrong with an old fashioned cockerel?
Too much weight! And needs to be fed and kept quiet....

Anyway buen camino and after you have done it let us know how feel about it!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
And nobody will judge you if you are sitting in a café reading a book, but if you happen to be reading it on your phone...
On the contrary in my experience. A year ago I flew to California and brought a book to read during the flight. I was feeling like an extraterrestrial because of the looks. Same in the mountains or on the Camino :)
 
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Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I still think there is nothing wrong with carrying as many gadgets as you want, as long as you are mindful of the world around you.

(Note I do not specif how much you should interact with said world... To each their own. Just be mindful of it and enjoy the camino :) )
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I feel like this should be the last word on the subject ... though knowing this forum, it won't be. ;)
One of the best ways to guarantee a lot of follow up posts and discussion is to start a thread on "how best to do the Camino". 😂
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Le Puy (2016)
Vézelay (2019)
Norte (2019)
On my first Camino I carried an alarm clock, two novels, three Camino guides, a torch, a transistor radio, a cassette recorder, a map and a Berlitz Spanish/English guide. I walked an extra 100 km looking for pay phones to call home and carried plenty of coins. I had travellers cheque’s that I had to find an open bank to cash or otherwise I’d be ripped off. I was stopped for hours at the border between France and Spain. I got lost nearly every day, often for hours. I never knew what the weather would be so I was overdressed in the heat and underdressed in the cold. I carried a beautiful leather bound journal that I wrote in every night, until my fountain pen ran out of ink.
My last Camino on the other hand I carried an iPhone, a smart card and a smart passport. No fun at all, really.
Just kidding.
John
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
On the contrary in my experience. A year ago I flew to California and brought a book to read during the flight. I was feeling like an extraterrestrial because of the looks. Same in the mountains or on the Camino :)
On my first Camino, 2012, (no smart phone!), I found a book in an albergue!!! Wow. It was a rubbish novel, translated from Swedish but I was soooo thrilled. I read it in one sitting until light failed me (on the rooftop ) and my fellow pilgrims were horrified. ‘We thought you were out partying! You did what? ‘ Nobody understood.
Now I have an i-phone with loads of books on it and no-one is the wisest😎😁
.
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
Unlikely the original pilgrims had gortex or carbon fibre trekking poles either...but I bet they would have loved both!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
It is interesting to see how people can come to such different conclusions about what is essential to pilgrimage.
Without planning and preparation it is not a pilgrimage, in his opinion.
No kidding, different conclusions! I profoundly disagree. And I bet I'm not the only one. But I'm straying off topic...sorry...
‘We thought you were out partying! You did what? ‘ Nobody understood.
Sooo...quietly reading a book is bad but loudly getting soused is good? What kind of weird reality is that? Sorry, but I don't understand them. But what you were doing sounds lovely.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Some of the best discoveries we made along the Camino Francés were made thanks to having and using an iPhone on the road. We would never have made them by religiously [sic] following yellow arrows. All of them memorable and of the kind “wouldn’t have wanted to miss it“. I agree with @LesBrass who said that the way of how you are using your device enhances your experience.

I’m surprised whenever someone seems to imply that having a smartphone will continue to expose you to reporting about a political situation back home that you are trying to escape from. I have news for you: the device does not do such a thing. It is how you use it that does it. I don’t read news while on the Camino. However, I don’t close my eyes and ears when the news are on the screen in a bar or restaurant. Because for me at least, walking to Santiago is not a retreat. If I wanted to go on a retreat, I’d go on a retreat where I’m cut off a lot more from daily life than I am while walking. That’s daily life in the present, not daily life back home, btw.

I liked what @longwayhome said: "The challenge is to be able to be one with our technologies and one with our journey while judging no one else." The sentence was subsequently used to make fun of it. To react to that would mean sharing aspects of personal faith and discussing religion, both of which is against forum rules so I won't react and just say that I think I understand what the poster said and that I agree.

I also agree to what the same poster said: It is very important to me to be part of the history of pilgrimage by walking the walk of 2018/20 and beyond, with the boots and iPhone of my era.This underscores for me the relevance of pilgrimage through all ages, that we can and do interact with our route and its history regardless of our techno-status. That struck a cord with me. We are not medieval pilgrims, there so much that fundamentally separates us from them and their time, all we do is "walk the traditional way", what we have in common is that we travel on foot like they did. The active interaction - not just passing through an attractive scenic and historic background by following yellow arrows - with what they experienced, with what they believed, to understand it and what is still relevant today and what isn't - that, for me, is an essential part of walking the CF in particular. That's where an iPhone helped a lot. So give us smartphone users a break. ☺
 
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Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
All this modern technology nonsense! What's wrong with an old fashioned cockerel?
Too much weight! And needs to be fed and kept quiet....
No weight at all, as they are quite capable of walking between albergues, and could even be trained to carry a small back pack. Feed themselves along the route and are partial to bedbugs and pilgrims scraps. And what would be the point of a quiet one? Plus they provide a pleasant meal at the end!
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
You have opened my eyes, Domengro! Thank you! So it will be a cockerel next time. Will keep you posted about it. Since I am thinking of the Olvidado he might become a meal before the end!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
You have opened my eyes, Domengro! Thank you! So it will be a cockerel next time. Will keep you posted about it. Since I am thinking of the Olvidado he might become a meal before the end!

