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My parting thoughts on my camino

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#3
Okay blog, I suppose. Opinion, of course.
One thing I do agree with is your take on the graffiti, trash and stone stacking.
I will happily admit I am one of the pilgrims that knocks down the stacks of stones off of the kilometre markers and kicks the ones off of the path. Yes, I'm that guy. lol :D
 
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MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#4
I could relate to a lot of this! The phrase "the camino provides" in particular can make me wince. I'm more of the "be prepared" school of thought. And I wasn't a fan either of the 'mystic commentaries' of that one famous caministo.

But also, I have one really strong objection ...

Consider “why” you are going on a Camino, and be as specific as you can. This may seem silly, but as you walk, you’ll face choices that will require you to revisit the “why?” So you need to have the answer in your pocket.

I don't think this is important at all. Sometimes something just feels right, even if you can't put your finger on it. In Hawai`i people talk about trusting their naʻau, i.e. their guts, or intuition. If the idea of the Camino speaks to you, then it doesn't matter if you understand why it speaks to you. It just does.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#6
A lot of stuff I disagree with, some I agree with, others that may or not be appropriate to a situation. I do appreciate the read, though :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, (2018)
#7
I could relate to a lot of this! The phrase "the camino provides" in particular can make me wince. I'm more of the "be prepared" school of thought. And I wasn't a fan either of the 'mystic commentaries' of that one famous caministo.

But also, I have one really strong objection ...

Consider “why” you are going on a Camino, and be as specific as you can. This may seem silly, but as you walk, you’ll face choices that will require you to revisit the “why?” So you need to have the answer in your pocket.

I don't think this is important at all. Sometimes something just feels right, even if you can't put your finger on it. In Hawai`i people talk about trusting their naʻau, i.e. their guts, or intuition. If the idea of the Camino speaks to you, then it doesn't matter if you understand why it speaks to you. It just does.
Good point. I guess I would say that for those who go on but feelings, you are on the most flexible, whatever, Camino, so you can go with that. Very freeing!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#8
Although I disagree with many points, it was interesting to read and well written. I am not sure if I'm romanticizing my caminos (which can very well be true) or if I was really lucky and had an easy roll - no blister, no pain, perfect backpack, good weather, etc etc.

What I totally agree with is that the camino requires some thinking and some common sense.

My questions after reading was: did you enjoy the experience? was it worth it? and why did you do it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#12
The words 'el Camino' mean 'the Way,' It can be taken to mean, depending on context, a road, a path, or a journey. It is NOT about a destination, per se, at least IMHO.

While the original, and many more contemporary pilgrims believed that the pilgrimage is all and solely about reaching the relics of the Apostle Saint James the Greater at Santiago, I postulate and advance the position that it is more about the experience of making the journey where we obtain the maximum benefits to our individual self. Yes, a goal in all aspects of life is a worthy thing. But one should not allow the goal to become the sole focus of the journey.

Also, many people, including me, have observed that the Camino is an apt metaphor for life. Most of life's issues, trials and tribulations, joys and challenges can be found while on your individual journey.

There are many good, generous and helpful people, and a few not so good, not so generous, and not so helpful people along the way. There is good weather and bad, warmer and colder, stiff wind and no wind, rain and drought. Once you understand these things, you can better start to see the metaphorical nature of the Camino, vis-a-vis life's journey. I try to walk in silence (difficult for me) some days. just to recharge my batteries... The Camino provides my recharge...

Yes, the Camino DOES provide. But this supposes that one is actually aware of what is going on around them. Also, the provision is a highly individual and specific issue. Sometimes the benefits are intangible, emotional, religious, or philosophical. Sometimes the benefits are more tangible, like a band-aid / plaster or some medication appearing when needed.

Being provided something, even intangible, does just happen, very serendipitously I might add, at least in my experience over six Caminos. Sometimes, one is not even aware that they have been 'gifted' until after - sometimes well after - they finish the actual walking. The effect is different for every pilgrim.

For many, the effect does not settle in until months after their return to a previous life. For me, it was seeing yellow directional arrows used by a developer near my then home in Virginia after my first Camino. It took a conscious effort to avoid yanking the steering wheel to follow the arrows...that made things click in my mind...but I digress...

In a way, this is like someone who suffers from PTS and experiences something in daily life that triggers negative memories from their past. I actually was diagnosed with this condition and know what I am talking about in this regard. However, the difference is that for many of us Camino veterans, the memories and flashbacks are positive. The flashbacks bring us back to a far better time and place, when we were on Camino.

True, it is possible to walk any Camino with 'blinders' on, like a horse in harness pulling a cart or wagon. But to do a Camino that way, to me, avoids the premise of the journey. Unless one is open to all that the Camino delivers to you, good and bad, the experience is diminished.

To walk a Camino and participate in the Camino experience, according to your comfort level, is when all of the magic happens. If one treats the Camino as a forced march or singular mission, with one focus, to get to the destination, the beauty of the entire journey is lost.

I do not disagree with any of what you wrote in your OP. Over my Caminos, I have at times had similar observations and thoughts. But, for me at least, the overall positive effect of the Camino, reaching into months and years beyond the actual experience, literally changed my life back in the world."

To me, the Camino continues to provide. It gets me up every morning to check and participate in this forum community. I spend from one to two hours daily trying to help others, and maintaining bonds with the many friends I have made over the years. It takes me to monthly walks with my local chapter of American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC).

The lure of the Camino, and the intensive yearning or desire to be part of this ever-unfolding mystically wonderful human experience and community takes me back to the Camino once yearly, to walk another route. Sometimes it is a month-long pilgrimage. Other times, it is two weeks or less. I will do this as long as my health permits.

Finally, it is the realization that I have received so much from my Camino experiences that I return every summer to work for one month as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. I do this to give back, to contribute, to help in any way I am asked, and to grow as a human being.

Growth and learning are good things. To learn something new, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant each day is a blessing. IMHO, when we stop learning and challenging, when we stop being curious, that is when we start to die.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is many things to many people. To some, the Camino provides more. To some, it provides less. But everyone comes away changed in some way. For many, like myself, the changes are profound and, hopefully, lifelong.

