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Last minute journey to Compostela?! Crazy or Worth it

yoosusie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago
(May 2018)
#1
Dear past, present, and future pilgrims.

I (F, 24) have been intrigued to go on this journey ever since I was in high school. In between college with summer school and other vacations I have never been able to go (didn't have the courage). I graduated college last May (2017) and have yet to find a full time job. I have been working part time all of college till present. Lately, I thought about finally going on this journey while I have the time to do so. I have enough money saved up so finances won't be a problem. I've been very discouraged lately and feel so stagnant where I am living. I went to college locally and have never been on my own. Going on the camino alone does sound nerve-wrecking but I really want to try it while I have the time, opportunity, and luxury. If I were to go, would it be feasible to start beginning of May? I hear June is really hot and crowded. As a note, I have no equipment at all (shoes, backpack, clothing, misc), just my passport and yolo spirit. Also I have no training at all other than weekly gym. Am I making a reckless decision or should I forgo this trip in the mean time and come back to it later? Please give me some advice!! Thanks

Susie
 
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tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#2
Now is a perfect time to walk the Camino. You could certainly start the beginning of May. You will need some equipment, but since you've saved up money, you ought to be able to get yourself outfitted. The first thing I'd do is get your walking shoes and start breaking them in. And to answer your question, yes you're being reckless, and that's the joy of it! You can always find a million and one reasons not to do something. You've got all the reasons you need to do this. You've got the time, the money, and the motivation. Go for it and don't second guess yourself for a moment!

Walking the Camino is crazy and worth it!
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#3
Hi Susie,

From what you've shared I'd say it would be a great idea to do the Camino. If you've got the time you can start slow and do your training on the way, there's no substitute for the real thing, why train for a long walk by doing long walks? I've never really got it. It may be a shock to the system at first but you'll soon get used to it, I did and I'm considerably older than and probably not much fitter than the average person.

In my personal experience and I'm sure that of many on this forum the time you spend on Camino is a wonderful way to get away from normal life, reset and think about what your priorities are and what you want to do next.

I wouldn't rely on May being any quieter than June but it might be just a bit cooler. If you are going to start in May I would make your number one priority getting footwear (trail runners are a popular choice for this time of year) and backpack ASAP and get used to wearing them.

But no, I don't think it's at all a wreckless decision, I'd say there was way more potential upside than downside.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

Nofeer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Camino from Leon to Santiago de Compostella in 2016
#4
Hi yoosusie,

Just to set the scene, I did El Camino in July 2016 from Leon to Santiago de Compostella (around 306 km). I was 43 and never hiked in my life. The 3 plus years up to doing the trip I was in the gym once I think. Been smoking a pack a day of cigarettes since 15 years old and the 3 years prior I was drinking whiskey 3 to5 times a week after work. Not a lot, but few double whiskeys after work. I learned about el Camino about a year before I did it. So basically I was in a crap shape and when I told my friends and colleagues that I will do the walk they all said I'm crazy and I won't be able to do it. You need to prepare and so on.

Anyways I googled all the things that I needed for this kind of hiking trip and got everything right apart from the shoes.I bought brand new shoes which were just about to fit my feet. But what I didn't know was that you should buy shoes 1 or 2 sizes bigger as your feet swell in hot weather, and you should also break them in beforehand. So the first day I did 17 km and the second that the skin of both my little toes was torn of cause the shoes were so tight. Then I got a lot of blisters underneath my feet which turn into an infection about 150 km of walking (I was in pain a lot, especially when I stopped for a rest and start walking again. This got me stranded for 3 days in a small village. Those 3 days I did a water fast which I've sure helped the healing process as the doctor said I wouldn't be able to continue (in the timeline I had). I gave away my brand new Merrell shoes and bought a pair of Teva Sandals as no hiking shoe would work cause as soon as there was a little pressure on my little toes it hurt like hell (remember the skin was gone after the second day). Anyways I did the remaining 150+ km in Teva sandals. Looking back, it was the most painful experience in my life, but also the best and most rewarding from a mental/spiritual point of view. So hell yeah, go for it!!. This experiance cannot be put in words and will be something you will never forget (in a good way) :)

