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Fear: the Return Home

northernpiano

New Member
I read with interest a previous post about fear of doing the Camino. I have a different problem. I am leaving to walk the Camino in two weeks and am very excited. What I have a fear of is what will happen when I return home. I know of a number of people who, upon coming back from their Camino, either went into a deep depression, split up with their spouse, or otherwise just had a difficult time adjusting to being back home. I'm interested in hearing any suggestions for decompressing and easing my way back into 'normal' life post Camino.
 
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newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
My wife and I, who are closer than ever, head out for the fourth pilgrimage in a couple of weeks.

I'm not sure the people who face an upheaval upon returning are doing a bad thing. Maybe they should live the life that suits them rather than fritter away their time miserable.

We had dinner with a guy who couldn't imagine returning to his law office in the Hague. I wonder what happened to him......
 

fiddletree

Active Member
I think I made a good choice in doing the Camino when I was in an extreme transition period in my life (year off between college and grad school, had been living in Ireland, was single, and about to move back to the US to a place I had never been before), but it was really difficult to adjust to life after the camino. I think I gave away/threw out almost all of my possessions, and I had a hard time connecting with people who hadn't been on the camino. For about a month afterward, I was in kind of a state of culture shock (might have to do with the fact that I was also in a different country...but I don't think so), but after that I was fine. It took a while to figure out how to balance my 'camino' and 'non camino' selves, as I underwent quite a transformation during the walk, and wanted to maintain that same state of mind after.

It really helps if you know someone who has done this (or a similar experience) before, or can connect with a camino pilgrim after you come home.
 
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Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
newfydog said:
My wife and I, who are closer than ever, head out for the fourth pilgrimage in a couple of weeks.

I'm not sure the people who face an upheaval upon returning are doing a bad thing. Maybe they should live the life that suits them rather than fritter away their time miserable.

Like newfy dog we are off to continue our pilgrimage in just under two weeks.

These times of travelling together have been very special to us too, so no problems relationship-wise.

But they are contributing to an ongoing upheaval and change of direction in our life. We are at the stage of mid life crises - children gone, discovering we are not all-powerful, realising job not being a positive influence etc - so we probably would be doing some deep thinking and re-adjusting anyway. Our camino times give us perspective, time for reflection, reassurance that we can strike out into the unknown and not only be OK but flourish and change for the better.

We almost put off our plans for walking from Gernika in April because our tentative exploration for Making Changes has just moved up a notch or two and ideas are getting closer to reality - which is pretty scary. But we're taking advice from wise friends and counselors to go, not to stay at home chivvying and fretting - if our plans are Meant To Be they will be growing to fruition whatever we do!

This is a much calmer and relaxed stance than I used to be able to take, and I believe that the Camino has something to do with that!

fiddletree said:
I think I gave away/threw out almost all of my possessions,

Funny, I have been thinking about that just today - bought some new socks and immediately fantasized about completely clearing out all the old stuff in my clothes drawers!
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Another thought - years ago, when I studied, after having children, for a new career (social work) I was worried because I knew of people who did that and became 'different' people, one person I heard of not only left their partner and hitched up with someone else, but changed her first name as well! But our marriage was strong and well able to survive my new professional enthusiasms and routines.

So I think things that change when the opportunity comes around are probably the things that need to change.

(My emotional health was not so robust to survive the new career but that's another story!!!)
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
lynnejohn said:
It's the power of a transformational experience. Your life is never the same. Work, relationships, priorities are now seen in a new light. It is what it is. lynne
I think Lynne has hit the nail on the head- for most people it does seem to be a transformational experience of some sort.

The simplicity of life on the Camino, the joy of being so long in the outdoors, meeting people who inspired me....... it all meant a great deal to me. And I was a bit down for a while when I got home, where work took over again and everything seemed just the same as before despite my dreams. But I gradually realised I was making subtle changes in my everyday life..... eg ever since I have been home I have been simplifying my belongings and giving away what I know I don't use. And I have a calmness deep inside that I never had before.
I guess one of the benefits of doing something like walking the Camino is that people who haven't done it see it as something quite extreme, and think you are a teeny bit eccentric. So if you start making changes, they are not really surprised!!!!
Margaret
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I have done 3 800 km pilgrims walks now and each time I feel a mixture of feelings when I finish. Pride at having made it and exhilaration to varying degrees, nothing beats the arrival in Santiago in my view. Just finishing somewhere else is a bit of an anticlimax for me. One needs to organise some sort of little celebration to complete I find.
My husband and I are still together, he walked 400 km with me at one stage. I have had a change of career on return of one of my walks and a change in domiciles after my first walk.
I found that the experiences have made me stronger in dealing with day to day difficulties. They have tought me to hang in there and take things that seem insurmountable in little steps. We are dealing with some pretty tough teenage issues at the moment and I am grateful for the "training" I have had on my caminos. I know I can last the distance. So do not be afraid, what will be will be, yes there may be change or upheaval, but if it happens it needs to happen to unstick whatever needs to be unstuck. You will have new found strenghts at the end of your walk, that you probably have not yet discovered. Love, Gitti
 

northernpiano

New Member
My husband and I are also dealing with difficult teenage issues. One of the reasons I decided to take this walk at this time is to get some perspective and put some much needed (I think) distance between my 16 year old and myself. Things cannot go on as they are. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and encouraging words.
 