I encourage you, and anyone else who might think they had a less than positive experience, to give it one more try. Consider a different route, or different time of year. It may change your perspective, experience and the results achieved.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, (2018)
#15
Although I disagree with many points, it was interesting to read and well written. I am not sure if I'm romanticizing my caminos (which can very well be true) or if I was really lucky and had an easy roll - no blister, no pain, perfect backpack, good weather, etc etc.

What I totally agree with is that the camino requires some thinking and some common sense.

My questions after reading was: did you enjoy the experience? was it worth it? and why did you do it?
Good questions! My wife and I were looking for something challenging and spiritual to do together during our retirement. The Camino seemed to fit the bill. My personal goal was to offer praise and thanks to God for a great life: great wife, kids, grandkids, career, now retirement. As a former soldier and long distance runner, I knew the Camino would be a challenge, but one we would prepare for. I never felt overmatched by the terrain or the weather. But, the poor conditions certainly made it more of an endurance test than I would have liked. I worked on anger issues which arose (covered those in another post), and I think that is what the Spirit was showing me. Enjoy would not be the word I would choose, but then I wasn't looking for that (or a vacation). It was a growth experience, but some of my ability to really learn from it was attenuated by the overly-positive opinions I relied upon. That is where my negativity comes in. Worth it? Yes, certainly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2017 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. 2018 ?
#17
One thing I do agree with is your take on the graffiti, trash and stone stacking.
I will happily admit I am one of the pilgrims that knocks down the stacks of stones off of the kilometre markers and kicks the ones off of the path. Yes, I'm that guy. lol :D
I too collect rubbish and have kicked hazardous rocks off the pathway. There are good reasons to leave the track in better condition than it was.

Seriously though, what gives you the self-appointed right to remove stones off the markers?

What harm are these little piles of stones doing to anyone other than adding to the unique pilgrimmage experience, especially for first timers?

There are pilgrims that I have met who have spoken about walking, contemplating, reminiscing and sometimes placing a stone on a marker for someone long departed or for someone who is special and who is in the Pilgrim's thoughts. I too have placed stones on markers especially for my late mother, who would be very happy if I could tell her that she is remembered on my Camino in this way.

Next time you sanctimoniously decide to knock stones off way markers, perhaps you might reflect that there could well be deeply personal reasons as to why, pilgrims who have long passed ahead of you, put the stones on the markers in the first place.

Buen Camino
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#18
I too collect rubbish and have kicked hazardous rocks off the pathway. There are good reasons to leave the track in better condition than it was.

Seriously though, what gives you the self-appointed right to remove stones off the markers?

What harm are these little piles of stones doing to anyone other than adding to the unique pilgrimmage experience, especially for first timers?

There are pilgrims that I have met who have spoken about walking, contemplating, reminiscing and sometimes placing a stone on a marker for someone long departed or for someone who is special and who is in the Pilgrim's thoughts. I too have placed stones on markers especially for my late mother, who would be very happy if I could tell her that she is remembered on my Camino in this way.

Next time you sanctimoniously decide to knock stones off way markers, perhaps you might reflect that there could well be deeply personal reasons as to why, pilgrims who have long passed ahead of you, put the stones on the markers in the first place.

Buen Camino
Lighten up Walt. ;)
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#19
I too collect rubbish and have kicked hazardous rocks off the pathway. There are good reasons to leave the track in better condition than it was.

Seriously though, what gives you the self-appointed right to remove stones off the markers?

What harm are these little piles of stones doing to anyone other than adding to the unique pilgrimmage experience, especially for first timers?

There are pilgrims that I have met who have spoken about walking, contemplating, reminiscing and sometimes placing a stone on a marker for someone long departed or for someone who is special and who is in the Pilgrim's thoughts. I too have placed stones on markers especially for my late mother, who would be very happy if I could tell her that she is remembered on my Camino in this way.

Next time you sanctimoniously decide to knock stones off way markers, perhaps you might reflect that there could well be deeply personal reasons as to why, pilgrims who have long passed ahead of you, put the stones on the markers in the first place.

Buen Camino
I too dont have an issue with the stones on the markers. They are temporary from local material, and aren't offensive to my eye. I also didnt mind the large stone arrows on the ground. To me they were just part of the Camino experience. I often wondered about those. Were they waiting for other pilgrims to catch up? Were they locals? (I think I've become more mellow as I get older - there was very little in my Camino experience that I didnt enjoy, I even slept through the snoring, endured the odd cold shower without issue, and didnt even get stressed when we got lost once.).
I do have an issue with the graffiti tagging. That is to my mind destructive, and shows a lack of respect for shared surroundings and the Camino in general. I hate tagging anywhere, but somehow it seems even worse on a trail like the Camino.
 
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#20
The words 'el Camino' mean 'the Way,' It can be taken to mean, depending on context, a road, a path, or a journey. It is NOT about a destination, per se, at least IMHO.

While the original, and many more contemporary pilgrims believed that the pilgrimage is all and solely about reaching the relics of the Apostle Saint James the Greater at Santiago, I postulate and advance the position that it is more about the experience of making the journey where we obtain the maximum benefits to our individual self. Yes, a goal in all aspects of life is a worthy thing. But one should not allow the goal to become the sole focus of the journey.

Also, many people, including me, have observed that the Camino is an apt metaphor for life. Most of life's issues, trials and tribulations, joys and challenges can be found while on your individual journey.

There are many good, generous and helpful people, and a few not so good, not so generous, and not so helpful people along the way. There is good weather and bad, warmer and colder, stiff wind and no wind, rain and drought. Once you understand these things, you can better start to see the metaphorical nature of the Camino, vis-a-vis life's journey. I try to walk in silence (difficult for me) some days. just to recharge my batteries... The Camino provides my recharge...

Yes, the Camino DOES provide. But this supposes that one is actually aware of what is going on around them. Also, the provision is a highly individual and specific issue. Sometimes the benefits are intangible, emotional, religious, or philosophical. Sometimes the benefits are more tangible, like a band-aid / plaster or some medication appearing when needed.

Being provided something, even intangible, does just happen, very serendipitously I might add, at least in my experience over six Caminos. Sometimes, one is not even aware that they have been 'gifted' until after - sometimes well after - they finish the actual walking. The effect is different for every pilgrim.