The only thing you need is a mindset where you decide that you will reach the end destination no matter what, and the only thing that will stop you is if you break your leg or something. That is what made me complete the whole journey. My record was 40km in one day, crazy! :)

Feel free to pm me if you have any questions
Alex
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones and Camino Frances (2018)
#5
Do it! In time it gets harder due to bills, kids, etc. You can do it for 25€ a day and you don’t need fancy equipment - good trailrunners, a light backpack that fits, two sets of clothes. It will be the best weeks of your life
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2013
Camino Fisterra/Muxía 2013
Camino Inglés 2013
Camino del Salvador 2014
Camino Primitivo 2014
Caminho Portugues 2015
Camino del Norte 2016
#6
Just Go!
Agree with @Dorpie backpack and shoes now to get used to them. If you do Camino Francés there will be albergues that are suitable distance for you and as times go you can enhance the distance. On the camino you can decide to "go with a camino family" or go by yourself or a combination. It is a perfect time to contemplate what you want to do in the future and having some time for yourself. So go!
 

Tim Floyd

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago 2017
#7
You have time, money and most of all desire. Go! Get some great fitting high quality shoes asap and wear them every day. Other stuff is easy with lots of advice on this forum and books. You dont need to train. The Camino will train you. Just listen to your body, take care of yourself, and take it as it comes. I so envy you. I was twice your age before I had the opportunity. Dont fall in the trap of waiting. Go! Enjoy the adventure.
 

yoosusie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago
(May 2018)
#9
@tomnorth , @Dorpie , @Nofeer , @Vacajoe , @BeatriceKarjalainen , @Tim Floyd , @jenwearing :
Thank you everyone so much for the encouragement! I honestly didn't anticipate this kind of feedback and support. I've read numerous times on this forum that the people you meet on the Camino are amazing and I can already sense that through this!! You all are so sweet and I appreciate it so much. ;)
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#11
Do it, it will be a lifetime memory. (And you'll probably get hooked and become obsessed like so many of us). We met a lot of gap year people.

Two key things to remember:
I cant stress enough how important it is to buy shoes that are bigger than you would normally buy. especially around the toe box. Gravity and heat - your feet will swell, and those toesies will thank you for it.

Pack light, you'll be amazed what you dont need. Dont take 'just in case' stuff. There is no point spending good money on stuff you'll abandon after the first couple of days when the reality of having to carry it sinks in. As some one else on this thread says " take less stuff, take more money"
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? Vf again or Via Lemovicensis
#16
Dear past, present, and future pilgrims.

I (F, 24) have been intrigued to go on this journey ever since I was in high school. In between college with summer school and other vacations I have never been able to go (didn't have the courage). I graduated college last May (2017) and have yet to find a full time job. I have been working part time all of college till present. Lately, I thought about finally going on this journey while I have the time to do so. I have enough money saved up so finances won't be a problem. I've been very discouraged lately and feel so stagnant where I am living. I went to college locally and have never been on my own. Going on the camino alone does sound nerve-wrecking but I really want to try it while I have the time, opportunity, and luxury. If I were to go, would it be feasible to start beginning of May? I hear June is really hot and crowded. As a note, I have no equipment at all (shoes, backpack, clothing, misc), just my passport and yolo spirit. Also I have no training at all other than weekly gym. Am I making a reckless decision or should I forgo this trip in the mean time and come back to it later? Please give me some advice!! Thanks

