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Scared to walk alone

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
I think it is relatively safe to use the stages from a reputable guidebook, such as John Brierley's, for planning. You don't have to stick to that plan once you are underway, but it is a good start point. If you are walking through to Santiago, consider adding at least one rest day, and I always plan to have a reserve day in case of injury or illness, or even just to give yourself the opportunity to have an extra day in Santiago.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Should be plenty of other people at the end of March / early April.
With regard to meeting your friend in Sarria on a specific date, you could use a planning tool like this:
Select Burgos in the left column and Sarria in the right column. The next page lets you plan your stages - The 388km to Sarria might take 20 days if you average 20km/day or 13 days if you average 30km/day. Adding some days for rest, as Doug suggests, is a good idea. Depending on how long you have, you might choose to take a bus to skip some stages.
 

Roland49

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 June/July/August
Hello Annasofie,

I had the same issues and thoughts like you. But as I read this and another Camino-related forum, my fears and concerns went away.
You will never be really solitary on the CdS. For me the idea of being somehow "lonely" on the CdS is most relaxing. You can have company, if you want to, but you can be yourself, if you want, too.
The CdS is not the end of nowhere. You are in mid-europe, enjoying yourself, walking the trail step by step.

To determine how long you can walk, you should probably try it around your home. I'm not very well trained at the moment, but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown. Packed with a rucksack and on steep terrain I should still be able to walk 3-5km/h. My goal is to be fit enough to walk the track of 11km in 1:30h with full loaded rucksack and accessories.

If you start from Burgos you leave the worst part of the CdS (IMHO) behind, the part from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: St-Jean-PdP - Santiago dC - Muxía - Fisterra (Aug 2017 and March/April 2018)
Hello Annasofie,

I had the same issues and thoughts like you. But as I read this and another Camino-related forum, my fears and concerns went away.
You will never be really solitary on the CdS. For me the idea of being somehow "lonely" on the CdS is most relaxing. You can have company, if you want to, but you can be yourself, if you want, too.
The CdS is not the end of nowhere. You are in mid-europe, enjoying yourself, walking the trail step by step.

To determine how long you can walk, you should probably try it around your home. I'm not very well trained at the moment, but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown. Packed with a rucksack and on steep terrain I should still be able to walk 3-5km/h. My goal is to be fit enough to walk the track of 11km in 1:30h with full loaded rucksack and accessories.

If you start from Burgos you leave the worst part of the CdS (IMHO) behind, the part from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
Worst part? There is a worst part? 😣😣
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Usually I’m quite content travelling alone and travel a fair amount for work but there are times when I’m not happy. When that happens I kind of step back and think about what exactly am I worried about, is it being alone? Personal safety? Not enjoying myself? Wanting to be with family or missing out on something at home? Once you dig a bit deeper it’s sometimes easier to work out what to do next. Sometimes, I’ve said this isn’t the trip for me at this point in my life. Other times I’ve made simple changes that have made the ‘problem’ go away, like booking a taxi transfer from the airport to avoid certain situations. Other times it’s simply saying to myself what’s the worst that can happen and then thinking about what I would do if that happened and usually my concerns go away.

As others have said, unless you choose to be alone, I doubt you'll be lonely!
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Hello Annasofie,

I had the same issues and thoughts like you. But as I read this and another Camino-related forum, my fears and concerns went away.
You will never be really solitary on the CdS. For me the idea of being somehow "lonely" on the CdS is most relaxing. You can have company, if you want to, but you can be yourself, if you want, too.
The CdS is not the end of nowhere. You are in mid-europe, enjoying yourself, walking the trail step by step.

To determine how long you can walk, you should probably try it around your home. I'm not very well trained at the moment, but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown. Packed with a rucksack and on steep terrain I should still be able to walk 3-5km/h. My goal is to be fit enough to walk the track of 11km in 1:30h with full loaded rucksack and accessories.