For many, the effect does not settle in until months after their return to a previous life. For me, it was seeing yellow directional arrows used by a developer near my then home in Virginia after my first Camino. It took a conscious effort to avoid yanking the steering wheel to follow the arrows...that made things click in my mind...but I digress...

In a way, this is like someone who suffers from PTS and experiences something in daily life that triggers negative memories from their past. I actually was diagnosed with this condition and know what I am talking about in this regard. However, the difference is that for many of us Camino veterans, the memories and flashbacks are positive. The flashbacks bring us back to a far better time and place, when we were on Camino.

True, it is possible to walk any Camino with 'blinders' on, like a horse in harness pulling a cart or wagon. But to do a Camino that way, to me, avoids the premise of the journey. Unless one is open to all that the Camino delivers to you, good and bad, the experience is diminished.

To walk a Camino and participate in the Camino experience, according to your comfort level, is when all of the magic happens. If one treats the Camino as a forced march or singular mission, with one focus, to get to the destination, the beauty of the entire journey is lost.

I do not disagree with any of what you wrote in your OP. Over my Caminos, I have at times had similar observations and thoughts. But, for me at least, the overall positive effect of the Camino, reaching into months and years beyond the actual experience, literally changed my life back in the world."

To me, the Camino continues to provide. It gets me up every morning to check and participate in this forum community. I spend from one to two hours daily trying to help others, and maintaining bonds with the many friends I have made over the years. It takes me to monthly walks with my local chapter of American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC).

The lure of the Camino, and the intensive yearning or desire to be part of this ever-unfolding mystically wonderful human experience and community takes me back to the Camino once yearly, to walk another route. Sometimes it is a month-long pilgrimage. Other times, it is two weeks or less. I will do this as long as my health permits.

Finally, it is the realization that I have received so much from my Camino experiences that I return every summer to work for one month as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. I do this to give back, to contribute, to help in any way I am asked, and to grow as a human being.

Growth and learning are good things. To learn something new, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant each day is a blessing. IMHO, when we stop learning and challenging, when we stop being curious, that is when we start to die.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is many things to many people. To some, the Camino provides more. To some, it provides less. But everyone comes away changed in some way. For many, like myself, the changes are profound and, hopefully, lifelong.

I encourage you, and anyone else who might think they had a less than positive experience, to give it one more try. Consider a different route, or different time of year. It may change your perspective, experience and the results achieved.

Hope this helps.
Thank you, @t2andreo , for a wonderful post ... I loved reading it and will re-visit it, probably quite frequently!

PS I hope you don’t mind ... I’ve copied it, so I can read it off-line.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#21
Good questions! My wife and I were looking for something challenging and spiritual to do together during our retirement. The Camino seemed to fit the bill. My personal goal was to offer praise and thanks to God for a great life: great wife, kids, grandkids, career, now retirement. As a former soldier and long distance runner, I knew the Camino would be a challenge, but one we would prepare for.........Worth it? Yes, certainly.
Having walked with my husband, who'san active soldier, I could recognize every word of your post in his approach to the way. We walked to thank god/mothernature/whatever is up there for him surviving two wars and to ask for protection and wisdom for the challenges to come. We also wanted to experience the simplicity of having just a backpack, food and sleep to worry about, while enjoying the contact with nature. And seeing all the amazing historical places I had read about in books for real!

We had rain days, he had a heatstroke, I did a pack march with him on my back until we found people to help... in hindsight there were a few awful days. But the overall experience was still better than anything I could imagine. Totally agree with you that it's so worth it! But you are also right that people romanticize it - and I will admit I cant help it, as I was too happy not to.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#22
Thank you, @t2andreo , for a wonderful post ... I loved reading it and will re-visit it, probably quite frequently!

PS I hope you don’t mind ... I’ve copied it, so I can read it off-line.
Please, be my guest. I am flattered to be remembered, let alone copied and saved.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
#24
I thought I knew why I was doing the Camino, now, not so sure. Started off in a group, but left it as it wasn't fulfilling my needs. Now, I walk alone, happily, and stop when and where I want. Not rushing from village to village, booking a bed ahead of time, trusting in God to provide, which he has when I am lost or cannot find and albergue,(Leon), and has nudged me once in a while until I gave up and go with it. So no I just walk, but I am also seeing a most beautiful country and hospitable people, who must be nice each stay to each group that passes through.
 
#25
The words 'el Camino' mean 'the Way,' It can be taken to mean, depending on context, a road, a path, or a journey. It is NOT about a destination, per se, at least IMHO.

While the original, and many more contemporary pilgrims believed that the pilgrimage is all and solely about reaching the relics of the Apostle Saint James the Greater at Santiago, I postulate and advance the position that it is more about the experience of making the journey where we obtain the maximum benefits to our individual self. Yes, a goal in all aspects of life is a worthy thing. But one should not allow the goal to become the sole focus of the journey.

Also, many people, including me, have observed that the Camino is an apt metaphor for life. Most of life's issues, trials and tribulations, joys and challenges can be found while on your individual journey.

There are many good, generous and helpful people, and a few not so good, not so generous, and not so helpful people along the way. There is good weather and bad, warmer and colder, stiff wind and no wind, rain and drought. Once you understand these things, you can better start to see the metaphorical nature of the Camino, vis-a-vis life's journey. I try to walk in silence (difficult for me) some days. just to recharge my batteries... The Camino provides my recharge...

Yes, the Camino DOES provide. But this supposes that one is actually aware of what is going on around them. Also, the provision is a highly individual and specific issue. Sometimes the benefits are intangible, emotional, religious, or philosophical. Sometimes the benefits are more tangible, like a band-aid / plaster or some medication appearing when needed.

Being provided something, even intangible, does just happen, very serendipitously I might add, at least in my experience over six Caminos. Sometimes, one is not even aware that they have been 'gifted' until after - sometimes well after - they finish the actual walking. The effect is different for every pilgrim.

For many, the effect does not settle in until months after their return to a previous life. For me, it was seeing yellow directional arrows used by a developer near my then home in Virginia after my first Camino. It took a conscious effort to avoid yanking the steering wheel to follow the arrows...that made things click in my mind...but I digress...

In a way, this is like someone who suffers from PTS and experiences something in daily life that triggers negative memories from their past. I actually was diagnosed with this condition and know what I am talking about in this regard. However, the difference is that for many of us Camino veterans, the memories and flashbacks are positive. The flashbacks bring us back to a far better time and place, when we were on Camino.

