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My experience walking with my 10 year old son

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Hi everyone,
We just came back from our Camino last week and are still getting used to our new /old routine.. We walked from Astorga to Santiago and then on to Finisterre from where we took the bus back to Santiago. Altogether it took us 15 days. Apart from the initial hick-up at Madrid airport where my rucksack got lost in transit, only to be found in a corner two hours later after having been sent all over the airport, between terminals etc, thanks to two wonderful ladies who used their airport passes to get in and out of security to find it! It was a stressful start especially with the language barrier and after a sleepless night at Dublin airport but all ended well and now it's just part of the amazing adventure we had.
Coming from Ireland we had not experienced any heat or decent warmth for many years, indeed not in my son's life so landing with 30 degrees was a bit of a shock to the system, which i believe was unusual at this time of year, but we were grateful to feel the much needed warmth we so lack where we live. Walking in the heat was again a different story with heavy backpacks and not much shade in places but we embraced it and could only feel blessed not to be walking in the rain on slippery slopes and feeling damp all the time. Altogether the experience has been very positive and it was amazing to walk together with my son. From the responses we got i realised we achieved quite an amazing feat, considering we walked 25-35 km each day in the heat, had no blisters or other complaints and my son embraced the challenge and was happy to walk all day, every day, no matter how long or difficult. I consider myself lucky as i heard many people only wish for their child to be so happy, let alone interested to do such walk at all. I could not have done it and would not have brought my son had he not had an inner drive or motivation to want to do it himself. It would have been quite the struggle thinking of those long stretches way beyond lunch time when it got seriously hot when we could easily have given up, but it was my son's optimism and resilience which helped carry us through and also meant we had an amazing, enjoyable and (mostly!) harmonious time together. Once we got lost, and he was the one who got us back on track using the map, not me! I can only think it was a great experience for him. Definitely it boosted his confidence and the ability to trust his own abilities to navigate and take charge, finding our way in unknown territory. He was unfazed.
The one rule my son had before we left was not to bring my phone but for safety reasons i didn't feel that was wise so we made a compromise to bring it only to ring his dad and in emergencies. I kept my promise and did not need the phone at all as the guidebook provided all the info we needed and i'm convinced this contributed to the positive experience we had. Not knowing where we would sleep at the end of the day etc was part of the adventure and not a worry as i thought before we left. My son loved the dorms and sleeping in a bunk and never did we have any bad experiences, although we avoided the big towns and big municipals but rather choose the more personal, family orientated albergues so that may have had something to do with it. People were respectful of one and others' space and the issues of noisy sleepless nights and about safety i preempted just did not occur. We met lovely people and i'm grateful to have shared part of our walks together. With a child people tended to leave us alone a bit too which suited us well although we also had wonderful encounters with people who embraced Finn as being part of their 'family' and we enjoyed regularly meeting people we would then meet again a few days later along the way. We often walked a little further in the afternoon to avoid crowds or to make it to a nice albergue and although it was at a push on occasion we're glad we did, as we stayed in special places we would not have wanted to miss. We also realised we were fitter and able for more than initially anticipated so we were never ready to stop walking after 15-20km. We loved the walking itself and the idea of carrying our own backpack and the freedom that gave. We learnt to embrace the urban, industrial or less than beautiful parts and let go of certain expectations of certain parts being more in nature. Coming from rural Ireland it was sometimes a surprise to see a highway or realising the main road is never far from the trail but rather than it being a disappointment we accepted this is part of the world we live in and also made us appreciate the place we live a little more. And after all, the Camino is a pilgrimage, not a wilderness walk and the path was there long before any such infrastructure was built. My only concern is that the infrastructure is there to facilitate the Camino, to allow for more trucks and tour buses etc to pass so i just hope it won't spoil the routes in time to come.
We already miss the simplicity of the Camino and feel strong urges to start walking as soon as we wake in the morning since we got home. We have already done a few long distance walks since we got back but it's not quite the same! We miss following the arrows, the misty mornings, the lovely medieval villages, the warm welcome at albergues, not knowing who you will get to meet, what we'll eat, what the next day would bring... First thing my son asked was when our next Camino will be...Now we have done part of the Camino Frances we know a little more what to expect, and also realised our own potential, resilience and strength to do this and the undoubted benefits doing something like this brings to the bond we have as mother and son. It's the best thing we have ever done together and in every way it's been life affirming and i can only look forward to our next Camino together. We're thinking Camino Primitivo for a little more adventure but we'll see!
 
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Anemone del Camino

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Welcome to the group of Camino addicts and thank you for shring this experience with us. I am toying with the idea of taking my Godson next uear when he’ll be 9 1/2. Very impressed about how he was able to manage such long distances in the heat. I know I wouldn’t have.

Have a great time planning your next Camino.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I loved reading about your experiences on your recent Camino. I too, am a mother who has walked three full Caminos with my adult son. You have expressed my feelings almost exactly with your heartfelt words in every thought you shared; a reason I keep coming back. Thank you so much for taking the time to write! I'm sure you will be returning again at some point to walk another portion! Buen Camino!
 
