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Is it safe for a woman to walk alone on Camino?


2018 edition Camino Guides

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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#2
Welcome Alexandra, you will get plenty of advice here on safety while walking.
Have a great Camino.
Buen Camino.
 

falcon269

sidra; no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#3
I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.
It is extremely safe. It is safest if you do not walk alone in isolated areas. The path itself may have dozens of pilgrims ahead and behind you within easy shouting distance. Take a whistle which will get faster attention, and you can dial 112 on your cell phone to instantly get police.
 

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Ekelund

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Camino Frances 2005
The Portugese Camino 2014
The Camino Ingles Easter 2015
The Camino Ingles April 2016
The Camino del Norte/The Primitivo 2016
#8
Hi Alexandra and welcome to the Forum. Check your backpack for a whistle, my Ospreys all have one in the strap that goes across the chest.
I have walked 2500 km on different Caminoes and I have had one experience in 2014, where I did not feel safe. Other than that I have always felt very safe! Most of the time I walk solo and I would not hesitate to plan another solo Camino. And you will meet lots of good people on the Camino Frances.
All the best and buen Camino to you.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#9
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.
I think that your nervousness is more about the idea of going off on this adventure on your own, not quite knowing how it will evolve. That is fully understandable, especially if you haven't traveled much by yourself.

As far as fear of real dangers goes, to put it in perspective:
  • You won't be in wilderness, so hazards from bears, cliffs, etc., don't really apply if you use any common sense at all, and don't walk in a blizzard.
  • You do need to take care with traffic, as you occasionally need to cross busy roads, or walk along a roadside. Make sure that you are visible, and walk facing the traffic. That is probably the biggest hazard.
  • Bad people - There are not many bad people compared to good ones, but they do show up everywhere in the world, so be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate care. Same as you would anywhere, including your home town, wherever that is. The frequency of personal assault in Spain is probably less than where you live. If you are nervous, it is very easy to stay with others or within sight of other pilgrims, if you are walking from April to October between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Breaking an ankle while walking alone - If you are walking the Camino Frances during those time periods, another pilgrim will come along very soon.
  • [Edited to add this] Pickpockets in major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona - Like other major cities in Europe, skilled pickpockets are active. I have been targeted in Madrid and Prague but managed to avoid losing anything.
Carry a phone. The emergency number is 112 and they have English-speaking operators.

I am a 68-year-old woman and walk alone. I always try to be aware of my surroundings and I carry a cell phone, at the ready. (If a woman never has any moments of anxiety, she probably is not being appropriately cautious.)

I go to Spain and walk the camino with confidence. I would not worry if my adult daughters did the same. My granddaughter can't walk yet, so I don't need to worry about her!
 
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JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
#10
Welcome Alexandra, you will get plenty of advice here on safety while walking.
Have a great Camino.
Buen Camino.
Hi Alexandra:

My daughter will be walking it alone beginning first of March, and though I don't know your age, I will tell you what I told her. Be as vigilant as you are wherever you live now, and use the usual common sense. If you feel at all uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Find or call others. Join a group. Consider being within yelling distance of others. Personal belongings such as credit cards/passport need to stay on your person always, and be placed in a plastic bag with you in shower facilities. I have done part of the Frances (not by myself though) and really found people more than willing to help - in fact, moreso than I would expect at home. You are going to have a wonderful journey. It's a bit scary when thinking about it now, because it's new and unknown. But soon it won't be either of those things. Buen Camino!
 

Jules67

Starting my Camino April 2017
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP in April 2017
#11
Hi Alexandra:

My daughter will be walking it alone beginning first of March, and though I don't know your age, I will tell you what I told her. Be as vigilant as you are wherever you live now, and use the usual common sense. If you feel at all uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Find or call others. Join a group. Consider being within yelling distance of others. Personal belongings such as credit cards/passport need to stay on your person always, and be placed in a plastic bag with you in shower facilities. I have done part of the Frances (not by myself though) and really found people more than willing to help - in fact, moreso than I would expect at home. You are going to have a wonderful journey. It's a bit scary when thinking about it now, because it's new and unknown. But soon it won't be either of those things. Buen Camino!
I have the same nervousness about doing this alone although my choice and aim is to do this alone. I have never done anything on my own so this is a big challenge for me. I started out so excited now I wake in the night thinking 'what am I doing? What if I'm hurt or mugged or even killed?' . I have just read your reply to another worried solo female walker with a smile on my face, you have just eased my nerves and put the fire back in my belly. Thank you.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#12
Oh, don't fear offending others. Camino winter 2014, I was the only woman in a room with three of the oddest and most unkempt male pilgrims I'd ever seen, who proceeded to discuss my "assets" within earshot. I politely, quietly, and quickly moved my things to another dorm and felt quite safe.
Buen camino.
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
#13
Oh, don't fear offending others. Camino winter 2014, I was the only women in a room with three of the oddest and most unkempt male pilgrims I'd ever seen, who proceeded to discuss my "assets" within earshot. I politely, quietly, and quickly moved my things to another dorm and felt quite safe.
Buen camino.
Kinda off the subject, but your post made me think about it. When I was walking the CF in 2013 there was an older Spanish couple I would frequently see along the Way. They were very charming and cute to see walking together. One day they were staying in the same albergue I was, and I was trying to take my afternoon siesta in the dorm room of the albergue and they were the only other two in there at the time and they were moving about, messing with their bunks and packs, etc and the entire time the wife was talking away non-stop, in a normal tone of voice. The husband wasn't talking at all. It was keeping me from napping and after about 15 minutes of this I blurted out, more to myself, but louder than I intended, "God, do you ever stop talking?".....well they heard that, ha ha. It got quiet real quick and I looked over at them and they were both just staring at me with serious looks. Yikes. It was like mom and dad giving me the unapproving look I remember.
Naturally I'd run across them from time to time all the way to Santiago and they'd give me wide berth. I felt like telling them, "hey, I'm really a nice guy". ha ha
 
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JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
#14
I have the same nervousness about doing this alone although my choice and aim is to do this alone. I have never done anything on my own so this is a big challenge for me. I started out so excited now I wake in the night thinking 'what am I doing? What if I'm hurt or mugged or even killed?' . I have just read your reply to another worried solo female walker with a smile on my face, you have just eased my nerves and put the fire back in my belly. Thank you.
Wonderful! It's so easy to scare ourselves to death. But....I refuse to miss out on great pieces of life and experiences due to fear. I remind myself constantly that I COULD get hit by a bus at home. And the person who posted just after this about needing to switch accommodation due to three pilgrims discussing her "assets" also had a good point. When in doubt, get out of the questionable situation. In my case, RIDE the bus, don't get hit by it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015. Levante, Avila-Toro & Sanabres, Ourense-Santiago
2017. Invierno & Oseira monastery
#15
I walked from Avila to Toro, and from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela alone in the summer of 2015. I had no problems at all (notwithstanding camping out one night, getting sick, and breaking a toe), and it was one of the most blessed experiences of my life. Members of this forum stayed in touch with me by email during some of the trickier parts (thanks again, K1!) I would do it again in a heartbeat, and in fact this year(at 68 years old) I will be walking again with just one friend. I walked alone for the express purpose of being an example that fear should not prevent women from living rich, full lives.
 
Camino(s) past & future
none
#16
Wow, so many encouraging answers! Thank you all for taking the time in replying and for all you kind advice and sharing your stories, it really means a lot even though this topic has been several times discussed on this forum!

Indeed, I read many stories about women walking alone feeling very safe all the way. C clearly was right, I am nervous because this is my first experience alone and it's not a few days, but a month. I do not want to miss an extraordinary experience only because of fear. I felt all the time that this walk is safe, but...I don't know, I just wanted to hear it again maybe.