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Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Teenagers!!

Some may remember that we returned from a Camino 18 months ago to discover our youngest (still teen) daughter and boyfriend had some 'news' for us. This began a busy period where as well as the wedding they wanted we also had to encourage them to find somewhere for them and their little one to live and some means of financial support.

Just over a year ago we walked the Camino Ingles immediately after the wedding, while they moved into their flat and he started training as a bus driver. (Search under Golden Shrugs for a thread on weddings and camino planning). In May Amelia was born and they grew up!



I can report that they are being super parents, she has learned to cook and to eat all the vegetables she used to decline (even kidney beans!!), he passed his bus test first time and works hard. They moved to a bigger house, have started gardening, manage to get the baby to go to sleep better than I ever did, and have stricter standards about diet and cleanliness than I did too. Their house is not quite as untidy as her bedroom was.

Yes, the Camino definitely helps with perspective. It gives us something to dwell on, to absorb us nearly as much as the teenager is necessarily absorbed in their path towards independence. And we are being 'a teeny bit eccentric' by doing something out of the ordinary - carving out a new identity for ourselves, just like they are.

I had some awful fights and power battles with my teens over the years. Now I am proud of every single one of them and of the skills they demonstrate that I never mastered. And I think they are a bit proud of us for getting on our bikes and cycling all they way from home to ... Gernika so far!
 

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Deleted member 3000

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There are lots of transitions in life: marriage, birth, death, war, work, etc. They all fit in eventually. The Camino can be one too. Let it be whatever you want.
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Steve.Belfast said:
I wonder does the Camino bring change or is it that people already in a process of some life change bring themselves to the Camino?

Good point.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Steve.Belfast said:
I wonder does the Camino bring change or is it that people already in a process of some life change bring themselves to the Camino?

I have been thinking along the same lines. For me, my Camino last year was the 'bridge' between retirement from full-time ministry and a new (and different!) way of life. What it did was affirm me in the way ahead and strengthen my relationship with my wife who willingly (and trustingly!)let me go off for 5 weeks on my own. I think it is something to do with being alone - maybe even just 'being'.
For 20+ years I had been accepted for my role as a parish priest. On the Camino I was accepted as myself - no-one knew what I was unless I told them! For me, the assistance given, the welcome and acceptance of 'Terry' as a human being, made my pilgrimage. The realization that I could acheive a dream was an inspiration to future living.
I know that many have a more negative experience, and it would be good to know what led to feelings of disappointment, and in some cases anger. Being prepared for these things may be helpful and my experience 'next time' may be completely different.

Blessings and Buen Camino
Tio Tel
 
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lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
On the camino, you don't know where I live, what I drive, what I do, how much money I make, etc. The camino is a great leveller. Things are so simplified. There is the opportunity to acquaint yourself with your "true self" - whatever that is, but it has usually been covered up over the years. You have the opportunity to give and receive kindnesses with utter strangers. You are more aware, and appreciate nature, with all of its gifts and beauty.There emerges a contemplative nature in yourself that you might never have seen. You have deeper conversations with yourself that may lead to changes that transform your life if you allow them.

I have said several times that the camino has made me a better person. I like that person. This is part of my addiction with the camino.

lynne
 
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
For me, the Camino gave me the peace, quiet, and time alone to really think about my life and where it was going, which yes, caused me to make major changes.

There's no distraction of television, telephone (well... for some), family, work, other people's problems. YOu just put one foot in front of the other and your mind becomes clear and clutter free. It's very healing and empowering.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
TerryB said:
I have been thinking along the same lines. For me, my Camino last year was the 'bridge' between retirement from full-time ministry and a new (and different!) way of life. What it did was affirm me in the way ahead and strengthen my relationship with my wife who willingly (and trustingly!)let me go off for 5 weeks on my own..................
Blessings and Buen Camino
Tio Tel
I'll second that, as his wife. It gave us both an aim for retirement, a way forward and a deepening of our relationship. Meeting Terry in Santiago and attending the Pilgrims' Mass at Pentecost was wonderful. I wondered how the Camino might change him, but would say it has all been positive. One thing that I believe helped, both while Terry was walking and on our return, was the prayer support of friends and church communities.
It was right for me to let him go - next time it is right to walk together, trusting it will still be a positive experience and that our friends will still be praying for us.
Buen Camino and return,
Tia Valeria
 

vinotinto

Active Member
Steve.Belfast said:
I wonder does the Camino bring change or is it that people already in a process of some life change bring themselves to the Camino?

For me, it was both. I was already in the process of a significant life change (or mid-life crisis) when I walked the Camino at the age of 40, and the Way was the primary catalyst that helped me complete said paradigm shift.

