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Got advice? Share it please!

Jess W.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (April 2019)
#1
Hello everybody!
I'm a long-time lurker, recent member of this forum. I'm planning my first ever Camino for April/May of 2019, as a college graduation present for myself. I've been working and planning for this trip for upwards of 2 years now, and I'm super excited that I'm less than a year out and it seems like it's all coming together bit by bit. It's so cool to see hard work pay off!
I've worked out what I want/need for gear and whatnot (mostly), but now I'm curious; what advice would you give a first-time pilgrim? I haven't done anything like this trip before, and it might end up being my first time on a solo trip depending on how coordinating plans work out with a close friend of mine. Al that being said, do you have any words of wisdom to share about any part of the Camino? It could be something you've heard over and over and found to be true, or something you wished somebody had told you. Any little bit of advice is appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
-Jess
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
#2
Travel light ! Start wearing in your shoes now, start doing practice hikes now with a similar weight backpack. If the Napolean Route is important to you, then consider starting later in May because it might be closed in April. Take photos, keep a short journal and enjoy !
 

Jess W.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (April 2019)
#3
Travel light ! Start wearing in your shoes now, start doing practice hikes now with a similar weight backpack. If the Napolean Route is important to you, then consider starting later in May because it might be closed in April. Take photos, keep a short journal and enjoy !
Thanks for the tip about the Napoleon Route! I know the weather can be a bit unpredictable in the mountains, and I was anticipating having to make that particular decision the day I start out. My dates are pretty firm due to graduating college (I'm actually skipping the graduation ceremony to go on the trip) and needing to be back in time to start a full-time job I've got lined up. I'll just have to see how things are when I'm there; already some choices about this trip are slipping out of my control-freak hands, but I think it's good for me. Maybe the Camino will teach me to let go a bit and go with the flow a little more. :)
Thanks again!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#4
Thanks for the tip about the Napoleon Route! I know the weather can be a bit unpredictable in the mountains, and I was anticipating having to make that particular decision the day I start out. My dates are pretty firm due to graduating college (I'm actually skipping the graduation ceremony to go on the trip) and needing to be back in time to start a full-time job I've got lined up. I'll just have to see how things are when I'm there; already some choices about this trip are slipping out of my control-freak hands, but I think it's good for me. Maybe the Camino will teach me to let go a bit and go with the flow a little more. :)
Thanks again!
Ease down girl, just ease down, everything is gonna come :)
Although I can understand your anticipation you shouldn't override it. Take it easy and take it (let's say) step by step. Enjoy the planning. As I hope you'll enjoy "smelling the roses" along the way. Go easy?

Buen Camino!
 

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LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#6
Hello everybody!
what advice would you give a first-time pilgrim?


-Jess
Rule #1 - get your footwear (shoes/boots and socks) sorted before you leave home - happy feet make for a happy pilgrim (and blisters can make for a very unhappy pilgrim)!

Rule #2 - test drive your pack, fully laden, long before you leave home. You will be carrying it for a month, so it better fit. That said, as a number of pilgrims here have said, by the end of their Camino, there were not 'carrying' their pack, they were wearing it, so if you get it right before you leave home, your Camino will be much more rewarding...

Rule #3 - weigh everything you propose carrying with you, and if you pack weighs more than 10% of your body weight, look very hard at what you propose to carry and be prepared to simplify your gear - what are you proposing to take "because you might need it"? can you replace several items with just one multi-purpose item? plan your clothing to allow you to layer-up rather than single heavy duty items of clothing. BTW, the 10% 'rule' isn't an absolute - just a guide

Rule #4 - stop to smell the roses, frequently - it isn't a race. And Santiago may be the destination but there is much to be said for enjoying yourself along the way

And remember, no matter how bad your fellow pilgrims may be (especially in dormitories), tomorrow will be a different day and you never, ever need see those people again!
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#7
The devil lurks in odd places. The devil may tell you you don’t really need to finish, and that today is enough of his crap, walking in the rain, and it’s time to go home. The devil will sit with you as you’re ordering another bottle late at night, and encourage you to stay awake. The devil will tell you your feet hurt, your pack is heavy, you’re all wet, your mind is gone.
The devil will make you pay less attention than you should to the yellow arrows a two year old could find, until you’re lost. The devil will make you try to go too fast down the longest downhills, and will tie you up in knots trying to get a few kilometers farther down the road. The devil will visit you at the top of Monte de Gozo, in sight of Santiago and tell you it’s too hot to walk, and that you should stay seated on this stone forever.
Steel yourself to deal with that devil, the one inside all of us, and everywhere.

Buen Camino,
Paul
 

Brian E

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2018)
May (2019)
#8
No major words of wisdom. Everyone's Camino is different and prioritizes different things. Take care of your feet is about all I got. Otherwise try and go with the flow and enjoy each day as it comes, especially the people you meet in my opinion. By day 3 you will probably laugh to yourself about all the things you were nervous or apprehensive about. I will pick up next year in May from Burgos where I left off this year. Who knows, we might even cross paths.

But enjoy the planning and lead up to your Camino in the meantime as that is part of the fun and experience as well but try not to stress too much over it all and over think things.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#9
Welcome, Jess!