I am travelling from Romania and will walk the Camino Frances in May - June. All your advice found on this forum are really helping and making me feel comfortable. And who knows, maybe this will be just my first pilgrimage and many others will come. :)

Thanks again,
Alexandra
 

Jules67

Starting my Camino April 2017
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP in April 2017
#17
Kinda off the subject, but your post made me think about it. When I was walking the CF in 2013 there was an older Spanish couple I would frequently see along the Way. They were very charming and cute to see walking together. One day they were staying in the same albergue I was, and I was trying to take my afternoon siesta in the dorm room of the albergue and they were the only other two in there at the time and they were moving about, messing with their bunks and packs, etc and the entire time the wife was talking away non-stop, in a normal tone of voice. The husband wasn't talking at all. It was keeping me from napping and after about 15 minutes of this I blurted out, more to myself, but louder than I intended, "God, do you ever stop talking?".....well they heard that, ha ha. It got quiet real quick and I looked over at them and they were both just staring at me with serious looks. Yikes. It was like mom and dad giving me the unapproving look I remember.
Naturally I'd run across them from time to time all the way to Santiago and they'd give me wide berth. I felt telling them, "hey, I'm really a nice guy". ha ha
I read this in the middle of the night... My usual 3am much resented natural wake up twilight zone time... So funny and a story to tell for years to come.. I drifted back off, smiling with the hilarious images in my half asleep mind.. If that's the worst that's happened to you, then I can live with that. Thanks Mark
 

Jules67

Starting my Camino April 2017
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP in April 2017
#18
I walked from Avila to Toro, and from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela alone in the summer of 2015. I had no problems at all (notwithstanding camping out one night, getting sick, and breaking a toe), and it was one of the most blessed experiences of my life. Members of this forum stayed in touch with me by email during some of the trickier parts (thanks again, K1!) I would do it again in a heartbeat, and in fact this year(at 68 years old) I will be walking again with just one friend. I walked alone for the express purpose of being an example that fear should not prevent women from living rich, full lives.
Thank you so much. So many kind and encouraging words from so many members on here.. I'm so glad I joined this forum and asked the 'silly' questions I wanted to ask without sounding 'stupid'. Thanks for your inspiring message. Though I'm reluctant to ask you about your camping outside experience...!!
 

Peter Fransiscus

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#20
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Hi Alexandre, the goosebumps are ok.

My wife walked the Camino Frances alone in 2013,she had no problems what so ever.
It was only a very emotionally journey for her because her sister died a few weeks before she left for SJPdP.

There is only one more thing to say , enjoy every step of your journey and a Buen Camino, Peter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
#21
I met many females walking alone when I did my Camino and none had any horror stories.

The only thing I personally witnessed on my journey was two individuals pointing at a german girl I was walking with on the Astorga - Rabanal stage. We went off on a detour to see a restored village and they didn't follow, but re-encountered them later in the day. I mentioned to her about it as I left her at her albergue and she said she had noticed them pointing at her but didnt really think anything of it. I'm fairly streetwise, have female siblings and my gut said otherwise. But these things happen. Be aware of your surroundings and do as you would in normal life.

I don't believe the Camino to be unsafe, as many have previously stated, but you should also use common sense and trust your gut.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
#22
Nerves or goosebumps not a bad thing...I remember those feelings last year before heading out alone. First I'm jealous....wish I was packing up to go again. Use your common sense ...you'll be fine. Have a wonderful experience.
Buen Camino
 

cecelia

several caminos- '03-'13
#23
Hi Alexandra,
There are many things you can do to calm your natural fears.

If you feel nervous at any point during the day, ask others around you if you can walk with them for awhile.

Make a point of speaking with others at some point during the day so they know who you are. Don't be invisible. Make friends.

Talk to others in the albergues. Ask people if they will check that you make it to the albergue at night.

People do tend to keep an eye on people who are walking alone to make sure they're okay. I've walked alone 3 of 4 times from SJPP to Santiago and Fisterra and much prefer it - but I'm no longer a fresh young thing. I have never felt uncomfortable at all, although one local did suggest that I shouldn't be going into the forest by myself after 4:00 - that it wasn't safe.

And I wish I wasn't saying this, but I also don't think it's a good thing to dress in a way that makes you stand out as looking "sexy" while you're in the mountains or fields by yourself. Arg - I hate saying that! But some women have (very, very occasionally) reported getting flashed or running into some idiot masturbating. So one can't assume that nothing could ever happen.

I do agree, though, that the camino does feel like a protected and special part of the world that is safer than the places we live in.
 
Camino(s) past & future
plan to walk in may (2017)
#24
Wow, so many encouraging answers! Thank you all for taking the time in replying and for all you kind advice and sharing your stories, it really means a lot even though this topic has been several times discussed on this forum!

