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Is the Camino an addiction, an obsession or something else?

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
No to the first one. It takes too long, it’s too hard and it requires too much planning. It’s not an addiction. It’s not in the category of gambling, alcohol or drugs. And it’s certainly not “God’s heroin.” That’s taking poetic license to an extreme.

Is it an obsession? It can be. If you are neglecting other parts of your life and it’s impacting on your well-being and your relationships and if you think about that and not much else.

Maybe it’s simply something we love to do. There are good reasons for that. We have spoken about them in this forum, those reasons, many times.

So, let’s just say we love to travel on foot because it’s different.

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Dr. Walter Ling, a UCLA psychiatrist, says "Any behaviour carried to extreme that consumes you and keeps you from doing what you should be doing becomes an addiction as far as life is concerned,”

Pretty much sums up my affliction, and I wouldn't lose it for anything.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
There are some people who, I think, are "Camino junkies", but not very many -- the ones who are it seems almost permanently on the Camino, and yet without any real reason why. People who can spend up to about 9 or 10 months every year walking the Camino.

As for an "obsession", well, it can be, but only like anything else in a person's life can be. But that comes from the person, not from the Camino.

The Camino is what it is, even though at the same time it is what each of us makes of it. But what each of us makes of it doesn't define what the Camino is, because it's shared between all of us, and because it was already there before we were born, and it shall still be there after we will die.

The Camino is not my property, it not "my" Camino ; and as a pilgrimage we should each accept it for what it is, especially for what it is outside of ourselves, regardless of the fact that each individual Camino is also a deeply personal affair.

And we should treasure the fact that this is something in our lives that's deeply personal, and yet we can share it publicly with hundreds or thousands of complete strangers. o_O
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
I have walk long Camino's in Bolivia and in Peru living in different hospitage every single days. I also walk 4 caminos in Spain and Portugal. I fell the same ways in all the caminos I have walk.

Meeting large number of people discovering and seeing something different at every steps of the way make these trips something as important as breading or eating.

I want to walk again but the risk is much higher at my age group and I will walk in Canada this year.

I think the freedom provided with walking is very adictive
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
For me, it is "something else".

My avatar (triquetra) derives from an understanding reached on my first Camino. One of the interpretations (there are many) of the symbol is that it represents the 'balanced human' - - an equalization of Body, Mind, and Spirit - - and that is the gift I was given from Camino #1.

Subsequent Caminos have neither contradicted the understanding nor diminished the value of the gift.

Walking the Camino is always an opportunity for me to restore the tri-polar balance.

I can, and do, engage in other activities that are helpful in this regard. But, BUT, walking the Camino has proven the most efficacious way for me to "defrag the wetware" sharing this body. Maybe that is just too esoteric an explanation, apologies if so...

YMMV,

B
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
For me, it is "something else".

My avatar (triquetra) derives from an understanding reached on my first Camino. One of the interpretations (there are many) of the symbol is that it represents the 'balanced human' - - an equalization of Body, Mind, and Spirit - - and that is the gift I was given from Camino #1.

Subsequent Caminos have neither contradicted the understanding nor diminished the value of the gift.

Walking the Camino is always an opportunity for me to restore the tri-polar balance.

I can, and do, engage in other activities that are helpful in this regard. But, BUT, walking the Camino has proven the most efficacious way for me to "defrag the wetware" sharing this body. Maybe that is just too esoteric an explanation, apologies if so...

YMMV,

B
Mind body and spirit in balance..im glad others see this and spead the love
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Addiction? Yes.
Obsession? Yes.
Something else? Yes.

But don't forget Hobby - my neighbour next door is a steam buff (it is rather anorak so the husband obviously, not the wife) - watches videos of steam engines, will talk to anyone about steam engines, has books on steam engines, collects steam engine souvenirs, wears steam engine badges, is with a group that talks about steam engines, member of an online forum that talks about steam engines, and goes sometimes hundreds of miles to stand with other anoraks in all weathers to watch a special running of a steam train go past ......

........... and the difference is??? ;)
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
For me it's both and more.
That is what I call "Camino-magic".

The Camino can be anything, for each person a very personal thing.
You set out as a single walker and will become a pilgrim, whatever that means to you.

BC
Roland
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Addiction? Yes.
Obsession? Yes.
Something else? Yes.

But don't forget Hobby - my neighbour next door is a steam buff (it is rather anorak so the husband obviously, not the wife) - watches videos of steam engines, will talk to anyone about steam engines, has books on steam engines, collects steam engine souvenirs, wears steam engine badges, is with a group that talks about steam engines, member of an online forum that talks about steam engines, and goes sometimes hundreds of miles to stand with other anoraks in all weathers to watch a special running of a steam train go past ......