Susie
I say 'Yes, go for it!'! Sounds like the perfect chance to do it and you never know what's round the corner....ie it may be a long time before you get the opportunity again!
In terms of equipment you need to get yourself some good shoes and socks first and start walking in them.
You'll also need a backpack you feel comfortable with. Personally I wouldn't worry to much about it, I bought my first one from Lidl very cheaply and it was perfectly fine... as long as you keep the weight low.
Clothes ... You probably have them already, shorts, T-shirts you'd wear at the gym... A sun hat. You'll also need a sleeping bag or a sleeping bag liner. Buy the lightest you can find (within your budget of course).
Soap, toothbrush, a minimal 1st aid kit, a towel and....you're ready to go! :)
Very exciting! Good luck.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Central, Porto-Santiago, Apr-May 2017
Camino Portugues, Lisbon-Porto, Oct 2017
#17
Just go! Last year I had not 1 but 2 spontaneous Caminos, for different resons. They all worked out well in the end. Had no sports equpemment whatsoever as not into sport at all, no training, no preparations, no gadgets, no internet on me. Bought tickets about a week before the walk both times, had to get a backpack and waterproof clothing, took old no name shoes, packed clothes that I've already had, got a Brierley Camino guide just a couple of days before the flight and almost didn't open it before the trip as there was not time. After the first one didn't think I'd be walking the Camino again soon, so didn't get ready for the future in terms of gear - and walked again in half a year time :) So pack and go while you have a chance! Bom Caminho to you!
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2014, 2015)
St Olav/Francés (2016)
Baztanés/Francés (2017)
Ingles (July 2018)
#18
Crazy?
Naaah.
Worth it?
Oh, yes.
Go,
@yoosusie , and don't look back. You won't regret it.

And no worries about the spontaneity of your decision. Many of us have done that; some people plan for years, others of us just go. Both are good. In SJPP there is a good shop that sells all sorts of equipment, so even if you find you really need something at the last minute, it's usually possible to get it.
But the key? Take the minimum. What one really needs is a lesson the Camino teaches very well.
Buen camino, peregrina!
 

Nate Bissonette

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino Sanabres (2017)
#19
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was a student in college.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was building a career.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was raising my kids.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I couldn't afford a month off.
I still want to walk the Camino but . . . now I'm old, sitting in my chair reading other people's Camino posts, seeing their photos, and I'm crying.

GO! For the love of God, GO!
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#20
I love that!! this would be a challenge for me however as I am an overpacker...
Not a problem, you will give your stuff away day by day as you have to carry it. :) Carry your pack! You're young and healthy--it will give you insight on how much time we spend on shopping for stuff. (I found that if I had to carry it, I didn't want/need it any more.) -- Shoes! I wore a size too small my first time, and ended up with blisters and pain. So... Put on your s walking shoes (you don't need boots), walk for about 3-4 hours, pull out the insert. Put your foot on the insert. Do your feet overlap the insert anywhere? If so, then your shoes are too small. I found that my shoes were too narrow as well as too short. Men's normal sized shoes in the US a D width, women are a B width. I found I need the D. I also need more toe room. Women's shoes come in nice colors but often (almost always) have no toe room. You should be able to move your toes and use them as you walk. Try Keen. Also explore wearing men's shoes. --I now wear a men's 8, Teva Kimtah to hike in. They also have a "mush sole" and are heaven.
 

EGW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#21
Dear Yoosusie,
in less than 24h, you got 16 replies to your post. The score: 16 (yes, go) vs 0 (no, don't). Do you need 'Go' number 17?

I wish I were in your shoes (pardon the pun). One's first Camino is always the best regardless of the number one subsequently goes on.

My 'Go' however comes with a warning attached: that it will be addictive; it won't be your one and only.

!Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago - twice
Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome (2017)
Rome to Jerusalem (2017)
#22
Dear past, present, and future pilgrims.

I (F, 24) have been intrigued to go on this journey ever since I was in high school. In between college with summer school and other vacations I have never been able to go (didn't have the courage). I graduated college last May (2017) and have yet to find a full time job. I have been working part time all of college till present. Lately, I thought about finally going on this journey while I have the time to do so. I have enough money saved up so finances won't be a problem. I've been very discouraged lately and feel so stagnant where I am living. I went to college locally and have never been on my own. Going on the camino alone does sound nerve-wrecking but I really want to try it while I have the time, opportunity, and luxury. If I were to go, would it be feasible to start beginning of May? I hear June is really hot and crowded. As a note, I have no equipment at all (shoes, backpack, clothing, misc), just my passport and yolo spirit. Also I have no training at all other than weekly gym. Am I making a reckless decision or should I forgo this trip in the mean time and come back to it later? Please give me some advice!! Thanks

