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Pilgrimage - selfish?

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Naturaleza

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo 04_2024
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes.
That is the magical of the Camino: we meet other people who do not have anything common with us, but we often become friends because first the basic questions arise. Where to sleep ? What to eat ? How to cure this pain ?
For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine
For me, pilgrimage began as a selfish project but quickly become another way, with something higher.
If you cannot be enthusiastic about nature (because of Global Warming, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or too spiced chorizos), my advice is that you should try to find God among other pilgrims you meet.
Open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart and I am sure you will not be disappointed. Otherwise the Camino is not for you, that is not a pity: there are many other ways to heaven for each human being.
Life is a Camino: buen Camino !
 
Sounds like you wanted to shoehorn your personal beliefs about climate change and vegetarianism into conversation and other pilgrims didn't want to engage with you in such discussions. Good for them!

Hmm, egocentric might be a better word then selfish .

I've met a few such people who, after initial pleasantries float topics such as israel or immigration. One of my pilgrimage goals was basically peace i leave with you my peace i give you. I was happier to not engage in divisive conversations. One man even said that he couldn't "place" me in terms of political beliefs. Success!

Op there's not a lot of research, but there is quite a bit of discussion on environmentalism and how it can be anti-human. At least bear this in mind before making judgement on other pilgrims.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
Maybe in a week or more I might have something more to say, but for now: I am sorry your experience has not been positive re the people. A further question: how is your everyday life experience of people?
I will try to remember to return to your thread! Meantime, keep replaying all you experienced.
 
Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes?
You seem to be suggesting that because someone does not wish to enter into conversation with you on a topic of your choice they have no interest or respect for that matter. Why do you assume that it is the duty of other pilgrims to be your audience? Or to wear their concerns or intentions on their sleeves? I have had many profound conversations with other pilgrims over the years but they have all evolved gently and gradually with mutual interest and respect on both sides. I do not feel obliged to be a sounding board for each and every pilgrim's personal topic of interest. I would suggest that it is more selfish to use the captive audience of fellow pilgrims to push a personal agenda than it is for others to decline to engage with you on these topics.
 
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I was also not prepared for the grief, loved the fellow pilgrim's interest in staying in the here and now, tho.
 
The Camino is not unlike Life itself : the good, the bad & the ugly.

So when someone on the Camino tries to impose his / her beliefs on me I do the same when I meet them in my local pub : get away from them and search a quieter place.

Please do no call people superficial because they do not want to engage in those kind of debates.

Yes, there is climate change and massive ( political ) unfairness happening all around the world. But it does not keep me away from walking on Spanish roads.

I see the OP is based in Switzerland so this means at least a mode of transportation to get to the startingpoint of the Primitivo. We all make choices and most of us try to do our best I believe to live in the most ethical way possible.
 
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.

Indeed the World can be a cruel and selfish place...........
It's up to us to try to make it better bit by bit.
Which I try to do every day.
Every little bit counts ;)

Perhaps you could share what you personally do to improve our World?
I'm sure it's not merely pointing out the bad to others.

But the World is also a beautiful place.
So I spend most of my time focussing on that.

If you only look for the bad............you miss the good.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
While I understand your pain how we as mankind treat this planet and life on it, I wonder why you could not talk about these things to anyone. I myself could talk about it for hours and I know many who are moved by these things.
- Maybe you asked "the wrong people" ... not everyone wants to discuss everything. Some do not care, some do care but have different priorities on their personal Camino and some even want to use the Camino to not think about these things as it haunts them in their everyday life.
- Maybe you pushed the topic too hard, too fast, too aggressive ... maybe understandably when these issues hit you so hard and emotionally. But for them it was maybe too much too hard so it scared them.
- Or maybe it was something else ... I cannot know and should not judge. But I know that I had many conversations on that with many other pilgrims. So the general statement that "pilgrims do not care" is simply wrong.
 
Having done the CF in 2019 and the CP in 2023 I can say that there are more and more people out there seeking an ego-boost or because it's a thing "someone should do".