True, it is possible to walk any Camino with 'blinders' on, like a horse in harness pulling a cart or wagon. But to do a Camino that way, to me, avoids the premise of the journey. Unless one is open to all that the Camino delivers to you, good and bad, the experience is diminished.

To walk a Camino and participate in the Camino experience, according to your comfort level, is when all of the magic happens. If one treats the Camino as a forced march or singular mission, with one focus, to get to the destination, the beauty of the entire journey is lost.

I do not disagree with any of what you wrote in your OP. Over my Caminos, I have at times had similar observations and thoughts. But, for me at least, the overall positive effect of the Camino, reaching into months and years beyond the actual experience, literally changed my life back in the world."

To me, the Camino continues to provide. It gets me up every morning to check and participate in this forum community. I spend from one to two hours daily trying to help others, and maintaining bonds with the many friends I have made over the years. It takes me to monthly walks with my local chapter of American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC).

The lure of the Camino, and the intensive yearning or desire to be part of this ever-unfolding mystically wonderful human experience and community takes me back to the Camino once yearly, to walk another route. Sometimes it is a month-long pilgrimage. Other times, it is two weeks or less. I will do this as long as my health permits.

Finally, it is the realization that I have received so much from my Camino experiences that I return every summer to work for one month as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. I do this to give back, to contribute, to help in any way I am asked, and to grow as a human being.

Growth and learning are good things. To learn something new, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant each day is a blessing. IMHO, when we stop learning and challenging, when we stop being curious, that is when we start to die.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is many things to many people. To some, the Camino provides more. To some, it provides less. But everyone comes away changed in some way. For many, like myself, the changes are profound and, hopefully, lifelong.

I encourage you, and anyone else who might think they had a less than positive experience, to give it one more try. Consider a different route, or different time of year. It may change your perspective, experience and the results achieved.

Hope this helps.
Excellent!! Well said.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning May/June 2016
#26
Very nice summary and I have to say, I agree with all the points. In many ways, this should be required reading for first-timers. However, I fear that it misses the spirit, and the tone is a bit too negative. It is important to come prepared, to anticipate problems, to be flexible, and to be considerate; however, it is also important to let yourself be free to feel the spirit, help others, accept help, and to have an adventure.
My Take:
  • Bierley Guide- completely agree. I used the Village to Village guide downloaded to my cell phone. It worked well for me. For resources, I regretted not having a GPS version of the designated camino route (I wandered off the track once or twice).
  • Off-trail bathroom breaks- I understand that when you gotta go, there aren't many options. But please be prepared to cover your tracks. It's gonna happen sometime; don't be surprised.
  • Mile-marker stone monument piles- I didn't feel compelled to clean these off; but I agree that they were ridiculous. Leaving a stone may have personal significance for you; but I wouldn't expect it to be an eternal marker ... no objections to somebody cleaning these off if they need a place to sit... graffiti -no excuse.
  • Bus through the suburbs-excellent advice especially coming into Burgos and leaving Leon.
  • Starting in Pamplona- I agree with the arguments for doing this; but I'm glad I started in SJPdP. There was something about crossing the mountains on the first day. The immediate challenge marks the beginning of an adventure and creates comradery. That said, if it doesn't work with your plans, there is no magic in starting in SJ.
  • "It's your Camino" (tut-tut)- I agree that when I heard these words, they always came with a heavy dose of judgment. If you hear these words coming out of your mouth, even if you mean them with all sincerity... be careful to consider how they might be received.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
#27
I wholeheartedly agree with Pat that you should prepare physically and define what you want from the Camino. Having said that, he gave me the impression that he was unwilling to have the journey change him. His suggestions are practical if all you desire is a long walk that will not push you beyond your comfort zone. And, in truth, that is what many people want. However, for those who want to test some of their limits and who are open to change, the unknowns and the unexpected turns and challenges will be embraced. He is right to point out that you are breaking no rules by taking any or all of his advice. For example, shortcuts. If your goals are not impacted by hopping on a bus, or if your body needs a break, why not? However, you are not being foolish to take only some or none of his advice.

I used the Dintaman and Landis guidebook and was happy with it, started in St. Jean with no regrets, was not bothered by occasional snoring, preferred the municipal albergues over private rooms in pensiones because of the social aspects, laundry facilities, communal meals. Everyone is different and will have "Their Own Camino" (no "tut-tut"). Pat had his, I had mine. You will have one different from either of ours. I approached and carried out my Camino as a Pilgrimage. It was very difficult and it did change me. For others, this may not be the goal or the result. So be it. That is up to them. So, to be smart, one should consider Pat's advice and figure out what you want to achieve and what you will be willing to accept and endure.

Oh, by the way, toilet paper will take years to degrade in the outdoors. Take a Ziploc baggie with you and transport your paper to the next waste bin, rather than leave it in the field. The bacteria in soil will degrade poop, if it is buried, but not the paper. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
#28
Walton: "Next time you sanctimoniously decide to knock stones off way markers, perhaps you might reflect that there could well be deeply personal reasons as to why, pilgrims who have long passed ahead of you, put the stones on the markers in the first place".

I agree with Walton and equate small piles of stones on markers and posts along The Way to lighting candles in a church. They represent a thought or prayer in a moment of time. If somebody chooses to, or needs to, knock away a pile of pebbles or snuff out some candles, I feel it does not diminish the original emotion and thought that went into the creation of that transitory symbol.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, (2018)
#29
I wholeheartedly agree with Pat that you should prepare physically and define what you want from the Camino. Having said that, he gave me the impression that he was unwilling to have the journey change him. His suggestions are practical if all you desire is a long walk that will not push you beyond your comfort zone. And, in truth, that is what many people want. However, for those who want to test some of their limits and who are open to change, the unknowns and the unexpected turns and challenges will be embraced. He is right to point out that you are breaking no rules by taking any or all of his advice. For example, shortcuts. If your goals are not impacted by hopping on a bus, or if your body needs a break, why not? However, you are not being foolish to take only some or none of his advice.