Ironically, I was seriously questioning my evangelical Xian faith as I left SJPP, and by the time I entered Santiago I had become an agnostic. I guess one never knows what they will find on the Camino... :arrow:

VT
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
HI Bridget and Peter, good to hear your teenage problems came to a positive resolution, at my end the situation continues to escalate, everything one does not want to happen seems to be happening. I can honestly say it is the hardest time in my life so far. Regards, Gitti
 
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MermaidLilli

Active Member
I wonder how transformative it would be for the teenagers if they also went, maybe at a different pace than the parent. Young people need that kind of break as well, and the Camino offers a wonderful time.
Lillian
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I agree with you re young people on the Camino, I met a 16 year old german girl in Santiago who had walked all the way from northern Germany, being " shadowed" by an aunt who touched base with her every few days. The girl had dropped out of school and got into a number of difficulties and her parents sent her off to Santiago. She was amazing by the end of it, so confident, ready to go back and finish school, it was great to see. I have offered my daughter to "shout" her the trip over and pay for the expenses on the camino and she is refusing to do it. I even offered for her to bring her friend. "You can lead a horse to water...." they say. I know it would be fantastic for her. Gitti
 

cecelia

Wandering for the love and growth of it
Past OR future Camino
2013
On the Camino I was accepted as myself - no-one knew what I was unless I told them! For me, the assistance given, the welcome and acceptance of 'Terry' as a human being, made my pilgrimage.
On the camino, you don't know where I live, what I drive, what I do, how much money I make, etc.

I found these concepts particularly powerful the first time I walked a camino. I declined to tell anyone what my work or education was. I was interested in not being judged about that in any way - either positively or negatively but also in not judging myself by those outside descriptors. I just wanted to be myself for whatever that was worth and see how I felt about that. It was, as Lynne pointed out, an interesting way to ask myself deeper questions and to think about myself in connection with other people as only but fully human rather than as a professional or worker A or B.
I apologize if the names didn't come through on my quotes. I don't know how this quote thing works yet. In case they didn't - the first one is from TerryB and the second from lynnejohn.
Buen caminos
cecelia
 

pat.holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
C F 2007-10, Le Puy St. Jean 2011-13, C P 2015 Via F 2016-7
This is a really interesting discussion. We have noticed that many of the more mature (in age!) people on the camino, like us, are in a period of transition and the Camino gives them and us time to consider where we are going. Sometimes we can get 'stuck' and the physical act of walking can help free up the stuckness. The fact that we dont have energy to put into the thinking about the issue, because of bed/blisters/food worries can help it to be resolved in the background.

Can I make a suggestion ? I have the Brierley guide. I have found it very useful for the practical information but at times I find his personal spiritual etc views a bit intrusive. However on page 38 he does have some powerful questions (coaching lingo) which could be useful to consider where you are now before starting your camino. Then during the camino, keep a journal under the headings ' what happened (today), So What and Now what? When you finish have a look at hte questions again, you may find your thoughts have moved on. Talk to people onthe camino, you will be surprised how much common ground there may be out there.

When you get back, talk to other pilgrims, have a camino party, you will find again that other pilgrims will have common experiences and thoughts. Also read Nancy Frey's book to recognise yourself in terms of experiences.

Pat
 
I wonder how transformative it would be for the teenagers if they also went, maybe at a different pace than the parent. Young people need that kind of break as well, and the Camino offers a wonderful time.

I was 17 when I walked in winter last year. Fresh out of school, life, everything... the camino was great. It was so comforting knowing that you had a bed and food waiting for you at the end of the day. No existential thoughts or feelings. Just peace. And very painful tendonitis. But ah well.

Strangely enough though, it's like a dream now, I'm right back where I was before I left (granted with a bit of having seen the world and walked the camino). There wasn't a transformation. Just something to look back on fondly. But sadly, after only six months it's already fading.
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
cool observations, and timely. I am writing a guidebook on this as we speak, so I might get in touch with some of you to talk about Going Home things. Just so you know.

Reb.
 

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Artemisofephesus said:
I wonder how transformative it would be for the teenagers if they also went, maybe at a different pace than the parent. Young people need that kind of break as well, and the Camino offers a wonderful time.

I was 17 when I walked in winter last year. Fresh out of school, life, everything... the camino was great. It was so comforting knowing that you had a bed and food waiting for you at the end of the day. No existential thoughts or feelings. Just peace. And very painful tendonitis. But ah well.

Strangely enough though, it's like a dream now, I'm right back where I was before I left (granted with a bit of having seen the world and walked the camino). There wasn't a transformation. Just something to look back on fondly. But sadly, after only six months it's already fading.

Hi Jo

I was so hoping we would hear from you again, so you could let us know how you were going.

My life was not transformed by the camino either, but it was richly, gloriously enhanced by it. Your blog about your pilgrimage is part, along with so many other parts, of the camino fabric that is with me on a daily basis. The fine details of my camino are also fading with time, but the warm fuzzy feelings are as warm and fuzzy as ever they were. Good luck in whatever you do.