Both pilgrimages that I've done out of thankfulness and seeking myself while meeting many people that have many exceptional differing motives to walk. I don't judge them, I feel grateful that I'm able to walk those age old, sometimes transitional, routes to SdC.
I admit, that I didn't came across total selfishness, neither on the Caminos, nor on the "Ökumenische Pilgerweg" in Germany.
 
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Having done the CF in 2019 and the CP in 2023 I can say that there are more and more people out there seeking an ego-boost or because it's a thing "someone should do".
And how did you get this information? Did they tell you this upfront or is this your own subjective guessing?
It seems that you are judging?

Like I said on earlier threads : I do not give a toss ( anymore ) how others might perceive my Caminos or my private life for that matter.

Btw, of course it can be an egoboost for some when they complete a part of a Camino and why should they not feel proud of this?
And yes the Camino for me is something I should / can do.
 
Having done the CF in 2019 and the CP in 2023 I can say that there are more and more people out there seeking an ego-boost or because it's a thing "someone should do".

Both pilgrimages that I've done out of thankfulness and seeking myself while meeting many people that have many exceptional differing motives to walk. I don't judge them, I feel grateful that I'm able to walk those age old, sometimes transitional, routes to SdC.
I admit, that I didn't came across total selfishness, neither on the Caminos, nor on the "Ökumenische Pilgerweg" in Germany.
And even if it is done as an ego boost ... why not? If this is what they want and need, good for them (as long as it does not bring disadvantages for others).

I would even go further and say for a considerable amount of pilgrims one of the beneficial effects of a longer Camino is the ego boost, a boost in self confidence, the feeling of achievement when life recently was maybe giving them the opposite.
 
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There are so many terrible things (and people) and so many wonderful things (and people) and everything in between. I like my caminos and the people I met on my caminos very much... but of course it is far from perfect... the caminos are in the real world.

I do not try to think in terms like "disappointment" of other people... I could not change other people and so I try to take them as they are.

... grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference...

What I do try is to live a life... that makes the world a little bit better...
For example I can go by bus or train from Europe to Spain (what I did one time) or try to compensate the co2 of my flights (e.g. atmosfair.de, what I did several times )

And maybe this is an interesing book if one thinks... In a world that seems so troubled, how do we hold on to hope?
The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times (Jane Goodall)
 
An ego boost and a boost in confidence are two very different things. The Camino can do either depending on the person.
I know they are different things, but there is some connection. However I claim both can be good for certain people. You maybe think of people with a huge ego getting even more on top, but I think of people who always put themselves low, last and allow others to exploit them, are never heard and listened to. And I am not talking of introverts here, but about people who silently suffer from having a too small ego. For me "ego" is a scale - were too low and too high is destructive for yourself or for others and there is a "healthy" range in between.
 
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I know they are different things, but there is some connection. However I claim both can be good for certain people. You maybe think of people with a huge ego getting even more on top, but I think of people who always put themselves low, last and allow others to exploit them, are never heard and listened to. And I am not talking of introverts here, but about people who silently suffer from having a too small ego. For me "ego" is a scale - were too low and too high is destructive for yourself or for others and there is a "healthy" range in between.
I think we agree, Alex - it's language. That's what I mean when I use the word 'confidence.' A shorthand for self-confidence. In my book ego's never a good thing.
 
Oh, I talk. Simple as that.
And if s/b flexes about his "speed", I couldn't care less!
Well, sometimes we as listeners confuse someone being happy about his achievements and telling others with flexing.
Flexing however always needs the open or silent comparison and looking down on others to be called flexing.

I am happy when someone is happy over his achievements. I once met a man over 80 years of age who was very proud he made 40ish kilometers. I was really happy for him and his happiness. And we even started friendly flex about how fast and how far we would and could walk. The following days became a kind of friendly competition among us, a third pilgrim joined in. We were happy? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. Did we tease each other? Yes. Did we look down on the people we left behind? Never.
 