If you start from Burgos you leave the worst part of the CdS (IMHO) behind, the part from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
Hi Roland, I cannot determine if you have ever walked the Camino before but given what you wrote under your photo I would assume you are excitedly preparing for your first Camino. I am glad you are training for the Camino and getting your body in shape. If I may give you a word of advice. I am much older than you but my I trained like crazy for my first Camino and was walking every day and at least 4 days a week walked about 20 miles. Yes I was walking with a full backpack too.I was timing myself and proud of how far and how quickly I could walk. Let me tell you I was pretty confident that I had the walking part down before I started. That facade was quickly shattered the first day out of SJPP and it was a struggle to get out of bed for the first 8 or 9 days. You know what they say the CF is broken down in three parts, body, mind and spirit. I would tell you that now as I am approaching my 65th birthday I actually train less and less for each of my 4 caminos. Mind you I still train hard but I train less. I have learned, at least for myself really hard preparation and the ability to walk long distances in short amounts of time are not as important (especially the distance/time factor, which is meaningless, really) as two other things that to me are of paramount importance, that I know most peregrines will agree with me on. The first is listening to your body and submitting to it. Your body will be in touch with your brain in many different ways. It will tell you when to walk, when to stop, when to eat and drink, what to eat and drink, when to start walking again, and when to sleep. I have seen people get sick and break down because they do not listen to their bodies and think they have a "goal" or some other pre-conceived idea that they have to get somewhere or do things a certain way. You have to let go of that and even if you meet wonderful people. If they walk further than you and your body screams at you to rest and you continually go you will break down, blister and experience no joy but pain. The other important thing to learn is how to walk. Find your rhythm, every morning. If you put a clock to your body rhythm you will never find it. You also may think you have found it training but believe me you probably haven't found it yet. Walk at your pace, feel your feet and how you land, know the surfaces you are walking on, pay attention when you are on slippery or cobblestone, or walking along massive rocks that double for a path. Walk in silence to learn your rhythm. When you find it you will know because you will feel so in touch with your rhythm and so free from bullshit. When you learn your rhythm you will walk further and easier than any amount of training. Training is just a means to get you to an endow which is your rhythm and walking lighter and easier with less wear and tear on your body, less blisters and more peace and joy as you walk. It took me about 3 weeks on my first camino to really start to learn these lessons. Now when I walk down the street or take a morning walk and I get into my rhythm I can feel the Camino under my feet. Hope this unsolicited advice will help you some. Buen Camino one way or the other and enjoy every moment you are there. Walking 11K in an 1 1/2 hours??? Unless that is truly your rhythm, where is the fire?????
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
Norte - (2019)
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
If you stay in the albergues, then everyone is leaving within a couple of hours of each other, and everyone is headed in the same direction. Last year I took the train to Leon and walked out of the city to an albergue. While doing my laundry I started chatting with a woman and we went for dinner together. Then we chose to walk together the next day.
Even if you don't find someone ahead of time to walk with, there will be people passing you and you can start chatting with them while walking. Any time I was alone on the camino if I stopped, within a couple of minutes someone would come by. I don't think the meseta is anything to worry about. The biggest concern is the heat, and you won't have that in April. Buen camino!
 

LynneR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF in 2016
CF in 2018
Planning a CP for June 2019
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
Hello,
Last summer I walked alone from Burgos to SdC. I posted a similar question when I was planning my walk. I had traveled alone in the past, but taking on this emotionally and physically exhausting hike on my own made me nervous.
I learned that going alone was the best decision. First, I never felt alone. Lonely? Maybe here and there, but that is how it is in life too. However, I always felt surrounded by kindness and support. Never did I feel afraid or threatened.
Second, going it alone gave me the opportunity to meet people I would not have met if I was with a companion. I made good friends and have kept in touch with several of them.
I loved my solitary journey...so much that I am planning to do CP alone this summer. And I'd have it no other way.
Look to your fellow pilgrims for support if you need it. You will never feel alone.
Have a great journey.
 

Roland49

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 June/July/August
Hello fellow pilgrim,


Hi Roland, I cannot determine if you have ever walked the Camino before but given what you wrote under your photo I would assume you are excitedly preparing for your first Camino. I am glad you are training for the Camino and getting your body in shape. If I may give you a word of advice. I am much older than you but my I trained like crazy for my first Camino and was walking every day and at least 4 days a week walked about 20 miles. Yes I was walking with a full backpack too.I was timing myself and proud of how far and how quickly I could walk. Let me tell you I was pretty confident that I had the walking part down before I started. That facade was quickly shattered the first day out of SJPP and it was a struggle to get out of bed for the first 8 or 9 days. You know what they say the CF is broken down in three parts, body, mind and spirit. I would tell you that now as I am approaching my 65th birthday I actually train less and less for each of my 4 caminos. Mind you I still train hard but I train less. I have learned, at least for myself really hard preparation and the ability to walk long distances in short amounts of time are not as important (especially the distance/time factor, which is meaningless, really) as two other things that to me are of paramount importance, that I know most peregrines will agree with me on. The first is listening to your body and submitting to it. Your body will be in touch with your brain in many different ways. It will tell you when to walk, when to stop, when to eat and drink, what to eat and drink, when to start walking again, and when to sleep. I have seen people get sick and break down because they do not listen to their bodies and think they have a "goal" or some other pre-conceived idea that they have to get somewhere or do things a certain way. You have to let go of that and even if you meet wonderful people. If they walk further than you and your body screams at you to rest and you continually go you will break down, blister and experience no joy but pain. The other important thing to learn is how to walk. Find your rhythm, every morning. If you put a clock to your body rhythm you will never find it. You also may think you have found it training but believe me you probably haven't found it yet. Walk at your pace, feel your feet and how you land, know the surfaces you are walking on, pay attention when you are on slippery or cobblestone, or walking along massive rocks that double for a path. Walk in silence to learn your rhythm. When you find it you will know because you will feel so in touch with your rhythm and so free from bullshit. When you learn your rhythm you will walk further and easier than any amount of training. Training is just a means to get you to an endow which is your rhythm and walking lighter and easier with less wear and tear on your body, less blisters and more peace and joy as you walk. It took me about 3 weeks on my first camino to really start to learn these lessons. Now when I walk down the street or take a morning walk and I get into my rhythm I can feel the Camino under my feet. Hope this unsolicited advice will help you some. Buen Camino one way or the other and enjoy every moment you are there. Walking 11K in an 1 1/2 hours??? Unless that is truly your rhythm, where is the fire?????
Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it.
You're just 15 years older than me.

Yes, I am in fact a very fast walker, I hiked different trails in the Harz Mountains last year, even very difficult trails (i.e. the Eckerloch up to the Brocken) three times in less than 1:30h (5.5k /500m rise).
My family suffers from my pace it they are with me, so I have learned to take advantage of it and take pictures while I wait for them to catch up.

