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Al the optimist

Veteran Member
It's happening again. It does every January. In the time between my last day's walking on a Camino (in September again) and Christmas I decide upon my next year's fun. I have already decided and booked my outward flight. After a few Caminos I don't have any equipment decisions to make or things to buy. So I am in a total limbo. This is where it gets dangerous. Especially if I go anywhere near a airline site. Time for the annual gathering of Caminoholics-not-anonymous to rally in support of poor old me? Help!
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Ok, I try, but I am not actually having the best track record in this, having been known to disappear on short, spontaneous Caminos myself. Instead of flying away what about walking Wolverhampton-Walsingham? OK, perhaps that isn't helpful at all ...

What about volunteering at the local soup kitchen or similar? In the end we pilgrims are also homeless, albeit voluntarily and temporarily.

Still not working? What about going cold turkey and install a blocker in your browser that blocks access to all Camino/travel sites? No, that would be plain cruel.

Sorry, no better ideas, so I can only wish you

BUEN CAMINOS! SY
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
What you view as a danger, Al, I would view as a total luxury! You're not actually wishing you were tied to a job or lived where it costs you mucho dinero to get to a Camino, are you? Are you actually complaining about the possibility that you might just pick up and go walk the Camino de Madrid or some other short spontaneous option without much advance notice? Sorry, there is no sympathy from me on this one, just pure jealousy.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I meant short, spontaneous Caminos/pilgrimages in your own country or in countries nearby. What about Scotland? The West Highland Way or the John Muir Way for example? SY
 
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Ekelund

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
Hi Al
What is wrong with getting on a plane to Spain and do some walking? As another member pointed out a few weeks ago, the cost of living on the Camino is cheaper than at home and he was wondering why retired people did not spend more time on the Camino.
Go ahead, Al, find the cheapest airline fare and spend a couple of weeks walking. If you need to justify your trip, you can think of it as training for your big walk - I seem to recall you are walking from the south of Spain in Spring.

I would love to walk in Scotland and Ireland - but not at this time of the year. It would be a walk in the Spring, the Summer or early Fall. At this time of the year it is too dark and cold. Raining all the time and if not raining then snowing. A person could get lost in that kind of weather.
 
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I meant short, spontaneous Caminos/pilgrimages in your own country or in countries nearby. What about Scotland? The West Highland Way or the John Muir Way for example? SY
I booked our flights for London just last night, and we will take the train up to Bonny Scotland for the John Muir Way!

Feeling smug about finding a way to get the husband on the road a bit ;)
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
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Way of Saint Francis April 2017
It's happening again. It does every January. In the time between my last day's walking on a Camino (in September again) and Christmas I decide upon my next year's fun. I have already decided and booked my outward flight. After a few Caminos I don't have any equipment decisions to make or things to buy. So I am in a total limbo. This is where it gets dangerous. Especially if I go anywhere near a airline site. Time for the annual gathering of Caminoholics-not-anonymous to rally in support of poor old me? Help!
Al, follow in Magwoods, aka Tepidatious Traveler, foot steps, all 1200 miles of it. Buen Camino
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
It's happening again. It does every January. In the time between my last day's walking on a Camino (in September again) and Christmas I decide upon my next year's fun. I have already decided and booked my outward flight. After a few Caminos I don't have any equipment decisions to make or things to buy. So I am in a total limbo. This is where it gets dangerous. Especially if I go anywhere near a airline site. Time for the annual gathering of Caminoholics-not-anonymous to rally in support of poor old me? Help!

So, what's the problem? Winter in the UK versus a cheap flight to Spain and a walk ....... I know what I would do if I didn't have to work ;):)

Edit - I should add that I'm going through a similarly agonising thought process at the moment. Husband and I have decided to walk the Primitivo in September/October, but that feels like an awfully long time to wait. I find myself hatching plans for a solo mini-Camino before then ..... all those 'sale' emails from Aer Lingus are very tempting . I'm sure I could find a week somewhere for the del Salvador or a little ramble on another route ....
 