Indeed, I read many stories about women walking alone feeling very safe all the way. C clearly was right, I am nervous because this is my first experience alone and it's not a few days, but a month. I do not want to miss an extraordinary experience only because of fear. I felt all the time that this walk is safe, but...I don't know, I just wanted to hear it again maybe.

I am travelling from Romania and will walk the Camino Frances in May - June. All your advice found on this forum are really helping and making me feel comfortable. And who knows, maybe this will be just my first pilgrimage and many others will come. :)

Thanks again,
Alexandra
i am a 60 year old woman walking alone, also for the first time, and understand totally how you feel. thank you for expressing it so well--i couldn't put all my feelings into words so it was great to read what you wrote. and i really liked hearing everyone's stories. people have been so helpful and kind on this forum. i am walking end of may-end of june, so who knows, i may run into you!
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2014, 2015)
St Olav/Francés (2016)
Baztanés/Francés (2017)
Ingles (July 2018)
#25
No, Alexandra, it's absolutely not safe to walk the Camino alone, because you'll have the time of your life and be hooked forever after. ;)

Joking aside--what @C clearly said above is very good advice. Use your common sense and be just as aware of your surroundings as you would be anywhere.

And an added voice of encouragement--the best times on the Camino for me have been the times I've spent walking by myself. There is sometimes the experience of feeling vulnerable, but that's not in itself a bad thing--because (at least for me) the feeling of vulnerability on the Camino mostly is all about me, rather than being about the Camino. It's confidence-building to see that.
 

sabbott

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP to Ponferrada) 2016
Camino Invierno 2016
#26
I walked the Camino Frances and Camino Invierno alone last spring. I had some days with other men and women walkers, and lots of day by myself--literally by myself, with no other walkers in sight for hours (especially on the Invierno, which goes through rural Galicia.) I felt unsettled occasionally by the situation of being alone in an isolated area--but never afraid of a specific person. I had wonderful experiences walking alone, both internal and social, that I would not have had if I had traveled with a friend or family member.

The advice to "keep others in sight or join others" that the OP is being given by some here is not always workable--or welcome--on the Camino. You will be on stretches where no one will be in sight. If you have it in your head that this is a dangerous situation, it could spoil your walk. Try to think of being alone-- alone in nature--as normal, rather than a situation to be avoided.

My conclusion after walking the Camino was that it's a mental as much as a physical experience and test. Those that I saw having trouble were often younger folks who became upset over social situations, who went too fast to keep up with new friends, or who panicked over blisters or a bad cold. A five hundred mile walk is a "head game" as much as a trial for your feet.

Women are fed a steady diet of being the victim. Our heads are full of images--largely invented--of women murdered, assaulted, kidnapped and abused. These images end up isolating us, keeping us in "safe" situations, and afraid of exploring the world without a protector. We give up so much of our power because of this irrational fear. And fear is such a painful emotion to feel.

