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2019 Camino Guides

Feeling empty after finishing my Camino.

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
#1
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#2
Oh @Eswee , yes. First of all, congratulations on finishing your pilgrimage. Look back on it as what you have achieved and what you felt as you walked on.
I'm only telling you my own experience, hopefully others will be more helpful and positive.
I never liked arriving. It was always a let down. Wherever it was. And yes, arriving in Santiago or Rome or even Jerusalem....was a ... Sort of let down? I don't know how else to say it.
But think back on it.... think back on your pilgrimage... That is what matters :cool: you'll never forget it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
France (2016)
Portuguese (2018)
#3
Congratulations on your achievement. Arriving at the cathedral in Santiago was a huge anticlimax for me after 6 weeks of walking, months of preparation and years of eager anticipation. I felt completely hollow. Do not feel alone. As time has gone by so have the satisfaction, gratification and fundamental blessings of the Camino manifest themselves. A year has gone by and each day I recall highs and/or lows of the journey and am overwhelmed by the sense of achievement and so many other emotions that are difficult to verbalize. Be patient with yourself and allow time to provide you with the most amazing, breathtaking, heart warming and overwhelming emotions. In finishing your walk, your Camino of life has only just begun.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#5
Your experience is very common. I had read about it a lot here before my first Camino, and was somewhat prepared for it.

It's an old cliche I know. But for me at least, the journey WAS the destination. I never really understood what that meant before.... so I made sure of that every day I walked . So I took my time. 40 days for the CF. As I reached the final 100 Kms I started to feel the sadness creep in, so made sure I made the most of every day..

Once at Santiago, I was ready to go home. My journey complete in every sense.

Next time I'm going even slower! 50 days. More time to smell the roses.....

I'm sure others have warned you. The only thing to do.....is another Camino!
 
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Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
#6
Yes, I know the feeling. Team Sailor [my wife and me] arrived Santiago under the rain. Went to the pilgrim office, received our compostela, went back to plaza obradoiro thinking "now what" . . . the "now what" is the planning for Lisboa to Santiago in 2018. Don't stop planning, don't stop walking, don't stop dreaming. Good luck, y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
#7
I felt kind of odd when I reached the Cathedral also. I do think that a lot of it was coming to the end of a long journey and feeling the culmination of it. Santiago was my goal, but I was sad to have arrived there. I can definitely see why people continue onto Finesterre. I had a few extra days and stayed in Santiago - I spent some time watching others arrive, which was more emotional for me than my own arrival. It didn't make sense to me then, but it makes sense now.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Autumn 2019
#10
Congratulations on completing your first Camino.
I felt the same way when I first reached the cathedral in Santiago, empty and almost sad. I contemplated why I was not more elated at reaching Santiago as I was walking on to Finisterre the next day. This quote I have posted before came to mind, and sums up my feeling, an echo of what Rick said above (the last line in the book "Up Country" by Nelson DeMille):

The journey home is never a direct route; it is, in fact, always circuitous, and somewhere along the way, we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination, and that the people we meet along the way will be the traveling companions of our memories forever.

The journey is more significant than the destination - Yes. And the people, I loved the people I met, and they will travel with me forever.

Plan your next Camino, it will also be magical!
Buen Camino,
--jim--
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#11
Loss and disappointed anticipation happening together can be such heavy company.
There's a lot that could be said about that, but the most important thing to know you're hardly alone in that experience. As you can see you have a lot of empathetic company.
There's gold in that hollow space - only when things are empty can they be filled. So there's a lot to learn from it. Finding what that is the next phase of the camino after reaching Santiago.
So buen camino! May it be rich.
 
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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#12
We have all been there with similar feelings upon completion of our first Camino. Really brought home for me the saying of it being about the journey and not the destination. Have been in Santiago 3 times now and honestly, future walks will not necessarily be planned to end in Santiago. Bit of been there, done that. Don't get me wrong, I still love the daily ritual of walking and all it involves as much as ever. But I not at all hung up on destinations now or the inevitable end point of each pilgrimage.
It is all about just enjoying each day to the fullest and really taking time to soak it all in. Too many seem to have tunnel vision about getting to each days destination and to the end point.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
#13
I too felt an anticlimactic end to my CF.
It was startling as I walked toward Santiago in the early morn with no real sense of where I was. I was sure the cathedral was another hour ahead as I could see nothing of it through the average looking streets and buildings.
And , some how, I stumbled into the area of the cathedral and thought “what? This can’t be.” I wasn’t ready.
My anticipated build up of anticipation was burst by already being at my destination without warning.
I was almost disappointed because I expected to feel the tearful welling of emotions as I approached
So I sat in the court watching pilgrims arrive. Observing their reunions, greeting, tears and joy and using that to remind myself that this was real, the true end of this part of the journey, as my own feelings seemed a bit displaced
Not bad, just different
Nanc
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Pamplona to burgos
#14
My wife and I arrived in Santiago and I was prepared for it to be a let down but by chance a close friend was crossing the square and that made all the difference
Also the lady that helped me collect my compestella was wonderful even giving me a hug when I burst into tears
A couple of days later walking into the square I noticed a lady just arriving so I went up to her shook her hand and congratulated her
She them gave me a big hug so I hope her arrival was as special as mine
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#15
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route)
Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?