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OK...here's one 'from left field'...(honestly, it feels risky to suggest this but here goes) ask yourself why there is a difference between being home and being on the camino.
No, not in terms of the outside conditions. That's obvious.
But what is it in the heart that is unsatisfied and wants to be somewhere else? Dangerous but good question. I figure I'll be walking (and doing my meditation practice) until there is no difference between life and practice, and life and the Camino. (They're two different but very similar and mutually supportive processes....)
In the meantime at least it is a wholesome and useful addiction. Why not go, if you can?
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
OK...here's one 'from left field'...(honestly, it feels risky to suggest this but here goes) ask yourself why there is a difference between being home and being on the camino.
No, not in terms of the outside conditions. That's obvious.
But what is it in the heart that is unsatisfied and wants to be somewhere else? Dangerous but good question. I figure I'll be walking (and doing my meditation practice) until there is no difference between life and practice, and life and the Camino. (They're two different but very similar and mutually supportive processes....)
In the meantime at least it is a wholesome and useful addiction. Why not go, if you can?

That's a really good observation @Viranani. I was thinking the other day about the irony of how I manage to be almost completely mindful whilst on the Camino, but then spend many more months with my feet on my home soil, but my mind wandering back to Spain.

But then again - no-one bats an eyelid at those folks who go on a cruise every year, visit their favourite resorts as often as they can, or spend fortunes on pampering treatments. We may all be a little bonkers, but as you say - it's a wholesome and useful addiction :)
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
The difference is an ageing Mother Virani. I love her dearly and enjoy having the chance to look after her. But I also love my Spain and my Camino life. So like in most things in life it's all a balancing act. But yes the winter weather in the UK doesn't help at all!
Sorry, there is no sympathy from me on this one, just pure jealousy.
Sorry, you have my sympathy but maybe the above helps explain my quandary?
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
The difference is an ageing Mother Virani. I love her dearly and enjoy having the chance to look after her. But I also love my Spain and my Camino life. So like in most things in life it's all a balancing act. But yes the winter weather in the UK doesn't help at all!
Sorry, you have my sympathy but maybe the above helps explain my quandary?
It absolutely explains your quandary. How are you filling your spot when you leave? What have you done in the past?
 
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That's a really good observation @Viranani. I was thinking the other day about the irony of how I manage to be almost completely mindful whilst on the Camino, but then spend many more months with my feet on my home soil, but my mind wandering back to Spain.
Funny isn't it? That's exactly what I was referring to, Nuala.
The difference is an ageing Mother Virani. I love her dearly and enjoy having the chance to look after her. But I also love my Spain and my Camino life. So like in most things in life it's all a balancing act.
Well, yes, a problem in that no-one can be in two places at once. So you are pulled in both directions. I really feel for you, Al...caring for a parent is a huge challenge, and one that usually requires sacrifice.

Deb's response is very practical and more useful than mine, which was more 'fuzzy'. What I meant when I was asking 'what's the difference' was more about the inner experience of life on and off the Camino. Life is life, here or there. But we make a such a big distinction between the two and then.....oh, boy.

But somehow perhaps these 2 poles of your life can come together as two sides of the same coin you are polishing? You're probably a better peregrino because of how you have to take care of your Mum...and a better caretaker for having been a peregrino. Every time you go out to walk, deepening that. Every time you come home to care...deepening that. Mutually supporting paths.....just a thought.

[Edit--Deb, I can't say how much I liked this post:
I booked our flights for London just last night, and we will take the train up to Bonny Scotland for the John Muir Way!
Feeling smug about finding a way to get the husband on the road a bit ;)
I wish you two a fabulous walk together!]
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Deb I've started planning for the West Highland Way in Scotland for September..Maggie

@movinmaggie ---my initial plan was to start up north, walk the W. Highland Way to the lowlands, then catch a ride to the west coast and walk east---along the new J. Muir. My husband, while very fit, is more of a comfort traveler and I am doing what I can to work with him. At the same time, I am grappling with the intense desire to get a few weeks in at some point in April. Money is tight given I've just splashed out on plane tickets for London, and had to do one leg to Toronto, then a hotel, then the next leg RT London in business class. I got the best deal I could finagle, but the old guy needs more comfort and legroom than I do.
 