Susie
Seize the day Susie. You don’t need much light backpack and refer to pilgrims who have gone before you. The beauty of the Camino is that there is opportunity to take it gently. So train as you go. Take advice from the locals who will guide you. You will not be alone. No one lies on their death bed saying I wish I had worked more. Enjoy your journey. Buen Camino
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#23
Use the search function in this forum to obtain tons of advice and opinion on every aspect of your planning. It really works. After doing this, if you are still confused or conflicted, do what we all do, ask a specific question. You WILL get rapid and valid replies.

The only gear specific thing I will tell you is that the two most important pieces of gear you should invest in are properly sized walking shoes or boots; and your rucksack.

When fitting footwear, wear the NON-COTTON socks you plan to walk in. Allow one-half size more for daily foot swelling, and another half-size to keep your toes AWAY from the inside of the toe box when coming downhill and slamming your foot forward.

Try to have a rucksack fitted at a quality outdoor store. A lot of US folks go to an REI store. Our Canadian friends like MEC. Avoid the temptation to buy a rucksack online, at least until after you are dead certain it is comfortable when loaded with, say 15 - 20 pounds of dummy stuff. The better outdoor stores have sandbags to toss in the rucksack while they are fitting you.

Hope this helps. See you on the Camino!
 
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tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#24
Use the search function in this forum to obtain tons of advice and opinion on every aspect of your planning. It really works. After doing this, if you are still confused or conflicted, do what we all do, ask a specific question. You WILL get rapid and valid replies.

The only gear specific thing I will tell you is that the two most important pieces of gear you should invest in are properly sized walking shoes or boots; and your rucksack.

When fitting footwear, wear the NON-COTTON socks you plan to walk in. Allow one-half size more for daily foot swelling, and another half-size to keep your toes AWAY from the inside of the toe box when coming downhill and slamming you foot forward.

Try to have a rucksack fitted at a quality outdoor store. A lot of US folks go to an REI store. Our Canadian friends like MEC. Avoid the temptation to buy a rucksack online, at least until after you are dead certain it is comfortable when loaded with, say 15 - 20 pounds of dummy stuff. The better outdoor stores have sandbags to toss in the rucksack while they are fitting you.

Hope this helps. See you on the Camino!
This is excellent advice. One thing I’d add is to forget the waterproof socks, get Merino wool hiking socks instead. The way I look at it, the three most important pieces of gear are your shoes, backpack, and socks, in that order of priority. Everything else is a detail. Make sure you get the first two items properly fitted.
 

BarbyLivie

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 28-May 14, 2018
#25
So excited for you!!! Yes am in a similar spot but older - ha! Out of work for 2 months but working hard to get employed. I have two jobs pending and have told them I leave for the Camino next week so they have both hastened their processes as they know I am leaving. So I am prayerful that offers come Monday, I decide, & I leave for the Camino Tuesday. I have not trained - but have always wanted to go and figured I’d never have this gap again - so I’m doing it. Hope to see you there!!!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Feb-Mar '14. CF: SJPdP to just beyond Belorado
Sep-Oct '16, CF: SJPdP to SdC
Sept-Oct '18, CF
#26
This is excellent advice. One thing I’d add is to forget the waterproof socks, get Merino wool hiking socks instead. The way I look at it, the three most important pieces of gear are your shoes, backpack, and socks, in that order of priority. Everything else is a detail. Make sure you get the first two items properly fitted.
I've been a big fan/user of Merino wool socks for years. The socks I started using recently are next level: the Wrightsock liner and Merino wool sock combo.

Wrightsock @ REI
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#27
I only caution against anything with COTTON. It gets wet, stays wet, does not cushion when wet, and damn near never dries.

My sock combination of choice, based on six Caminos, is a thin microfiber liner sock for wicking and to prevent friction, with a Smartwool outer sock for cushioning.

