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Re: Post-Camino Blues

AlexanderCook

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2024
Good evening, everyone:

I have recently returned from walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, my first Camino. It was a deeply moving experience for me and one which I am still actively processing ten days out from my return.

Two days prior to the end of the Camino in Santiago, I knew that I'd like to walk again - whether a section of the Frances, the Portuguese route or the Via De La Plata - and that has not changed since returning home. In fact, the urge to walk Camino is even stronger now. It has definitely been an adjustment to return to "the real world". Anyone else struggle with shaking off the Camino? How'd you get over it/cope with it?

Also, I walked my first Camino with a church group. I'd appreciate recommendations for my next Camino - should I go alone? Which route or which sections of which route? (I'll likely be restricted to about 7 to 10 days in terms of time off.)

As always, thank you for the advice. Buen Camino.
 
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Hi Alexander. The Camino can be a very intense experience and coming back to the 'real world' can seem like a let down and easing back into your usual routine can take a while. Planning your next Camino can certainly help. I would suggest walking alone next time as I think you would meet more people an have a better experience than with a large group. The Camino Ingles is a fairly short route you could complete in the time you ave available, or a section of the Portuguese from Porto or the Sanabres from Ourense. Plenty of others to choose from as well. Buen Camino!
 
Good evening, everyone:

I have recently returned from walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, my first Camino. It was a deeply moving experience for me and one which I am still actively processing ten days out from my return.

Two days prior to the end of the Camino in Santiago, I knew that I'd like to walk again - whether a section of the Frances, the Portuguese route or the Via De La Plata - and that has not changed since returning home. In fact, the urge to walk Camino is even stronger now. It has definitely been an adjustment to return to "the real world". Anyone else struggle with shaking off the Camino? How'd you get over it/cope with it?

Also, I walked my first Camino with a church group. I'd appreciate recommendations for my next Camino - should I go alone? Which route or which sections of which route? (I'll likely be restricted to about 7 to 10 days in terms of time off.)

As always, thank you for the advice. Buen Camino.
Alexander,

Welcome. Many of us have experienced exactly what you’re feeling if that’s a consolation. I’ve now walked 3 Camino’s including the Francés, Inglés and the Aragónes/Francés all offer different things and experiences.

Parts of the Francés that you’ve not experienced offer some beautiful cities and rural experiences.

The Inglés is an interesting route and Betanzos is a wonderful city. Very different than what you experienced.

In April, we started the Aragónes in France, part of the Chemin d’Arles, over the Somport Pass and then across Aragón to Puente la Reina. Much more remote, rugged and beautiful.

You could do any stretch of the Francés, the entire Inglés or the Aragónes in 7-10 days. There are so many options besides these.

What do you want in your Camino? Some of the routes are more challenging, some less so be aware of that.

If you never return to Spain, your Camino always continues, if you want it to.
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
You got the itch then?
It will never leave you. Members of your family will think you mad. But you will go again, and again.
I strongly recommend travelling alone next time. Your first experience was probably constantly with the same group of friends throughout.
Travel alone, talk to fellow pilgrims, make new friends, come back stronger and better.
And go again.

My personal objective is to walk a Camino when aged 80.
 
You WILL be back. Most of us start planning our next Camino as soon as we unpack, clean then repack our rucksacks at home. I have found that he easiest way to store all my Camino gear is to keep it packed - except for things that are also used at home. I keep a list of those items at the top of the rucksack so I have a final packing checklist.

Hope this helps. It works for me.

Tom
 
Last edited:
Alexander, there's a current thread underway on the blues:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/post-camino-re-entry.87455/

I shared a quote from @andonius on that thread that you may find worth reading.

Many of us suffer from this. Even more of us return to the camino again and again even if we don't suffer from The Blues. Taking long walks and planning for the next helps, but realistically the only cure lies within your self.

As to your next Camino: personally I prefer to travel alone rather than with a group, both the Inglès or Portuguese are very easy to access and have great infrastructure. Additionally there is loads of information available on them so they're extremely easy to sketch out or even fully plan by yourself.