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kaixo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012
Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
We miss following the arrows, the misty mornings, the lovely medieval villages, the warm welcome at albergues, not knowing who you will get to meet, what we'll eat, what the next day would bring...
You are right, it's not quite the same!
Thank you for sharing your lovely story. Such a gift the camino has given you both.
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Wonderful post and experience. I too think one of the best things I have ever done was do the Camino with my children.
I don't know if the Le Puy route or the Norte interest you but I have blogged my experience with five of my six children from last year.
We are reliving the experience almost daily as we reread the blog and look at pictures of where we were exactly one year ago today.
This morning especially...we met a sweet cat in the Pyrenees mountains and just called the local tourist office today to check on her (my third time since home) .
They said she was just there with them and shared a blog with me of a French lady who also posted pictures of this kitty on her blog when she rested in the same town.
My children loved both the Le Puy route and the Norte route (we really loved connecting the two routes through the Pyrenees).
If your son wants to glance at our blog he might be able to judge from pictures if the Norte might interest him, I think it was a great trip fr kids.
My kids were ages 9,11,13,15,17.
Your son might get a kick out of a story that we reenact all the time.
One morning with about two weeks to go (out of three months), we walked out of our auberge in Tapia, full of life, laughing and refreshed...and a woman was in our path dangling a cigarette out of her mouth, dressed in normal business attire.
She blocked our path sizing up my nine year old daughter who was all legs sticking out of an adult sized backpack.
The image looked like a standoff in the old West of the USA between gun fighters.
I knew instantly "Uh Oh" and that we were about to get a scolding for something we were doing "wrong".
This lady (cigarette dangling from mouth) approached my daughter, and started pulling and tugging on
my daughters backpack and totally moving it all around...mumbling the whole time in Spanish.
She then turns to the Spanish pilgrim walking with us and he translates to me...
"she said that your daughter is wearing her backpack all wrong....she knows this because her nephew 'walked the camino' last year"....
and what her definition of "walking the Camino" is up for conversation...
We fortunately can giggle about it and reenact it often....but my poor little nine year old loves to tell the story about how this lady messed with her perfectly adjusted pack and messed it all up.
our blog is
shefollowsshells.blogspot.com
The Le puy route (using the side bar on the right) will start in August 2016 on the 24th
The Norte route starts about October 20th I think.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
@Mgardener , What a lovely posting, thank you for sharing. I am so glad you had such a good experience. One year we walked too with my friend's 10 year old nephew and it was an amazing Camino!
Happy planning for the next one :)
 
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pelerine

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
Thank you, mgardner and shefollowsshells, for your detailed report! So very reassuring! I am hatching a plan with my two daughters to walk the Camino Portugues from O Porto to Santiago with five of my grandchildren (10, 13, 15, 18) next year.

And thank you everybody for sharing your caminoes!
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Thank you, mgardner and shefollowsshells, for your detailed report! So very reassuring! I am hatching a plan with my two daughters to walk the Camino Portugues from O Porto to Santiago with five of my grandchildren (10, 13, 15, 18) next year.

And thank you everybody for sharing your caminoes!
My advice is to prepare them well.
Share, Share and share your experiences of your camino (s), have the young ones draw a map of your experiences, know the stories etc... of your Caminos and be very familiar with the map of what you hope to cover with them. I think this increases the success when kids are really invested in the journey. My children followed along on a map we made back in 2012 on my first Camino. They drew pictures of me eating, friends I was walking with...cats I mentioned and things they imagined.
This map is one of the dearest material objects I own.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Glad you had a great walk. The Primitivo would be an excellent next choice. If you can spare a few extra days, start in Leon and do the San Salvador up to Oviedo first. Those were the parts my kids loved the most of our many miles covered so far.
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Glad you had a great walk. The Primitivo would be an excellent next choice. If you can spare a few extra days, start in Leon and do the San Salvador up to Oviedo first. Those were the parts my kids loved the most of our many miles covered so far.
Kiwi,
About how many days did this add to your Primitivo? It interest me.
Thank you for sharing!
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
@shefollowsshells as I recall we took five days - others do it in 4 to over a week. The hospitalero in Oviedo could hardly believe our final stage was 35km, but we were all walking strongly.
On the first day out from Leon, with the Smallest One having grizzled a bit through the city streets I was thinking of stopping at the 15km mark where there was an albergue. However, we caught up a French guy who the kids were happy chatting with and he didn’t want to stop so we walked on with him. Not long after the village - partway through a decent climb the Small Grumbler declared, “THIS is the kind of walking I like”
We are currently considering returning to do these two routes with Daddy!
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Thanks so much for all your lovely responses, it certainly lifted my spirits on this dreary day back at home. We are taking your tips on board and are already looking at the map which route to take on our next Camino. It's strange what the Camino does to you, we already miss it and nothing feels quite the same! We're actually thinking how did we manage to walk all those kilometers in those few weeks, carrying all our stuff on our backs in that heat?! It feels like a great achievement.
I think the experience has also changed my perspective on life. I was conscious that bad things could happen and especially being with a child it made me more determined to make this experience a positive one no matter what.. I think the experience or the impact thereof has a lot to do with your attitude and how you choose to process it, not necessarily the experience itself. Consciously turning things around and seeing everything as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than a disaster or bad experience meant nothing was truly difficult or bad. We approached any situation with an open mind and sense of wonder and learnt to trust that we would be able to figure things out, and also enjoy things we might otherwise not have liked. Like lots of asphalt or the third tortilla of the day and no decent vegetable in sight for days!

The (potentially disastrous) moments like losing my bag at the airport, or the day we got lost or the evening we arrived at an albergue late only to find bed bugs so we did a runner and had to walk a further 5km to the next place.. could easily have turned into a traumatic experience or a bad memory but somehow they didn't. Instead these moments enhanced our experience and taught us a lot about ourselves, how resilient and creative we can be and how life just throws things at you unexpectedly that you just got to deal with. We laugh about those moments now and feel happy and proud how we managed to get ourselves out of these tricky situations and did not give up.