........... and the difference is??? ;)
Their is no difference, because we are also making steam when we climbed a hill on the camino!!!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
If it is an addiction, then why would I let my physical impairment deter me from going. I would crave for a way to go even if it was to take a car but I don't.
If it is an obsession, then I probably would have an issue with not visiting this forum every day. There are days I don't visit it and my contributions are becoming fewer and far between.
It is something else which is a care and concern for the future and past pilgrims, many of whom I have walked with, learning of the events that will and have shaped their lives and giving advice and well wishes to those who have decided to give it a go. Ultreya. and Suseya are forever.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Dr. Walter Ling, a UCLA psychiatrist, says "Any behaviour carried to extreme that consumes you and keeps you from doing what you should be doing becomes an addiction as far as life is concerned,”

Pretty much sums up my affliction, and I wouldn't lose it for anything.
But do you really think it keeps you from doing what you should be doing? Or do you think you should be walking a Camino? ;-)

In my experience, medical people reserve words like "addiction", "obsession", "compulsion" for when they have an effect on a person's life that is severely damaging. I think most of us posting here haven't found the Camino to have that kind of effect. Those who have, are probably not choosing to hang around here.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
Walking on my Camino I met a person who had been walking caminos for 15 years. He carried a backpack that met weighted probably 60 pounds. He walked from the former East Germany to Santiago once a year. He had all of his Pilgrim passports bound together. We walked together for 4 days . He would now be in his mid seventies now. We never discussed his huge pack. When we separated he said, "If I walk again I know I don't have to carry this burden on my back. I will have a much smaller ruck sack." We were never in touch again as he had not email or anything. Perhaps we all have reasons for walking more than once. Perhaps it is learning to give up our burdens and it just takes more time.
 

Leadell

Canadian Company of PIlgrims
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('13) VDLP ('16) Sanabres ('17) Portugues ('17) Podiensis ('18) Norte ('18) Mozarabe ('20)
Maybe it’s just a love affair:

Tiene el peregrino los ojos fijos en el firmamento
Y los pies enamorados del camino.

(Carmen Hernández Montalbán, Guadix)
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Well, we could look at the facts and evidence.
- Does the first experience tend to induce repeat experiences?
- Are the repeat experiences associated with eager anticipation, sometimes for many months?
- Does this anticipation involve many hours of thinking and dreaming about the upcoming experience?
- Does the experience, and the anticipation of the experience, adversely impact one's work life and/or domestic relationships?
- Does one feel understood only by other 'sufferers'?
- When deprived of the experience, does one experience significant emotional impact, such as shame and/or grieving?
- When deprived of the experience, does one engage in compensatory activities that are similarly questionable, such as endless baking, gardening, or virtual socializing?

I'm guilty on all counts, I'm afraid. There's something to it.
 

aname4me

aname4me
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, (2021)
I am going with... It can be addictive to some people (like me).


One of the reasons for my first Camino was... I like long morning walks.

But, after completing my first Camino, my regular morning walks were less satisfying.
-6 to 8 kms, over the same path, just wasn't as much fun, after 25km on different trails every day.

On the Camino, I often spent the afternoon talking about the days walk, while drinking a cold beer or the beautiful glass of wine. Back at home, it barely warrants 10 words. Enjoy your walk today. Yaa.

The Camino travels through Wet Mountainous Passes, Sunny Parched Prairies, Large Cities, Picturesque Small Villages.
Sadly, at home... the scenery is neutral to me (I grow up here).

The high caloric output required on the Camino allowed for (demands) high caloric input.
As I found on my 2nd Camino. Wonderful meals (non-Pilgrim meals) await at almost all the stops (if you look and ask around).


Walking, Drinking, Eating..... I find myself craving another hit. Another return to the Camino.