If your 7 to 10 days includes travelling time then obviously you've only got five to eight days on trail. So:

I, too, loved the Inglès, but it's a little short - only 5 days. Still, you could use extra time well and spend a day exploring Ferrol before leaving. Or take a couple of short trips once you're finished - to A Coruna for example. Super easy to access from Santiago.

5 days will also get you to Santiago from Tui.

On both of these caminos you could take more time should you wish and make them 6 - 8 days.

If you actually have 10 days to walk, you could complete the Inglés and go on to Finisterre.

Buen Camino!
 
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Good evening, everyone:

I have recently returned from walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, my first Camino. It was a deeply moving experience for me and one which I am still actively processing ten days out from my return.

Two days prior to the end of the Camino in Santiago, I knew that I'd like to walk again - whether a section of the Frances, the Portuguese route or the Via De La Plata - and that has not changed since returning home. In fact, the urge to walk Camino is even stronger now. It has definitely been an adjustment to return to "the real world". Anyone else struggle with shaking off the Camino? How'd you get over it/cope with it?

Also, I walked my first Camino with a church group. I'd appreciate recommendations for my next Camino - should I go alone? Which route or which sections of which route? (I'll likely be restricted to about 7 to 10 days in terms of time off.)

As always, thank you for the advice. Buen Camino.
Def go solo!
Does anyone else struggle with "shaking off" the Camino? You bet they do!
I cope by practicing being as "in the moment " at home as I was on the Camino and as I fall asleep at night I relive my journeys. I also practice gratitude by realizing how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to walk the Camino twice, and I try not to be overly eager for my third (it's difficult). I stay in touch via Whatsapp with my Camino buddies and share stories about being home.
And I appreciate my private showers and baths more than I ever did before!
 
Since you are on the US, check to see if there is an American Pilgrims chapter near you. You'll find others with the same "ailment" as you

 
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Good evening, everyone:

I have recently returned from walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, my first Camino. It was a deeply moving experience for me and one which I am still actively processing ten days out from my return.

Two days prior to the end of the Camino in Santiago, I knew that I'd like to walk again - whether a section of the Frances, the Portuguese route or the Via De La Plata - and that has not changed since returning home. In fact, the urge to walk Camino is even stronger now. It has definitely been an adjustment to return to "the real world". Anyone else struggle with shaking off the Camino? How'd you get over it/cope with it?

Also, I walked my first Camino with a church group. I'd appreciate recommendations for my next Camino - should I go alone? Which route or which sections of which route? (I'll likely be restricted to about 7 to 10 days in terms of time off.)

As always, thank you for the advice. Buen Camino.
Alexander,
I know exactly what you are feeling. I’ve been home 2 months and I still can’t get over how amazing my experience was but also there is still a sadness in me that I can’t quite shake off. Someone mentioned in this thread about living in the moment and that is what I am learning to do. I will be back in 2026. This forum is amazing and helped me cope when I was feeling out of sorts when I completed my Camino. Maybe you can find comfort from my post. Here is the link..


 
Good evening, everyone:

I have recently returned from walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, my first Camino. It was a deeply moving experience for me and one which I am still actively processing ten days out from my return.

Two days prior to the end of the Camino in Santiago, I knew that I'd like to walk again - whether a section of the Frances, the Portuguese route or the Via De La Plata - and that has not changed since returning home. In fact, the urge to walk Camino is even stronger now. It has definitely been an adjustment to return to "the real world". Anyone else struggle with shaking off the Camino? How'd you get over it/cope with it?

Also, I walked my first Camino with a church group. I'd appreciate recommendations for my next Camino - should I go alone? Which route or which sections of which route? (I'll likely be restricted to about 7 to 10 days in terms of time off.)

As always, thank you for the advice. Buen Camino.
Personally, I prefer to go alone. That doesn't mean you wont walk with others, but I loved the first few hours of being alone most mornings.
 