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please see signature

... in your own country or in countries nearby ...

... What is wrong with getting on a plane ...


Firstly: I know this is a site related to pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in north western Spain, but precedent has been already set in this thread for other locations.
Secondly: Al, I acknowledge the serious family commitment you mention.

BUT: from this thread at least I now understand why:
  • nearly all reported conflict is in or near Europe;
  • (Viranani, close your eyes again, please) the Roman Catholic church can do new saints from Europe and nearby almost, it seems, at the drop of a hat whilst causes for those south of the "border" seem to take an eternity.
I could add more examples. However, less is more.

So, Al, why not honour the significant number of pregrinos that come from these latitudes and go to the antipodes of the Spanish caminos.

I specifically refer to a relatively newly listed 150 km walkway called Christchurch 360. Its antipodes is close to Ferrol and the start (quite appropriately for the city of Christchurch itself) of the Camino Ingles.

Christchurch 360 will give you hills, a meseta, birdlife, flora, decent albergue (called hostels or backpackers) and sightseeing all in one package. No language barrier (don't accentuate a brum connection too much) and flights (large planes) every day from London.


In conclusion, this observation. The map reading convention that "north is up" is quite wrong. Both the weight of the land mass and (by my rough and ready estimation) about 6 of the 7 billions of humanity are all in the northern hemisphere. Which makes that hemisphere heavy and will naturally descend to the underside. Thus making South the natural up or top.
 
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Down is definitely up! Thank you, Alwyn, for the morning chuckle!
I sometimes wonder why Kiwis want to walk anywhere else becaue NZ is one of the finest places to walk on the planet. Of course it doesn't have Santiago. Or...well, several things that are unique to the Camino.
Which brings Al right back to his dilemma. At least you are not alone in being addicted, Al...the company here's pretty good.
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Virani. I did understand the underlying thought of your original post and yes the outcomes of the two separate parts of my life are (I hope) as you suggest. I think you sum up my approach quite well, thank you.
Deb. I call up the support network - family and neighbours. Phone calls throughout the day. Visits every day. Shopping and some household chores done. Fortunately my mother is able to take care of her personal care and is able to get into/out of bed and up/down stairs. There are many discussions on the forum about mobile phones. This is one example where they are an essential for me to keep in touch in case I need to return quickly. Actually discussing Mom causes me to reflect of one thing frequently discussed on the forum - sleeping in albergues. My Mom visits the bathroom very frequently in the night. Because she is a falls risk I wake up each time, resulting in some pretty poor nights sleeps. So for me when in an albergue, because I don't have to listen to make sure she is OK, I can just sleep! So in some ways my Caminos refresh me physically as well as mentally! Yippee for St James! Yes I know I am a glass is completely full kind of fellah but there really are upsides to everything if you look for them! :)
 

Aidan21

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte 2022
[QUOTE="Yes I know I am a glass is completely full kind of fellah but there really are upsides to everything if you look for them![/QUOTE]
Love the attitude :)
 
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I am a glass is completely full kind of fellah but there really are upsides to everything if you look for them! :)
Al...you could teach us all a thing or two about that!
So a quick jaunt might be just the tune-up you need for your long summer perambulation. Those of us who cannot walk so easily will just have to find a way not to be tooooo envious. Maybe we can be happy for you!? Well, you make that easy!:)
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
OK...here's one 'from left field'...(honestly, it feels risky to suggest this but here goes) ask yourself why there is a difference between being home and being on the camino.
No, not in terms of the outside conditions. That's obvious.
But what is it in the heart that is unsatisfied and wants to be somewhere else? Dangerous but good question. I figure I'll be walking (and doing my meditation practice) until there is no difference between life and practice, and life and the Camino. (They're two different but very similar and mutually supportive processes....)
In the meantime at least it is a wholesome and useful addiction. Why not go, if you can?

