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Post Camino Re-entry

Purple Backpack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF’12 VF’16 VP w/variants 2022/23 Norte’23, CF ‘23
I’ve walked a few Caminos and they were always really great hiking trips. I’m home three days now and this First Solo Camino was very different, spiritual, quiet, peaceful. Re-entry back into the Real World (whatever that is), after six weeks away, to the same problems, same dynamics, same old/same old feels so odd. I’ve searched the Forum using “Post Camino Blues”, “Post Camino”, “Re-entry” and “Life After the Camino” and can’t find posts related to what I’m experiencing. I’m sure others have been through it, too. Can anyone provide links to things others have found helpful? Many thanks!
 
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I think the shock of re-entry has been going on for centuries. In former times, the pilgrim had to hoof it all the way back home, which afforded considerable time to reflect. These days, we are tempted to just hop on the nearest aircraft and head back home straightaway, often due to family or work-related responsibilities.

For me, that shock would always start immediately when walking into the terminal town for that year: cars - traffic - noise - people - shop windows - more people.

Once home, it can be difficult to remember the physical sensation of calm, the mental peace, the joys of little discoveries.

Journaling may help. What do you find you are missing most from your Camino experience? Can you find a way to add some of that back into daily life? More meditation, more quiet walks, more time with friends, more service to strangers?

And of course, everyone's favorite strategy is to start planning your next Camino!
 
Once home, it can be difficult to remember the physical sensation of calm, the mental peace, the joys of little discoveries.

Journaling may help. What do you find you are missing most from your Camino experience? Can you find a way to add some of that back into daily life? More meditation, more quiet walks, more time with friends, more service to strangers?

And of course, everyone's favorite strategy is to start planning your next Camino!
Those things all help, especially the last one..
 
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I’ve walked a few Caminos and they were always really great hiking trips. I’m home three days now and this First Solo Camino was very different, spiritual, quiet, peaceful. Re-entry back into the Real World (whatever that is), after six weeks away, to the same problems, same dynamics, same old/same old feels so odd. I’ve searched the Forum using “Post Camino Blues”, “Post Camino”, “Re-entry” and “Life After the Camino” and can’t find posts related to what I’m experiencing. I’m sure others have been through it, too. Can anyone provide links to things others have found helpful? Many thanks!
Start planning your next Camino. It’s worked for me twice.
 
I’ve searched the Forum using “Post Camino Blues”, “Post Camino”, “Re-entry” and “Life After the Camino”
I've added the tag "post camino" under the title of this thread. If you click on that tag, you might find some related discussions, but there's nothing wrong with starting a new thread, since everyone has a different perspective on the question. It is a topic that permeates many threads!
 
I took buses backwards from SdC to Burgos then to Bilbao in 2018. Glad the bus rides gave me time needed to reflect, still whn I saw high-rise buildings in Bilbao, I was disorientated. As @Kitsambler mentioned, journaling helped a lot. I revisited the journal I kept on the road, rearranged it(virtually walk it again). Took me months to settle down.
 
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I like the book "Returning from Camino" by John Shaia.

Also - I re-read my journal, a day or two at a time, and look at the pictures I took from that day. I make note of which towns, which albergues, which restaurants I liked, because I feel that as members of the camino community we should try to answer questions and give advice to others. These things are practical ways to remember your camino, while also working on the emotional/mental/spiritual things you discovered and are still discovering.

And, as everyone has said, start planning the next one!
 
Just back from our 3rd Camino and thinking of the next one :) understand the feeling completely.
since our return am watching the pictures every day, what helps us also is watching the youtube channel of Efren Gonzalez, he makes amazing stuff and takes you right back
 
Camino Blues....
When I Finished my first long Camino I wrote what I left you here today.
Hope you find it means something for you all, my Camino brothers.
Excuse my english and accept my feelings

"Yesterday I finished El Camino de Santiago.

Today is a day of rest and return.

Today I can get up at any time I want and enjoy Santiago to my liking.

But customs are customs and I wake up at seven.

Of course, today I have a long breakfast and after preparing my backpack for the plane for the last time, I go to Santiago to do some sightseeing.

When stepping on the streets, pilgrims are already arriving at the Plaza del Obradoiro. I look at them with the until now habitual face of camaraderie and complicity, I even greet them with the usual until yesterday "Buen Camino!... but it's not the same anymore.

Today I am no longer an active pilgrim (I stress the word "active", because once a pilgrim you are a pilgrim all your life). Now I am no more than an ordinary tourist; although worse dressed than average.

For the first time since yesterday I am aware that my pilgrimage is over. And it hurts me.