Buen camino

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

pat.holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
C F 2007-10, Le Puy St. Jean 2011-13, C P 2015 Via F 2016-7
I spent this morning out on a hill walk on my own and the mentions of 'transformation' in this and other posts are going around in my head. I recently downloaded Gideon Lewis Krause's description of his walk on the Japanese Buddhist pilgrimage where he mentions his wondering about the Camino and 'what it means to travel with some vague expectation of transformation'. What is going on with this 'transformation' for us pilgrims?

I recently gave a lecture to a (small) international conference in Dublin on the topic of pilgrim memorials along the Camino and in doing so had to try to explain why do people do the C. I gave the list of the standards: religion, spirituality, adventure, history/archaeology, food/wine, etc etc (or a bit of all of them) but the one that proved the hardest to pin down is the general topic of using the camino as a theraputic space, a journey to work something out, to create some change or come to terms with a change?

it is I think easy to say that we have achieved what we wanted from the camino in terms of say history/archaeology or adventure, we can count the Romanesque churches or tell the stories of escapades. But so much harder with internal issues such as religious or spiritual belief . But even harder with vague unfulfilled wishes for a transformation, a change of some sort. And what we get is not all what we expected. I never expected the rich cameraderie of the pilgrims nor my emotional response to it and the camino which meant that, for example I could not speak about the pilgrim memorials along the way in a calm dispassionate archaeological manner. I did expect the churchs and the wine and the 'crack' (Irish definition) and the sore feet....

So what am I saying: I wonder if the 'vague desire for a transformation' is something us pilgrims should work on a bit before going to the Camino. The Camino after all is only a long long long walk. It has its magic but if we are to have a transformation, could we ask ourselves before we start, What is it we want from the Camino, What will this transformation be like when we get it, How will we know we have it and then consider what do we have to do to get it.
This may seem a bit cold/clinical but reading some of the messages above, a lot is about change. Some wanted change and got it, some were afraid their partner would change and they did or did not. Some still cherish the memory of the Camino, as I do so dearly. But is this 'transformation' stuff about changes made and not made? Could the Camino be better for us if we were clearer about why we are going ?
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
pat.holland said:
I. What is going on with this 'transformation' for us pilgrims?

but the one that proved the hardest to pin down is the general topic of using the camino as a theraputic space, a journey to work something out, to create some change

So what am I saying: I wonder if the 'vague desire for a transformation' is something us pilgrims should work on a bit before going to the Camino. The Camino after all is only a long long long walk. It has its magic but if we are to have a transformation, could we ask ourselves before we start, What is it we want from the Camino, What will this transformation be like when we get it, How will we know we have it and then consider what do we have to do to get it.
This may seem a bit cold/clinical but reading some of the messages above, a lot is about change. Some wanted change and got it, some were afraid their partner would change and they did or did not. Some still cherish the memory of the Camino, as I do so dearly. But is this 'transformation' stuff about changes made and not made? Could the Camino be better for us if we were clearer about why we are going ?

Hi I think this is an interesting question and I've found thoughtful preparation of this sort a useful and enriching exercise before starting my Caminos. But having said that I've also found that such activities are like pre match exercises.... useful training but actually nothing at all like the 'real game'. However comprehensive my pre Camino preparations are in this area, or how clear my intentions, my actual Caminos stubbornly refuse to be 'managed' and/or confound any such attempts by me to do so. I'm now reluctantly coming around to the notion of starting 'fuzzy' and going with the flow of what the journey delivers (this is a big thing for me as I'm a little controlling :oops: )
Nell
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
pat.holland said:
The Camino after all is only a long long long walk..... Could the Camino be better for us if we were clearer about why we are going ?
You raise lots of interesting points Pat- and I just want to comment on these two.

I don't think 'only a long long long walk' was a true description of what I experienced. My first three weeks from Le Puy I spent most of my walking time alone- which not only gave me time for reflection, but forced it upon me. But with the exhaustion of the days spent putting one foot in front of the other, it also brought some peace in those reflections. If there was something upsetting that came to mind, I could cry about it, and let the tears fall freely, and then move past it, too tired to hold onto any tension! Tears and laughter seemed to be an integral part of my Camino. But I don't think these kind of reflections were even possible at home: they seemed to happen in tandem with the rhythm of my feet walking, day after day.

And as far as being clearer about why I was going before I went..... I guess I am not that kind of gal- I tend to be a bit more intuitive. I had this 'feeling' that going on a long long walk in the countryside might be a good thing for me to try- and I didn't really know whether I would in fact succeed in walking as far as I imagined. But that first morning as I started walking across the flatter ground above Le Puy, and saw the sunshine illuminating a seed-head, I was filled with happiness. I just knew I was in the right place, doing the right thing, and that I was incredibly fortunate to have this chance to spend an extended time in the outdoors.

I have just read an interesting blog post by Fr Amado Picardal, a Filipino priest (and forum member) who is soon going to be on the Camino. He is reflecting a lot on the transformation of the 'second journey' in midlife before he actually goes on pilgrimage. You might find his reflections interesting: http://amadopicardal.blogspot.com/2010/07/hiking-in-ostia-antica-and-back-to-rome.html
Margaret
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
It looks like for some people it is just a long, long walk. For some people it is a mystical, transformative experience. No matter what ideas you go in with, the Way always defies your expectations. I think the best thing to do is just do it with an open mind, and see what happens.