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I think we agree, Alex - it's language. That's what I mean when I use the word 'confidence.' A shorthand for self-confidence. In my book ego's never a good thing.
I could get deeper into this and explain why I see confidence as a slightly different thing, but this would not really fit in here ;-) Let us agree it is in the end a question of definitions ... as we know we mean the same things.
 
Maybe we should learn and remember this sentence of Jean-Christophe Rufin (a french writer) in "Immortelle Randonnée":
"On leaving for Santiago de Compostela, I wasn't looking for anything and I found it"
 
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.
The time after return from the Camino gives us space to reflect on the good and not so good and the positive and negative aspects. Here is an extract from my thoughts after the Primitivo.
"At the bottom of the valley
The river Navia goes
On its long road to the sea.
No easy journey now, for
Man-made obstacles hinder its way.
The barrier formed by the dam means power
For a power hungry country.
The detritus and abandoned buildings left behind
By a cost cutting construction company
Show what the outcome can be
When no-one cares about appearances.
Few tourists here to see or to complain
At this defilement of the beauty of the valley.
Only the pilgrim who must avert his eyes
From this abuse of nature, and the tranquillity
Which lies at the heart of northern Spain."

Having been raised on a small farm in the U.K. back in the 1950s, I found that many of the practices of my father and grandfather were still being used in Spain! At least the meadows were full of wildflowers, orchids and Ragged Robin which I remember from childhood and seldom see in these 'enlightened times'.
Don't let too many negative thoughts detract from what should be a positive experience!
By the way, don't blame much of the fire destruction on 'climate change'. A great deal depends on the species planted - pines and euclypts especially. Short term profitering has much for which to answer!
Blessings - Terry B
The whole 'epic' is at www.ruralmatters.org.uk/pilgrimage/pilgrimage1.html
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
But do you also listen? Anyway : Buen Camino!
Yip, for shure! btw: ditto!
I think we agree, Alex - it's language. That's what I mean when I use the word 'confidence.' A shorthand for self-confidence. In my book ego's never a good thing.
That's why I used it in that specific topic. That, in facts, counts too for the word "flexing".
Boosting your confidence or your selfawareness has really nothing to do with an Ego-boost.
I use language very literally: Ego(-maniacs) don't care about their (social) environment.

Let me be clear here: the Caminos shouldn't be an environment, where more or less antisocial behaviour is rewarded as in many other (competitive) parts of society (aka business, politics, etc.).

Yes. Did we look down on the people we left behind? Never.
On that special occasion, that's what happened. The only topic was the kms somebody walks and nothing else. No Buen Camino, no other questions, no hello and good bye.
You can be proud for yourself on your achievements, but telling everyone around without asking? IDK!
 
Quite true, VN...OP may not have known that. May of 22, wasn't it? Or May 23.

Given the number of salmon protected streams I crossed over on that Way, and the number of small farms that remained along that Way, I don't know if OP knew how much of the Primitivo is along private land, or on a cowpath. This was on Hospitales. 20230919_101920.jpg

It's not a national park.

I hope OP's dismay leads to introspection about what expectations she brought on Camino that colored her perception.

We all have biases. We all have assumptions (I absolutely did, and do, and boy, was i in for a shock! 😉

The question becomes what we learn from having them challenged...even and especially if we learn that our biases cause us to try to negate ourselves, or try to change others. Neither Way is, in the end, functional in the long term.

I don't go on Camino to convert other people to my way of thinking...nor do i post here. I go to serve/ help others, if i can, but more important, to deepen my relationship with Who is waiting for me.
 
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My Camino experience was steeped in gratitude despite the really hard days, physically, mentally and spiritually. I am a vegetarian, a choice I made for my health. I cannot change things that are out of my control such as animal agriculture. As for people, tolerance and acceptance work much better than judgement so this is something I am keenly aware of in my life, no matter where I am. On my Camino I had no expectations of people so no matter what I saw or heard, it was not about me. Opinions, beliefs and values differ so much based on many factors that shape us. Kindness rules in my book of life. Kindness is much more prevalent in our world. ❤️

What I would say to the OP is this…when you focus on the things you are grateful for, and work at it…it leaves less room for sadness and grief. These latter emotions are part of life, how big a part depends on you. ❤️
 
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Those fires in particular last year were arson, if I remember correctly.
Most of them were not arson, but farmers burning down gorse and other bushes to create more pasture land. The fires got out of hand due to recknessless, indifference and the very dry weather. The latter one is definitely a sign of climate change. Asturias is getting dryer every year.
 