Oh yes!!!! Santiago is very good at reminding me to be humble and plopping this pilgrim very firmly and suddenly back into the real world.

My Camino is still continuing. I am still meditating and reflecting obsessively on what I learned and how I will continue with my life. Lessons I thought I had “learned “ while walking are still continuing and evolving. It is not easy -rather like walking was not always easy.

I like that this group is so supportive of us recently returned pilgrims. We have this conversation regularly and each time I revisit “the end”, I welcome the continuation of the journey.

Buen Camino and may your journey continue!
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#17
The Camino reflects the life journey with the beginning being a birth and arriving in Santiago being like death. I know in the last 5 days my friends and I were walking slower and slower almost trying to postpone the inevitable. But also savouring our final experiences together while we had the chance. I felt more emotional at the railway bridge which has turned into a memorial for the train accident victims. That had me in tears. By the time I got to the Plaza it was a bit of an anticlimax. After a couple of days in SdC I continued to Finisterre. I cried quite a bit because I was already missing my friends so much and because I may never see them again. I was a bit antisocial as well. I really needed to walk solo to begin to process everything.
 

onwayhome

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
St Michaels Way (2016)
#18
After three Camino endings in Santiago I've come to accept the strong possibility that I'll be feeling some kind of loss.

The city is lovely but also a big and busy tourist centre so places for quiet contemplation need a bit of seeking out. And then there are the meetings with Camino companions knowing that we have finished a journey together and are about to go separate ways. All part of the rich Camino experience I guess.

Hope you land well with all your Camino experiences.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Stages on both French and Northern routes. Plan to walk Tui to Santiago in June 2017
#19
Oh @Eswee , yes. First of all, congratulations on finishing your pilgrimage. Look back on it as what you have achieved and what you felt as you walked on.
I'm only telling you my own experience, hopefully others will be more helpful and positive.
I never liked arriving. It was always a let down. Wherever it was. And yes, arriving in Santiago or Rome or even Jerusalem....was a ... Sort of let down? I don't know how else to say it.
But think back on it.... think back on your pilgrimage... That is what matters :cool: you'll never forget it.
Yes me too, for me it's the journey not the destination.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
#21
Thank you all for your positive and encouraging replies. I am sorry that I did not answer to each reply of you personally, but I took each and every word at heart. I really thought there was something wrong with me when I felt that emptiness at the end of my Camino after having such an unbelievable experience for 11 days. I am glad to know that I am not alone. The memories of the Camino will never fade. It will always be with me. There will unfortunately not be a next Camino for me in the near future. Hopefully I will be able to do my next one in 5 years time after I have retired. Buen camino to you all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
#22
I have arrived in Santiago 4 times. Each time the feeling was very different.

As for the Cathedral, I wake up early the day after arrival and go to the Cathedral before the tourists have arrived and have a peaceful moment of reflection.

I love being in the Cathedral when it is quiet and mostly empty. It is then that I feel my camino is complete (until next time).

buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#24
You are not alone with this feeling.........After Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, returned home from his epic journey and return from the moon, he made the same statement regarding his feeling of emptiness. (He unfortunately later had to be treated for depression).
I later read a statement by him saying he knew he had done something no one else had ever done, up to that time, and did not know what to do to surpass that historical accomplishment.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#25
I returned home last night after 2 months in Spain and 6+ weeks on the Camino. The first night in Orison, we all stood up and introduced ourselves. The introduction included our name, where we were from, how many Caminos we had been on, and why we were on the Camino. I said something to the effect that Santiago was a milestone on my journey, but my goal was to return back home to my family. I achieved my goal, and received a warm welcome from my wife and my two sons are coming home from school this weekend to welcome me back. I have countless texts and emails of support. However, the day after I reached Santiago I was very somber. I went and sat in the cathedral for a couple of hours. I prayed for my family, friends, and fellow peregrinos. What was I feeling...