To all parents who are thinking of walking with their child(ren). All i can say is that this trip has had an incredibly positive impact on my relationship with my son. I'm only beginning to process the journey we shared together. I'm thinking.. when do you ever have so much precious time with your child, all day, walking, be it in silence, singing together, telling stories, sharing whatever thoughts come to mind. I loved seeing my son rise to the challenge, to see how he thrived, took initiative or went off on his own meeting other pilgrims and did not give up when it was hot or tough. He experienced a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, of walking through beautiful landscape and experiencing so many things, which was the best reward. No need for toys or other gadgets! He learnt so much and enjoyed the simplicity the Camino provided, like me. Somehow you think kids need entertainment or something other than what is there but every day was different and he had no time to be bored. He had fun and interesting chats with people of all ages and backgrounds and in different languages. Being at home life takes over and it's so much harder to find the time to just be together. I cherish the times we had and know how precious they are.
I'm grateful for the sense of community the Camino provides. It's a unique and wonderful thing i haven't experienced before. Since home i coincidentally met a few people who have walked the Camino before and exchanging stories is so special as there's this unique understanding what it's like.. Thank you everyone.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
I walked with my son at 8 1/2 - and many more times. The last time, he was 20.

You are right, it's absolutely wonderful. It has been so much fun to watch him change over the years, while I still occasionally catch glimpses of the little kid we dragged with us the first time - for the first three days, and then he ran in front of us for the next 16.
 

DavidJ1215

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome 2018.
.Now we have done part of the Camino Frances we know a little more what to expect, and also realised our own potential, resilience and strength to do this and the undoubted benefits doing something like this brings to the bond we have as mother and son. It's the best thing we have ever done together and in every way it's been life affirming and i can only look forward to our next Camino together. We're thinking Camino Primitivo for a little more adventure but we'll see!
What a wonderful journey for both of you and what a very special son you have and what a very special mum he has ! - Why not complete the Camino Frances next time from St.jean to Astorga ?
 
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Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Wonderful post and experience. I too think one of the best things I have ever done was do the Camino with my children.
I don't know if the Le Puy route or the Norte interest you but I have blogged my experience with five of my six children from last year.
We are reliving the experience almost daily as we reread the blog and look at pictures of where we were exactly one year ago today.
This morning especially...we met a sweet cat in the Pyrenees mountains and just called the local tourist office today to check on her (my third time since home) .
They said she was just there with them and shared a blog with me of a French lady who also posted pictures of this kitty on her blog when she rested in the same town.
My children loved both the Le Puy route and the Norte route (we really loved connecting the two routes through the Pyrenees).
If your son wants to glance at our blog he might be able to judge from pictures if the Norte might interest him, I think it was a great trip fr kids.
My kids were ages 9,11,13,15,17.
Your son might get a kick out of a story that we reenact all the time.
One morning with about two weeks to go (out of three months), we walked out of our auberge in Tapia, full of life, laughing and refreshed...and a woman was in our path dangling a cigarette out of her mouth, dressed in normal business attire.
She blocked our path sizing up my nine year old daughter who was all legs sticking out of an adult sized backpack.
The image looked like a standoff in the old West of the USA between gun fighters.
I knew instantly "Uh Oh" and that we were about to get a scolding for something we were doing "wrong".
This lady (cigarette dangling from mouth) approached my daughter, and started pulling and tugging on
my daughters backpack and totally moving it all around...mumbling the whole time in Spanish.
She then turns to the Spanish pilgrim walking with us and he translates to me...
"she said that your daughter is wearing her backpack all wrong....she knows this because her nephew 'walked the camino' last year"....
and what her definition of "walking the Camino" is up for conversation...
We fortunately can giggle about it and reenact it often....but my poor little nine year old loves to tell the story about how this lady messed with her perfectly adjusted pack and messed it all up.
our blog is
shefollowsshells.blogspot.com
The Le puy route (using the side bar on the right) will start in August 2016 on the 24th
The Norte route starts about October 20th I think.

Hi thanks for sharing your stories and i love your blog.. had actually looked at it a few times before! Really inspiring hearing about your experience with your children and seeing how far they walked and how much fun they had. You're very lucky to have had that amount of time with them! I'm restricted due to school but luckily my son has an understanding and supportive principal who allowed us to go away for a couple of weeks during school term.. Your children look very happy and content, it's lovely to see, like my son he was so happy all the way through and big smiles on every photo. We live by the sea and we love walking by the coast so to see your photos definitive sparked our interest! Have you done more caminos since? What route would be your favorite?
 
Last edited:

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
Thanks so much for all your lovely responses, it certainly lifted my spirits on this dreary day back at home. We are taking your tips on board and are already looking at the map which route to take on our next Camino. It's strange what the Camino does to you, we already miss it and nothing feels quite the same! We're actually thinking how did we manage to walk all those kilometers in those few weeks, carrying all our stuff on our backs in that heat?! It feels like a great achievement.
I think the experience has also changed my perspective on life. I was conscious that bad things could happen and especially being with a child it made me more determined to make this experience a positive one no matter what.. I think the experience or the impact thereof has a lot to do with your attitude and how you choose to process it, not necessarily the experience itself. Consciously turning things around and seeing everything as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than a disaster or bad experience meant nothing was truly difficult or bad. We approached any situation with an open mind and sense of wonder and learnt to trust that we would be able to figure things out, and also enjoy things we might otherwise not have liked. Like lots of asphalt or the third tortilla of the day and no decent vegetable in sight for days!