I used the Dintaman and Landis guidebook and was happy with it, started in St. Jean with no regrets, was not bothered by occasional snoring, preferred the municipal albergues over private rooms in pensiones because of the social aspects, laundry facilities, communal meals. Everyone is different and will have "Their Own Camino" (no "tut-tut"). Pat had his, I had mine. You will have one different from either of ours. I approached and carried out my Camino as a Pilgrimage. It was very difficult and it did change me. For others, this may not be the goal or the result. So be it. That is up to them. So, to be smart, one should consider Pat's advice and figure out what you want to achieve and what you will be willing to accept and endure.

Oh, by the way, toilet paper will take years to degrade in the outdoors. Take a Ziploc baggie with you and transport your paper to the next waste bin, rather than leave it in the field. The bacteria in soil will degrade poop, if it is buried, but not the paper. Buen Camino.
Good points, Mooncat. I wasn't looking for personal change, nor a personal test. In fact, I didn't find any of the hikes/hills overwhelming. I didn't like being surprised by how they were described. I am doing another final post about my spiritual goals and outcomes which will touch on that aspect. I agree with your points about taking or leaving my advice. Mine was just a viewpoint I hadn't seen much here (or elsewhere) when talking about the camino, so I felt it might be useful in preparing some other first-timers.

I thought TP decomposed in 6 weeks to 2 months if shallow buried. I stand corrected!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2017 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. 2018 ?
#30
I'm not sure that TP takes years to biodegrade. It depends;

Certainly, TP biodegradability would be an issue in alpine or high mountain areas where presumably, it may never biodegrade at high altitude in the premafrost or permasnow zones.

However, the Camino Francis does not reach alpine altitudes, so I would guess that the length of time TP takes to biodegrade depends on whether or not the TP is buried, whether it has organic matter on it and the time of the year it is discarded.

Web searches suggest TP biodegrades in two to six months depending on the variables of climate, altitude and season.

I am a believer of burial however in saying that, the ground along most of the Camino in Summer and autumn is hard and digging is difficult as we learned. Plastic personal shovels are not enough! You need a pick or an excavator.

There is good merit in Mooncat's advice. I would add that Pilgrims should also find suitable pooping sites well off the track for both sanitary and privacy reasons. There is nothing worse than stumbling on human waste right beside the track.

There is also a huge need for portaloo type toilets from SJPP to Orrison and from Orrison to Roncevelles. Those barbed wire fences are designed to keep animals off the track and people on the track.

Someone can probably make good money during the tourist season with towable coin operated, well maintained portaloos on this part of the Camino. Now, there is a business opportunity.

Cheers
 

Texasguy

And so...we keep on walking ..
Camino(s) past & future
French completed in 2013
Portuguese Conpleted March 2015
Ingles Completed November 2015
French 2016
#31
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
#32
Thanks to all who provided advice and encouragement along the way! Here is my wrap up of advice for future first-timer pilgrims.
http://pat-the-expat.com/2018/06/12/__trashed/
Thank you Pat. I read your comments/blog with interest as a future first-time pilgrim. I'm not that spontaneous and more of a "be as well prepared as possible" type of person. That's why I have started my training over 12 months out. Each of us is unique and no two people will have exactly the same experience - that said I appreciate advice and enjoy reading the insights, comments and descriptions of others. I had never even heard of the Camino until last year. Once I did some research it did indeed "call to me". I just know in my heart I will get (learn) whatever I am meant to on this pilgrimage. Thank you Pat and all the other pilgrims past and future for investing your time for mutual benefit. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
#33
Consider “why” you are going on a Camino, and be as specific as you can. This may seem silly, but as you walk, you’ll face choices that will require you to revisit the “why?” So you need to have the answer in your pocket.


This part I most relate to. You make an excellent point. If you have an understanding of your goals, your expectations hopes and dreams , and exactly what it is you are looking for it is very freeing indeed when you make choices aligned with your goal. You may simply want to get to Santiago in one piece and be happy to skip sections or use transport. You may want to do prove your fitness with 40 km days and again, good for you. Starting anywhere is totally valid when just starting is your goal! And be prepared for the goals to morph!

Even more rewarding may be to consider a values driven Camino , when values such as "truth seeking" , "service to others","family strengthening" , "commitment","environmental care", "tolerance", "forgiveness "as a few examples, determine just how you make the Camino your own experience.

I am thinking about those values I wish to explore on my Camino starting in August. I am hoping they will guide my decision making on a daily basis.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2017 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. 2018 ?
#35
The same self-appointed right you and others have to put the stones on the markers in the first place.
Historically, pilgrims have been placing stones in piles, for various reasons along the way for centuries. It is an ancient traditional practice that continues to this day.

Simple rudimentary Internet research suggests this harmless practice dates back to the Bronze Age and earlier.

Of course, tradition doesn't give anyone the right to place stones on markers, but if someone does, then the knocking down of those stones is surely disrespect for the stone placer and whatever reasons compelled him or her to place the stone in the first place.

The little piles of stones all along the way, to me and probably many others, adds to the overall Camino experience. The stone piles are a small part of what makes the Camino truely memorable, in the same vein as the little wooden crosses in the wire fences, the large stone arrows, the yellow arrows the various statues, the lovely churches and so on.

It is disappointing that there are others that happily knock down a structure that many others have built but that is life I guess.

Undertaking a pilgrimage surely gives the pilgrim the right to follow lawful traditions of old. There is no evidence suggesting knocking down of pilgrim stones is traditional or acceptable.

It is vandalism in my opinion.
 
Last edited:

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#36
I work in the environmental field, and one topic that always comes up at international conferences is: how do you get visitors to stop stacking rocks in natural areas? It’s a problem in Japan, the US, Mexico, Greece ... anywhere or any spot that might be considered ‘sacred.’ In some areas it’s a nuisance. In some areas (like Hawai’i) it’s considered culturally offensive.

The irony is that, visitors will always claim it’s some sort of ancient tradition. I have never once seen a source for this. I’d be interested in seeing one.

And until I see a source, I can’t help but seeing modern rock stacking as a lesser form of graffiti.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2017 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. 2018 ?
#37
I work in the environmental field, and one topic that always comes up at international conferences is: how do you get visitors to stop stacking rocks in natural areas? It’s a problem in Japan, the US, Mexico, Greece ... anywhere or any spot that might be considered ‘sacred.’ In some areas it’s a nuisance. In some areas (like Hawai’i) it’s considered culturally offensive.