For me the Camino itself is the goal, if you take the word goal not to serious. I "train" once a week on the weekend or if very bad weather occurs, I chill and take the chance on the next weekend. It is not a serious training for the Camino, I just want to loose a kilogram or two before the flight to Bayonne end of June. And I want to get used to the rucksack and the weight on my hips and want to break in my shoes.

All the other "training" will do the camino itself, I think.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
I get you. You like a plan a and b and if this doesn’t work a plan c. If panning you helps, do it.
If training gives you the feeling you are already walking the Camino do it.
But is the issue here really walking alone?
I walked 90% of my time by myself, I loved it.
My live line was my WhatsApp pictures I sent every morning to my family and friends, so they would know I was alive and I could share it with someone who cared.
So if I needed it I could get in touch for help. I never needed it, only one time in a rainstorm after an exhausting walk way beyond my usual fill I got hold to a taxi and one of the view times I called home to complain. I am usually not a whiner.
Just remember:
“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish proverb.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Hello fellow pilgrim,




Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it.
You're just 15 years older than me.

Yes, I am in fact a very fast walker, I hiked different trails in the Harz Mountains last year, even very difficult trails (i.e. the Eckerloch up to the Brocken) three times in less than 1:30h (5.5k /500m rise).
My family suffers from my pace it they are with me, so I have learned to take advantage of it and take pictures while I wait for them to catch up.

For me the Camino itself is the goal, if you take the word goal not to serious. I "train" once a week on the weekend or if very bad weather occurs, I chill and take the chance on the next weekend. It is not a serious training for the Camino, I just want to loose a kilogram or two before the flight to Bayonne end of June. And I want to get used to the rucksack and the weight on my hips and want to break in my shoes.

All the other "training" will do the camino itself, I think.
If that is your pace then that is great! I will be interested if it changes once you are on the Camino. Not to prove I am correct but it is always fun to see the changes people undergo as they walk. Buen Camino my friend!
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
I think it is relatively safe to use the stages from a reputable guidebook, such as John Brierley's, for planning. You don't have to stick to that plan once you are underway, but it is a good start point. If you are walking through to Santiago, consider adding at least one rest day, and I always plan to have a reserve day in case of injury or illness, or even just to give yourself the opportunity to have an extra day in Santiago.
Thank you, that is very helpful. I have been looking at some guidebooks and made a rough plan based on those, so between 20-25km each day.
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
Usually I’m quite content travelling alone and travel a fair amount for work but there are times when I’m not happy. When that happens I kind of step back and think about what exactly am I worried about, is it being alone? Personal safety? Not enjoying myself? Wanting to be with family or missing out on something at home? Once you dig a bit deeper it’s sometimes easier to work out what to do next. Sometimes, I’ve said this isn’t the trip for me at this point in my life. Other times I’ve made simple changes that have made the ‘problem’ go away, like booking a taxi transfer from the airport to avoid certain situations. Other times it’s simply saying to myself what’s the worst that can happen and then thinking about what I would do if that happened and usually my concerns go away.

As others have said, unless you choose to be alone, I doubt you'll be lonely!
Thank you Helen, this is very very helpful. I think that's also what caught me off guard, that I am used to travelling on my own, but for some reason this journey scares me. I am definitely worried about 'personal safety', and while I do know it is irrational (I am European myself, from Denmark, and I speak Spanish too), my worst fear is to be on a long strech alone, or getting assulted because I am alone. I am not entirely sure how to go about that fear, but I am guessing I will just need to connect with others and share my fear of being 'left behind'.
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
Hello Annasofie,

I had the same issues and thoughts like you. But as I read this and another Camino-related forum, my fears and concerns went away.
You will never be really solitary on the CdS. For me the idea of being somehow "lonely" on the CdS is most relaxing. You can have company, if you want to, but you can be yourself, if you want, too.
The CdS is not the end of nowhere. You are in mid-europe, enjoying yourself, walking the trail step by step.

To determine how long you can walk, you should probably try it around your home. I'm not very well trained at the moment, but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown. Packed with a rucksack and on steep terrain I should still be able to walk 3-5km/h. My goal is to be fit enough to walk the track of 11km in 1:30h with full loaded rucksack and accessories.