There´s no way to program it. You don´t "do the camino." It does you.

Reb.
 

+@^^

Active Member
i can so relate to so much of whats been said
somebody said its like re-arranging the deckchairs on the titanic - pretty fruitless
trying to orchestrate an transformational outcome never felt right for me
yet i also didnt just want to pitch and see what happened
going with the idea that "i am looking for answers on whether i should change jobs" will probably get you just that
or a disappointment if it doesnt happen
when asked the big WHY question, i struggle to verbalise a coherent acceptable sanitised answer
but when im quiet and on my own
i remember the feeling when i first heard of the camino
it just resonated deep inside
and i knew i had no choice but to do it
 

suzie morgs

Member
My husband and I walked the frances last year and 12 months later still reflect in the experience and how it has become part of our continued life journey. We did not set out to have a transformational experience but were open to whatever the camino offered. There were days on end when we walked without engaging in much talk as we each internalised the experience, not just physically but spiritually. The relationship experience with others enroute became the fabric of our journey.
Upon return we have continued to be involved in other people's experiences of the camino, directly and indirectly. Our bond is stronger as together we've faced a challenging 12 months (nothing to do with the camino).
We plan to walk the Le Puy to SC in a few years and I'm doing the shorter Sarria to SC in October on my own.
The camino seems to take hold when you start your planning and forever becomes part of who you are.
Absolutely nothing to fear. :)
Buen Camino
Suzie
 

zammy

Active Member
long distance walking and your mind

Walking the Camino is walking a long distance trail, if you find yourself walking by yourself, the sounds you hear (if you are not attached to a personal player) will be the squeaking of your pack, your steps on the ground, your own breathing, the wind blowing, sound of tree leaves rustling, birds, distance sound of a tractor plowing, dogs barking in the distance, and you are alll by yourself---this is a sure recipe for high level meditation, constant sounds like a mantra ,all these will lead you, whether you wish it or not, to meditation, after 5-7 days your body, now fit for walking like an automatic pilot, will allow you to set your mind up and away. You will find yourself walking miles without even noticing you had just walkled thwm, boredoom will disappear from your dictionary.
I used to tell my friends that they don't need spending money on pshycolgists, all they ned to do is walk a month alone on some trail, things will fit into place like a giant puzzle, questions that put you in misery till now will dissolve.
If you add some religious thoughts and faith you will soar even higher.
And then- you get addicted to long distance walking, you wait this wonderful feeling of soarin to happen, every spring your feet and toes will itch, waiting for another long distance hike.
things that will disturbe this from happenning: talking while walking, music in your ears, walking in groups, body unfit and unprepared, too many blisters, lots of pain, walking less then 5-7 days...
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Zammy, your list of the sounds of silence is very evocative. It took me right to that place again, and the peace and tranquility of walking.
Thankyou.

This past week I took 4 days to travel by bicycle and camp along the way. I found the heightened awareness that is necessary to cycle safely prevented me from reaching the meditative experience. Being aware of traffic, concentrating on the condition of pavement ahead, not drifting left or right into traffic or the ditch conspired to keep me aware of where I was, and what I was doing. And so it should, if I wished to stay alive.

Maybe on a longer bike trip I would have a transformative experience, but right now, for me, walking is the way to go.

David, Victoria, Canada
 
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ksam

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
Artemisofephesus said:
I was 17 when I walked........There wasn't a transformation. Just something to look back on fondly. But sadly, after only six months it's already fading.

Somehow I doubt that's entirely true. You may not be able to see the changes in yourself yet. There are probably so many seeds, planted, that have yet to really grow. You've been in a way armoured for things yet to come. Don't worry about trying to see and or find the changes, just trust that they are there. It may even be years before you suddenly come upon something in your life and realize, the Camino that prepared you for just this situation!

I've had too many similar experiences, where I wondered why on earth am I in this particular place or doing this particular job, and it can take years..when suddenly the answer is there, as plain as the nose on your face.

That's my current situation. 10 years on the job, often with people I genuinely do NOT like or care for (and a number I truly DO respect!) when the "reason" I was there came to the front. Bingo, out of the blue I knew with an absolute certainty, why.

I guess maybe my philosophy, if it can be called such, is to trust in something bigger. Do what you can and trust that there is a reason, perhaps just a little obscure. Then just keep moving on, rather like the Camino..one foot in front of the other.