To the OP: I can relate quite well to your feelings by seeing all this: the animal abuse, the burnt down forests, the lack of insects... Walking in nature for days or weeks gives you a good vision on what we humans have been doing to the planet. But each to their own, you can't blame other pilgrims for having a different focus.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.

For me, Pilgrimage on the Camino is a deeply spritual, emotional and introspective journey.
This is the main reason I prefer to walk alone.
Though it really has nothing to do with walking or hiking.
I don't hike at home at all.
The walking is like a metronome for my thoughts.....

So the walking is merely the 'tool' or 'vehicle' to allow my Pilrimage to occur, which is very much an inner journey. And who cannot love being outdoors all day with nothing else to do, than walk.

To address your intial post............

I adore the element of walking through nature in all its aspects. And Yes I grieve inside when I see it being damaged. But that merely stengthens my resolve to address the balance in some way. I plant trees, thousands of them. (amongst other things) My little bit to address the balance.

I love the solitude and reflection which grounds me and reminds me of what's important in life. It breaks the leash that tethers me to the treadmill. For a while at least. That's why I like longer Caminos of 4+ weeks.

Whilst I prefer to walk alone, I do not get lonely, but I enjoy the company of other Pilgrims in small numbers. These interactions and friendships restore my faith in humanity. I have met so many good people who do good things. And my life is enriched and re energised for having met them. Some are still good friends.

And I talk a lot. Mainly to myself, to the World around me, to God. I talk to the animals, I hug trees, and I feel like who I am supposed to be. Leading a simple life, in a wonderful landscape.

If I could, I would be like the wandering Albatross. Walking Caminos back and forth for all time.

But as humans we collect things along the way, relationships, commitments, responsibilities..........and these need to be tended and nurtured too. So the Camino becomes my 'recharge'...........

My wife thinks I should be a Monk ;)
 
On that special occasion, that's what happened. The only topic was the kms somebody walks and nothing else. No Buen Camino, no other questions, no hello and good bye.
You can be proud for yourself on your achievements, but telling everyone around without asking? IDK!
I was not questioning that the boasting egomaniac type exists on the camino. Not at all. I just wanted to say that when you only see a fraction of a person and only a brief moment of what they do and say, one can be deceived and come to wrong conclusions. I guess if someone sat next to us and listened to bits of our conversation, he could have taken us as boasting egomaniacs.
Again, I was not there in your conversations and if someone lacks all pilgrim politeness and and has a certain way of talking it can be rather clear.

I myself have met people I felt uneasy about, not to say even very annoyed because of their attitude and how they looked at others. As we shared the same native language, I felt no doubt about my judgement to be honest. I quickly left the bar as I could not stand to listen.

So yes, I understand what you mean. But still we always have to be careful how we judge when we do not see the whole picture.
 
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
To come back to the original question ... I would say yes, a pilgrimage is selfish in a way. Most things we enjoy are selfish in a way.
My parents live 1500 miles away, the only sensible way to visit them is by plane as night trains are not a big thing in Europe yet. Every time I fly I feel bad about it. Should I visit them even less?

The same holds for my occasional Caminos. Flying somewhere to then walk? It is quite a footprint I leave then! So I feel uneasy about it.

Even when I visit friends not so far away, when I eat anything other than produced really locally, .... or any other consumption adds to our footprint on this planet, even when we try to choose wisely what and how much we consume.

Each and every one of us has to find his personal compromise how much consumption we allow ourselves and still enjoy our lives. There is a lot of selfishness in this whole calculation ...
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I think some of this may be an unfortunate sign of the times. On my first and second pilgrimages before COVID (2014 and 2016), I remember talking with a lot of people about a lot of subjects. Many of whom did not agree with my philosophy or direction - but we talked and got along.