The irony is that, visitors will always claim it’s some sort of ancient tradition. I have never once seen a source for this. I’d be interested in seeing one.

And until I see a source, I can’t help but seeing modern rock stacking as a lesser form of graffiti.
Good point Michael

How do you get people to stop? Maybe signs, policing or education perhaps?

For sources, do a search "is pilgrim stone stacking traditional" or something like that.

For example; Here is a link to Marymount University at Arlington, Virginia.

https://commons.marymount.edu/magnificat/the-camino-de-santiago-in-stone-a-travel-narrative/

Here is a direct quote from an article written by Amanda Bourne, written in April 2014

"Pilgrims create small stone cairns (milladoiros) along the Camino. Traditionally, they are used to mark the path for others following, but also act as symbols of being present in a place that has been sacred for thousands of years (Nilsen). These cairns state ‘I was here. I somehow, in some way, made my history intertwine with the Camino’s. I will in some way live on even when I am gone because of these stones.’ We saw many of these milladoiros stacked alongside the path and on top of stone piles. On those long stretches of the Way that were void of civilization, these small piles of rock motivated us to keep walking towards Leon."

Perhaps someone well versed in the study of ancient history or theology could chime in here and provide authoritative guidance about this topic?

But agreed - Stone cairns shouldn't be allowed to occur in places where is is not traditional, welcome or cultural as you rightly say. That is vandalism too in my opinion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#38
How do you get people to stop? Maybe signs, policing or education perhaps?
Oh, the stones along the Camino Frances ... I think we can discuss this for ever and ever. They used to enrage me at first because they are visual pollution to my eyes but I've grown more sanguine and now I just occasionally swipe a few stones off a waymarker while I pass by, with a happy feeling actually. I feel that I helped to clean "The Way" or more generally the environment :cool:. Also only recently, I removed an old shoe and some kind of plastified labels or tags and ribbons from the base of an ancient cross next to a field and next to the path and dropped this junk into a waste bin in the next village.

I get the thing of modern people picking up a stone and depositing it again for some spiritual reason or in someone's memory or whatever. What I still don't get: why do they have to put their worry stone or memorial stone on a white concrete waymarker? Why not just put it carefully, thoughtfully, maybe with a little prayer, down on the ground again when the time has come for this action? Can someone explain the thinking/feeling behind this odd behaviour?

In any case, contemporary concrete waymarkers are doing their job perfectly well. They don't need any reinforcement by stones piled on top of them.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#39
Historically, pilgrims have been placing stones in piles, for various reasons along the way for centuries. It is an ancient traditional practice that continues to this day. Simple rudimentary Internet research suggests this harmless practice dates back to the Bronze Age and earlier.
Yes, you find lots of stuff on the internet that refers to practices in the Bronze age, or in Tibet or in the Alps or the Scottish Highlands etc etc. I doubt that you find reliable sources that show that pilgrims on the way to Santiago, from the 1100s or so onwards, where building the kind of stone cairns that multiply and spread along the Camino Frances in the 2000s. Medieval and later pilgrims were following well established trade roads - the roads that are now used by motor traffic, you are not walking on them or in those people's footsteps for the most part - and there was no need for those kind of cairns. It's a modern practice / ritual / passtime / imitation.
 

Texasguy

And so...we keep on walking ..
Camino(s) past & future
French completed in 2013
Portuguese Conpleted March 2015
Ingles Completed November 2015
French 2016
#40
The words 'el Camino' mean 'the Way,' It can be taken to mean, depending on context, a road, a path, or a journey. It is NOT about a destination, per se, at least IMHO.

While the original, and many more contemporary pilgrims believed that the pilgrimage is all and solely about reaching the relics of the Apostle Saint James the Greater at Santiago, I postulate and advance the position that it is more about the experience of making the journey where we obtain the maximum benefits to our individual self. Yes, a goal in all aspects of life is a worthy thing. But one should not allow the goal to become the sole focus of the journey.

Also, many people, including me, have observed that the Camino is an apt metaphor for life. Most of life's issues, trials and tribulations, joys and challenges can be found while on your individual journey.

There are many good, generous and helpful people, and a few not so good, not so generous, and not so helpful people along the way. There is good weather and bad, warmer and colder, stiff wind and no wind, rain and drought. Once you understand these things, you can better start to see the metaphorical nature of the Camino, vis-a-vis life's journey. I try to walk in silence (difficult for me) some days. just to recharge my batteries... The Camino provides my recharge...

Yes, the Camino DOES provide. But this supposes that one is actually aware of what is going on around them. Also, the provision is a highly individual and specific issue. Sometimes the benefits are intangible, emotional, religious, or philosophical. Sometimes the benefits are more tangible, like a band-aid / plaster or some medication appearing when needed.

Being provided something, even intangible, does just happen, very serendipitously I might add, at least in my experience over six Caminos. Sometimes, one is not even aware that they have been 'gifted' until after - sometimes well after - they finish the actual walking. The effect is different for every pilgrim.

For many, the effect does not settle in until months after their return to a previous life. For me, it was seeing yellow directional arrows used by a developer near my then home in Virginia after my first Camino. It took a conscious effort to avoid yanking the steering wheel to follow the arrows...that made things click in my mind...but I digress...

In a way, this is like someone who suffers from PTS and experiences something in daily life that triggers negative memories from their past. I actually was diagnosed with this condition and know what I am talking about in this regard. However, the difference is that for many of us Camino veterans, the memories and flashbacks are positive. The flashbacks bring us back to a far better time and place, when we were on Camino.

True, it is possible to walk any Camino with 'blinders' on, like a horse in harness pulling a cart or wagon. But to do a Camino that way, to me, avoids the premise of the journey. Unless one is open to all that the Camino delivers to you, good and bad, the experience is diminished.

To walk a Camino and participate in the Camino experience, according to your comfort level, is when all of the magic happens. If one treats the Camino as a forced march or singular mission, with one focus, to get to the destination, the beauty of the entire journey is lost.

I do not disagree with any of what you wrote in your OP. Over my Caminos, I have at times had similar observations and thoughts. But, for me at least, the overall positive effect of the Camino, reaching into months and years beyond the actual experience, literally changed my life back in the world."