To me.... craving to do it again (which I have given into, several times) is an Addiction.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
It is very interesting to me to read what everyone has written. I always enjoy seeing the spectrum of thought from the analytic to the spiritual to the simple (definitely not simplistic) reasons of what Camino means and why Pilgrims walk. I have realized something about why I walk and the genesis from my first Camino to today. During and after my first Camino I think because it was new and because it was so amazing that I had a heightened sense of what was around me physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially. It was all so new that I was like a sponge soaking everything in and creating piercingly vivid memories. I think I could have waxed on poetically for hours about what Camino means and my experiences and lessons learned. I see aspects of myself in every response.
As I walk each camino I realize that I have fewer and fewer social experiences as I have walked less traveled Caminos like the Norte or Le Puy or walking the CF in November and December with far fewer pilgrims. That does not mean I have not met wonderful people who will remain in my heart forever. Having said that I still do bore my wife, daughters and closest friends with Camino babble. But the weird thing is my reasons that I come back to read all things Camino almost daily, think about when I can return almost daily and at the same time have trouble remembering why I said I will walk again after my first camino.
As I plan my next walk from Sevilla to Santiago and think about the solitude of the VDLP and the fears that I always get before my first step I have realized the reason I walk is what I have said on this forum for a while now.
I don't have an addiction or obsession. I know in my heart the Camino is home. Maybe even more than a home because it is my private space. I never have to explain to anyone about anything in my private space. It is completely mine. It is my home and that is why I have to walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Addiction: No
Obsession: First time yes but next time no
Something else: Yes

For me, the first Camino came at exactly the time that I needed it the most.

I had finished a major project around a year earlier. This project had absorbed almost all of my time and energy for 10 years. The project was my purpose and my identity. Through the project I was able to contribute and this gave me my personal "worth" and purpose. It was interesting and pushed boundaries and so it made me "interesting" and somewhat "unique", it provided my identity.

Then it finished.

I had a plan for what I would do when it finished but that plan crashed within a couple of months and so I went to plan B. Plan B was to get a job using the leading edge skills and knowledge that I had developed during the project but the skills are very specialised and by then I was aged 65 and I found no one was prepared to employ me.

I no longer had a purpose and my identity changed from someone doing interesting and leading edge research to just another retired guy bumbling around in his garden.

I still had my friends though and I would sit down with my best friend and fishing buddy and we would plan trips and activities that we could do together when he retired next year.

Then he died unexpectedly from a rare complication from a common and relatively safe surgery.

I was lost.

We did at least get one of our "grand" trips together with our wives before that happened and I am thankful for that.

I tried to develop my interests and I joined a local hiking club. On one of the club hikes I overheard two ladies talking about the Camino and my ears pricked up. As I listened to them discussing their plans for the Camino it called to me.

That day, even though I knew almost nothing about what walking the Camino entailed, I knew that I would walk it. Not only would I walk it but I would (metaphorically) walk it with my friend. It would be a chance for one last great adventure together and a way of saying goodbye and letting go.

As I set about planning for the Camino, getting fit and getting the equipment that I needed I had a purpose and a razor sharp focus. I purposely purchased a flight 10 weeks out so that my questions for myself were along the lines of "how do I get this done?" Rather than "can I do this?" I did this because at the time the thought of me walking 800 kilometers seemed impossible and certainly when I talked to others about it they thought that I was crazy.

My focus got me there despite a couple of diversions that life threw at me like a broken tooth two weeks before I left and then a Kidney stone attack 10 days before I flew out.

About half way through the Camino I had an email conversation with my youngest daughter about having a purpose in life as she was off in Canada and having some issues with direction as well, when I realised that I had a purpose and an identity!

My identity was a Pilgrim and my purpose was to walk.

It is a very simple and very clear purpose, each day I get up and I walk. At some stage I stop to drink or eat but then I walk some more until it is time to stop for the day. Then I find a place to sleep, to clean my clothes and my body and to refresh. If I am lucky then I also get to talk to some interesting people doing something similar.

The next day I do exactly the same thing. Everything that I need is in a small backpack that I carry with me. This seems like the essence of life, unencumbered by complicated plans, stuff that I accumulate or any need to conform to someone else's ideas of what I should be doing.

This simplicity and clarity of purpose and identity is what is so attractive.

As I neared Santiago I got slower and sadder. I had another conversation with my daughter and I confessed that I was seriously considering not coming home to New Zealand.

In the end, I did go home but with the certainty that I would return the following year for an even longer stay of five to six months (I have dual citizenship with the UK and that is soon going to be almost worthless so I may as well use it while I can).

But then, of course, Covid 19 came along and that plan disappeared.

During lockdown here in NZ at it's tightest, we were confined to our house and the immediate vicinity and during that time, for some reason, the attractiveness of the Camino pilgrim identity and the purpose of walking has waned. I am not sure, perhaps I am suffering from cabin fever even though we are now free to do almost anything in NZ as we have no community transmitted infection and no real restrictions.

Perhaps I now see that the Pilgrim identity is a fiction and perhaps my purpose now lies elsewhere.

I am not sure anymore.
 