On my last few pilgrimages, I too noticed that people were more hesitant to talk about anything substantial (other than blisters). Perhaps, we've just become too sensitized to being attached by trolls on the Internet to realize that people can talk with each other. We'll see what happens on my next pilgrimage on the Via del Norte in a few months.
 
We can only change ourselves.
And it takes time.
It takes time for many people just to connect with their own lives and their own bodies, let alone those of other beings.

Not everyone lives to help others. But you can.
"It takes time for many people just to connect with their own lives and their own bodies"........Excellent!
 
My wife and I have walked two long caminos. We found that a lot of people walking those caminos were in a state of transition (as were we) - trying to find themselves, looking perhaps for new direction, seeking respite and rejuvination from some sort of ending, often painful, in their lives. To an extent, that mindset is "selfish" - it's a focus on self. I think some of those people, ourselves included, were looking for time away from all the stress, anger and hopelessness in our world. We found ourselves often doing a lot more listening than talking.

It's sometimes hard to know, but trying to understand where another pilgrim is in their life helps to connect better with them. I found the pilgrims we met, with extremely rare exceptions, to be extraordinary people and more willing to interact on a wide variety of topics than in our normal life. But just like at greater family dinners, we weren't trying to bring politics, religion, or emotionally charged subjects up with people we had just met. For many, the real world and its harsh realities makes its appearance soon enough after finishing a pilgrimage. We just hope that our pilgrimage can result in our facing those realities with more insight, generosity and courage.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I think some of this may be an unfortunate sign of the times. On my first and second pilgrimages before COVID (2014 and 2016), I remember talking with a lot of people about a lot of subjects. Many of whom did not agree with my philosophy or direction - but we talked and got along.

On my last few pilgrimages, I too noticed that people were more hesitant to talk about anything substantial (other than blisters). Perhaps, we've just become too sensitized to being attached by trolls on the Internet to realize that people can talk with each other. We'll see what happens on my next pilgrimage on the Via del Norte in a few months.

Ever consider that maybe you're the one who changed? 🤯
 
My wife and I have walked two long caminos. We found that a lot of people walking those caminos were in a state of transition (as were we) - trying to find themselves, looking perhaps for new direction, seeking respite and rejuvination from some sort of ending, often painful, in their lives. To an extent, that mindset is "selfish" - it's a focus on self. I think some of those people, ourselves included, were looking for time away from all the stress, anger and hopelessness in our world. We found ourselves often doing a lot more listening than talking.

It's sometimes hard to know, but trying to understand where another pilgrim is in their life helps to connect better with them. I found the pilgrims we met, with extremely rare exceptions, to be extraordinary people and more willing to interact on a wide variety of topics than in our normal life. But just like at greater family dinners, we weren't trying to bring politics, religion, or emotionally charged subjects up with people we had just met. For many, the real world and its harsh realities makes its appearance soon enough after finishing a pilgrimage. We just hope that our pilgrimage can result in our facing those realities with more insight, generosity and courage.
Yes, things that ruin family and friends are (talking about) politics (everything related), religion, and borrowing money. Ultreia et Suseia.
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
Climate change has always existed long before we humans arrived on the planet. It’s part of the planet’s nature process.
 
I want to honor the OP's feelings of grief, as I felt this deeply upon returning to Bali last summer. I was lucky to "be stuck" on that island for two years during the pandemic. And living there during those quiet pandemic years was equal parts amazing and depressing, as the Balinese heavily relied on tourism.There was much talk about how unsustainable tourism was, etc etc, but in reality, I don't think we learned anything from those years.

Because once those borders opened, it was like everything moved at light speed. Gentrification, destruction of rice fields, the greasing of palms in order to build villas on protected zones, and oh my god the trash and landfills. I felt acutely sad for the destroying of a culture. The Balinese culture is largely centered around animism and agriculture. When that agriculture disappears, so does the culture.

All that to say, climate change grief is real.

I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems.

I hear you on this one. I'm not a fan of small talk, but also those are the things pilgrims have in common. Not everyone is up for the big stuff.
 