If you start from Burgos you leave the worst part of the CdS (IMHO) behind, the part from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
Thank you for sharing! And good advice on how to go about it. I walked 11km in 2:30h the other day (without gear), which I think is quite a normal average. How much are you planning on walking each day? I am thinking roughly 20-25km depending, but I want to go with the flow of how I feel instead of planning too much:)
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
If you stay in the albergues, then everyone is leaving within a couple of hours of each other, and everyone is headed in the same direction. Last year I took the train to Leon and walked out of the city to an albergue. While doing my laundry I started chatting with a woman and we went for dinner together. Then we chose to walk together the next day.
Even if you don't find someone ahead of time to walk with, there will be people passing you and you can start chatting with them while walking. Any time I was alone on the camino if I stopped, within a couple of minutes someone would come by. I don't think the meseta is anything to worry about. The biggest concern is the heat, and you won't have that in April. Buen camino!
Thank you for sharing your experience, that is exactly what I am hoping will happen.
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
Hello,
Last summer I walked alone from Burgos to SdC. I posted a similar question when I was planning my walk. I had traveled alone in the past, but taking on this emotionally and physically exhausting hike on my own made me nervous.
I learned that going alone was the best decision. First, I never felt alone. Lonely? Maybe here and there, but that is how it is in life too. However, I always felt surrounded by kindness and support. Never did I feel afraid or threatened.
Second, going it alone gave me the opportunity to meet people I would not have met if I was with a companion. I made good friends and have kept in touch with several of them.
I loved my solitary journey...so much that I am planning to do CP alone this summer. And I'd have it no other way.
Look to your fellow pilgrims for support if you need it. You will never feel alone.
Have a great journey.
Thank you for sharing. That is also what I've been a bit surprised about, because I am used to travelling on my own. Feeling lonely doesn't scare me (as you say, it is how life is sometimes), but I think I am mostly scared of being 'left behind' so to speak. It is an irrational fear, but nevertheless, a fear that is there and I need to adress it. But thank you, logically I am also sure it will all be fine, and reading all these replys helps. Can I ask how long it took you to reach Santiago from Burgos?
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
I get you. You like a plan a and b and if this doesn’t work a plan c. If panning you helps, do it.
If training gives you the feeling you are already walking the Camino do it.
But is the issue here really walking alone?
I walked 90% of my time by myself, I loved it.
My live line was my WhatsApp pictures I sent every morning to my family and friends, so they would know I was alive and I could share it with someone who cared.
So if I needed it I could get in touch for help. I never needed it, only one time in a rainstorm after an exhausting walk way beyond my usual fill I got hold to a taxi and one of the view times I called home to complain. I am usually not a whiner.
Just remember:
“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish proverb.
No, walking alone is not the issue I guess, I guess irrational fear is the issue for me;)
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
Fear has it good uses, but can be a bad councilor, because you react instead of acting.Take couple of seconds and asses the situation. What I took out of my Judo training was look what your opponent is doing then use his momento add your strength and there you go. I am a very very careful person, but on the Camino my spider sense never came on. Not one time. So no great revelation in Santiago. But not one day of fear... Frauenpower - a German Anglicism
 

Roland49

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 June/July/August
Thank you for sharing! And good advice on how to go about it. I walked 11km in 2:30h the other day (without gear), which I think is quite a normal average. How much are you planning on walking each day? I am thinking roughly 20-25km depending, but I want to go with the flow of how I feel instead of planning too much:)
I don't want to rush either.
But I'm trying to be in SdC after ~30-34 days. I try to pause my walk in the bigger cities or in Bars near the most crowded albuerges / best known attractions to eat and drink, maybe have a chat with fellow pilgrims and try to walk a little bit further to not so well known albuerges or the not so often mentioned villages / albuerges.
In example I try to avoid to stay over night in Pamplona. I know the city is beautiful and most of the albuerges there are very well kept, but I want to use my ability to walk in a higher pace than average to avoid crowds and try to keep my camino as simple as it could be.

The only thing that is planned and booked for me is my flight to bayonne. Anything else will hopefully teach me the Camino.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
... my worst fear is to be on a long strech alone, or getting assulted because I am alone. I am not entirely sure how to go about that fear, but I am guessing I will just need to connect with others and share my fear of being 'left behind'.
Def take walking poles. There's nothing like being armed with two long poles for a huge confidence boost ;-)

Can I ask how long it took you to reach Santiago from Burgos?
I've never walked the whole way, I'm more of cyclist, walking Leon to Santiago took me around 8 days I think. I had glorious weather, took advantage of the longish nights and I kind of just kind of ambled along, enjoyed the physical challenge and slept outside a couple of times. The quiet stillness of walking alone in the evenings and enjoying the paths with just the locals was very special to me but it wasn't your typical camino (I was pretty fit then, I think it would probably take me 16 days now!). I would watch this lady's videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLIgYtAT4qhUmSyHrj_5wrfymI6XzlKPy it's a very honest account and much more typical.

When you cycle, you see a very different camino and get more of a feel for just how many people are making their way to Santiago. You pass the stragglers who can barely walk from the previous day's exertions or injury, you see people on crutches or with other physical impairments making truly amazing journeys, you see the slow walkers and the fast walkers and the clumps of people who all left the albergue at the same time. You see the tour vans and support staff who I am sure keep half an eye on all pilgrims not just people in their tour. The luggage transport vans, the cyclists who have vehicle support, the families who have one person walking and the kids being driven in the car stopping every couple of miles to meet up and of course all the locals and police who want to keep the camino safe. Even if you feel that you're alone when you are walking there are a huge number of people ahead or behind or somewhere nearby, you just have to wait and someone will come along.

How are you planning your first day? There are loads of pilgrims in Burgos but if you start walking later in the day I guess you might well end up 'alone'. If you're staying in an Albergue you can just follow everyone else. I'm sure you'll arrive and after a day or two wonder what on earth you were worried about!
 

ShelleyS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP 9/20/17
I walked alone, age 65, in the fall of 2017. Many women (and men) were walking solo. Several times, I didn't want to walk alone in the early morning darkness, so I asked a fellow pilgrim from the albergue where I was staying if I could walk with them until daylight. This worked out really well. I enjoyed finding various people to walk with throughout the day.
There is a facebook page called Camigas for women walking the caminio. You might check that out to see if there are others walking at the same time as you. I found someone who started in SJPdP on the same day as me who lives 10 miles away from me in Oregon.
I wish you the very best! Enjoy your time and ask for what you need. Buen Camino!
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
How are you planning your first day? There are loads of pilgrims in Burgos but if you start walking later in the day I guess you might well end up 'alone'. If you're staying in an Albergue you can just follow everyone else. I'm sure you'll arrive and after a day or two wonder what on earth you were worried about!
I'm planning on arriving with the train in the afternoon and find an albergue to stay at, so the chances of finding other people is probably big! And walking poles is a great idea, as stupid as it is, that would probably make me feel safer haha! And I'm sure you're right that I'll wonder what I was worrying about, which is comforting
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
Several times, I didn't want to walk alone in the early morning darkness, so I asked a fellow pilgrim from the albergue where I was staying if I could walk with them until daylight. This worked out really well. I enjoyed finding various people to walk with throughout the day.
thank you so much for sharing this, that is a great suggestion. and I will check that facebook group out, thank you!
 