Rex

Pilgrim Trekker
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
Not addition, not obsession ... just a walking retreat for my soul. My wife prefers a week in a convent for her retreats and I prefer the daily challenge of a long walk with time to think. Meeting new people and enjoying a different culture are bonuses, and the friends I've made along the way are priceless additions to my life. I view those who spend long periods on the various Caminos as not much different from my friends who are monks and spend their lives in monastic existence that is far different from my daily (normal?) life. Their existence and our interactions provide warp and weft that enhances the rich fabric of my life.
Cheers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 16/ 2016. Leon to Santiago . Sept/2019 SJPDP to Santiago.
No to the first one. It takes too long, it’s too hard and it requires too much planning. It’s not an addiction. It’s not in the category of gambling, alcohol or drugs. And it’s certainly not “God’s heroin.” That’s taking poetic license to an extreme.

Is it an obsession? It can be. If you are neglecting other parts of your life and it’s impacting on your well-being and your relationships and if you think about that and not much else.

Maybe it’s simply something we love to do. There are good reasons for that. We have spoken about them in this forum, those reasons, many times.

So, let’s just say we love to travel on foot because it’s different.

View attachment 77598
For us its " something else " The Camino offers us Peace, Love, Bewilderment, Joy and a desire to be even closer to our God. Also what a privaledge to walk in the foot steps of Saint James. In our troubled world how wonderful it is to be given the chance to find the one who is able to offer us hope. God Bless.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Is the Camino an addiction, an obsession or something else?

The Camino itself is not any of these. Our individual reactions and relationships with the Camino could be any of them, as these replies have shown.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Is the Camino an addiction, an obsession or something else?

The caminos are Holy Roads. The [modern] Camino? Maybe its just a destination. And only the ones who walk (or cycle or ride a horse ;)) to Santiago, or Finis Terre, or Lourdes, or Fatima, or Medina, or Stoned Henge will know if they are walking a Holy Road or just going to a destination.

Addiction, obsession? Maybe if you get there and you ain't done then maybe that Holy Road ain't done with you either. Maybe, if you get there and you ain't done. If you need to do that destination again. Then maybe that Holy Road ain't done with you yet.

I can tick Tobacco, Alcohol and Amphetamine, to name but a few of my addictions past or present. I can class trying to catch the largest tinca tinca ever caught by rod & line as an obsession. The camino, that's a Holy Road. To be walked in piety when required.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
More of a Passion - Passion (Greek πάσχω "to suffer, to be acted on"[1] and Late Latin (chiefly Christian[2]) passio "passion; suffering" (from Latin pati "to suffer"; participle: passus)) is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. Passion can range from eager interest in or admiration for an idea, proposal, or cause; to enthusiastic enjoyment of an interest or activity; to strong attraction, excitement, or emotion towards a person.
 

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
Addiction: No
Obsession: First time yes but next time no
Something else: Yes

For me, the first Camino came at exactly the time that I needed it the most.

I had finished a major project around a year earlier. This project had absorbed almost all of my time and energy for 10 years. The project was my purpose and my identity. Through the project I was able to contribute and this gave me my personal "worth" and purpose. It was interesting and pushed boundaries and so it made me "interesting" and somewhat "unique", it provided my identity.

Then it finished.

I had a plan for what I would do when it finished but that plan crashed within a couple of months and so I went to plan B. Plan B was to get a job using the leading edge skills and knowledge that I had developed during the project but the skills are very specialised and by then I was aged 65 and I found no one was prepared to employ me.

I no longer had a purpose and my identity changed from someone doing interesting and leading edge research to just another retired guy bumbling around in his garden.

I still had my friends though and I would sit down with my best friend and fishing buddy and we would plan trips and activities that we could do together when he retired next year.

Then he died unexpectedly from a rare complication from a common and relatively safe surgery.

I was lost.

We did at least get one of our "grand" trips together with our wives before that happened and I am thankful for that.

I tried to develop my interests and I joined a local hiking club. On one of the club hikes I overheard two ladies talking about the Camino and my ears pricked up. As I listened to them discussing their plans for the Camino it called to me.

That day, even though I knew almost nothing about what walking the Camino entailed, I knew that I would walk it. Not only would I walk it but I would (metaphorically) walk it with my friend. It would be a chance for one last great adventure together and a way of saying goodbye and letting go.

As I set about planning for the Camino, getting fit and getting the equipment that I needed I had a purpose and a razor sharp focus. I purposely purchased a flight 10 weeks out so that my questions for myself were along the lines of "how do I get this done?" Rather than "can I do this?" I did this because at the time the thought of me walking 800 kilometers seemed impossible and certainly when I talked to others about it they thought that I was crazy.