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Climate change has always existed long before we humans arrived on the planet. It’s part of the planet’s nature process.

Yup
Every article says, farmers used to set fires but now it's arsonists.. oh ps climate change. No evidence.

Dry is dry .. in ireland we have gorse and when i was young i remember seeing mountains on fire because some idiots set the gorse on fire. Yes, ireland, where it rains all year round. No one said "well, climate change is responsible for this" because it wasn't! I'm sure an article nowadays would be more willing to push that angle.
 
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Climate change has always existed long before we humans arrived on the planet. It’s part of the planet’s nature process.
Of course there has always been climate change, when it was fast, it was often combined with collapsing ecosystems and sometimes mass extinction. That sort of fast climate change is something human civilizations have not experienced on a global level yet. In fact, human civilizations could only develop and thrive in this long phase of rather stable climate. Then there has always been "climate creep", slow changes in climate and global temperatures. Here ecosystems and humans can adapt - much less of a problem.
What we see now during the last 100 / 60 years is an increase in temperature at a speed we have not had for more than 12000 years. All the up and downs like the warmer period 2000 years ago, the medieval warmer phase, the rather local little ice age were minuscule compared to the warming up we experience right now. Scientifically there is no doubt in the data and we have no other mechanism to explain this than that a large fraction is actually man-made.

But I will leave it to that as this is not a discussion forum for climate change.
 
I did not need “el Camino” to see all these painful things. I see them everyday where I live. It pains my heart. But the Camino was for me about finding joy and love while feeling pain and fatigue. I feel physical pain 24 hours a day, while I am aware too of all that is going on in our beautiful world. Yet I found joy and felt the love of other pilgrims and people and animals in general. It warmed my heart when a kitten came to greet me or when I walked by a field full of flowers. No pain was going to deny me that.
 
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Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
I did the Camino last year for the second time (first time over 20 years ago). I did have some of this experience that you describe. Not exactly the same issues in the same ways, but it did strike me as incongruous that we were all appreciating the natural beauty -- but flying hours to get there, which destroys it. I imagined the environmental damage from so many people every year doing this. Probably thousands of long flights happen every year just to get pilgrims to the Camino. If the Camino truly moves us to reverence for creation, which people often say, you'd think we'd all return home determined to minimize the use of fossil fuels in our lives and cut down on future air travel. I wondered if that actually happens for too many people. If the Camino is truly impactful, things in our daily lives AFTER the Camino should change.

Also, you have to be pretty privileged to do a Camino. Even if you're doing it frugally and not staying in high-end places, etc., you're looking at travel costs to get there, the expense of the days there, and the ability to take time off a job to do it. If the Camino really makes people more grateful and teaches them to live in a simpler way, does that translate into people going home and giving more to the poor or doing more to improve their situations? Maybe. But I hardly ever hear anyone talk about this in the "after the Camino" kinds of posts, etc.

I do wonder about these things, and I haven't seen much research out there on the actual impact of the Camino on people's lives. There's some, but not as much as you'd think, given the massive number of works out there on people's experiences DOING the Camino or gear recommendations. It's almost like no one wants to really look at the impact of this experience in people's lives.

I'm grateful for my own Camino experience and am still trying to figure out how to live its insights. But I do think that if you relish the Camino because it's an escape from daily life but don't later try to incorporate its lessons INTO your daily life, there's something missing there. And yes, of course, everyone's free to "do their own Camino" and not try to learn anything or be changed by it if that's not a goal. But it's worth noting that having it impact you and change the way you live is different from just having a great escape away for a while.
 
From my own life's experiences, who you are as a person at home is usually who you are on the camino, or anywhere else your travels take you. I’ve been on this forum a relatively short time compared to others, and people here are caring, thoughtful and kind, no matter if their experience or views differ. Life is oh so very short and goes by so fast.
 