The (potentially disastrous) moments like losing my bag at the airport, or the day we got lost or the evening we arrived at an albergue late only to find bed bugs so we did a runner and had to walk a further 5km to the next place.. could easily have turned into a traumatic experience or a bad memory but somehow they didn't. Instead these moments enhanced our experience and taught us a lot about ourselves, how resilient and creative we can be and how life just throws things at you unexpectedly that you just got to deal with. We laugh about those moments now and feel happy and proud how we managed to get ourselves out of these tricky situations and did not give up.

To all parents who are thinking of walking with their child(ren). All i can say is that this trip has had an incredibly positive impact on my relationship with my son. I'm only beginning to process the journey we shared together. I'm thinking.. when do you ever have so much precious time with your child, all day, walking, be it in silence, singing together, telling stories, sharing whatever thoughts come to mind. I loved seeing my son rise to the challenge, to see how he thrived, took initiative or went off on his own meeting other pilgrims and did not give up when it was hot or tough. He experienced a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, of walking through beautiful landscape and experiencing so many things, which was the best reward. No need for toys or other gadgets! He learnt so much and enjoyed the simplicity the Camino provided, like me. Somehow you think kids need entertainment or something other than what is there but every day was different and he had no time to be bored. He had fun and interesting chats with people of all ages and backgrounds and in different languages. Being at home life takes over and it's so much harder to find the time to just be together. I cherish the times we had and know how precious they are.
I'm grateful for the sense of community the Camino provides. It's a unique and wonderful thing i haven't experienced before. Since home i coincidentally met a few people who have walked the Camino before and exchanging stories is so special as there's this unique understanding what it's like.. Thank you everyone.
Thank you ever so much for sharing very inspiring and heartfelt posts.
Truly felt very moved reading about your pilgrimage.
And not to lose heart now that you are outwardly not moving on a “camino”... that what has touched your heart and spirits and whatever it evoked within you both...is now part of you and it is not lose-able
It just may take a wee bit time to find your new rhythm post- outer -camino.
And rest assured.... the camino does continue... allow yourself to be surprised.
After having read your tales...i wished i had met you both!! Thanks again for sharing!!
Very best wishes...
Claudia
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
What a wonderful journey for both of you and what a very special son you have and what a very special mum he has ! - Why not complete the Camino Frances next time from St.jean to Astorga ?

Thank you David that's very kind! Yes we would love to start from St Jean and complete the Camino Frances one day. But for the foreseeable future we are restricted for time so i'm not sure when we could do it, unless we go during July or August but as a gardener that's bad timing for me and i like to avoid the heat and crowds if i can. Since i can't take my son out of school for another three weeks this school year and we can't wait another year to go again, we're looking at shorter routes that are doable in 2 weeks during a school break, most possibly Easter... I hear it's a busy and expensive time to go though? Anyone walked the Camino at Easter? I think it falls quite early this year. We would be thinking El Norte or Primitivo or perhaps Portugese coastal route.. I would be curious to hear, weather wise also, many thanks.
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Kiwi,
About how many days did this add to your Primitivo? It interest me.
Thank you for sharing!
Yes thanks! This route sounds amazing and quite a bit tougher than the other ones, is that so? We're (already!) hatching a plan for perhaps Easter 2018 which be late March/early spring.. wonder is the route vastly different and potentially more treacherous than most? My son would love it but it be just him and me and i would want to be prepared.
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Thank you David that's very kind! Yes we would love to start from St Jean and complete the Camino Frances one day. But for the foreseeable future we are restricted for time so i'm not sure when we could do it, unless we go during July or August but as a gardener that's bad timing for me and i like to avoid the heat and crowds if i can. Since i can't take my son out of school for another three weeks this school year and we can't wait another year to go again, we're looking at shorter routes that are doable in 2 weeks during a school break, most possibly Easter... I hear it's a busy and expensive time to go though? Anyone walked the Camino at Easter? I think it falls quite early this year. We would be thinking El Norte or Primitivo or perhaps Portugese coastal route.. I would be curious to hear, weather wise also, many thanks.
I walked the Camino Norte during Easter in 2014 (???), I don't see why it would be more inexpensive, I can not say I witnessed that at all. I thought it was a lovely time to go. There were a lot of prosessions leading up to Easter Sunday. Granted I was on the beaches of the Norte and can't say that I noticed any large hoopla on that Sunday. I did fear we wouldn't get food but there was a roadside restaurant open.
Come to think of it we will be on the Camino for the next Easter too.
We are doing two weeks in Morocco before starting in Lisbon, and out of a family of 8 four of us will be celebrating our Birthdays and Easter on that trip, the fifth will be celebrating his birthday 8 days before we go.
 