So go and have a blast! I felt liberated walking alone on the Camino, and I bet you do, too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Astorga to SdC May 2016
#27
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Alexandra, I walked alone last May from Astorga to Santiago. I'm planning to start in SJPP this year, alone again. Enough said? :)
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
#28
If ladies are worried walking alone. Purchase a big box of tampons and sanitary napkins....pack them so there visible....No man will come within 50 feet of you.
Just a suggestion
Come on smile....it's funny...and more then a little true
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago
#29
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
I walked it solo fromSept. 21 until Oct. 30 of last year. Only spent one day walking with one other person; totally by choice. No problems that I couldn't easily handle. Enjoy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future, September 2016
#30
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Although I did not walk the Camino alone the friend I walked with walked much faster than me. I spent 80-90% of my time alone. I loved the serenity of walking alone. You are rarely alone as there are many pilgrims and they look out for you. I would recommend book into Orbison the first night - you need to book. We meet about 15 people there are at the pilgrims dinner. We saw those people frequently, shared meals and wonderful memories and finished in Santiago on the same day and shared a farewell dinner before all heading in a different direction. We are all still in contact. When these people saw me they would have a chat and always check how I was. I never felt unsafe. My only slightly scary moment was a little dog that was very territorial. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF , SJPP to Santiago Sept/Oct 2016
#31
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Hi Alexandra,
I did my first trip to Europe for my first Camino in September. It was a great feeling to venture on my own. I wasn't truly "alone" ...very often there were friends I met to walk with and when I chose to walk in solitude it wasn't like if I had the whole place to myself very long ... Just a precious hour from time to time. I live in a rural area and feel very comfortable walking in the forest by myself but I can feel anxious in a big city... At times, not seen a brother or sister pilgrim in front or back of me filled me with such joy. I would sing out loud with no restrain, I put on my favorite music and walk to the rhythm with my walking sticks flying left to right as if they were batons in a parade... I had my own private little "party" and I felt like this was MY Camino.
But I do understand your posting ... it is a genuine pondering for solo perigrina and I hope that my sharing can ease your concerns.....
There is a stretch of 17 km at one point on the camino where there is not much except farmers fields... Most pilgrims had stop before the stretch except for this one lovely peregrina who walked alone and was keeping on. I also wanted to continue but she walked much faster then I did and within an hour she was out of sight. With the fatigue and isolation, negative thoughts started creeping in... "What if..." I started fearing that a car would ride by and be on the lookout for a lonely perigrina... " WHAT???" I said out loud to myself: "What kind of garbage are you allowing !!!" I talk myself (out loud) out of this fear base self produced mental soap opera! In other words... I gave my head a shake! Yes, tragedy and creepy things do exist but I can control my own creepy story telling! In my own personal values, I try to respect the culture and country I am a guest in and this include to be responsible and not do silly selfish things. It also is a state of trust and faith in the beautiful people that live and work in the places where my footsteps thread, it is respect, do I walk in my community thinking that criminals and perverts lurks at every corners? Never! But they are here too... somewhere... and wolves... and cougars... and nasty mosquito!
I LOVE the look on the faces of friends and family when I tell them that my headlight quit on me one morning and there i was, in the middle of nowhere in the dark, I did the only thing I could do, I waited 5 minutes until the next pilgrim came with his headlight and asked if I could walk with him until sunrise. This turned out to be a wonderful walking companion, an elder on his fourth Camino and a legend of his own. I cherish our conversations and I am so glad that I got to meet him.
I hope that you journey is filled with ease and Grace.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF , SJPP to Santiago Sept/Oct 2016
#32
I walked the Camino Frances and Camino Invierno alone last spring. I had some days with other men and women walkers, and lots of day by myself--literally by myself, with no other walkers in sight for hours (especially on the Invierno, which goes through rural Galicia.) I felt unsettled occasionally by the situation of being alone in an isolated area--but never afraid of a specific person. I had wonderful experiences walking alone, both internal and social, that I would not have had if I had traveled with a friend or family member.

The advice to "keep others in sight or join others" that the OP is being given by some here is not always workable--or welcome--on the Camino. You will be on stretches where no one will be in sight. If you have it in your head that this is a dangerous situation, it could spoil your walk. Try to think of being alone-- alone in nature--as normal, rather than a situation to be avoided.

My conclusion after walking the Camino was that it's a mental as much as a physical experience and test. Those that I saw having trouble were often younger folks who became upset over social situations, who went too fast to keep up with new friends, or who panicked over blisters or a bad cold. A five hundred mile walk is a "head game" as much as a trial for your feet.

Women are fed a steady diet of being the victim. Our heads are full of images--largely invented--of women murdered, assaulted, kidnapped and abused. These images end up isolating us, keeping us in "safe" situations, and afraid of exploring the world without a protector. We give up so much of our power because of this irrational fear. And fear is such a painful emotion to feel.