Alexander,

Welcome. Many of us have experienced exactly what you’re feeling if that’s a consolation. I’ve now walked 3 Camino’s including the Francés, Inglés and the Aragónes/Francés all offer different things and experiences.

Parts of the Francés that you’ve not experienced offer some beautiful cities and rural experiences.

The Inglés is an interesting route and Betanzos is a wonderful city. Very different than what you experienced.

In April, we started the Aragónes in France, part of the Chemin d’Arles, over the Somport Pass and then across Aragón to Puente la Reina. Much more remote, rugged and beautiful.

You could do any stretch of the Francés, the entire Inglés or the Aragónes in 7-10 days. There are so many options besides these.

What do you want in your Camino? Some of the routes are more challenging, some less so be aware of that.

If you never return to Spain, your Camino always continues, if you want it to.
Thank you for your advice.

For my next Camino I'd prefer more solitude and a more rural setting. I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the small villages on the Camino Frances and would appreciate a future Camino where nature is more prevalent. I am not opposed to a more rugged Camino, and perhaps might welcome it.

I appreciate and look forward to hearing your thoughts in light of the above. Take care.
 
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You got the itch then?
It will never leave you. Members of your family will think you mad. But you will go again, and again.
I strongly recommend travelling alone next time. Your first experience was probably constantly with the same group of friends throughout.
Travel alone, talk to fellow pilgrims, make new friends, come back stronger and better.
And go again.

My personal objective is to walk a Camino when aged 80.
Dawsie:

Thank you for your advice. I certainly have "the itch" and I'm afraid it's incurable - and as you rightfully said, the only salve seems to be another Camino, and then another thereafter.

If it's any encouragement, one of the pilgrims in our group walked the entire Camino from Sarria -she was 79 years old. Best of luck in your endeavor. Buen Camino.
 
You WILL be back. Most of us start planning our next Camino as soon as we unpack, clean then repack our rucksacks at home. I have found that he easiest way to store all my Camino gear is to keep it packed - except for things that are also used at home. I keep a list of those items at the top of the rucksack so I have a final packing checklist.

Hope this helps. It works for me.

Tom
Tom - Great idea re keeping the gear packed. I have no doubt that I'll be back - in some sense, do we ever really leave the Camino? Buen Camino.
 
Since you are on the US, check to see if there is an American Pilgrims chapter near you. You'll find others with the same "ailment" as you

Re: "ailment ":Yup our strength lies in (comiserating) numbers
I remember when I was in high school and one of my classmates got the flu and was totally miserable because she was sick and had to stay home.
However she was much happier after the Dr's visit who told her that the bug is going around and there were more kids like her.
So rejoice in the knowledge that you're not alone
😊
 
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Thank you for your advice.

For my next Camino I'd prefer more solitude and a more rural setting. I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the small villages on the Camino Frances and would appreciate a future Camino where nature is more prevalent. I am not opposed to a more rugged Camino, and perhaps might welcome it.

I appreciate and look forward to hearing your thoughts in light of the above. Take care.
There are many routes that I’ve not walked but friends have. If solitude is what you’re looking for you may want to consider the Primativo, Via de la Plata or the shorter Sanabres. The route I walked this year starting in Oloron, France and joining the Aragónes at Somport to Puente La Reina may be a good choice. We saw a total of 11 other pilgrims in 9 days which added to our shock when we joined the CF. Many opportunities and there are forum readers who know some of these routes better than I do. Good luck, keep walking.
 
Tom - Great idea re keeping the gear packed. I have no doubt that I'll be back - in some sense, do we ever really leave the Camino? Buen Camino.
I always felt that the Camino became part of my life, on or off-Camino. It significantly affected my personality, mental health, religious practice, and attitude towards other people and life in general. On the whole, a 'win-win" for all aspects of my life.

Since April 2023, when my wife fell very seriously ill, had three life-saving surgeries, and spent two-months in hospital, then another month this May for corrective surgery, I have been her 24 x 7 caregiver. This necessarily preempted all my Camino or Pilgrim Office volunteering plans for 2023, and 2024. However, her overall condition is improving, and I am prayerfully hopeful that I might be able to return to Spain in 2025.