It has been just over three intense and wonderful weeks. Absolutely different from what I am used to, demanding, hard and at the same time revitalizing and full.

I have shared sweat, steps and efforts with people from places as different as Korea, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Alaska or South Africa. Even some occasional Spanish!

I have learned that if your task for the day is to walk 20 or 30 kilometers, then you walk them and that's all.

I have discovered how good a bit of York ham and some walnuts taste in the shade of a tree when you are tired.

I've learned to endure and even enjoy the rain on your face and the mud that won't let you lift your feet.

I have seen my shadow, companion on the way, always walking ahead of me, from East to West, marking the route.

I have experienced that the best thing against foot pain is to keep walking. They don't hurt less, but you even get used to the pain.

I have suffered the agony of the steep slopes, knowing that sooner or later I will reach the top and then everything will be easier. After the toughest climb always comes something better.

I have known the joy of seeing the end of a long stage already a stone's throw away and knowing that the rest you deserve is near.

I have learned that if you know how to search, there is always a yellow arrow that shows you the right path.

I have felt anger and even fear walking on the verge of roads packed with vehicles and pure delight walking lonely lanes through lush forests.

I have been relieved to see the tip of a church tower appear among the wheat fields, indicating that the destination is near.

I have changed the face to pure happiness to find the person I love the most (my wife) in the most unexpected moment and the most unexpected place.

I have felt what it is to be alone and enjoy solitude and I have felt what it is to be alone and to be homesick and missing my family.

I have seen that as important as reaching the goal is to enjoy the way to it. The goal is nothing without the path that leads you to it and the path is meaningless if you are not clear about the goal.

And I have discovered that you should not try to find out what your reason is for following the path, because there is never a single reason for following it.

Pilgrims don't need to talk about their reasons for making the way. They just follow it, because they know deep inside that they have to. ¿Why?...sometimes even yourself does not know why. But if the Camino calls you, you will will eventualy discover the reason while walking.

The road has been there for many centuries, and if it calls you, the best thing to do is to go and start by putting one foot forward, and then the other, and then the other again and again...

You will surely discover that the path has something to offer you.

The path is always there. Only you are missing.
My personal favourite - possibly my favourite post on the forum
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
During our first walk we had to leave for a couple of weeks due to a family illness in another part of Spain. Getting into the taxi was my first bit of culture shock; watching with envy the walkers with their packs in the distance as we raced down the road.

Then thrown into problem solving mode at a Salamanca hospital which required a lot more effort and energy than walking, thinking, eating, bathing, sleeping, and appreciating each moment of doing each of those simple tasks. Perhaps, taking one's gratitude to another level and valuing the moments one is living in the "real world" is key, but if that could resolve our longing for life on the Camino, we probably would not be here on the forum every day. :)
 
This is an appropriate post to highlight the FCJ project called Camino Companions which is based in Room 6 on the 1st Floor Jo of the Pilgrims Office in SDC (11:30 to 5:00 Mon to Sat). They offer various activities throughout the day aimed at creating a space where pilgrims can articulate their experience at the end of the Camino and explore its meaning.

Some find arriving in Santiago an anti-climax and need space to come to terms with what their Camino has meant for them. Others miss their Camino friends and find Santiago rather daunting. Sometimes, pilgrims just want to laugh, share and enjoy the great memories together at the end of the Camino.

It is open to persons of all religions and none. Further information can be found on Facebook: Camino Companions.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I’ve walked a few Caminos and they were always really great hiking trips. I’m home three days now and this First Solo Camino was very different, spiritual, quiet, peaceful. Re-entry back into the Real World (whatever that is), after six weeks away, to the same problems, same dynamics, same old/same old feels so odd. I’ve searched the Forum using “Post Camino Blues”, “Post Camino”, “Re-entry” and “Life After the Camino” and can’t find posts related to what I’m experiencing. I’m sure others have been through it, too. Can anyone provide links to things others have found helpful? Many thanks!
My mantra when I came home last year was to “live my best life, wherever I was” and that has helped me navigate life off the Camino. I also initially sought out those who could understand what I had just experienced, and to not initially spend a lot of time with those friends who couldn’t understand or didn’t want to understand. I head out again this August and am once again looking forward to leaving this crazy, busy life back home and enjoying the peace and camaraderie of The Way. All the Best.
 
I bought an autographed (!!!) copy of Returning From Camino by Alexander John Shaia from a little store in Muxia. Reading the book during my stay at a lovely Albergue in that town helped very much. I reread it before my sixth Camino a year ago, and will read it again before I leave for the VDLP in October.
 