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shefollowsshells

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Hi thanks for sharing your stories and i love your blog.. had actually looked at it a few times before! Really inspiring hearing about your experience with your children and seeing how far they walked and how much fun they had. You're very lucky to have had that amount of time with them! I'm restricted due to school but luckily my son has an understanding and supportive principal who allowed us to go away for a couple of weeks during school term.. Your children look very happy and content, it's lovely to see, like my son he was so happy all the way through and big smiles on every photo. We live by the sea and we love walking by the coast so to see your photos definitive sparked our interest! Have you done more caminos since? What route would be your favorite?
It's so difficult to say which route is a favorite because there are so many variables, I always say its like an onion peel...the experience can't be described by terrain only as friendships made can make walking on asphalt a great day in my eyes. I do really love the Norte though, as long as you skirt the coast whenever you can and follow the E-9. There are about five places on the Norte that I know many people miss and are my favorite stretches.
I homeschool which lets me take the time, we school year round and then don't have to justify the absence. IF you are in the States you could pull your son out of school and just put him back in when back...pulling him meaning homeschooling him for that time.
We are about to go back, tickets have been bought to go to Portugal where we have a few days shy of three months that we plan to be in Europe.
We will be doing (as of now) the Rota Vicentina, the Portuguese from Lisbon, Finesterre and Muxia and then the Inglais. I have some images of doing the Primitivo instead of the Inglais but my older sons want to do that and they won't be with us this time. This trip is just for the GIRLS :)...
I'm afraid to Jinx myself but the family is going to attempt the Appalachian Trail in March 2019. I'm not certain I can do it, but we are giving our son a gap year before college (just deferring enrollment to the school of his choice) to do it. I might just be support, I'm whipping out some for some reason. I think I know there won't be wine and great food meeting me every night.
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Thank you ever so much for sharing very inspiring and heartfelt posts.
Truly felt very moved reading about your pilgrimage.
And not to lose heart now that you are outwardly not moving on a “camino”... that what has touched your heart and spirits and whatever it evoked within you both...is now part of you and it is not lose-able
It just may take a wee bit time to find your new rhythm post- outer -camino.
And rest assured.... the camino does continue... allow yourself to be surprised.
After having read your tales...i wished i had met you both!! Thanks again for sharing!!
Very best wishes...
Claudia

Thanks Claudia i really appreciate your kind and thoughtful response, it really warms my heart while feeling a little 'lost' at home right now, struggling to be present and to pick up where we left before the Camino. Maybe the weather has something to do with it because it is particularly miserable here right now but I feel different, and so does everything around me. I suspect this is what the Camino 'does', bringing about change, and will continue to do so.. I feel so lucky to have had this experience and regularly pinch myself that we did it and feel so enriched and full filled by the experience knowing no one can take this away from us, ever. I remember a moment we were walking in Santiago and it suddenly hit me how happy and alive and at peace i felt, i think it was pure happiness. Noticing other pilgrims with this quiet sense of satisfaction and contentment in their expressions made me think i was not alone in this! It feels like a treasure and a potential for so much more within us and to share with the people we meet on our way and in our daily lives. Who knows we might meet one day! All the best...
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
It's so difficult to say which route is a favorite because there are so many variables, I always say its like an onion peel...the experience can't be described by terrain only as friendships made can make walking on asphalt a great day in my eyes. I do really love the Norte though, as long as you skirt the coast whenever you can and follow the E-9. There are about five places on the Norte that I know many people miss and are my favorite stretches.
I homeschool which lets me take the time, we school year round and then don't have to justify the absence. IF you are in the States you could pull your son out of school and just put him back in when back...pulling him meaning homeschooling him for that time.
We are about to go back, tickets have been bought to go to Portugal where we have a few days shy of three months that we plan to be in Europe.
We will be doing (as of now) the Rota Vicentina, the Portuguese from Lisbon, Finesterre and Muxia and then the Inglais. I have some images of doing the Primitivo instead of the Inglais but my older sons want to do that and they won't be with us this time. This trip is just for the GIRLS :)...
I'm afraid to Jinx myself but the family is going to attempt the Appalachian Trail in March 2019. I'm not certain I can do it, but we are giving our son a gap year before college (just deferring enrollment to the school of his choice) to do it. I might just be support, I'm whipping out some for some reason. I think I know there won't be wine and great food meeting me every night.