Travel light. You don't really need much.
Don't over-think and over-plan. You can let each day take care of itself.

Everywhere is home to someone, and the world is not as strange as our fears make it out to be. The human heart is the same everywhere, even if customs and language differ. That said, learning a bit of Spanish is gracious and helpful at the same time.

Be prepared to stretch your limits (in many ways) and don't worry when that happens. It could just be something minor like the limits of your patience when someone is doing something idiotic, or it could be something huge like the limits of what you think you can possibly do. And a million things in between.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#10
Read this forum. Use the search function to find answers to your questions. There are years and years worth of advice here.

But my main advice is how to avoid blisters. Put tape on any place on your feet that you think that you might get a blister. Any place that has ever got a "hot spot" while walking. Don't wait until you have blisters to do something about it. Tape every day. I use Omnifix or Hypafix tape that you can buy in Spain. It's thin and flexible and stretches to form to the contours of your feet.
https://smile.amazon.com/Omnifix-Dr...3536029&sprefix=Omnifix&sr=8-7&ref=mp_s_a_1_7
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#11
You want advice? You have some here, already. You have been lurking, so you have an idea of where to look on the forum. You have made a courageous decision to skip your graduation, and you already have a job lined up! Not sure if i would say this is advice, more of a whisper: take it all one step at a time when you begin! Buen camino, chica.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#12
Hi Jess! You may have noticed by now the importance of travelling light, starting to use your shoes right now and also taking your time along the trail.

My advice would be "listen to yourself". We do not have, in our daily lives, such an opportunity just to do exactly what we believe is the best thing. If you are tired, take a rest. If you found a lovely city in the middle of your planned route, ditch the plan and stop there for the day. If you are not religious but feel like attending the mass, go for it. If you are religious, but is too tired for mass, do not feel forced and make your own prayer. If you want company, go for the albergues! You want silence? Book a room. The bag is too heavy? Send it ahead to the next stop, or even to Santiago.

You do NOT have to follow guide book stages. You do NOT have to walk at the same pace as other people. You CAN hang out with people you like, and you CAN politely get some distance from the ones you don´t like that much.

As long as you respect the people around you, the camino is such an amazing chance to listen to your body and mind (and soul, maybe?). I bet you will have a great time, a mix of lovely and terrible days, and it will be such a great mak in your life. It is amazing you are doing it after college and before starting a job.

The path has already started. Buen camino, peregrina!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Finisterre (2005) ; LePuy - Muxia (2007) ; Porto - SC. (2009) planning Lourdes- SC (2018)
#14
Maybe the Camino will teach me to let go a bit and go with the flow a little more. :) Thanks again![/QUOTE said:
See, you re getting it already... The answers that come from within you, that is. Properly preparing as you are doing will stand you in good stead, but in the end just let go and trust. To trust was an important lesson in my first Camino, hence my avatar LGLG : let go, let God. If you surrender into the experience, it will likely be life changing for you - especially at such an early age. Best wishes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre 2017
#15
Jess W., you have wonderful enthusiasm! Along the way there will be high points and also some lows. On my first camino I almost gave up because of bad foot problems. My daughter, who had walked part way with me, advised me to just put one foot in front of the other, keep going. The second bit of advice I was given on the way to Fisterra was believe in yourself.

Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#16
Hi Jess,

when you are compelled or intend to walk a long stage, it is easier when you divide it in smaller sections in your mind: E. g. after 10 km or 2,5 hours I will have a bocadillo at the bar, by noon I will have walked 18 km and reward myself with an icecold coke...

When packing your backpack look at the weight of every item. consider if the possible use of it is worth carrying the extra weight. If you have several items with a similar function (e. g. T-Shirts) take the least heavy, regardless oft the colour.

BC
Alexandra
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
#17
Hi Jess,

when you are compelled or intend to walk a long stage, it is easier when you divide it in smaller sections in your mind: E. g. after 10 km or 2,5 hours I will have a bocadillo at the bar, by noon I will have walked 18 km and reward myself with an icecold coke...

When packing your backpack look at the weight of every item. consider if the possible use of it is worth carrying the extra weight. If you have several items with a similar function (e. g. T-Shirts) take the least heavy, regardless oft the colour.

BC
Alexandra
Good advice above - I won’t repeat.
And remember you can find things you need along the way. E.g. I wore the wrong shoes my first time and found the right ones at a shop in Logrono.
May you know you are never really alone. Blessings
 

Gailsie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Fall '09 ;
#18
When I was getting ready for my first camino many years ago, I read this piece of advice somewhere - remember to look back once in awhile. It will seem like you have a long distance to go, but turn around and realize how far you have come. Great advice for the camino and life in general.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#19
What does it mean to you? You are doing something very special. Focus on why you are going. The details of preparation are the "how" but your heart is teaching you the "why." If there is a special meaning for you in this camino, let that be your focus, at least at first. If you feel this to be a pilgrimage, prepare your heart to be a pilgrim. Then let go and let the journey itself teach you the meaning of pilgrimage. Buen camino.
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Camino(s) past & future
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(201?): I hope and need to
#20
Hi
Good Advices Above

1. Your body is your best friend

2. If your bring a camera, take pictures of people your meet and take their contact, one thing i will remenber all my life is the people I meet on the Camino

3. Be like a feather in the wind, do not overplan . Example: you want to to stay for the night in this wonderful albergue and it is 11 a.m who care ?, listen to your feeling and listen to your stomach :)

4. If you walk with someone your and don't have the same pace, you can always setup a appointment in the next village. Don't push yourself. A group more than two person is difficult to adjust, and you have deeper conversations in a group of two.