Merino wool is a good alternative. Some folks use a single, multipurpose cushioning sock made of merino or another wool fabric with some synthetic percentage for stretch and durability.

Only you can determine what works best for you.

Hope this helps.
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
#28
Dear past, present, and future pilgrims.

I (F, 24) have been intrigued to go on this journey ever since I was in high school. In between college with summer school and other vacations I have never been able to go (didn't have the courage). I graduated college last May (2017) and have yet to find a full time job. I have been working part time all of college till present. Lately, I thought about finally going on this journey while I have the time to do so. I have enough money saved up so finances won't be a problem. I've been very discouraged lately and feel so stagnant where I am living. I went to college locally and have never been on my own. Going on the camino alone does sound nerve-wrecking but I really want to try it while I have the time, opportunity, and luxury. If I were to go, would it be feasible to start beginning of May? I hear June is really hot and crowded. As a note, I have no equipment at all (shoes, backpack, clothing, misc), just my passport and yolo spirit. Also I have no training at all other than weekly gym. Am I making a reckless decision or should I forgo this trip in the mean time and come back to it later? Please give me some advice!! Thanks

Susie
Go! You will never regret it.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Muxia - Finisterre 2014
StJPdP to Burgos 2015
Primitivo 2015
Porto -SDC 2016
Portuguese Senda Litoral 2016
Ingles 2016
#29
Yoususie,
If you can, go, and walk towards your future.

Consider the advice given about footwear, consider walking slowly to begin with, start with no expectations, walk with an open mind and heart, be yourself, be aware and all should be well.

Buen (start of your new life) Camino
 

yoosusie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago
(May 2018)
#30
Thank you everyone once again for your suggestions and heartfelt encouragement! I am fortunate to live near 5 REI stores and an L.L. Bean. I am across one of the REI store right now actually eating my Chipotle :p. I will try on some backpacks and shoes today and see how that goes. This is exciting!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#32
Oh,
Thank you everyone once again for your suggestions and heartfelt encouragement! I am fortunate to live near 5 REI stores and an L.L. Bean. I am across one of the REI store right now actually eating my Chipotle :p. I will try on some backpacks and shoes today and see how that goes. This is exciting!
You lucky girl! Since moving from VA to FL 2 years ago, my nearest REI is a three-hour drive north,near Orlando. And as for LL Bean...fugggetabouit!
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#33
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was a student in college.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was building a career.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I was raising my kids.
I wanted to walk the Camino but I couldn't afford a month off.
I still want to walk the Camino but . . . now I'm old, sitting in my chair reading other people's Camino posts, seeing their photos, and I'm crying.

GO! For the love of God, GO!
Tom: Have you ever walked the Camino, senora?
First albergue innkeeper: Never. When I was young, I was too busy. And now that I'm older, I'm too tired.
First albergue innkeeper: [as Tom silently nods and heads out the door] Buen camino.
 

harrowsm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#38
Hi, all! I am loving reading through this thread. So many people doing Caminos!

I just finished my first one on Friday and I am so grateful for having done the walk! What an eye-opening and life-changing experience it was...I already miss waking up and walking all day with my pack, ha!

As a part of my walk, I gathered reflections from pilgrims as a part of my senior thesis. I am still interested in more information/reflections from pilgrims, so I would like to leave my online survey with you all. Any information will help greatly and I will be so very appreciative of it!

The motivations and experiences from every pilgrim never cease to amaze me, so if you have anything to share, please feel free to do so!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dSkibUi7ZW-PpLvKlhI4L36uD5PrCGsN0aqGvm2OQZ8/edit

Buen Camino to all of you. Even though we reach Santiago de Compostela, the Camino never truly stops.

Hanna
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#39
@harrowsm Done. Glad you enjoyed your Camino experience.
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#40
Oh,


You lucky girl! Since moving from VA to FL 2 years ago, my nearest REI is a three-hour drive north,near Orlando. And as for LL Bean...fugggetabouit!
I have LLBean Backpack that I love, and fits me better than other brands. I also have one of their sleeping bags and a solo tent. I will agree though, that they focus on fashion more than gear.
 

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