Wow, amazing the journey(s) you are planning. Very lucky children indeed! I'm living in rural Ireland and on my own with my son. In other circumstances home schooling would be our preference too but i'm grateful that at least the school is supportive and let's us go on our shorter adventures during term. Long may it last! Good to hear your experience during Easter was positive, and tips on the Norte. I'd say we will spent quite some time deciding which route to actually take as all are appealing right now! My son also has the Appalachian trail and PCT on his list for when he is older but not sure if he means with me!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Hi everyone,
We just came back from our Camino last week and are still getting used to our new /old routine.. We walked from Astorga to Santiago and then on to Finisterre from where we took the bus back to Santiago. Altogether it took us 15 days. Apart from the initial hick-up at Madrid airport where my rucksack got lost in transit, only to be found in a corner two hours later after having been sent all over the airport, between terminals etc, thanks to two wonderful ladies who used their airport passes to get in and out of security to find it! It was a stressful start especially with the language barrier and after a sleepless night at Dublin airport but all ended well and now it's just part of the amazing adventure we had.
Coming from Ireland we had not experienced any heat or decent warmth for many years, indeed not in my son's life so landing with 30 degrees was a bit of a shock to the system, which i believe was unusual at this time of year, but we were grateful to feel the much needed warmth we so lack where we live. Walking in the heat was again a different story with heavy backpacks and not much shade in places but we embraced it and could only feel blessed not to be walking in the rain on slippery slopes and feeling damp all the time. Altogether the experience has been very positive and it was amazing to walk together with my son. From the responses we got i realised we achieved quite an amazing feat, considering we walked 25-35 km each day in the heat, had no blisters or other complaints and my son embraced the challenge and was happy to walk all day, every day, no matter how long or difficult. I consider myself lucky as i heard many people only wish for their child to be so happy, let alone interested to do such walk at all. I could not have done it and would not have brought my son had he not had an inner drive or motivation to want to do it himself. It would have been quite the struggle thinking of those long stretches way beyond lunch time when it got seriously hot when we could easily have given up, but it was my son's optimism and resilience which helped carry us through and also meant we had an amazing, enjoyable and (mostly!) harmonious time together. Once we got lost, and he was the one who got us back on track using the map, not me! I can only think it was a great experience for him. Definitely it boosted his confidence and the ability to trust his own abilities to navigate and take charge, finding our way in unknown territory. He was unfazed.
The one rule my son had before we left was not to bring my phone but for safety reasons i didn't feel that was wise so we made a compromise to bring it only to ring his dad and in emergencies. I kept my promise and did not need the phone at all as the guidebook provided all the info we needed and i'm convinced this contributed to the positive experience we had. Not knowing where we would sleep at the end of the day etc was part of the adventure and not a worry as i thought before we left. My son loved the dorms and sleeping in a bunk and never did we have any bad experiences, although we avoided the big towns and big municipals but rather choose the more personal, family orientated albergues so that may have had something to do with it. People were respectful of one and others' space and the issues of noisy sleepless nights and about safety i preempted just did not occur. We met lovely people and i'm grateful to have shared part of our walks together. With a child people tended to leave us alone a bit too which suited us well although we also had wonderful encounters with people who embraced Finn as being part of their 'family' and we enjoyed regularly meeting people we would then meet again a few days later along the way. We often walked a little further in the afternoon to avoid crowds or to make it to a nice albergue and although it was at a push on occasion we're glad we did, as we stayed in special places we would not have wanted to miss. We also realised we were fitter and able for more than initially anticipated so we were never ready to stop walking after 15-20km. We loved the walking itself and the idea of carrying our own backpack and the freedom that gave. We learnt to embrace the urban, industrial or less than beautiful parts and let go of certain expectations of certain parts being more in nature. Coming from rural Ireland it was sometimes a surprise to see a highway or realising the main road is never far from the trail but rather than it being a disappointment we accepted this is part of the world we live in and also made us appreciate the place we live a little more. And after all, the Camino is a pilgrimage, not a wilderness walk and the path was there long before any such infrastructure was built. My only concern is that the infrastructure is there to facilitate the Camino, to allow for more trucks and tour buses etc to pass so i just hope it won't spoil the routes in time to come.
We already miss the simplicity of the Camino and feel strong urges to start walking as soon as we wake in the morning since we got home. We have already done a few long distance walks since we got back but it's not quite the same! We miss following the arrows, the misty mornings, the lovely medieval villages, the warm welcome at albergues, not knowing who you will get to meet, what we'll eat, what the next day would bring... First thing my son asked was when our next Camino will be...Now we have done part of the Camino Frances we know a little more what to expect, and also realised our own potential, resilience and strength to do this and the undoubted benefits doing something like this brings to the bond we have as mother and son. It's the best thing we have ever done together and in every way it's been life affirming and i can only look forward to our next Camino together. We're thinking Camino Primitivo for a little more adventure but we'll see!
Thanks for sharing your story. I also walked the Camino with family (my son, then 16) and it is a really special experience. I remember a Korean family who were walking at the same time as us with their children aged 7 and 10. At the albergues the children were always happy and full of energy. The rest of us exhausted pilgrims were always astounded. Their parents told us they weren't always that way en route, though! :) I'm glad it was a great experience for you.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (May 2019)
Thank you Mgardner for sharing your experience with your son. What a wonderful time to bond and grow for the both of you!

I was considering doing the Camino Frances myself, with my 10 year old son and wife possibly joining me for the last 100km. However, after reading your story, I'm reconsidering walking most of the route alone, and may look into walking a shorter route or a portion of the Frances with my son. I showed him the trailer for "I'll Push You" and he was really interested in seeing the film. I hope that stories like yours will continue to pique his interest and stir his passion further.
 
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cvok

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino (2018)
Hello Mgardner, thank you for sharing your beautiful story on this forum. I'm so happy to hear that you and your son have this amazing journey to share with each other for the rest of your lives.
My husband and I are taking our three daughters (20, 16, and 10 years old) on a very short Camino in 2018 (from Sarria to Santiago). This will be our first overseas trip together as a family (we live in Australia) and I have been planning this for more than 23 years - when I first heard about the Camino, and I can't believe we actually bought the plane tickets last week. I am very excited and can't wait to do it and I read out your story to my family two nights ago, and everyone found it very inspiring. I'm wondering if you could tell me what guide book you mentioned in your post, and can you describe what type of shoes and what size pack you used for your son? Our youngest daughter will be about the same age and I'm trying to decide between trail shoes or just plain joggers, and can't really decide what size pack to get for her.
Thanks again,
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@cvok welcome to the forum! You will find plenty of helpful advice here - do not hesitate to start a thread if you cannot find answers to your questions. Also have a look in the Australian and New Zealand section of the forum (scroll down the first page of the forum) to see if there are any local groups in your area - always a good resource for sourcing equipment.

For the section between Sarria and Santiago plain joggers will be more than adequate. The paths in this section are the soft green lanes of Galicia - beautiful walking. Nothing like bushwalking in Oz!