LynneR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF in 2016
CF in 2018
Planning a CP for June 2019
Thank you for sharing. That is also what I've been a bit surprised about, because I am used to travelling on my own. Feeling lonely doesn't scare me (as you say, it is how life is sometimes), but I think I am mostly scared of being 'left behind' so to speak. It is an irrational fear, but nevertheless, a fear that is there and I need to adress it. But thank you, logically I am also sure it will all be fine, and reading all these replys helps. Can I ask how long it took you to reach Santiago from Burgos?
I walked for 20 days. There were a couple very long days. I had planned for 21, but I started staying in pace with a group I met (as you might), and we decided we wanted a short final day. The second to last day was something like 21 or 22 miles. Very long. But our final day into Santiago was short and easy. We took a slow pace to enjoy it. I was happy with the decision. Let me know if you have other questions about the phases.
Buen Camino.
Lynne
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Hi Anna - No worries. I have walked solo both times on the CF, I was never alone. May I suggest you stay in the alburgue in Burgos, it's huge with lots of pilgrims to get to know. I'm sure you will find some peregrina's to set out with the next morning.

I think the meseta is great - wide open and beautiful - very green in Spring and most likely in March expect windy and chilly, possible rain.

I am so excited for you. Buen Camino :)
 

annasofie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Marts/April 2019 - Burgos to Santiago
Hi Anna - No worries. I have walked solo both times on the CF, I was never alone. May I suggest you stay in the alburgue in Burgos, it's huge with lots of pilgrims to get to know. I'm sure you will find some peregrina's to set out with the next morning.

I think the meseta is great - wide open and beautiful - very green in Spring and most likely in March expect windy and chilly, possible rain.

I am so excited for you. Buen Camino :)
Thank you! I'm sure that will be the case, it helps hearing all the comments! There are more albergues in Burgos, is there one in specific you can recommend?
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Thank you! I'm sure that will be the case, it helps hearing all the comments! There are more albergues in Burgos, is there one in specific you can recommend?
You're welcome! :) I have only stayed at the Municipal Alburgue, twice. It's really quite lovely. It's big and in a great location. I recommend this one, it's the only one I know.

Do you have a guide book? Which one?
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
I'm sure a number of women heading out for their first camino, solo, have felt the same way. Unfortunately, it is a natural reaction coming from societies where violence against women is way too prevalent. And I wish I could tell you that you will be guaranteed a safe trip, without incident. Those guarantees don't exist anywhere there are other people.

That said, consensus of women who have walked the camino seems to be that it is safer than most places. The same would hold true for the meseta. I've never heard the meseta being singled out as a particularly dangerous part of the camino.

Generally, finding people on the Camino Frances to walk with is not too much of a problem, especially when one is starting from an albergue. Starting from Burgos at the end of March, you won't be walking in the high season, so it won't be as crowded as you may have read about. But it's not like you'll be walking in January or Februrary either. If you really want to start each day walking with someone, you might want to make a bit more of an effort to match your daily stops to the Brierley stages and to connect with pilgrims after you arrive at an albergue. Then you can always as another pilgrim if they wouldn't mind starting the next day's walk with you and arrange it so that you both leave at the same time.
 

steve cole

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting the french way today
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
You are safer on the Camino, than you are in European city, having said if you feel anxious then walk with somebody from the albergue. I met a few women who have be flashed at on VDP but besides that , I have not heard of any problems over past couple of years.

I am sure you will be fine 👍👍👍
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
I walked most of the meseta by myself as well as other chunks of the Camino. I met many pilgrims and made some good friends along the way that I would walk with on and off. I've never felt safer than I felt on the Camino, especially the meseta. I started the Camino with a friend; I don't think I would have actually gone on my own as I was very hesitant to travel so far to a country where I don't speak the language. But after the first week I realized I had little to worry about.

A lot of the other information others have posted is really useful. If at any point you just don't feel comfortable, it's no problem to ask to join another pilgrim for a bit, even if that's in the albergue the night before. Also, if at any point while you are ON the Camino and if you are alone and you are finding the solitude to be too much, if you sit and wait a bit, there's often bound to be another pilgrim to come along who may be amenable to company. :)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Worst for couch-potatoes :eek:, not the average pilgrim ;)
You are no couch potato.........

"but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown"

That's 2 1/2 to 3 hours for me............ :oops:
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Hello Annasofie,

I had the same issues and thoughts like you. But as I read this and another Camino-related forum, my fears and concerns went away.
You will never be really solitary on the CdS. For me the idea of being somehow "lonely" on the CdS is most relaxing. You can have company, if you want to, but you can be yourself, if you want, too.
The CdS is not the end of nowhere. You are in mid-europe, enjoying yourself, walking the trail step by step.