So go and have a blast! I felt liberated walking alone on the Camino, and I bet you do, too.
Hello sister! Thumbs up for your feedback! I read your posting only after had written mine and I am delighted to see your positive attitude. I resonate 100%
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 and 2015 and 2016
#33
Perhaps the main problem is that you get use to be safe on the camino; 2 years I walked with other pilgrims and had a good time together; there was a young woman in the group; after the walk, she went for tourism in Barcelona in a youth hostel and her purse was stolen in the common room. Lesson of the story, you get use to the confidence on the walk; this is not always true outside (before or after).
Once I have seen a man going around for woman, but he was idenfify quickly and dissapeared the next day.
Enjoy these moments on the walk "alone". We are never alone on the camino. we are connected.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#34
Walked the CF alone at my pace which BTW is extremely slow. I may hold to record for the most 'buen caminos' ever said. ;-) The one and only time I felt nervous was walking the last big uphill and downhill bit into Pamplona (while the cyclists trundle happily along by the river). Felt unusually and mildly anxious the whole way. Coming out of the tunnel under the highway I looked back to see a tall fellow in a big cape and baggy cap. He stopped, looked at me, turned and then walked back though the tunnel. At first it scared the living daylights out of me (I kept looking to see if he was following) but then I decided, rightly or wrongly, it was Santo Iago watching over me while I walked a part of his Way late in the day with no other pilgrims anywhere near. Never had another fear.
 

1sophie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First timer April 17 - alone!
#36
Just joined and have read the replies to this comment several times. I am a Camino newbie and doing Sarria to Santiago starting 27th April. Originally I felt fairly confident in booking and going alone (or perhaps a moment of bravery), I now feel nervous, excited, more nervous and then wondering am I off my head, am I fit enough, will I be safe, will I get lost or will it be the start of my Camino addiction! But so many positive comments from veterans, I didn't even own boots until yesterday! So hi, thanks for having me and all advice welcome ☺️
I have the same nervousness about doing this alone although my choice and aim is to do this alone. I have never done anything on my own so this is a big challenge for me. I started out so excited now I wake in the night thinking 'what am I doing? What if I'm hurt or mugged or even killed?' . I have just read your reply to another worried solo female walker with a smile on my face, you have just eased my nerves and put the fire back in my belly. Thank you.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2016 - Sarria to Santiago 114k
Sept 2017 - Hopefully 100+kPortuguese Coastal Route
#37
1Sophie, you have nothing to worry about at all. I did that extact route last september, my first camino, and I had the same worries as you are having. But once i got on that camino trail, I never worried again. Its become so popular, you are never really alone, there is always someone near by you, or if you wait up a few minutes, someone will come along. I made some good friends along the way, but I also was comfortable enough to still walk on my own some days, just to experience the camino for myself. If anything, people say its becoming very commercial, but I loved it! Especially for a first camino. The only time I felt wary was the last day of walking, we (a new camino friend and I) headed out really early as we wanted to get to santiago around mid day, and we needed to use our torches, walking through a woods in pure darkness! But even then, we saw one or two other pilgrims coming behind us, so we knew we weren't totally alone. Just always be aware of your surroundings. Buen Camino
 

1sophie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First timer April 17 - alone!
#38
Thanks for the vote of confidence Dee-Ireland! The one thing I've come to realise, is the feeling of true camaraderie here, so many people have met new friends and have a 'we can do this attitude'. I'm no quitter and am a brave soul, I'm grateful for all I have in life, I've had a fair few rough spots but I'm not one to wallow, take it on the chin and make the most of what I have. Here's hoping I find fellow newbies along the way and always welcome the experienced voice....nervous but hopeful!
 

tpmchugh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#39
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
In our society we used to say yes at info days. Now we dont. It is still safe but sometimes we advise that you should either walk with a group or within sight of other pilgrims in front and behind. On a few occasions I had ladies ask if they could walk with me until the sun came up then off they went when it was bright enough
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#42
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Hi Alexandra. I walked the Camino last year and it was perfectly safe. I started on my own, was apprehensive, but very quickly made some great friends. Walked a lot on my own, though and felt just fine. Safer than my home town.
 
Camino(s) past & future
none
#43
I walked the Camino Frances and Camino Invierno alone last spring. I had some days with other men and women walkers, and lots of day by myself--literally by myself, with no other walkers in sight for hours (especially on the Invierno, which goes through rural Galicia.) I felt unsettled occasionally by the situation of being alone in an isolated area--but never afraid of a specific person. I had wonderful experiences walking alone, both internal and social, that I would not have had if I had traveled with a friend or family member.