For the pack - those who have walked with children will give guidance, but as a general rule try to keep the weight under 10 percent of her body weight. And I'd say get something with a good hip belt, so the weight is evenly distributed.
 

cvok

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino (2018)
Thank you for such a speedy reply, Kanga! Even though I have only been a member of this forum for a short time, I have already learned so much! Members are so generous with their time, effort, and enthusiasm.
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Hello Mgardner, thank you for sharing your beautiful story on this forum. I'm so happy to hear that you and your son have this amazing journey to share with each other for the rest of your lives.
My husband and I are taking our three daughters (20, 16, and 10 years old) on a very short Camino in 2018 (from Sarria to Santiago). This will be our first overseas trip together as a family (we live in Australia) and I have been planning this for more than 23 years - when I first heard about the Camino, and I can't believe we actually bought the plane tickets last week. I am very excited and can't wait to do it and I read out your story to my family two nights ago, and everyone found it very inspiring. I'm wondering if you could tell me what guide book you mentioned in your post, and can you describe what type of shoes and what size pack you used for your son? Our youngest daughter will be about the same age and I'm trying to decide between trail shoes or just plain joggers, and can't really decide what size pack to get for her.
Thanks again,

Hi, i'm so glad to hear you and your family enjoyed my post. It's been lovely to share our experience and to receive such positive and encouraging responses, i certainly did not expect that. We had an amazing time and i'm sure you will too. Sounds like a special trip for you, with your husband and three daughters of all ages. The guidebook i used was the Pilgrim's guide to the Camino de Santiago by John Brierley, which is the one used by most people and available through the forum shop also i think. I used it for the map, to calculate distances and to check out places to stay. It's a great guide but since most people follow the sections where to stop, we knew where not to go if we felt like something a little different or quieter.
Is your daughter carrying all her own gear? My son did and his backpack was 25lt which was perfect for him. Not quite sure how heavy it was but i guess about 4kg with variations depending on water supply etc but he was comfortable all the way, or so he said! But i should add that he is a strong boy so i couldn't say if 4kg might be too much for your daughter.. It took me ages to find the right backpack for him. Doing research i realised soon enough there weren't many packs suitable for his age as he is too big for kid's packs and too small for an adult size backpack. Also it needed waist straps which most smaller backpacks don't have. Finally i found the perfect bag for my son. It's the Brenta 25lt from Vaude and costs around 80 euro here. It's an an adult backpack with adjustable back straps and frame from XS to XL. It fits him perfectly on XS now and can be adjusted as he grows taller so to me it seemed like a good long term investment. He is quite tall for his age though so i couldn't say if all 10 year old kids could wear it but for him it is the ideal backpack. Comfortable straps, great support and enough space to fit all his gear, he loves it. It comes in nice and bright colours too and a fancy ventilation pull system at the back which was an added bonus. He carried his own water in a 1.5lt bladder and occasionally also an extra small bottle, all his own clothes, hat and gloves, raincoat, sleeping bag, crocs, towel, diary and sketch book, pens, torch and compass, rain cover and maybe a few other things he sneaked in, including a rock which came all the way and back, we realised after! If Vaude is not available in Australia i would suggest looking for backpacks specifically for women as they generally fit smaller people too and look for a bag that can grow with her, like my son will fit this bag for ever if he looks after it! If you can it's best to go to a shop and try it on to help you choose a good fit..
Shoes were also tricky to decide.. We lost his hiking shoes a few weeks before we left and he insisted on wearing his sandals. At that stage i just went with it as it was too late to purchase a new pair. As it turned out the sandals KEEN Newport H2 were great and comfortable all the way through. He wore woolen socks and cool max liners also. BUT.. we had no rain at all so in different circumstances he may have been wishing for something different. If i had to buy him shoes i would go with a light breathable hiking shoe or runner. No gore tex necessary, definitely not in summer anyway, it be too hot which more often than not seems to cause discomfort and blisters.. I wore Salomon X ultra 2 non gore tex shoes myself and they were great also. Neither of us had blisters or anything like that. Woolen socks and a cream certainly help i found.
I'm delighted to be able to help out as i was full of similar questions before we left so i hope this will help you make up your mind! If any more questions i'm happy to answer them..
 
Last edited:

cvok

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino (2018)
Thank you so much for once again sharing your knowledge and your time with all the details you have given me!
Our daughter will be carrying the majority of her own items, and I suppose I will do a thorough bag search before we leave home to check on any "miscellaneous" items that might sneak their way in!! :) love the rock story!
As for shoes, 'Kanga' has assured me that joggers will be suitable, so I'm happy to go with that.
Thanks for your offer to answer more questions - no doubt I will have more as time goes on.
All the best for now, cvok.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@cvok be prepared for the joggers to get wet - Galicia rains a lot - but if they are well ventilated they will "walk dry". Take an extra pair of socks. And make sure they are plenty big enough.

Have fun!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I am also toying with the idea of Easter 2018 with my 9.5 year old gdson. I walked in this time frame this year (Easter falls almost at the same to e) and loved VDLP. The festivities in some of the towns were fun, and also lots of people taking a week or so off to walk at that time. Plus, the weather was a welcome pst winter break.

Would I take him for a bit of Sevilla and a walking to Merida? A combo of walking, Arabic architecture, Roman ruins, Spanish Easter festivities?

Or a day in Paris, then off to SJPP by TGV, and then walk to Logrono? More cafe con leche, more reasonable considering my torn meniscus, but no Napolean route as it will open on Easter Sunday and I want this to experience Easter festivities.

Too early dor the Primitivo or Salvador, still too muddy.