Sheesh, do I sound like an old mom/battleaxe :roll: or what....but your comments really moved me...so wishing you Buen Camino on the rest of your journey, Artemis if Ephesus
 

curious1149

New Member
the return home was hard. i was tempted to not get on my flight back to Singapore and stay in Spain instead
Since i finished my Camino around 2 weeks ago, i've been having dreams of the Yellow Arrows, Scallop Shells, cows along the way, and if any of you were walking in late june/early july, also of Sherpa - the donkey and finally the grandiose architecture.
Its amazingly hard to readjust to normal life.
I'm already planning my next trip to the Camino... Its like the way is almost like a home. :)

another thing i realized is the profound difference in my attitude towards life and the need for simplicity in it. Its really affected me and my life wouldn't be the same if i hadn't done it. Thank you Santiago. Buen Camino to everyone :)
 

Pacharan

Member
I wanted to do the camino because I wanted to do a long distance walk and I was interested in the history of the camino. There was no religious motivation for me at all. My husband was talked into it quite easily and after I was made redundant he took a sabbatical and we walked from SJPP in September 2009.
After about a week I realised that I wasn't simply walking the old pilgrim route but was actually on pilgrimage! Coming from years of working in the City in a very busy somewhat confrontational job learning to be more patient and tolerant was a real challenge. It wasn't just the other pilgrims that inspired me, but the local Spanish people who welcomed and helped us all the way, living the camino in their daily lives.
When we got to Santiago I was elated and relieved (my knee lasted until the cathedral square) but realised this was just the start of something bigger; putting into practice all those lessons learned for the rest of my life.
I definitely experienced some culture shock returning to UK after 6 weeks in France/Spain. Everything seemed much faster, noisier and more aggressive. I missed the simple camino routine. But I was glad to be home with friends, family and on my allotment. I can't say I have suffered any relationship problems or depression. I think it is easier for us because we walked together and can talk about our shared experience.
Now? I am not working at all right now and my husband has gone part-time. We recently got a dog who has ensured that getting up early and walking remains part of my daily routine. I will work again, but work will fit around the dog and our needs.
And I do want to walk to Santiago again one day...
 
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
I've really enjoyed reading these responses again!

I found myself nodding my head, "Yes... Yes!" to each one.

I chuckled at the change Bridget recognized in her daughter as I recalled similar turnarounds of my 3 sons. Funny how a transformation in ourselves can appear to cause such powerful transformations in others, as we learn what is really important, as our paradigm shifts, as we simply begin to expect the best.

For me, that shift came from being forced to "trust the Camino," and learning that conflicts are nothing more than opportunities to experience a different "way." A wonderful lesson which comes and goes and comes and goes, but is beginning to stick around longer each time. :)

I felt the truth in Lynne's words that the Camino is a great leveler. Nearly every pilgrim is reduced to the same few pounds of belongings. Each sweats, cries, and experiences joy and pain; we learn to get past language barriers and communicate, working together, sharing food, learning to trust and love again.

I loved Zammy's description, which carried me back to the "... the squeaking of your pack, your steps on the ground, your own breathing, the wind blowing, sound of tree leaves rustling, birds, distance sound of a tractor plowing, dogs barking in the distance..."

Margaret's words about walking alone rang true for me. The walking alone, "not only gave me time for reflection, but forced it upon me. But with the exhaustion of the days spent putting one foot in front of the other, it also brought some peace in those reflections. If there was something upsetting that came to mind, I could cry about it, and let the tears fall freely, and then move past it, too tired to hold onto any tension! Tears and laughter seemed to be an integral part of my Camino.."

Up front, transformation seems the right word, but upon reflection, I'm not sure transformation is the right word, because really, the Camino doesn't transform us. Rather it whittles us back to who we REALLY are.

The Camino strips away all the props, all the fluff. It removes the distractions, and forces the "real us" to come to the forefront. The Camino reminds each of us we are strong, able, and independent beings; little sparks of God experiencing a few fleeting moments of life on this beautiful earth. It teaches us to not be afraid to lighten our load, to walk less encumbered through life. It teaches us that we certainly CAN be happy without the latest fashion, autos, cell phones, computers, electricity, forced air heat, air conditioning, hot water, Big Macs, microwaves, bathtubs, private toilets, a clean towel each day, a mortgage payment, packaged food, and all the other silly items we have been brainwashed into believing we cannot live without.

The Camino teaches that what's more important than any problem, real or imagined, is to BE ALIVE, to BE HAPPY, to share what we have and be grateful for what is offered. It teaches us to walk when we have strength, and take time to rest when we're weary. It teaches us to help others and to accept help when we need it. It teaches us to look past appearances and language. It humbles us. It teaches us not to worry about whether there will be a bed because we WILL sleep, one way or the other!

The Camino teaches that the WAY to happiness is to march to our OWN music, not try to dance to someone else's idea of who we should be. And if our music tell us it is no more than a long walk, well that's ok too!

What's amazing to me is that I'm always so ready to get out of Spain and get back home, but once here, I begin dreaming of my next walk within days... how is it that a place that causes so much pain, bugbites, blisters, tendonitis, freezing rain, blazing heat, crocodile tears, and shock can continue to call us back over and over and over again? I can only believe that I find my true self there, on the Camino, and that I won't be satisfied until I find that self here too.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
The Camino teaches that what's more important than any problem, real or imagined, is to BE ALIVE, to BE HAPPY, to share what we have and be grateful for what is offered. It teaches us to walk when we have strength, and take time to rest when we're weary. It teaches us to help others and to accept help when we need it. It teaches us to look past appearances and language. It humbles us. It teaches us not to worry about whether there will be a bed because we WILL sleep, one way or the other!