The advice to "keep others in sight or join others" that the OP is being given by some here is not always workable--or welcome--on the Camino. You will be on stretches where no one will be in sight. If you have it in your head that this is a dangerous situation, it could spoil your walk. Try to think of being alone-- alone in nature--as normal, rather than a situation to be avoided.

My conclusion after walking the Camino was that it's a mental as much as a physical experience and test. Those that I saw having trouble were often younger folks who became upset over social situations, who went too fast to keep up with new friends, or who panicked over blisters or a bad cold. A five hundred mile walk is a "head game" as much as a trial for your feet.

Women are fed a steady diet of being the victim. Our heads are full of images--largely invented--of women murdered, assaulted, kidnapped and abused. These images end up isolating us, keeping us in "safe" situations, and afraid of exploring the world without a protector. We give up so much of our power because of this irrational fear. And fear is such a painful emotion to feel.

So go and have a blast! I felt liberated walking alone on the Camino, and I bet you do, too.

Thank you so much!
 

olgaeveraert

Olga Everaert
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/oct (1916)
#44
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
Alexandra I walked the Camino Frances last Fall. I had a whistle and it was never used. I had my cellphone but often there is no range or I had no charge on it. When I needed help in certain situations, there was always a friendly hand to reach out. Walking in solitude was awesome and the times when walking with another pellegrino for part of the way, were equally wonderful. Enjoy the adventure. Use common sense. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago 2017
#47
Oh, don't fear offending others. Camino winter 2014, I was the only woman in a room with three of the oddest and most unkempt male pilgrims I'd ever seen, who proceeded to discuss my "assets" within earshot. I politely, quietly, and quickly moved my things to another dorm and felt quite safe.
Buen camino.
That is disgusting! Glad you were able to move to another dorm space but seriously, no one should have to put up with that crap. I would NOT have been as polite ;-)
 

crazyloon

May 1 start - SJPP See you out there!
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2017)
#48
I am planning to walk this year on Camino Frances. I've read some post from past years that is it pretty safe for women to walk alone, but I just wanted to see if any woman from this forum had a recent experience and how I felt. I don't know...I just maybe need some reinforcements that all is good...I have goosebumps.

Thanks,
Alexandra
I will also be walking May/June, and travelling solo, so I will look out for you. Buen Camino!
 

MissyG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 10-June 30
#50
Hi Alexandra and welcome to the Forum. Check your backpack for a whistle, my Ospreys all have one in the strap that goes across the chest.
I have walked 2500 km on different Caminoes and I have had one experience in 2014, where I did not feel safe. Other than that I have always felt very safe! Most of the time I walk solo and I would not hesitate to plan another solo Camino. And you will meet lots of good people on the Camino Frances.
All the best and buen Camino to you.

I would like to know if you or if you know of people who have tried to camp the camino by sleeping outside in sleeping bags/hammocks- Is this a popular thing to do? Thanks
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#51
I'll be truthful - it's not perfectly safe. But nothing is. But it's probably safer than walking around late at night in many major cities of the developed world, or travelling in a bus in India, or cycling in London, all of which I have done. You can be as clingy to other pilgrims or gloriously solitude seeking as you like: you can get up before dawn and go off with a head torch and get barked at by unseen dogs, or you can sit by the albergue door and wait for a bunch of people to leave, or you can arrange the night before to walk with someone, or you can go the whole way in a guided group. As other posters have said, the only hard part is not letting your instincts drift completely off in the glorious camaraderie of it all.
 

MissyG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 10-June 30
#52
I'll be truthful - it's not perfectly safe. But nothing is. But it's probably safer than walking around late at night in many major cities of the developed world, or travelling in a bus in India, or cycling in London, all of which I have done. You can be as clingy to other pilgrims or gloriously solitude seeking as you like: you can get up before dawn and go off with a head torch and get barked at by unseen dogs, or you can sit by the albergue door and wait for a bunch of people to leave, or you can arrange the night before to walk with someone, or you can go the whole way in a guided group. As other posters have said, the only hard part is not letting your instincts drift completely off in the glorious camaraderie of it all.
Thank you for your help. Although, I have heard that bringing a light sleeping bag is wise as some accommodations do not provide such things.
 

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