My wife's illness is life-altering, and she will likely never return 100% to where she was before April 2023. But, one of the very valuable life lessons I learned early on, during my very first Camino in 2013 (Frances - solo), was that life, and the Camino (as a metaphor for life), regularly hands us challenges.

As pilgrims, we evaluate and assess these challenges, then develop alternatives for dealing with them. We then adapt, and overcome the challenges we face - on Camino - as in life.

I found this to be the case, on every Camino I have done, whether I was dealing with weather, rain, mud snow, temperatures, animals, food, lodging, other pilgrims, and camaraderie. This challenges-faced and overcome issue is a truism that has stayed with me ever since, and has factored into every aspect of my life since then.

Keeping my gear packed and almost ready to go, is a sign of eternal hope - something that all repeat pilgrims typically have.

Thanks for your comments. Hope mine help.

Tom
 
Alexander,
I know exactly what you are feeling. I’ve been home 2 months and I still can’t get over how amazing my experience was but also there is still a sadness in me that I can’t quite shake off. Someone mentioned in this thread about living in the moment and that is what I am learning to do. I will be back in 2026. This forum is amazing and helped me cope when I was feeling out of sorts when I completed my Camino. Maybe you can find comfort from my post. Here is the link..


Thank you very much for the resource. Take care,
 
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.
My recommendation is to walk alone and walk for at least 3 weeks (if you can).
Thanks for the advice, Richard. I'll certainly try and aim for a longer Camino next time. I was just getting into the rhythm of the Camino on Day 6 and we had to depart on Day 7, so I think a longer Camino would be beneficial.
 
Hi Alexander. The Camino can be a very intense experience and coming back to the 'real world' can seem like a let down and easing back into your usual routine can take a while. Planning your next Camino can certainly help. I would suggest walking alone next time as I think you would meet more people an have a better experience than with a large group. The Camino Ingles is a fairly short route you could complete in the time you ave available, or a section of the Portuguese from Porto or the Sanabres from Ourense. Plenty of others to choose from as well. Buen Camino!
Thanks, Lindsay.

I will definitely walk alone next time, that's been decided.

I'm already thinking about the Ingles. Thoughts re the route?

That said, anyone else have any thoughts on hiking the Ingles? I have been researching the route (starting from Ferrol instead of A Coruna, though I'd be curious as to anyone's thoughts on either starting point) and it may be a contender for a second Camino (appears fairly rural, doesn't take as long to walk as other routes et cetera).

Buen Camino, all.
 
Thanks, Lindsay.

I will definitely walk alone next time, that's been decided.

I'm already thinking about the Ingles. Thoughts re the route?

That said, anyone else have any thoughts on hiking the Ingles? I have been researching the route (starting from Ferrol instead of A Coruna, though I'd be curious as to anyone's thoughts on either starting point) and it may be a contender for a second Camino (appears fairly rural, doesn't take as long to walk as other routes et cetera).

Buen Camino, all.
As you rightly point out the Inglès is short, but it's most definitely enjoyable. Very well supported in terms of infrastructure, a little more Road walking than I like but it's nearly all rural roads, with very little if any traffic. Popular ( increasingly so) so you will not want for company except perhaps right at the very beginning or end of the year. A good mix of terrain and scenery. I did it at the very beginning of April last year, absolutely loved it.
Considering all your comments above this would be the perfect trail to go 'solo' on!

The only negative for me is that I found it too short ( but to be fair it fitted my time frame perfectly!) If you have the time it would be a perfect one to add the walk to Finisterre onto.

Be aware: look at your timing so that it does not coincide with Spanish public holidays. It is heavily walked by the Spanish people during those times which can make it rather busy. This effects one place in particular, Bruma, where there is not a lot of accommodation and it can mean having to walk or taxi an extra 10 kilometers if you have not pre-booked. (There is an excellent private Albergue there).
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

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