Dear Annie,

I was quite moved by your response to this thread. Tuesday night I returned from the Camino Frances (via Finisterre) and all the people, smells, landscape, aches and pains are still quite fresh!!!

To me the Camino was a lesson in faith/trust. It was so liberating for me to to wake up every morning not really knowing where I would sleep (and believe me, I have had some weird experiences in Galicia prior to July 25th), how far I would walk, whether I would be alone or with others, etc. My "load" was light (packpack too at 6 kg) because I carried with me the faith/trust that the Camino would provide and it truely did, time and time again!!!

Yesterday I had to go straight back to work but I have today off and so will settle back into my life here in The Netherlands. A load of wash is churning in the background (will those socks ever get clean?) and I will go out to the grocery store as I left with an empty fridge. Frutos secos (dried fruit and nuts) were my staples during the camino. Amazing how little one really needs...

My respect for the human body is enormous. We are truely made to walk! It is hard to believe that I was able to walk 40+ km most days and that it just did it! In fact I was beter moving than sitting (oh those first steps after a 30 min. rest!!!).

These are just a few impressions fresh off the Camino. I am sure I will post again as I would like to share more with you all.

Abrazos,
LT
 
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plainlost

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Hi All:
I am very seriously contemplating walking the Camino in a year and a half (50th bday) and I loved ready everyone's perspectives. However, I have a question/thought how does one address to one's significant other that they wished to walk alone? I feel like I REALLY want to do this on my own to reflect, to ponder, to heal, to cleanse.. I feel like if he were to come with I would forever be worried whether is OK, (He is older than I by many years). Worried about his well-being will stress me out. Yet at the same time not sure how to run this need by him.. Anyone??
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
Stay in touch with people back home, make them part of your experience. Prepare a talk about the Camino with your local library, or simply make the commitment to prepare a Camino Memories scrapbook/blog. This will direct any nostalgia, melancholia, missing the Camino to a place where you will feel you are still there and will help you ease in going back home.

The Camino Melancholia is a very real phenomenon and very understandable as well. When you are in the Camino you are in a sort of utopia where there is a community with a goal that you are part of. It is an amazing feeling. Seriously. I had a real "crash" when I first walked in 2011 and went back home. Going back on the Camino was ALL I could think off. Fast forward 2 years: I am still so into this experience. I have been back since and always feel blessed to go back..... home. You'll be fine. :D
 
P

PANO

Guest
I am very seriously contemplating walking the Camino in a year and a half (50th bday) and I loved ready everyone's perspectives. However, I have a question/thought how does one address to one's significant other that they wished to walk alone? I feel like I REALLY want to do this on my own to reflect, to ponder, to heal, to cleanse.. I feel like if he were to come with I would forever be worried whether is OK, (He is older than I by many years). Worried about his well-being will stress me out. Yet at the same time not sure how to run this need by him.. Anyone??
I did the Camino in September alone and for the very same reasons you state. This is a very personal pilgrimage and a good partnership must allow the room required.
If your ’significant one’ wants to do the camino together, you could consider a compromise: Every peregrino will tell you about how you keep on meeting the same people along the entire way; you walk a while together, then part with a "buen Camino" but you bump into each other again at a cafe or albergue. They same can work for you, provided that you manage to firmly agree that both will walk freely and at your own pace. Designate meeting points ahead according to your needs and keep in touch with each other by phone-messages. You will very happily embrace each other in Santiago! If ’he’ does not agree to this, you definitely should do your Camino all alone. How about suggesting to do a test-run (by yourself) next year, –perhaps a shorter distance– and plan the mutual Camino as your b-day gift?

Wishing you a buen Camino,
Pierre aka Don Pedro
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hi All:
I am very seriously contemplating walking the Camino in a year and a half (50th bday) and I loved ready everyone's perspectives. However, I have a question/thought how does one address to one's significant other that they wished to walk alone? I feel like I REALLY want to do this on my own to reflect, to ponder, to heal, to cleanse.. I feel like if he were to come with I would forever be worried whether is OK, (He is older than I by many years). Worried about his well-being will stress me out. Yet at the same time not sure how to run this need by him.. Anyone??

This was a topic with my wife. The Camino is a bit of a conundrum; it is a personal experience that allows one to focus on the interior while learning to be completely open with all that is going on around us. The experience was not something I wanted to share while compensating for the needs of my wife. Even writing that it sounds selfish, but I wanted a time to reflect in order that I might become a better human, husband, father, brother, and friend.

Some individuals are in a place where going on Camino is a joint experience; others are different. I hope that one day my wife and I can do a Camino together, but that day has not yet arrived. The Camino calls to me and that call has not been as strong with my wife.

We handled this difference by talking about what our objectives were and what we were searching for from the experience. It was not a difficult decision and her feelings were not hurt; it was a mutual decision. Talk, share, and decide what is best for you. Good luck and Buen Camino
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
My Mantra.jpg Life is too short to live with fear of the unknown...
 