To me, the Camino continues to provide. It gets me up every morning to check and participate in this forum community. I spend from one to two hours daily trying to help others, and maintaining bonds with the many friends I have made over the years. It takes me to monthly walks with my local chapter of American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC).

The lure of the Camino, and the intensive yearning or desire to be part of this ever-unfolding mystically wonderful human experience and community takes me back to the Camino once yearly, to walk another route. Sometimes it is a month-long pilgrimage. Other times, it is two weeks or less. I will do this as long as my health permits.

Finally, it is the realization that I have received so much from my Camino experiences that I return every summer to work for one month as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. I do this to give back, to contribute, to help in any way I am asked, and to grow as a human being.

Growth and learning are good things. To learn something new, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant each day is a blessing. IMHO, when we stop learning and challenging, when we stop being curious, that is when we start to die.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is many things to many people. To some, the Camino provides more. To some, it provides less. But everyone comes away changed in some way. For many, like myself, the changes are profound and, hopefully, lifelong.

I encourage you, and anyone else who might think they had a less than positive experience, to give it one more try. Consider a different route, or different time of year. It may change your perspective, experience and the results achieved.

Hope this helps.
Thank you for writing this reply. Myself, and many caminos under my belt, Spain and Japan, El Camino ALWAYS provided. Sometimes in more ways that i could explain.

Sometimes, we don’t even realized things are going on with us and/or our surroundings.

Buen Camino!!

Texasguy
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#41
@Walton piles of stones marking the way might have been useful once, but yellow arrows have replaced that need. If someone has a sacred moment actually placing the stone - well that is nice for them. But that moment only lasts for a second or two. After they have walked away, it is only a pile of stones. As for people who leave objects - that just becomes rubbish that the locals will one day have to remove.

I am a knocker off too, if it prevents a tired pilgrim from perching his/her weary bottom on a right height block of concrete. The person who placed the stones does not know. It can be argued that picking up a stone, removing it from where it was placed by nature, is interfering with the environment, is egotistically assuming a right to do so. As you point out, that action itself could be seen as vandalism. And with 200,000 people each year walking the CF.....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
#42
Piles of small stones placed on the tops of waymarkers don't bother me in the least. My bum does not find the small, square, waymarker tops as comfortable seating. And, I was actually emotionally touched when I rounded the bend on one hill and came across hundreds of small piles positioned beside the path. They were balanced there with thought and care and represented a flood of prayers, in my mind. Ok, maybe only the hopeless romantics and not the realists see them this way. But, I like being a romantic.

So, a note for those realists, and everyone in fact. If you really want to really improve the environment of The Way, instead of re-positioning piles of stones, why don't you collect up a sack of those drifting and ubiquitous white tissues. We can all agree that they are an offensive sight, whether they take hours, weeks or years to degrade. Pack it in, pack it out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, (2018)
#44
You are very welcome to your views but i walked 25 caminos and it appears your holiday did not go well
My holiday was great! How was yours? My camino was pretty good too, except it was very different than what people who did 25 caminos before told me. But then again, YMMV! Buen Camino!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#45
.... So, a note for those realists, and everyone in fact. If you really want to really improve the environment of The Way, instead of re-positioning piles of stones, why don't you collect up a sack of those drifting and ubiquitous white tissues. We can all agree that they are an offensive sight, whether they take hours, weeks or years to degrade. Pack it in, pack it out.
I'm a multi-tasker; I can quite easily manage doing both. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
#46
My opinion, is to leave the stones piled on the markers, clear off the piles on the path, they can be a hazard, don't judge people's reasons for placing a stone on a marker or cross, deeply personal, none of our business and examine why you feel the need to knock them off. Might as well remove all the stones at the cruze de ferro, same thing right?
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#47
My opinion, is to leave the stones piled on the markers, clear off the piles on the path, they can be a hazard, don't judge people's reasons for placing a stone on a marker or cross, deeply personal, none of our business and examine why you feel the need to knock them off. Might as well remove all the stones at the cruze de ferro, same thing right?
You've really captured the nugget of what was eating at me about the OP. Such a lack of generosity of spirit in the rather outsized hostility to people's little ways of marking that they had been there.

Somewhere outside Agés (IIRC) there is a large-fish cross. When we arrived there, I placed a stone and stringbracelet that my son had given me, and I left it there because I did not know if I would make it to the Cruz de Ferro. If I thought that some mean-spirited person were going to go around removing things that cause no environmental damage, merely tossing them into the path anyway, I would be rather crushed. It is not that I hope that the bracelet is still there; rather I hope that its string has degraded and the little stones are moving freely now. I don't think that the pile at the Cruz de Ferro is 50 years of stones (it seems hardly enough). But I do think that there is something to the idea of placing stones as markers of remembrance, recognition, permanence of a sort -- has *nobody* been to a Jewish cemetery??? The Judaic is the foundation of anyone's Christianity, and Jesus the rabbi would, IMHO, be very disappointed to see his fateful followers brushing away the remembrances of others.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#49
The words 'el Camino' mean 'the Way,' It can be taken to mean, depending on context, a road, a path, or a journey. It is NOT about a destination, per se, at least IMHO.

While the original, and many more contemporary pilgrims believed that the pilgrimage is all and solely about reaching the relics of the Apostle Saint James the Greater at Santiago, I postulate and advance the position that it is more about the experience of making the journey where we obtain the maximum benefits to our individual self. Yes, a goal in all aspects of life is a worthy thing. But one should not allow the goal to become the sole focus of the journey.

Also, many people, including me, have observed that the Camino is an apt metaphor for life. Most of life's issues, trials and tribulations, joys and challenges can be found while on your individual journey.

There are many good, generous and helpful people, and a few not so good, not so generous, and not so helpful people along the way. There is good weather and bad, warmer and colder, stiff wind and no wind, rain and drought. Once you understand these things, you can better start to see the metaphorical nature of the Camino, vis-a-vis life's journey. I try to walk in silence (difficult for me) some days. just to recharge my batteries... The Camino provides my recharge...

Yes, the Camino DOES provide. But this supposes that one is actually aware of what is going on around them. Also, the provision is a highly individual and specific issue. Sometimes the benefits are intangible, emotional, religious, or philosophical. Sometimes the benefits are more tangible, like a band-aid / plaster or some medication appearing when needed.