loss - losing the daily physical contact with my new family, the joy, the laughter, and the heartfelt sharing of emotions and problems,

acceptance - I could not recreate this experience and had to let go,

transition - how would I be re-assimilated into the real world which was now so elusive,

emptiness - but not in a negative way. I left many of my burdens and sorrows along the Camino not just at the Cruz de Ferro. My new friends and family helped me forgive myself and others.

accomplishment - I just walked 500 miles across Spain. Is there anywhere I can’t walk (lol)?

pride - with a small “p” only to be shared with myself.

humbleness - I am just one of millions that have walked the way, and many with difficulties that would put my aches, pains, and blisters to shame.

gratefulness - for family, friends, and fellow peregrinos, but also for the Spanish people that openly share their land, homes, and lives in support of our pilgrimage. There is a spirit of community and support alive along the Camino.

peace - I don’t have the words to describe it...love, warm, quiet.

I shared one final dinner with my new family together in Santiago. We ate, we laughed, and I felt a sense of closure. After dinner it was like the scene from Ocean’s 11 in front the fountain at the Bellagio … 1 person left, and then 2, etc. until we had all disbanded. It wasn’t the end, but a new beginning.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#26
I too walked for religious reasons, though for me, arriving in Santiago was a relief. My feet were a mess, and Santiago remains in my heart, a place of physical healing. We stayed for 3 days before returning home. Happily, luckily, it was in early Spring and so the cathedral was never full, and tourists did not pack the square. -- I went daily to the English mass, and spent time in the chapel set aside for prayer. -- Coming home, I have tried to shift my life as a continued pilgrimage, remembering Christ's words "Yo soy el Camino". I have come to realize that as my Camino was a walk towards Santiago, my life is a walk towards Christ. - I try to make the time to walk to my church -- which is about 7 miles away-- to give me time to get back to walking. Walking has become a kind of prayer. -- But really, to find that place I found while walking the camino, I need to walk for a number of days. -There are times I feel I succeed in bringing my Camino back, and times I am overwhelmed with day to day cares, and feel very much alone.-- There are a number of ways my life at home has changed since my first Camino. I wake up my teenagers with music, instead of hollering at them. I attend daily mass when I can. I work to find ways to help others, and spend time with them. And I am often, in my head, planning my next Camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
#27
I too walked for religious reasons, though for me, arriving in Santiago was a relief. My feet were a mess, and Santiago remains in my heart, a place of physical healing. We stayed for 3 days before returning home. Happily, luckily, it was in early Spring and so the cathedral was never full, and tourists did not pack the square. -- I went daily to the English mass, and spent time in the chapel set aside for prayer. -- Coming home, I have tried to shift my life as a continued pilgrimage, remembering Christ's words "Yo soy el Camino". I have come to realize that as my Camino was a walk towards Santiago, my life is a walk towards Christ. - I try to walk to my church -- which is about 7 miles away-- to give me time to get back to walking. Walking has become a kind of prayer. -- But really, to find that place I found while walking the camino, I need to walk for a number of days. -There are times I feel I succeed in bringing my Camino back, and times I am overwhelmed with day to day cares, and feel very much alone.-- There are a number of ways my life at home has changed since my first Camino. I wake up my teenagers with music, instead of hollering at them. I attend daily mass when I can. I work to find ways to help others, and spend time with them. And I am often, in my head, planning my next Camino.
Thank you for these inspiring words.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walking 2017 August
#28
Seems we all feel this anti-climax. I wanted a banner to walk under (the finish) and a line of cheering people but all I got was a nearly empty square and lots of scaffolding on the cathedral
What really helped me was going to mass. I am not religious but the experience of attending, shaking hands with other pilgrims, listening to the nuns beautiful voice and seeing the botofumario (yes I was lucky) really made the whole experience real and complete.
The other thing we did was to go back to the square at different times to watch out for pilgrims and congratulate them and take photos of them.
Coming home was harder. My little community thinks I am insane and its hard to tell people what it was and what it meant when they think you are strange!
I guess thats what the forum helps with.
 

Brendan@ProjectCamino

Share your Camino story with me!
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 16
Santiago to Finesterre 17
SJPP to Sarria 17
Ourense to Santiago 18
#29
Congrats on completing your Camino, the feelings you have experienced are very common amongst pilgrims when they get to Santiago.

Ultreia my friend!!
 

Paul S.