Your post echoed a retreat many years ago that included participants from many faiths - or not. The facilitator used the term 'god' to represent more an essence of spirit than existence of a supreme being. We were divided into 2 groups for 2 intense sessions. Session 1: list on the perennial butchers paper everything that you consider to be 'god' peace, love, joy, smiles, nature and so the lists went. Second session: list everything that you consider to be 'not god' war, hate, sorrow, scowls and out all the evil poured. We went to a break and then pinned all our lists around the walls of the conference room. Quite a statement. The facilitator came in, looked around at all our efforts, paused, and then said and what if it's ALL god? Then walked away.

Wow! What if it is ALL god (to use a phrase)... it really made an impact on me and @Viranani your wise words brought the memory flooding back. Different processes off/on Camino but
... somehow perhaps these 2 poles of your life can come together as two sides of the same coin you are polishing?

and @Al the optimist I salute you! A glorious example of relativity and the weird (sometimes black) humour that we carers develop along the Caring Ways.
My Mom visits the bathroom very frequently in the night. Because she is a falls risk I wake up each time, resulting in some pretty poor nights sleeps. So for me when in an albergue, because I don't have to listen to make sure she is OK, I can just sleep! So in some ways my Caminos refresh me physically as well as mentally! Yippee for St James! Yes I know I am a glass is completely full kind of fellah but there really are upsides to everything if you look for them! :)

...So a quick jaunt might be just the tune-up you need for your long summer perambulation. Those of us who cannot walk so easily will just have to find a way not to be tooooo envious. Maybe we can be happy for you!? Well, you make that easy!:)
I can be happy too :D walking 5kms now with minimal issues (yes, it's all relative) and as the swelling in my foot has finally subsided have just ordered a new pair of boots :D
 
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Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
I also love my Spain and my Camino life. So like in most things in life it's all a balancing act. But yes the winter weather in the UK doesn't help at all! Sorry, you have my sympathy but maybe the above helps explain my quandary?
Al - I understand completely.
Every winter I get the SADs - insufficient sunshine. This winter so far I have bought three anti-SAD lamps. They've helped a little bit. But what has helped most is that I booked a flight to Spain for February 6th: I have also booked for May 1st.
The plan is .... February the Sureste, and May the Primitivo.
Having booked these flights I find I can just cope with the lack of UK sunshine.....
Buen camino, Al ... and Happy New Year!
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
There is another Camino that I don't think has ever been mentioned on this Forum: Camì de Santu Jacu. It's in Sardinia and follows many, mainly old sites where there is a Church dedicated to.Santiago. Sardinia is full of Romanic churches and lovely old villages ( I'm not talking about the coast here). If anyone is interested, I can get the link. The countryside of Sardinia is very reminiscent to Spain.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Annakappa, yes, please, I'd LOVEto know more about that camino.
 
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annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Annakappa, yes, please, I'd LOVEto know more about that camino.
Try www.camminando.eu you will see the cammino de Santu Jacu. You can go to the English version. Remember to write double mm in Cammino, as that's the Italian spelling for Camino! There is also a link on Facebook, where I get the up to date information, but that's in Italian. There are a lot of PDFs files that you can download. Jacu is Sardinian for Giacomo or Jacopo, otherwise known to us as Santiago!
 

roddy dunlop

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked it from Pamplona about 7 years ago. Walked a bit of the Camino del Nort but my left knee let me down.
Deb I've started planning for the West Highland Way in Scotland for September..Maggie
The john muir way is amazing. It's through East Lothian, an absolutely lovely ramble along a beautiful coastline. The path is new and it misses out the mouth of the River Tyne between North Berwick and Tyningham. It's worth taking a wee detour to explore. It's absolutely beautiful - the best bit - and you can probably cross the river with your breeks over your shoulders but take care.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Actually @roddy dunlop the John Muir Way has been extended a wee bit and starts now in Helensborough ;-) But I agree it is a beautiful walk. Buen Camino, SY
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
The john muir way is amazing. It's through East Lothian, an absolutely lovely ramble along a beautiful coastline. The path is new and it misses out the mouth of the River Tyne between North Berwick and Tyningham. It's worth taking a wee detour to explore. It's absolutely beautiful - the best bit - and you can probably cross the river with your breeks over your shoulders but take care.