5. If you not feeling right, Talk....
6. You are not alone

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#21
If your dates are firm you can't follow the main advice I would give, which is "Book more time than you think it could possibly take. That way you have a cushion if you need to stop a few days for medical reasons or if you find you can't sustain the pace you thought you could. You can move at your own pace rather than racing to be in Santiago on a certain day to catch a plane. If you don't need them, you can use them afterwards to do a bit of sightseeing in Spain. There is lots to see."

Other tips. Go at your own pace, with daily distances that work for you. You don't have to follow the stages from a guidebook. Share contact information with people you make friends with. A bocadillo de tortilla (de patatas) makes a great breakfast (or second breakfast). Do lots of planning but be prepared to diverge from your plans at the drop of a hat. Planning helps inform your choices but choices are best made in the moment. If you are carrying a smartphone, books on a smartphone add no weight. If you are carrying a smartphone, connecting with people at home and sharing your adventure with them is nice. But connecting with people on the Camimo and sharing your adventure with them is what you will treasure most about the experience.
 

Pink Girl

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino September-October 2017
#22
Wow a trip 2 years in the making, congratulations on finally seeing it in the near future! I believe anticipation and over planning are secret handicaps. Try to go to the Camino without expectations because the more you assume about your journey, the more the Camino will delight in making other plans for you. The Camino provides and it will provide you with what you need. I would take all this advice you've read from the forum, put it in the back of your mind, and six months before your journey, stop reading about other people's experiences. You already know you should travel light and wear in your shoes. Now it's time for you to enjoy your own journey. Everyone makes their own Camino. Imagine yourself like an empty cup that is waiting to be filled by the Camino.

Only other advice I'll give is 1. to be kind and forgiving to yourself 2. to accept help from others and to offer help as well and 3. (a piece of advice an old man gave me in Spanish, but I think I translated it correctly...) walk slowly in the morning or you'll hate yourself in the afternoon, pace yourself, despacito.

Buen Camino!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#23
Walk at a pace that is comfortable for you. You have no idea how many people I met along the way who were injured because they were walking faster than their fitness level was good for in an attempt to keep up with someone they found interesting. If you lose one group of interesting people another is sure to follow.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Aug 2016-Oct(2016); Leon-Sarria, Ourense to SdC May (2017)
#24
As MarkT17 suggests, take a small journal (the small moleskins are great) and at the end of everyday, write the date, name of the town you are in, the name of the albergue and names of other pilgrims you have met. These things seem like they are easy to remember, but in the strange world of the Camino, you will forget. I have looked at this info often over the years since my first pilgrimage two years ago and so grateful I made these notes. AND, don't forget to stretch, before, during and after walking. Mostly, relax and have the time of your life! Buen Camino y Ultreia! elle
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#25
I totally agree with Elleley. Stretching at the end of each day is so important for those tired muscles so they won’t cramp at night when you’re in the top bunk. I, too, wrote down the village name, albergue and whom i met that day. It will really help you remember your Camino. I rewalk it any night that I need to relax into sleep. I guess I’ll do that for the rest of my life.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#27
The devil lurks in odd places. The devil may tell you you don’t really need to finish, and that today is enough of his crap, walking in the rain, and it’s time to go home. The devil will sit with you as you’re ordering another bottle late at night, and encourage you to stay awake. The devil will tell you your feet hurt, your pack is heavy, you’re all wet, your mind is gone.
The devil will make you pay less attention than you should to the yellow arrows a two year old could find, until you’re lost. The devil will make you try to go too fast down the longest downhills, and will tie you up in knots trying to get a few kilometers farther down the road. The devil will visit you at the top of Monte de Gozo, in sight of Santiago and tell you it’s too hot to walk, and that you should stay seated on this stone forever.
Steel yourself to deal with that devil, the one inside all of us, and everywhere.

Buen Camino,
Paul

Start slow.

Take rests and remove footwear and socks and have a cup of whatever you like.

Enjoy your fellow pilgrims...enjoy the solitude.

Find what is a comfortable pace and cruise.

Have small km days with no concern.

Any 'Type A' in you ship it to Ivar in Santiago where it will be waiting for your arrival.

Bless the sun. Bless the rain. Bless the blisters. Bless the vino.

And, to hell with the devil Jess; you can spit in his eyes.

Peace be with you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
Norte Spring 2018
#29
Be prepared to meet a lot of people who are totally self absorbed and will only talk about themselves. Yes the Camino and it's pilgrims are a just a cross section of society! That's what makes it kind of cool in a way but be prepared to cut these people short if they fail to engage their listening skills.
 

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