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JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Some, and with luck, some more.
Hi All:
I am very seriously contemplating walking the Camino in a year and a half (50th bday) and I loved ready everyone's perspectives. However, I have a question/thought how does one address to one's significant other that they wished to walk alone? I feel like I REALLY want to do this on my own to reflect, to ponder, to heal, to cleanse.. I feel like if he were to come with I would forever be worried whether is OK, (He is older than I by many years). Worried about his well-being will stress me out. Yet at the same time not sure how to run this need by him.. Anyone??

Plainlost,

I won't attempt to tell you what to do. All I can offer is what I would do in your position my friend.

I'd think very carefully about how to tell the other person how important the Camino was to me, what my true concerns are for them, that although they won't be there physically they will be with me every step of the Way, why I believe it's something I need to do for myself and how much their support would help me to find my Way.

Buen Camino and I hope your forum name will change to 'trulyfound' or something similar in your mind.
 
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plainlost

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
I did the Camino in September alone and for the very same reasons you state. This is a very personal pilgrimage and a good partnership must allow the room required.
If your ’significant one’ wants to do the camino together, you could consider a compromise: Every peregrino will tell you about how you keep on meeting the same people along the entire way; you walk a while together, then part with a "buen Camino" but you bump into each other again at a cafe or albergue. They same can work for you, provided that you manage to firmly agree that both will walk freely and at your own pace. Designate meeting points ahead according to your needs and keep in touch with each other by phone-messages. You will very happily embrace each other in Santiago! If ’he’ does not agree to this, you definitely should do your Camino all alone. How about suggesting to do a test-run (by yourself) next year, –perhaps a shorter distance– and plan the mutual Camino as your b-day gift?

Wishing you a buen Camino,
Pierre aka Don Pedro
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Hi All:
I am very seriously contemplating walking the Camino in a year and a half (50th bday) and I loved ready everyone's perspectives. However, I have a question/thought how does one address to one's significant other that they wished to walk alone? I feel like I REALLY want to do this on my own to reflect, to ponder, to heal, to cleanse.. I feel like if he were to come with I would forever be worried whether is OK, (He is older than I by many years). Worried about his well-being will stress me out. Yet at the same time not sure how to run this need by him.. Anyone??
plainlost, may I send you a private message? It will come up in your email as a message from Ivar.
 
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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
To plainlost: If you feel called to do the Camino alone, then you should. That longing could be divine in origin and your Higher Power's way of getting you to a place free from the distractions of a relationship. When I got my call to the Camino, I was engaged. The Camino became a catalyst for extracting myself from that disaster as many arguments ensued. Ultimately, I realized I could never marry a man who needed me to explain why I need to have this experience.

It was then that I realized I needed no one's permission or blessing to do this. It matters not whether my family understands or approves. It doesn't even matter to me if my employer approves. I would rather resign than put my life and my dreams on hold for anyone! Reducing my need to explain to others, to reassure them I have done my research that I'm not crazy has allowed me more to harnass that energy that would have been wasted. I say wasted because the ones that don't get it, still don't get it. They mock, criticize and sabotage without realizing they're doing so. They like me as I am, are comfortable with me as I was pre-Camino and seek to restore that old me. I haven't even left and the Camino has already transformed me.

Back to the topic, all I can say is to quote Frank Herbert, author of Dune: "Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.."

The only fear I have for returning home from the Camino is that it will be untimely due to injury or the deaths of my parents! I would rather face that fear than let fear dominate my steps!
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Once again I have to say - The Camino de Santiago ends in Santiago de Compostela but the Camino never ends.

Life is change. The moment we are born till the moment we die are lives change for better or worse. The Camino can be part of that life if you choose to walk it. If you choose not to your life will change , like or not. Please don´t blame all you misfortunes because you walked the Camino. Much better if you try to enjoy it, learn from it, remember it as you move on to your next change.

Ondo Ibili !

Agree.
Not for us all has the Camino experience been life-changing, mystical, a religious awakening or transformational.
For some, it is a great adventure, and a wonderful hike. Or an opportunity to meet people.
All Camino experiences are just personal to each one of us, and I would not want to lead a new pilgrim into thinking it MUST be a something on a mystical or transformational plane. It is only necessary to approach it with an open mind, and no expectations.

So yes, life changes, we change, whether or not there is a Camino in our lives.
I'm very happy that it's in mine. I do find it transformational each time I walk, but how it is transformational is my own experience, and only mine. I don't expect anyone else to understand it or share it.
 

plainlost

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
From the bottom of my heart as one human to another.................. You're welcome.

You made me smile. Felt like you sent me a hug! Thank you..
Hugs to you as well,

Solvitur ambulando~
R
 
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Jnlee99

Member
Past OR future Camino
Past: SJPdP -> Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Future: Santo Domingo de la Calzada -> Santiago
I did the solo walk since my wife wasn't into it herself but supportive of my desire to do the walk introspectively. She thinks it was one of the wisest investment she made in our relationship. It gave me a new perspective and appreciation for home and family.
 
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