Roddy, how timely to see your post about the John Muir Way. It was my original plan, but began hearing more and more that it has gained much popularity with cyclists. Don't get me wrong; some of my best friends are cyclists. I started looking into walking West Highland Way, but after learning that one needs to have strong mapping and navigational skills, I thought best not to proceed. It's not my forte (I do so much better just following yellow arrows!) and I will be solo. Now it's down to the John Muir Trail or St. Cuthbert's Way which by the looks of it, seems quite beautiful as well. I want to do this in September, then next year, plan another walk in Spain - looking at the Del Norte and a couple of others. Loved the CF.
For anyone who is planning this 'Bird of Prey' experience I highly recommend reading 'H Is For Hawk' by Helen MacDonald - a beautifully written memoir who, through her grieving process over the sudden loss of her father, takes up Falconry and discovers the grace of its heart. Couldn't put it down.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Roddy, how timely to see your post about the John Muir Way. It was my original plan, but began hearing more and more that it has gained much popularity with cyclists. Don't get me wrong; some of my best friends are cyclists. I started looking into walking West Highland Way, but after learning that one needs to have strong mapping and navigational skills, I thought best not to proceed. It's not my forte (I do so much better just following yellow arrows!) and I will be solo. Now it's down to the John Muir Trail or St. Cuthbert's Way which by the looks of it, seems quite beautiful as well. I want to do this in September, then next year, plan another walk in Spain - looking at the Del Norte and a couple of others. Loved the CF.

For anyone who is planning this 'Bird of Prey' experience I highly recommend reading 'H Is For Hawk' by Helen MacDonald - a beautifully written memoir who, through her grieving process over the sudden loss of her father, takes up Falconry and discovers the grace of its heart. Couldn't put it down.

Regarding the way marking of the West Highland Way (also on my bucket list) have a look here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=49799
The John Muir Way shares ~10KM with it and the marking was excellent! Also I walked quite a bit in the UK and way marking of the established routes is usually on a very high standard. The John Muir Trail in the USA is the one where you need strong navigation skills. Also in September neither way in Scotland shouldn't be too crowded. But beware of midgiesss ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Regarding the way marking of the West Highland Way (also on my bucket list) have a look here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=49799
The John Muir Way shares ~10KM with it and the marking was excellent! Also I walked quite a bit in the UK and way marking of the established routes is usually on a very high standard. The John Muir Trail in the USA is the one where you need strong navigation skills. Also in September neither way in Scotland shouldn't be too crowded. But beware of midgiesss ;-) Buen Camino, SY
Thanks SY; very helpful. Yes, in Canada we call the midges 'no see ems'!
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
Regarding the way marking of the West Highland Way (also on my bucket list) have a look here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=49799
The John Muir Way shares ~10KM with it and the marking was excellent! Also I walked quite a bit in the UK and way marking of the established routes is usually on a very high standard. The John Muir Trail in the USA is the one where you need strong navigation skills. Also in September neither way in Scotland shouldn't be too crowded. But beware of midgiesss ;-) Buen Camino, SY

Actually, strong navigational skills are NOT need on the John Muir Trail in California. It is a much used, well-marked trail. I hiked it July 2014. In my limited walking experience in Great Britain (3 HF Holidays, including Scotland near the WHW), map & compass skills are much more necessary. Saying that, everyone should have basic navigational skills for any long-distance hike, in case of inadvertently getting off-trail or encountering hazardous weather conditions.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Actually, strong navigational skills are NOT need on the John Muir Trail in California. It is a much used, well-marked trail. I hiked it July 2014. In my limited walking experience in Great Britain (3 HF Holidays, including Scotland near the WHW), map & compass skills are much more necessary. Saying that, everyone should have basic navigational skills for any long-distance hike, in case of inadvertently getting off-trail or encountering hazardous weather cnditions.
Good advice alipilgrim. I dope to get a few skills under my belt. I understand St. Cuthbert's Way is also quite doable.
 

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