My focus got me there despite a couple of diversions that life threw at me like a broken tooth two weeks before I left and then a Kidney stone attack 10 days before I flew out.

About half way through the Camino I had an email conversation with my youngest daughter about having a purpose in life as she was off in Canada and having some issues with direction as well, when I realised that I had a purpose and an identity!

My identity was a Pilgrim and my purpose was to walk.

It is a very simple and very clear purpose, each day I get up and I walk. At some stage I stop to drink or eat but then I walk some more until it is time to stop for the day. Then I find a place to sleep, to clean my clothes and my body and to refresh. If I am lucky then I also get to talk to some interesting people doing something similar.

The next day I do exactly the same thing. Everything that I need is in a small backpack that I carry with me. This seems like the essence of life, unencumbered by complicated plans, stuff that I accumulate or any need to conform to someone else's ideas of what I should be doing.

This simplicity and clarity of purpose and identity is what is so attractive.

As I neared Santiago I got slower and sadder. I had another conversation with my daughter and I confessed that I was seriously considering not coming home to New Zealand.

In the end, I did go home but with the certainty that I would return the following year for an even longer stay of five to six months (I have dual citizenship with the UK and that is soon going to be almost worthless so I may as well use it while I can).

But then, of course, Covid 19 came along and that plan disappeared.

During lockdown here in NZ at it's tightest, we were confined to our house and the immediate vicinity and during that time, for some reason, the attractiveness of the Camino pilgrim identity and the purpose of walking has waned. I am not sure, perhaps I am suffering from cabin fever even though we are now free to do almost anything in NZ as we have no community transmitted infection and no real restrictions.

Perhaps I now see that the Pilgrim identity is a fiction and perhaps my purpose now lies elsewhere.

I am not sure anymore.
I’d hang on to it if I were you. Borders will open sooner or later. Each Camino is different, very different. And it’s something to look forward to. You gotta have that. My boss once told me you need three things: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. End of work is tough, for sure. But if you look around you and see how you can apply your skills, somewhere and somehow, you might be surprised what you find. Hold on to your passions. Our passions is what keeps us.
 
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Ali Hurley

Ali Hurley
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013. / Frances 2015. Part Camino Port 2015/Frances 2018. / Frances 2019
No to the first one. It takes too long, it’s too hard and it requires too much planning. It’s not an addiction. It’s not in the category of gambling, alcohol or drugs. And it’s certainly not “God’s heroin.” That’s taking poetic license to an extreme.

Is it an obsession? It can be. If you are neglecting other parts of your life and it’s impacting on your well-being and your relationships and if you think about that and not much else.

Maybe it’s simply something we love to do. There are good reasons for that. We have spoken about them in this forum, those reasons, many times.

So, let’s just say we love to travel on foot because it’s different.

View attachment 77598
To me it is just something I love , and was planning to travel to Spain again in early October I wanted to walk in a cooler time ,I had always walked the Camino in late April to early June . My heart goes out to all those little villages and town that depend on the pilgrims. We are so blessed here in Australia, not the population and wide countryside , and everything closed down so quickly. Prayers to all . 🙏🇦🇺
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
for some reason, the attractiveness of the Camino pilgrim identity and the purpose of walking has waned...

Perhaps I now see that the Pilgrim identity is a fiction and perhaps my purpose now lies elsewhere.
Maybe. But it is fine for things to wax and wane, and that doesn't make them fictions. I am consciously enjoying and cultivating different activities this spring and summer at home, since it is the first time in forever that I haven't had travel plans or work obligations to occupy most of my time. I still hope to resume my Caminos, but I am very happy to be developing a Plan B (other activities and hobbies) in case I can't.

you need three things: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.
Yes, this is so true.
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
Six Camino's in six years for my wife and I. Our favorite travel memories by far have been on the Camino. Each has been different, but the satisfaction we have both gained hasn't waned. The anticipation for the next one is always there. We really have zero interest in other travel except as it relates to family.
Still hope it might be possible to walk one this fall. We will see.IMG_1240.JPG
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The camino, that's a Holy Road. To be walked in piety when required.
I agree utterly. All the answers above have said what the camino is to them. None seemed to quite fit for me until I read this. As for what it is to me, the camino was a gift from God, to be called to walk that Holy Road. If I cannot return, I shall hope that it has done its work on me. My hope for return is based, oddly, on my sense that I still have so much to learn in this life, and the Holy Road has been for me a wonderful place to learn.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I agree utterly. All the answers above have said what the camino is to them. None seemed to quite fit for me until I read this. As for what it is to me, the camino was a gift from God, to be called to walk that Holy Road. If I cannot return, I shall hope that it has done its work on me. My hope for return is based, oddly, on my sense that I still have so much to learn in this life, and the Holy Road has been for me a wonderful place to learn.
Albertagirl, you are my North Star! I pray to be still walking like you as I become more mature age-wise. Greetings from Ottawa ❤👣👣👣
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
No to the first one. It takes too long, it’s too hard and it requires too much planning. It’s not an addiction. It’s not in the category of gambling, alcohol or drugs. And it’s certainly not “God’s heroin.” That’s taking poetic license to an extreme.