I want to say, I do understand your questioning and dilemma. We cannot exist in a vaccum and the Camino doesnt exist for us to escape from the difficulties and complexities of the world, and even the grief (my opinion, I realize others' may be different). It's very hard to be living two realities at once. You are acutely aware of one reality while others' reality seems to be different or even in opposition. There is every variety of opinion and awareness and motivation on the Camino, just like in the rest of our life. Like another poster said, maybe it wasn't the right people or you were initially too strong with not allowing that other people may have different reasons for their belief other than the one you are imagining. I would have liked to have such conversations with you even if I didn't have the same conclusion because i value sharing such ideas and always learning something from the other's perspective.

It reminds me of when I lived overseas and the tourists visiting and enjoying many aspects of the country were totally oblivious to the lived socio-political reality of the people there. It's hard.

I think you might come to a different understanding when you've been home longer (I have no idea what that might be, but can just say for myself, my understanding of the Camino and of my Camino did not come immediately and has evolved over the past year.) Try to be gentle with yourself and open with your thoughts about others, and to acknowledge that all of your experience . My heart was filled with gratefulness, too, and greater awareness. Maybe your Camino is being able to hold that reality along with the reality of the causes from grief you mention. That is a gift because we can get stuck in experiencing things in a dualistic way. Your camino continues when you get home and there will be something new in your life that grows from all of your experiences.

<3
 
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Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
Show me a person who is not selfish, and I will show you a non-human. Show me a person who says they are not selfish, and I will show you a liar. Selfishness, both the good selfishness and the bad selfishness, exist in every single human being on earth--no exception. And besides, even if a Camino is done wrongly, with not one iota of a spiritual factor with completely and total selfishness involved (although this is an impossibility in and of itself), it is a Camino completed and may be a key step on moving to a different/higher spiritual plane. Each person is on their own path in life, spiritual or otherwise, and not only must make and endure this journey, but is compelled to do so even if, from a distance, it appears to be a useful and wasteful journey. Appreciate, value, and understand where a person is in life, even if it one of darkest places imaginable.
 
The OP has a point. Getting to the Camino is going to be in some way detrimental to our planet - how much is just a guess.
Walking past concrete buildings with screaming animals in as happened to me in Galicia should never fail to affect you, because if it does you are already too dead to bother with the Camino.
Maybe not everyone wants to hear these things, and I get that, ignorance is bliss. But don't turn on someone who at their heart wants this world to be better.
 
Been back for a week from the Camono Primitivo, my heart is full of overwhelming gratefulness for this experience, but also full of disappointment.
On one side, I enjoyed a beautiful and astonishing landscape. Special flowers beside the paths, little animals crossing my way and a silent and meditativ atmoshere. I soaked up every glimpse.
On the other side, I felt a lot of grief. Seeing so many dead, dried up trees, whole forests: dead. Wildfires took place and destroyed hughe areas. Climate change visible constantly.
I also registered animal farms everywhere, pigs screaming loud from the inside of the closed buildings. Chicken visible in iron cages on a farm. Animals living in dirty places.

When I spoke with other pilgrims, talking was only appreciated, as long as none of this unpleasent points where addressed. I learnt that pilgrims want to speak about daily business as albergues, equipment or physical problems. Or, very important, about the inner development, mindshifts.

After all this, I am disappointed by the people on the camino. Walking in nature, but not honor this base of our lifes? Flying all around the world to destroy what we want to enjoy? Eating together and celebrating at the expense of suffering creatures next to us? Just talking about personal matters or superficial themes. For me, pilgrimage seems to be by far a selfish project, I couldn't remark something divine. There surely will be exceptions, I met also one such person, which was a pleasure. Now I am interested to read the experiences and thoughts of the comunity.
Cognitive Dissonance. We all do it to some extent in order to live in this world.
 
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€46,-
The OP has a point. Getting to the Camino is going to be in some way detrimental to our planet - how much is just a guess.
Walking past concrete buildings with screaming animals in as happened to me in Galicia should never fail to affect you, because if it does you are already too dead to bother with the Camino.
Maybe not everyone wants to hear these things, and I get that, ignorance is bliss. But don't turn on someone who at their heart wants this world to be better.
::: chuckle::: Who's assuming that the people the OP met don't want a better world?
 
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