You might want to hide it when going through Santo Domingo de la Calzada :D :D
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
No secret that the Camino can be walked without use of technology such as iPhones/smartphones etc. I myself only carry my smartphone and use it simply to send out messages to family letting them know all is well, use it as a camera and also to make the occasional reservation at the bigger, busier cities along the Frances. Otherwise it stays in my pack or pocket. I use an actual paper guidebook to get around, or I get a map at a tourist information office (they'll stamp your credentials, too). I like actual books. I like to have them in my hand. Tangible print.
I have nothing against anyone using modern technology to get around on the Camino, but I must admit I do not understand or relate with pilgrims whom I have observed literally walking with their face staring into a device, or who get to an albergue and just sit on a chair or couch with their faces staring into a device playing games etc. Not me, not for me and hope it never is.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Go for it, no phone, or basic non-smart phone or disabled/flightmode smartphone, whatever you prefer. It can be a distraction if you keep checking the thing - but it can also double up as a great camera, handy for booking travel and accommodation, and keeping in touch with family far away. You can go off-grid style if you prefer to disappear on the Camino for a few weeks, months or years too (providing you have necessary visas etc.) - I've met a couple of pilgrims that do this.
I met one guy who didn't use a watch, but had a tattoo of a watch face on his wrist - the time displayed said 'NOW'.
There are always internet points in some albergues and international call boxes and/or internet terminals in "locutorios" if and when you might need that kind of service.
There are still post boxes and post offices for sending letters, cards and packages.
It's amazing how phone screens, pings and dings can upset the most spiritual of pilgrims in a large dormitory between the hours of 11 p.m and 5 a.m., so even if you don't use one, a large percentage of pilgrims will use them.
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
You've made the point that your hike will be morally-spiritually superior to other who take and use a phone or other technology. But wait, you're taking a phone too. Tip: don't take the phone. Use your self-discovery and reflection for emergencies too. As they say on the Appalachian Trail: Hike your own hike. (PS: don't pontificate.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
For me the best part of the Camino was NOT using my cell phone, being off of email, Whatsapp, Facebook etc. It gave me peace and I actually could relax. I just used it to communicate with other pilgrims that I wanted to meet up with.
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)
Is the Pope a catholic???
 

Nocheechako

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances in 2015 & 2016. Portuguese, Muxia next.
... along with my journal for documenting my journey. ...
My observation over two Caminos is that documenting the journey is the primary use of the phone. The camera is the most convenient, a blog or Facebook post is parallel to a journal. Apps are the paper map and social media allows us to connect to our new camino friends along path. We have friends around the world that we stay in touch with after meeting along the way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
My observation over two Caminos is that documenting the journey is the primary use of the phone. The camera is the most convenient, a blog or Facebook post is parallel to a journal. Apps are the paper map and social media allows us to connect to our new camino friends along path. We have friends around the world that we stay in touch with after meeting along the way.
I think this is a key aspect of using 'tech' on the Camino.

I use my phone mainly in place of paper. It's my map, for photos (i can't paint), my journal (blogging)
And I might use it to communicate with new found friends.

Other than checking in with my wife daily, I do not use it for 'external' purposes...

I'm totally unplugged from work, news, friends and colleagues back home....
 

longwayhome

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
I heard that Adam and Eve had an Apple, but I am not sure they were pilgrims.
A few mega bytes later , some Siri-ous sins and Pilgrimage was born!

The joy is that it continues to endure in this technological age. Toting my iPhone underlines that feeling of continuity through this digital age and into the next hopefully.
 

raonaid

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I hiked the Camino Frances from SJPP to Finisterre/Muxia this summer without carrying a cell phone at all. I felt fine and have no regrets. I did try to find somewhere to check my email every 5-7 days, but that's the extent of my digital use.

For the benefits of limited phone and digital tech use on the Camino, I suggest looking at Nancy Frey's research and writings: https://www.walkingtopresence.com
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2019, 2020)
***maybe I should preface my question as it is intended to be funny; not serious***
(I'm mostly wanting opinions of the experience of others.)

As I was making my decision to walk the Camino de Santiago, I was most inspired by the community, peace, history, stories, self-reflection, etc. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but why are people loading up on technology? Is it really necessary? It really bothers me the number of posts that reference apps and websites to use along the way; no thank you. I'm not heading to work or trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in rush hour, why would I need to use a cell phone to navigate my way on a trail that is supposed to be a path of self-discovery and reflection? Does this bother any else? Yes, I am taking my phone, but it will be turned off in a secret pocket deep in my backpack for emergency only. Even in towns along the way, I plan to enjoy the freedom of just wandering without technology. I know this is possible as I have traveled in many countries this way may years ago. I love talking to locals (providing we can verbally communicate with each other) and navigating or wandering by instinct. I do plan to take a paper map and some notes that I've made ahead of time, along with my journal for documenting my journey. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or want to share technology-free experiences?
As is the consensus.. we are all on our own camino. I stayed connected every step of the way. My husband followed me from Kansas City using Google (we were connected via google maps). I stopped along the way and took photos a few times during the day and posted them to the family WhatsApp group my son had set up. If I missed too much time, I got messages.. Mom! How're you doin'? They were a lot more impressed about this great-grandmother "out there by herself" than I was, but it helped the comfort level of my family.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I have been digging in sources and what I have found suggest that there was indeed some difficulties in converting beteween different formats in the the Middle Ages.
Below is an example from when Ansgar, the very first monk to enter Scandinavia and here demonstrating the diffulties he faced by embracing another technology:



The quality of the recording, I know, is appalling, it is positively medieval !!

Ansgar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansgar
 

DwainS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances(2020)
Reading all these posts, it seems carrying a cell phone is a very sensitive subject, more so for the people that carry them than the ones that don't. Relax cell phone users, the lord isn't going to banish you.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Reading all these posts, it seems carrying a cell phone is a very sensitive subject, more so for the people that carry them than the ones that don't. Relax cell phone users, the lord isn't going to banish you.
You have it backwards - carrying a phone is not a problem for those who carry them.
 

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