Is it an obsession? It can be. If you are neglecting other parts of your life and it’s impacting on your well-being and your relationships and if you think about that and not much else.

Maybe it’s simply something we love to do. There are good reasons for that. We have spoken about them in this forum, those reasons, many times.

So, let’s just say we love to travel on foot because it’s different.

View attachment 77598
Tricky one. I think that it is neither but both. What the Camino does (I think) is opens a whole spiritual part of one's being that you had no acknowledged existed. The energy pulse of meeting so many interesting people at the same time in a situation crammed with spiritual, emotional and historical significance is overwhelming. You realise that this is something that you cannot encounter anywhere-else, so you strive to relive it. For me this is the Camino.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Addiction: No
Obsession: First time yes but next time no
Something else: Yes

For me, the first Camino came at exactly the time that I needed it the most.

I had finished a major project around a year earlier. This project had absorbed almost all of my time and energy for 10 years. The project was my purpose and my identity. Through the project I was able to contribute and this gave me my personal "worth" and purpose. It was interesting and pushed boundaries and so it made me "interesting" and somewhat "unique", it provided my identity.

Then it finished.

I had a plan for what I would do when it finished but that plan crashed within a couple of months and so I went to plan B. Plan B was to get a job using the leading edge skills and knowledge that I had developed during the project but the skills are very specialised and by then I was aged 65 and I found no one was prepared to employ me.

I no longer had a purpose and my identity changed from someone doing interesting and leading edge research to just another retired guy bumbling around in his garden.

I still had my friends though and I would sit down with my best friend and fishing buddy and we would plan trips and activities that we could do together when he retired next year.

Then he died unexpectedly from a rare complication from a common and relatively safe surgery.

I was lost.

We did at least get one of our "grand" trips together with our wives before that happened and I am thankful for that.

I tried to develop my interests and I joined a local hiking club. On one of the club hikes I overheard two ladies talking about the Camino and my ears pricked up. As I listened to them discussing their plans for the Camino it called to me.

That day, even though I knew almost nothing about what walking the Camino entailed, I knew that I would walk it. Not only would I walk it but I would (metaphorically) walk it with my friend. It would be a chance for one last great adventure together and a way of saying goodbye and letting go.

As I set about planning for the Camino, getting fit and getting the equipment that I needed I had a purpose and a razor sharp focus. I purposely purchased a flight 10 weeks out so that my questions for myself were along the lines of "how do I get this done?" Rather than "can I do this?" I did this because at the time the thought of me walking 800 kilometers seemed impossible and certainly when I talked to others about it they thought that I was crazy.

My focus got me there despite a couple of diversions that life threw at me like a broken tooth two weeks before I left and then a Kidney stone attack 10 days before I flew out.

About half way through the Camino I had an email conversation with my youngest daughter about having a purpose in life as she was off in Canada and having some issues with direction as well, when I realised that I had a purpose and an identity!

My identity was a Pilgrim and my purpose was to walk.

It is a very simple and very clear purpose, each day I get up and I walk. At some stage I stop to drink or eat but then I walk some more until it is time to stop for the day. Then I find a place to sleep, to clean my clothes and my body and to refresh. If I am lucky then I also get to talk to some interesting people doing something similar.

The next day I do exactly the same thing. Everything that I need is in a small backpack that I carry with me. This seems like the essence of life, unencumbered by complicated plans, stuff that I accumulate or any need to conform to someone else's ideas of what I should be doing.

This simplicity and clarity of purpose and identity is what is so attractive.

As I neared Santiago I got slower and sadder. I had another conversation with my daughter and I confessed that I was seriously considering not coming home to New Zealand.

In the end, I did go home but with the certainty that I would return the following year for an even longer stay of five to six months (I have dual citizenship with the UK and that is soon going to be almost worthless so I may as well use it while I can).

But then, of course, Covid 19 came along and that plan disappeared.