Absolute Beginner
Camino(s) past & future
Almere-Fisterra via Namur, Vézelay, St. Jean PdP, Irun, Camino del Norte (February-June 2016)
#30
I had this idea of what would happen, how I would feel when I would finally reach Santiago. And yes, I had also taken into account the tourists and the souvenir shops and the (dare I say) holiday resort atmosphere of the town. And I was also fully aware of the fact that Santiago cathedral was going to be just about the ugliest building I have ever seen (OK, this is a personal opinion... ;-) ). But even so, I was quite sure arriving at the square would be an utterly amazing experience. So it was quite shocking to suddenly find myself at the plaza, after four months of walking, and feeling... well, nothing. There was no relief, no excitement, no grief, no resentment. Nothing. I did the appropriate things (get my certificate, go to the pilgrims' mass, et cetera), but none of that really felt meaningful. It was not until the day after that I realised I was actually eager to move onward, to Finisterra.

At the 0,0 km marker in Finisterra I cried.

It has been said before in this thread: for many of us the journey itself is the goal. In the end I found that I had not been walking to Santiago per se (or to Finisterra for that matter), but I had simply been walking for four months - and as far as I'm concerned it could easily have been four months more (unfortunately work has this nasty habit of getting in the way). A famous hobbit allegedly once called his journey 'there and back again'. Well, who knows. This one way trip had long been on top of my bucket list, but since I got back a return trip has been added to the list. And it's moving up fast...

Ultreia!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18)
#31
Paul S : I think your reaction is quite a common one as well. It reminded me of the lyrics to a rambling old rock song by Rush about 40 years ago. Its an obscure operatic piece about an imagined quest to The Fountain of Lamneth, whatever that is. Its a long and eventful (and musically, somewhat tedious) walk, but in the end, he reaches his goal. Shamelessly ripped from rushvault.com, I found it...........

Look! The mist is rising
And the sun is peaking through
See the steps grow lighter
As I reach their final few
Hear the dancing waters
I must be drawing near
Feel, my heart is pounding
With embattled hope and fear

Now, at last I fall before
The Fountain of Lamneth
I thought I would be singing
But I’m tired…out of breath
Many journeys end here
But, the secret’s told the same
Life is just a candle and a dream
Must give it flame

The key, the end, the answer
Stripped of their disguise
Still it’s all confusion
And tears spring to my eyes
Though I’ve reached a signpost
It’s really not the end
Like Old Sol behind the mountain
I’ll be coming up again
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2009, Camino Finisterre, 2009, Camino Portuguese, 2009, Via de La Plata, 2011. Pending: VdlP April-May 2014
#32
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2009, Camino Finisterre, 2009, Camino Portuguese, 2009, Via de La Plata, 2011. Pending: VdlP April-May 2014
#33
YES. And it was more than a moment. It hit me the second I got into the taxi to go to the airport and lasted for about a week after I got home. (I did the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port from September 21 - October 23). I don't know why and have tried to understand it. The best I can come up with is that after the physical effort: the array of people I met and shared laughs and experiences with, the fatigue, the solitude (at times) and the overall intensity of the experience...and then..."poof." What now? Happy to say that after returning home, getting over jet lag and rested up I am cruising the net and ... well...maybe, just maybe el Camino del Norte next year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino St James Apr 2017
Camino Del Norte April 2018
#35
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
Watch this should cheer you up
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (2016), French Camino (2015), Northern Camino (2017)
#36
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
I know the feeling.... I've felt so empty when finished the Camino Portugues last year actually quit my job in the US and moved to Santiago. I now work in a Camino de Santiago travel agency that helps pilgrims have an amazing experience and connect with the Camino as much as I did. Honestly, best decision ever. It feels like I've never finished it cause I deal with pilgrims and help them every day, plus I have nice work perks like free tours and get to learn Spanish, so can't really complain.
 

Susu60

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, La via plata, Aragon,
#37
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
As a frequent pilgrim, I am sorry you felt so empty and overwhelmed by all the people at the cathedral. I believe both are natural feelings: the long and arduous journey comes to a sudden stop, all the nature seems to be behind you, and one thinks, as a walker, bicycle rider or horseback rider that we are the only pilgrims, but in reality, everyone coming to the cathedral is a pilgrim, not a tourist. The Cathedral in Santiago is a very revered and sacred place. I hope you had a chance to experience the ceremony inside at the Pilgrim mass. It is beautiful. Buen Camino. Susu60
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#38
Reaching Santiago is hard. A lot of people blame it on the city, the tourists, etc. But I think it's much deeper than that.