Guess the cost of the plane ticket will dictate. Or just pick one already!

I looked at backpacks for him last week. There was a 25 liter Osprey but no hip straps. It’s a bag he could use for school after. Or a 30 l.Tempest or similar, like mine, but the hip straps may be too big anyays.

I need to get him to try mine one and see where that takes us.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
August 2015
Hi everyone,
We just came back from our Camino last week and are still getting used to our new /old routine.. We walked from Astorga to Santiago and then on to Finisterre from where we took the bus back to Santiago. Altogether it took us 15 days. Apart from the initial hick-up at Madrid airport where my rucksack got lost in transit, only to be found in a corner two hours later after having been sent all over the airport, between terminals etc, thanks to two wonderful ladies who used their airport passes to get in and out of security to find it! It was a stressful start especially with the language barrier and after a sleepless night at Dublin airport but all ended well and now it's just part of the amazing adventure we had.
Coming from Ireland we had not experienced any heat or decent warmth for many years, indeed not in my son's life so landing with 30 degrees was a bit of a shock to the system, which i believe was unusual at this time of year, but we were grateful to feel the much needed warmth we so lack where we live. Walking in the heat was again a different story with heavy backpacks and not much shade in places but we embraced it and could only feel blessed not to be walking in the rain on slippery slopes and feeling damp all the time. Altogether the experience has been very positive and it was amazing to walk together with my son. From the responses we got i realised we achieved quite an amazing feat, considering we walked 25-35 km each day in the heat, had no blisters or other complaints and my son embraced the challenge and was happy to walk all day, every day, no matter how long or difficult. I consider myself lucky as i heard many people only wish for their child to be so happy, let alone interested to do such walk at all. I could not have done it and would not have brought my son had he not had an inner drive or motivation to want to do it himself. It would have been quite the struggle thinking of those long stretches way beyond lunch time when it got seriously hot when we could easily have given up, but it was my son's optimism and resilience which helped carry us through and also meant we had an amazing, enjoyable and (mostly!) harmonious time together. Once we got lost, and he was the one who got us back on track using the map, not me! I can only think it was a great experience for him. Definitely it boosted his confidence and the ability to trust his own abilities to navigate and take charge, finding our way in unknown territory. He was unfazed.
The one rule my son had before we left was not to bring my phone but for safety reasons i didn't feel that was wise so we made a compromise to bring it only to ring his dad and in emergencies. I kept my promise and did not need the phone at all as the guidebook provided all the info we needed and i'm convinced this contributed to the positive experience we had. Not knowing where we would sleep at the end of the day etc was part of the adventure and not a worry as i thought before we left. My son loved the dorms and sleeping in a bunk and never did we have any bad experiences, although we avoided the big towns and big municipals but rather choose the more personal, family orientated albergues so that may have had something to do with it. People were respectful of one and others' space and the issues of noisy sleepless nights and about safety i preempted just did not occur. We met lovely people and i'm grateful to have shared part of our walks together. With a child people tended to leave us alone a bit too which suited us well although we also had wonderful encounters with people who embraced Finn as being part of their 'family' and we enjoyed regularly meeting people we would then meet again a few days later along the way. We often walked a little further in the afternoon to avoid crowds or to make it to a nice albergue and although it was at a push on occasion we're glad we did, as we stayed in special places we would not have wanted to miss. We also realised we were fitter and able for more than initially anticipated so we were never ready to stop walking after 15-20km. We loved the walking itself and the idea of carrying our own backpack and the freedom that gave. We learnt to embrace the urban, industrial or less than beautiful parts and let go of certain expectations of certain parts being more in nature. Coming from rural Ireland it was sometimes a surprise to see a highway or realising the main road is never far from the trail but rather than it being a disappointment we accepted this is part of the world we live in and also made us appreciate the place we live a little more. And after all, the Camino is a pilgrimage, not a wilderness walk and the path was there long before any such infrastructure was built. My only concern is that the infrastructure is there to facilitate the Camino, to allow for more trucks and tour buses etc to pass so i just hope it won't spoil the routes in time to come.
We already miss the simplicity of the Camino and feel strong urges to start walking as soon as we wake in the morning since we got home. We have already done a few long distance walks since we got back but it's not quite the same! We miss following the arrows, the misty mornings, the lovely medieval villages, the warm welcome at albergues, not knowing who you will get to meet, what we'll eat, what the next day would bring... First thing my son asked was when our next Camino will be...Now we have done part of the Camino Frances we know a little more what to expect, and also realised our own potential, resilience and strength to do this and the undoubted benefits doing something like this brings to the bond we have as mother and son. It's the best thing we have ever done together and in every way it's been life affirming and i can only look forward to our next Camino together. We're thinking Camino Primitivo for a little more adventure but we'll see!
Hello MGardner -- this post is really inspiring. I am walking with my 10 year-old granddaughter this June/July and I can't wait to show this to her.
 

Mgardener

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2017
Hi Rachel, that's lovely to hear thank you. We went back last year and walked the Camino del Salvador and Camino Primitivo at the end of September. It was another unforgettable experience. It was different in the sense that it was quieter and more remote, days were longer and the terrain more challenging, but it was absolutely beautiful and every day a new adventure. I think our first Camino gave us the courage to follow a road less travelled and it was a wonderful experience and a very special time to have with my son. I imagine it will be as special to walk the camino with your grand daughter. I think it's the best gift you can give a child (and parent!). Buen Camino to you both. M
 

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