During lockdown here in NZ at it's tightest, we were confined to our house and the immediate vicinity and during that time, for some reason, the attractiveness of the Camino pilgrim identity and the purpose of walking has waned. I am not sure, perhaps I am suffering from cabin fever even though we are now free to do almost anything in NZ as we have no community transmitted infection and no real restrictions.

Perhaps I now see that the Pilgrim identity is a fiction and perhaps my purpose now lies elsewhere.

I am not sure anymore.
I’d hang on to it if I were you. Borders will open sooner or later. Each Camino is different, very different. And it’s something to look forward to. You gotta have that. My boss once told me you need three things: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. End of work is tough, for sure. But if you look around you and see how you can apply your skills, somewhere and somehow, you might be surprised what you find. Hold on to your passions. Our passions is what keeps us.
@Doughnut NZ
I agree with the reply to you from @Lexicos

You are probably feeling that it’s pointless at the moment because the world is still upside down with Covid19 issues and we can’t see possibility of leaving the relative safety of ‘down-under’ until we see all is well.

You’ll get your mojo back ..when it’s right for you... and as said above; ‘every camino is a new experience’. They are truly all great.
Buen camino
Annie

So sorry for your loss.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
  • I like to play volleyball (and have already done so for 40 years).
  • Everyday I'm falling madly in love ... with the same woman for over 25 years (thank God I'm married to her).
  • I like to eat cheese over and over and over again, I just don't get bored with the taste.
  • Every night I like to watch the news, because I feel it's important to be aware of what's going on in the world we share.
  • Every couple of years (provided I've saved enough holidays) I like to walk a Camino.
  • And so on...
If everything that I like to do over and over again is an addiction or obsession, then it takes the negative vibe out of those words.

And, speaking about repetitive behaviour:
  • For the past 57 years I've been taking breath's every few seconds, for no apparent reason whatsoever? I can't say that I like it. So why I keep doing it is a mystery to me. I think this might qualify as obsessive behaviour.
 

elleley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (16); Leon-Sarria, Ourense-SdC (17), Burgos-Leon (17), Porto-SdC (18), SalvadorPrimitivo(19)
Addiction: No
Obsession: First time yes but next time no
Something else: Yes

For me, the first Camino came at exactly the time that I needed it the most.

I had finished a major project around a year earlier. This project had absorbed almost all of my time and energy for 10 years. The project was my purpose and my identity. Through the project I was able to contribute and this gave me my personal "worth" and purpose. It was interesting and pushed boundaries and so it made me "interesting" and somewhat "unique", it provided my identity.

Then it finished.

I had a plan for what I would do when it finished but that plan crashed within a couple of months and so I went to plan B. Plan B was to get a job using the leading edge skills and knowledge that I had developed during the project but the skills are very specialised and by then I was aged 65 and I found no one was prepared to employ me.

I no longer had a purpose and my identity changed from someone doing interesting and leading edge research to just another retired guy bumbling around in his garden.

I still had my friends though and I would sit down with my best friend and fishing buddy and we would plan trips and activities that we could do together when he retired next year.

Then he died unexpectedly from a rare complication from a common and relatively safe surgery.

I was lost.

We did at least get one of our "grand" trips together with our wives before that happened and I am thankful for that.

I tried to develop my interests and I joined a local hiking club. On one of the club hikes I overheard two ladies talking about the Camino and my ears pricked up. As I listened to them discussing their plans for the Camino it called to me.

That day, even though I knew almost nothing about what walking the Camino entailed, I knew that I would walk it. Not only would I walk it but I would (metaphorically) walk it with my friend. It would be a chance for one last great adventure together and a way of saying goodbye and letting go.

As I set about planning for the Camino, getting fit and getting the equipment that I needed I had a purpose and a razor sharp focus. I purposely purchased a flight 10 weeks out so that my questions for myself were along the lines of "how do I get this done?" Rather than "can I do this?" I did this because at the time the thought of me walking 800 kilometers seemed impossible and certainly when I talked to others about it they thought that I was crazy.

My focus got me there despite a couple of diversions that life threw at me like a broken tooth two weeks before I left and then a Kidney stone attack 10 days before I flew out.

About half way through the Camino I had an email conversation with my youngest daughter about having a purpose in life as she was off in Canada and having some issues with direction as well, when I realised that I had a purpose and an identity!

My identity was a Pilgrim and my purpose was to walk.

It is a very simple and very clear purpose, each day I get up and I walk. At some stage I stop to drink or eat but then I walk some more until it is time to stop for the day. Then I find a place to sleep, to clean my clothes and my body and to refresh. If I am lucky then I also get to talk to some interesting people doing something similar.