To determine how long you can walk, you should probably try it around your home. I'm not very well trained at the moment, but I can walk 11km in 1:45 in mild terrain on the hills next to my hometown. Packed with a rucksack and on steep terrain I should still be able to walk 3-5km/h. My goal is to be fit enough to walk the track of 11km in 1:30h with full loaded rucksack and accessories.

If you start from Burgos you leave the worst part of the CdS (IMHO) behind, the part from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
Yup, I am not a fast walker and found that 4K per hour was a relaxing pace. If you start at 8 am and continue for 6 hours plus 2 breaks, one arrives at 3 pm without angst.
 

Mike18

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
North (2018)
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
Hi Annasofie.
Ifollowed the conversation on your upcoming trip. I wanted to add one thing I did as a woman before walking last summer. I took a self défense course (taught by women for women) and it helped ease my mind a lot. I loved walking alone. I did find lots of solitary parts of the trip. It was amazing.
Also, they taught us to trust our intuition. If something does not feel right trust yourself and get out of there and thankfully I only had a bad feeling once in the whole trip.
In the end I’d say it’s one of the safest routes in the world.
Have a wondrous trip!
Michelle aka mike
 

Ctshagr

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances- Sarria to Santiago 2017
Camino Portugués - Porto to Santiago 2018
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
I really don’t think you will be that alone the end of March on Francis. Also there are many people like myself who keep an eye out for each other.
 

bobbogram

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta.
Self preservation is a good instinct which keeps you from getting ahead of your skis in life. I’ve been completing Caminos for the last four years, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends or family. Both have different benefits and detractors.
Being on a Camino reveals aspects of a friendship that was better not exposed. It also complicates your own progress at your pace. Weeks on end together will either strengthen or destroy a relationship.
Walking alone, after being one of seven kids and having six of my own, is valuable solitude, more in keeping with the spiritual aspect of the Camino. You don’t have input or advice from a companion, but sometimes that’s an improvement. Life experiences in the US, Europe, Asia, and Antarctica alone and with friends have made my life richer.
If you never color outside you box, you’ll always wonder what it’s like. Theres a difference between being alone and being lonely and there are new friend to find on your next adventure.
Bo
 

SeattleJen

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First time pilgrim and walking solo. Leaving SJDP around April 5, 2018.
Hi @annasofie - Sorry I'm late to the conversation (I get the digest Saturday mornings). I can understand your trepidation; it's ok and totally normal for women. We always have to be on guard no matter where we are. I like to think of myself as a tough city woman with no fears (or rather, more internal fears of self-doubt, not finishing, getting hurt, ect). All of the advice here has been great -- you will find people to walk with, even on days you want to be alone; take a self-defense course to add another tool to your kit; be as cautious and on-guard as you need to be in everyday life, etc. I walked alone, but I wasn't really alone for most of the camino. Even when I had to be forward with new Camino friends and tell them "I need to walk by myself today," nine times out of ten those friends would be sitting at a bar in the next town for a check in. To be honest, there were a few people I met who didn't want to let me walk alone because they were worried for me -- one pilgrim from California who even came out and told me "you're the same age as my daughter, I don't want you to walk this alone, I'm worried for you" and I know he was genuine. We exchanged numbers and I appeased him by texting every few hours -- "I just passed so-and-so, I'm ok." Overly friendly patriarchy? Maybe... but I know he meant well.

I can only think of three times I was nervous to be alone, four if you count the private albergue owner who was way too friendly and wouldn't stop questioning me if I was really married or making it up (because he had a key to my room, I slept very light that night). The first time on the trail that I was nervous was between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles, but only because I was having my own physical/mental breakdown and not sure if anyone would find me if I collapsed on one of those narrow trails on the side of a mountain far from the highway. Not a gender-based security fear, more of a "my God, what have I gotten myself into?" fear. The second time I felt nervous walking alone was crossing the plateau before Hornillos del Camino, but only because the sky turned white, the birds went silent, the ground looked like oyster shells, and I wondered if maybe I had died and was in hell or purgatory (you know, city girl -- complete and total silence freaked me out). Now the third time my spidey senses were going insane was walking from Astorga to Rabanal: for two weeks people had been warning me not to be alone in that section, fellow pilgrims and locals alike. That is the section where the murder happened a few years ago, and locals kept warning me that robbers would drive up and down the highway in that section looking to rob solo pilgrims. I was depressed in Astorga and trying to get my mojo back on that day (which I did), and was dismissing these warnings by reminding myself that I always see other pilgrims walking either in front of me of behind. What was weird that day was that I rarely saw any other pilgrims on the path, only at the village stops. I was truly alone... except every 30 minutes or so a police jeep would drive by, honk, and wave to me out their window. OK! After the third or fourth driveby, I realized they were out there patrolling to make us feel safer and let us know they're nearby. It was comforting... until I reached that part of the path outside Rabanal where people created crosses with sticks and put them in the chain link fence. What kind of Blair Witch nonsense is that? ;-)

The only other advice I would give you is to bring a cheap ring to wear on your left hand. I left my wedding ring at home so I wouldn't chance losing or breaking it, but broke down and bought a cheap ring at a street market in Ponferrada with the hope of signalling non-verbally that I'm not interested, do not approach, to those who are on the Camino looking for... something I wasn't seeking. It worked so well I wish I had done it from the beginning.

Buen Camino! You're going to have a great time.
 