Part of it is realizing, "Oh crap, I have to go back to the real world now! But I didn't discover the meaning of life or achieve spiritual enlightenment!" Pilgrims set some lofty goals for themselves, and they don't always reach them. Not to mention, compared to real life, walking the Camino is relatively easy. Just get up and walk each day. You're worries start to melt away after a few days. You feel so removed from everything. But when you get to Santiago and the end of your journey, it all hits you again. "Crap! I have a mortgage!"

Part of it might be feeling a bit lost as to what to do next with your life. People plan and save for years to walk to the Camino. So when you reach the steps of the Camino, you get a big ol' case of the "Now whats?"

What really got to me though was that as soon as we got into Santiago, the conversation was all about going home. This person had a flight to catch, someone else had a friend picking them up... All these wonderful and amazing people you've met along the way, it really hits you that this will probably be the last time you ever see them. And it hurts. It's been almost 4 years since my Camino and I think about the people I met every single day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#39
What really got to me though was that as soon as we got into Santiago, the conversation was all about going home. This person had a flight to catch, someone else had a friend picking them up... All these wonderful and amazing people you've met along the way, it really hits you that this will probably be the last time you ever see them. And it hurts. It's been almost 4 years since my Camino and I think about the people I met every single day.
It seems that it's the last few days that suddenly everyone starts, almost frantically, exchanging email addresses, friending each other on Facebook, etc. I was still getting Facebook friend requests a week or so after I got home, from people who I had only met once or twice, but we must have had Facebook friends in common. I love knowing that I have that connection with them, and in turn the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago - twice
Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome (2017)
Rome to Jerusalem (2017)
#40
I finished the Portuguese (Coastal Route) Camino on 17 October. When walking the last couple of kilometers into Santiago and then up to the Cathedral, I had an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was finishing my first Camino and could not wait to get to my final destination, the Cathedral. I was so excited with the adrenaline pumping that I nearly started to run the uphill to the Cathedral. After months of preparation and training, I was on the final stretch to reach my goal.

When reaching the Cathedral, and walking onto the plain in front of the Cathedral, I just suddenly felt an emptiness I cannot explain. I was standing there, empty. Not the WOW that I thought I would experience. I just sat down there on the plain between all the tourists and tried to understand this emptiness. After a couple of minutes (could have been half an hour), I came to the following conclusion.

The reason for me feeling empty was probably because of the following two reasons:
1. I have reached my goal. I have finished my Camino. After months of planning and excitement, after 11 days of walking, from Porto to Santiago, everything had ended. The WOW of the last 11 days are now gone. Now I only have the memories and I have to return back home.
2. Walking onto the plain (I am a Christian and I walked the Camino for religious reasons), I walked into this ants nest of tourists. My sacred end to my pilgrimage was not sacred at all. I did not want to go into the Cathedral because of the queue of tourists standing at the entrance of the Cathedral. When walking to the pilgrims office, I walked past a small Cathedral at the bottom of the steps. I entered the Cathedral and it was quiet. I then had my silent moment with my Lord in this small Cathedral, and not in the Cathedral where pilgrims are supposed to finish.

Are there any other peregrinos that also had a moment of emptiness finishing there Camino?
Many congratulations on completing your Camino. I understand your feeling of anticlimax. However a very wise man on my first Camino once said to me it is not the walk that is your Camino but your journey within. For me this ring true and buoys me up when I reflect back. My first two Camino I got sick went home went back a few weeks later and completed. My most recent “repeat” was completed carrying my own backpack - previously I had had it carried twice so this was important. I didn’t get sick this time as I listened to my body and progressed slowly - a luxury for many I know. For me it came down to the expectation, I have learnt this time to live in the moment without expectation ( thank you David with your wonderful free snack bar and Sally ) and accept what comes. What a glorious gift of a cathedral that offers time for reflection and time with our Master Jesus. May God bless and keep you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
#41
Many congratulations on completing your Camino. I understand your feeling of anticlimax. However a very wise man on my first Camino once said to me it is not the walk that is your Camino but your journey within. For me this ring true and buoys me up when I reflect back. My first two Camino I got sick went home went back a few weeks later and completed. My most recent “repeat” was completed carrying my own backpack - previously I had had it carried twice so this was important. I didn’t get sick this time as I listened to my body and progressed slowly - a luxury for many I know. For me it came down to the expectation, I have learnt this time to live in the moment without expectation ( thank you David with your wonderful free snack bar and Sally ) and accept what comes. What a glorious gift of a cathedral that offers time for reflection and time with our Master Jesus. May God bless and keep you.
Hi Anne. Thank you for the positive comments. I am walking the Primativo route next year and will keep your thoughts in mind.
 

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