Being provided something, even intangible, does just happen, very serendipitously I might add, at least in my experience over six Caminos. Sometimes, one is not even aware that they have been 'gifted' until after - sometimes well after - they finish the actual walking. The effect is different for every pilgrim.

For many, the effect does not settle in until months after their return to a previous life. For me, it was seeing yellow directional arrows used by a developer near my then home in Virginia after my first Camino. It took a conscious effort to avoid yanking the steering wheel to follow the arrows...that made things click in my mind...but I digress...

In a way, this is like someone who suffers from PTS and experiences something in daily life that triggers negative memories from their past. I actually was diagnosed with this condition and know what I am talking about in this regard. However, the difference is that for many of us Camino veterans, the memories and flashbacks are positive. The flashbacks bring us back to a far better time and place, when we were on Camino.

True, it is possible to walk any Camino with 'blinders' on, like a horse in harness pulling a cart or wagon. But to do a Camino that way, to me, avoids the premise of the journey. Unless one is open to all that the Camino delivers to you, good and bad, the experience is diminished.

To walk a Camino and participate in the Camino experience, according to your comfort level, is when all of the magic happens. If one treats the Camino as a forced march or singular mission, with one focus, to get to the destination, the beauty of the entire journey is lost.

I do not disagree with any of what you wrote in your OP. Over my Caminos, I have at times had similar observations and thoughts. But, for me at least, the overall positive effect of the Camino, reaching into months and years beyond the actual experience, literally changed my life back in the world."

To me, the Camino continues to provide. It gets me up every morning to check and participate in this forum community. I spend from one to two hours daily trying to help others, and maintaining bonds with the many friends I have made over the years. It takes me to monthly walks with my local chapter of American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC).

The lure of the Camino, and the intensive yearning or desire to be part of this ever-unfolding mystically wonderful human experience and community takes me back to the Camino once yearly, to walk another route. Sometimes it is a month-long pilgrimage. Other times, it is two weeks or less. I will do this as long as my health permits.

Finally, it is the realization that I have received so much from my Camino experiences that I return every summer to work for one month as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. I do this to give back, to contribute, to help in any way I am asked, and to grow as a human being.

Growth and learning are good things. To learn something new, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant each day is a blessing. IMHO, when we stop learning and challenging, when we stop being curious, that is when we start to die.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is many things to many people. To some, the Camino provides more. To some, it provides less. But everyone comes away changed in some way. For many, like myself, the changes are profound and, hopefully, lifelong.

I encourage you, and anyone else who might think they had a less than positive experience, to give it one more try. Consider a different route, or different time of year. It may change your perspective, experience and the results achieved.

Hope this helps.
I would have to agree with all of this I think. I think.....because with ADD reading long posts is hard for me :oops:

I’ll read it a few more times......

This part is a challenge for me.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

I keep asking myself how I can best integrate all the benefits and learnings of the. Camino into my day to day life. If it’s a lesson in life, shouldn’t it work that way?

So far I have failed. My day to day work life at least; holds less and less interest for me with each passing Camino. Which brings all kinds of ‘head games’ into play, as my work life supports many many people.

It seems I am most content when walking in Spain. Life is simple, a stark contrast from my ‘normal’ life. And I feel more connected with my surroundings.

Maybe it takes a few more Caminos before it all falls in to place?
Has anyone worked it out yet...?
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
#50
For me, the most profound impact is meeting all of the pilgrims from around the world and how we all treat each other with love and acceptance. I just wish the question of why we are doing the Camino would be set aside, we all walk for different reasons, sometimes not knowing why.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#51
No @Robo. Except that in my case walking the camino compels me to do some work, partly because it benefits other people and partly because it pays me a little so that I can then go and walk another camino...

Actually @Craig White, they do regularly clear the stones (and other stuff - what has by then become trash) from under the Cruz de Ferro. They bring in a bulldozer. Which does not diminish the emotional impact of those who have placed a stone at the Cruz.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#52
I would have to agree with all of this I think. I think.....because with ADD reading long posts is hard for me :oops:

I’ll read it a few more times......

This part is a challenge for me.

This experience is the center of my life, I live for it all year. I plan for it, budget for it, and literally countdown the days until I return... as of today... 24 days until I fly to Santiago de Compostela.

I keep asking myself how I can best integrate all the benefits and learnings of the. Camino into my day to day life. If it’s a lesson in life, shouldn’t it work that way?

So far I have failed. My day to day work life at least; holds less and less interest for me with each passing Camino. Which brings all kinds of ‘head games’ into play, as my work life supports many many people.

It seems I am most content when walking in Spain. Life is simple, a stark contrast from my ‘normal’ life. And I feel more connected with my surroundings.

Maybe it takes a few more Caminos before it all falls in to place?
Has anyone worked it out yet...?

Robo - that passage refers to my annual one-month stint working as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office. While walking another Camino remains very important to me, I am unable to remain on my feet walking for a month or more. Two weeks is about my current physical limit.

I negotiated the one-month volunteer stint with my wife. I built her the house of her dreams in South Floida, and she agreed to let me have two trips to Spain annually. It was a very fair deal.

The missus does not walk Camino, but supports what I do and understands that it gives my life in retirement a firm purpose and focus...I do not play golf. I actually look forward to the volunteer work now, more than walking a Camino. As of today, I have 13 days to go until I fly back to Santiago from Miami.:cool:

After six Caminos, I know what it is all about... my spiritual cup overflows... To be sure, there are other routes I would like to walk. And, I think I shall, health permitting.

However, my time at the Pilgrim Office and in Santiago each year remains the center of my personal year. It transcends family holidays, traditional observances, etc. It is here that I interact with people from all over the world, helping as many people as I can, in any way I can. When I leave each August, I do not want to go. While I love my family and have responsibilities at home, I do believe that I am more 'at home' in Santiago.

I invite you to join us as a volunteer at the Pilgrim Office. Accommodation is provided. You feed yourself (there are two fully equipped kitchens in the flat). Of course, you need to pay for round-trip travel.

Some other volunteers attach a two-week volunteer stint on one end of a Camino. They literally walk into their volunteer job at Santiago following a Camino ending there. I did this in 2014, coming off one-month on the Frances...before my wife trimmed my apron string...;)

Hope this helps.
 
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