This is an appropriate post to highlight the FCJ project called Camino Companions which is based in Room 6 on the 1st Floor Jo of the Pilgrims Office in SDC (11:30 to 5:00 Mon to Sat). They offer various activities throughout the day aimed at creating a space where pilgrims can articulate their experience at the end of the Camino and explore its meaning.

Some find arriving in Santiago an anti-climax and need space to come to terms with what their Camino has meant for them. Others miss their Camino friends and find Santiago rather daunting. Sometimes, pilgrims just want to laugh, share and enjoy the great memories together at the end of the Camino.

It is open to persons of all religions and none. Further information can be found on Facebook: Camino Companions.
I wish I'd known the Pilgrim's office was for anything more than getting your Compostela, when I was there in 2022. No one ever told me there were meeting rooms upstairs, so when I was crying my eyes out on the back stairs after I got my compostela, and a British woman approached me on the steps to ask if I wanted to come up for a cuppa tea, I thought it was very kind and hoped she wasn't hitting on me, inviting me up to what I figured must be her room. I had no idea at the time that she would not have been referring to a private room she might have been staying in, similar to a Casa rural or something.
 
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I bought an autographed (!!!) copy of Returning From Camino by Alexander John Shaia from a little store in Muxia. Reading the book during my stay at a lovely Albergue in that town helped very much. I reread it before my sixth Camino a year ago, and will read it again before I leave for the VDLP in October.
I downloaded it and read the other night. I wish I had read it ahead of time!
 
Thanks everyone for the kind and thoughtful replies. It’s been a few days and I started “un-training”…long walks to get out of my head. I think what I’m missing beyond the wonderful community and simplicity, is the spiritual part of this trip. I loved going to whatever services I could find in the evening and getting blessed. I loved getting tiny gifts like the pebble from the priest in o’cebreiro or the paper star from the nuns to remind us of the light in the world and each other. Small gestures..that seem absent in “the real world”. I can think of no other experience of bonding with strangers when we don’t even speak each other’s languages. Perhaps misery really does love company or shared joy is even better when serendipity is involved. Time to break out the maps and a bottle of wine to plan a fall trip.
 
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Small gestures..that seem absent in “the real world”. I can think of no other experience of bonding with strangers when we don’t even speak each other’s languages.
When I read this part of your message I thought to myself “I wonder if the experience Purple Backpack has witnessed and received might open his/her eyes to ways to be the gift to others - even others who he-she may not have a lot in common with”
Then I saw @VNwalking had basically said the same thing - but it bears repeating.
Could you spend some of your walking time imagining what simple blessings you can share or imagining what contexts you might create to normalise such gestures?
Then your own learning and growth might develop too - it is more blessed to give than to receive.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
@Purple Backpack - since you live in the US I encourage you to connect with a local chapter of American Pilgrims if there is one nearby (if you haven't already). You'll find others who "get it."


When I first walked the Camino there wasn't a chapter near me. I met a couple of local peregrinas via this forum and we started one. Having a pilgrim community at home has been very helpful to me, and I enjoy helping new pilgrims get started on their Camino journeys.
 
Thanks everyone for the kind and thoughtful replies. It’s been a few days and I started “un-training”…long walks to get out of my head. I think what I’m missing beyond the wonderful community and simplicity, is the spiritual part of this trip. I loved going to whatever services I could find in the evening and getting blessed. I loved getting tiny gifts like the pebble from the priest in o’cebreiro or the paper star from the nuns to remind us of the light in the world and each other. Small gestures..that seem absent in “the real world”. I can think of no other experience of bonding with strangers when we don’t even speak each other’s languages. Perhaps misery really does love company or shared joy is even better when serendipity is involved. Time to break out the maps and a bottle of wine to plan a fall trip.
Or figure out ways to build that bonding and kindness into your regular life and spread the Camino spirit ...
 
I’ve walked a few Caminos and they were always really great hiking trips. I’m home three days now and this First Solo Camino was very different, spiritual, quiet, peaceful. Re-entry back into the Real World (whatever that is), after six weeks away, to the same problems, same dynamics, same old/same old feels so odd. I’ve searched the Forum using “Post Camino Blues”, “Post Camino”, “Re-entry” and “Life After the Camino” and can’t find posts related to what I’m experiencing. I’m sure others have been through it, too. Can anyone provide links to things others have found helpful? Many thanks!
I think walking solo gives you lots of time to really learn about yourself. Hopefully it’s the realisation that your life doesn’t have to be so complex. It can be hard not to fall into the same rut- but now your eyes are open.
Join a weekend Camino Walkin group in yr area n start letting people and things that don’t serve your needs go.
 
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