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MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Hi Anna,

First, let us talk about the emotion, fear, or, False Evidence Appearing Real. In my youth, I also, was afraid of things, being a natural introvert. At 30 I started practicing Aikido and Ki (specific Aikido style using inner energy, same as Chi). I spent the next 34 years training and teaching. So, teaching has become natural to me as well. The key point here is that I learned to diminish the introvert Michelle and bring out a bit of me that loves to live and truly, now, has no fear.

Can this be accomplished in a matter of a few weeks? Yes.

For me, my shedding of my fears came one day where I placed myself in front of what I feared. I could back away and allow my fear to control me, or I could move forward, allow myself to live with true freedom to do what I want, when I want and where I want.

For you, right now, the Camino is an unknown. But allow me to put you there on March 29, as if it was right now, (maybe like time travel). You get off the plane, glance around seeking others with backpacks, (you may not be the only Pilgrim there). Approach them, ask in a friendly way, "Just wondering if you are a Pilgrim?" If no, that is ok, apologize and look for the next one. What you are doing is breaking the ice with strangers, while not only seeking like minded individuals but also looking for others to share a taxi to an albergue.

So, you find a couple of new friends and find out that they are looking for a place to stay as well, so out you go for a taxi. You find one and ask, "Habla in gles, Senor?" Hoping he does to make it easy. Then ask to go to the, "Albergue Municipale, por favor."

If when you all arrive, there are no spaces, they will direct you to others close by.

So, with these few steps, you have overcome any concern about talking with strangers, got a cab and made it to your first night's accommodation. From here, always introduce yourself around any chance you get. Once in the mix with everyone, you will be learning from people who have been on the path for at least a couple of weeks. They will have handy information to help make your walk as enjoyable as possible.

As to walking, walk until your body tells you to take a break. Rest 10 min to 30 min, usually. Hydrate, let your feet out to breathe if they are screaming. Do what you need to do to remain happy. Then walk some more. After a few days, you will get a good idea of what is your best, most comfortable daily distance. Do the math. If you find your arrival in Sarria is going to be late, grab a bus and skip a day or so of walking so you know you will make it on time.

Questions?
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan on walking the Camino April 2018.
I didn't think I would be nervous walking on my own, but I was when there was no one else around. There were a few occasions when I walked alone for hours, no one behind or in front of me. I think the best strategy is to stop and wait. Someone will come along, and the few times that I did that, there was and they were happy to have someone to talk and walk with them. Note not all people want to have a walking companion. Secondly, I started from SJPDP but I found 20 to 30 kms a day was more than enough for me.
 

Rover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
I encourage you to make this a solo journey but I clearly understand your concern. That said, if you walk during the daytime and stay on the primary trail, I don't think there is a lot to worry about. There are other solo hikers and small groups you can join when you feel like it during the day, to satisfy your social and safety appetite. The pluses of walking solo are infinite and transformative. Don't be afraid to confront your uneasiness and plow forward. Ricardo
 

camino.ninja

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (05, 06, 16, 17, 18)
Portugueese (17, 18)
Cantabrico (18)
Catalan (17)
Norte (17)
Plata (18)
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
Plenty of other pilgrims will start in Burgos at the same time. So even if you start alone I'm sure you will have good company all the way.

I wouldn't meet up with anyone ...people usually regret that.

I think the meseta is one of the places I feel more safe than anywhere else. But other parts can be slightly more scary walking alone ...for me it's mostly the mountain parts of Galicia, because of all the dogs.

I'm sure you will have great company all along the way unless you do an exceptional effort to not have it.
 

0760585991

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Non past future we shall see
Annasofie,

Many women, including myself, walk alone.

You will be just fine.

Take normal precautions you do in daily life.

Buen camino.
What nationality are you my name is Anna Sophia and I am South african I also want to walk just the last 100 km because I am 80 yrs old and walk 5-6 kms a day will push it up to walk 11-12 kilos a day 11 days for the last 100 from Sarria to San Tiago
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
What nationality are you my name is Anna Sophia and I am South african I also want to walk just the last 100 km because I am 80 yrs old and walk 5-6 kms a day will push it up to walk 11-12 kilos a day 11 days for the last 100 from Sarria to San Tiago
American.

At 80 with your level of fitness you’ll be just fine.

You will also meet others around your age on camino as well.

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
Burgos to Santiago, May 2019, D.V.
As a first-timer, I found the Michelin guide much more useful. Better maps, for one thing. I left the Brierley home and used it along with the apps on my phone. Plus the distances he posts are probably for the more seasoned walker. First day adjusted for climb 32k? Over the Pyrenees???? Ended up doing what a lot of people do and started from Orisson.
 

Bobcat77

CF starts 23 March SJPdP
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in 22 March (2019)
I don't want to rush either.
But I'm trying to be in SdC after ~30-34 days. I try to pause my walk in the bigger cities or in Bars near the most crowded albuerges / best known attractions to eat and drink, maybe have a chat with fellow pilgrims and try to walk a little bit further to not so well known albuerges or the not so often mentioned villages / albuerges.
In example I try to avoid to stay over night in Pamplona. I know the city is beautiful and most of the albuerges there are very well kept, but I want to use my ability to walk in a higher pace than average to avoid crowds and try to keep my camino as simple as it could be.