The next day I do exactly the same thing. Everything that I need is in a small backpack that I carry with me. This seems like the essence of life, unencumbered by complicated plans, stuff that I accumulate or any need to conform to someone else's ideas of what I should be doing.

This simplicity and clarity of purpose and identity is what is so attractive.

As I neared Santiago I got slower and sadder. I had another conversation with my daughter and I confessed that I was seriously considering not coming home to New Zealand.

In the end, I did go home but with the certainty that I would return the following year for an even longer stay of five to six months (I have dual citizenship with the UK and that is soon going to be almost worthless so I may as well use it while I can).

But then, of course, Covid 19 came along and that plan disappeared.

During lockdown here in NZ at it's tightest, we were confined to our house and the immediate vicinity and during that time, for some reason, the attractiveness of the Camino pilgrim identity and the purpose of walking has waned. I am not sure, perhaps I am suffering from cabin fever even though we are now free to do almost anything in NZ as we have no community transmitted infection and no real restrictions.

Perhaps I now see that the Pilgrim identity is a fiction and perhaps my purpose now lies elsewhere.

I am not sure anymore.
Me neither...and it has really thrown me off! Thank you for your story and your honesty.
The Camino came to me as a strong calling and I spent over 6 years feeling that calling and preparing for my first pilgrimage. Since 2016, I have been back five times, as a pilgrim, hospitalera and volunteer in the Oficina de Peregrinos. I retired SO I could walk the Camino and it has been my primary focus since then...until now.
I feel like the animo I have felt so strongly has left me along with my identity as a peregrina. For the first time in 10 years, I am not sure I will ever return to walk again. And I am not getting any younger!
I do walk every day and make my own "camino" along the trails of the beautiful Mississippi River, which is a stone's throw from my front door, but it's not the same. I am not the same here as I am there. As many of our fellow Forum posters have said, it is our happy place. And it's so much more than the walking every day....it's the emotional adrenaline that I have not felt anywhere else or any other time. However, since the great "shutdown," I feel myself emotionally pulling away. Thank goodness for Ivar and this Forum, as it is the only connection I have right now. Do not want to "socialize" with other pilgrims here, do not want to read more books (and I have a heap of them) about all things Camino and it is a puzzle. Can't really talk about it to most as they don't get it.
So, I will do my best to live in the present moment and smile at all those beautiful memories that are a part of me. But the strange sadness is there, as I wonder if I have walked my final steps on that magical road.....
Ultreia! elle
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
the strange sadness is there, as I wonder if I have walked my final steps on that magical road.....
You have expressed what I, and possibly many others, feel. Thank you. I was reading this morning on another post about all the restrictions and hygienic practices which pilgrims on the camino are expected to carry out if they return now. That is not my camino, and I cannot imagine returning until all that is over (if ever). I can see why that is a balance between a longer term closure and risking early opening without doing something major to limit the spread of the virus. Others may experience it differently. Of course, I recognize that much of my sadness may be from the whole environment of the pandemic. In another year, when the worst has passed and I have read a few happy blogs from pilgrims on the camino, I may get my vaccination and my air ticket and head off again to Spain. But for now, I am sad.
 

Sean Lad

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010 to 2019 walked total of 31 caminos
No to the first one. It takes too long, it’s too hard and it requires too much planning. It’s not an addiction. It’s not in the category of gambling, alcohol or drugs. And it’s certainly not “God’s heroin.” That’s taking poetic license to an extreme.

Is it an obsession? It can be. If you are neglecting other parts of your life and it’s impacting on your well-being and your relationships and if you think about that and not much else.

Maybe it’s simply something we love to do. There are good reasons for that. We have spoken about them in this forum, those reasons, many times.

So, let’s just say we love to travel on foot because it’s different.
Camino walking an Addiction: No
We all know the 4 main Addictions Drugs Alcohol Gambling and Sex
Sex not to be confused with Love Iwalk caminos because I am a Walker
I will walk anywhere I can
I don't own a car i don't cycle cruising No Way
I fly to get to Spain France Portugal so i can Walk
I don't talk or even tell people I am on Camino
Camino bores bore me to death
I missed my camino trek this year because of Pandemic i had planned SJPdP to Santiago Finniste and Murcia
I am old fit and strong so maybe late october or next year I will be off
Good safe hobby but certainly Not Addicted
 

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
1593782284267.png
Whatever it is, it ain't gonna happen any time soon. Whistling into the sunset ...........
 

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