The only thing that is planned and booked for me is my flight to bayonne. Anything else will hopefully teach me the Camino.
I'm with Roland ... Just wayyyy slower. So far, with about 6kg pack, I've walked 7.5 k in an hour and a half. Not fast, but I'm not 25 any more. 69 years. So my plan is to book flight to Biarritz, taxi/ shuttle to SJPP, Albergue in SJPP and another in Valcarlos. DONE.
Right now I can't even imagine walking over 20k, but I'm certain I'll grow into it. I still have 5 weeks, leaving home in Ireland 22/3. No return flight booked. Giving myself 6 weeks,but that might be too much. So I've told my family, I might take longer!!
I'm retired. Not in a hurry. The PILGRIMAGE is the goal; not the finish date.
Take your time. Enjoy.
Buen Camino
 

NancyLee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino Mar-April 2018
I live alone, I walked the CF alone (until my injury). But you are never really alone. I never felt afraid and as suggested earlier, took everyday precautions. I followed John Brierley’s book for daily distances but when I return in September, I will invite more flexibility to the journey. Moments of joy, pain, accomplishment, overwhelming fatigue and being awestruck by the landscape are better shared with your Camino Family. They are the only ones that understand what keeps pulling us back to however many times we walk this walk of transformation,
Buen Camino
NancyLee
 

EmoJohnson

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese coastal way (2017)
Camino Frances (May/June 2018)
Hi @annasofie - Sorry I'm late to the conversation (I get the digest Saturday mornings). I can understand your trepidation; it's ok and totally normal for women. We always have to be on guard no matter where we are. I like to think of myself as a tough city woman with no fears (or rather, more internal fears of self-doubt, not finishing, getting hurt, ect). All of the advice here has been great -- you will find people to walk with, even on days you want to be alone; take a self-defense course to add another tool to your kit; be as cautious and on-guard as you need to be in everyday life, etc. I walked alone, but I wasn't really alone for most of the camino. Even when I had to be forward with new Camino friends and tell them "I need to walk by myself today," nine times out of ten those friends would be sitting at a bar in the next town for a check in. To be honest, there were a few people I met who didn't want to let me walk alone because they were worried for me -- one pilgrim from California who even came out and told me "you're the same age as my daughter, I don't want you to walk this alone, I'm worried for you" and I know he was genuine. We exchanged numbers and I appeased him by texting every few hours -- "I just passed so-and-so, I'm ok." Overly friendly patriarchy? Maybe... but I know he meant well.

I can only think of three times I was nervous to be alone, four if you count the private albergue owner who was way too friendly and wouldn't stop questioning me if I was really married or making it up (because he had a key to my room, I slept very light that night). The first time on the trail that I was nervous was between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles, but only because I was having my own physical/mental breakdown and not sure if anyone would find me if I collapsed on one of those narrow trails on the side of a mountain far from the highway. Not a gender-based security fear, more of a "my God, what have I gotten myself into?" fear. The second time I felt nervous walking alone was crossing the plateau before Hornillos del Camino, but only because the sky turned white, the birds went silent, the ground looked like oyster shells, and I wondered if maybe I had died and was in hell or purgatory (you know, city girl -- complete and total silence freaked me out). Now the third time my spidey senses were going insane was walking from Astorga to Rabanal: for two weeks people had been warning me not to be alone in that section, fellow pilgrims and locals alike. That is the section where the murder happened a few years ago, and locals kept warning me that robbers would drive up and down the highway in that section looking to rob solo pilgrims. I was depressed in Astorga and trying to get my mojo back on that day (which I did), and was dismissing these warnings by reminding myself that I always see other pilgrims walking either in front of me of behind. What was weird that day was that I rarely saw any other pilgrims on the path, only at the village stops. I was truly alone... except every 30 minutes or so a police jeep would drive by, honk, and wave to me out their window. OK! After the third or fourth driveby, I realized they were out there patrolling to make us feel safer and let us know they're nearby. It was comforting... until I reached that part of the path outside Rabanal where people created crosses with sticks and put them in the chain link fence. What kind of Blair Witch nonsense is that? ;-)

The only other advice I would give you is to bring a cheap ring to wear on your left hand. I left my wedding ring at home so I wouldn't chance losing or breaking it, but broke down and bought a cheap ring at a street market in Ponferrada with the hope of signalling non-verbally that I'm not interested, do not approach, to those who are on the Camino looking for... something I wasn't seeking. It worked so well I wish I had done it from the beginning.

Buen Camino! You're going to have a great time.
This was a very engaging read. Thanks!
 

Mudcrone

Member
I am going a bit back an forth on this one - I really do like having the freedom do walk the distance I want, but I'm also finding myself scared of walking alone now, especially as I'm starting on la meseta. Which is strange, given I have travelled around India and Nepal on my own for a year. But anyhow, this is how it is. I am starting in Burgos in the end of March (I think I'll start the 29th, still need to get final plans done).

So my question is - did anyone else feel like this, and how did you handle it? Will there be enough people walking that time of year so it's easy to start out with someone?

And as a first-timer, how do you determine how much you can walk each day? I need to time it with meeting my boyfriend in Sarria so we can do the rest together, but unsure of what the best approach is.
I am a 72 year old woman and have walked across the meseta 4 or 5 times Spring and Summer. I never felt threatened in any way and there were always enough, many times too many, people walking. I walk about 12 miles a day, but you can adjust it as you please. There are generally lots of places to stay in between stages.
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
Hi @annasofie

This has been an interesting thread with lots of wonderful advice, particularly on the safety and lonliness side, I just wanted to make a quick note on your walking distance question.

I've had a relatively tight schedule on both my caminos (St Jean to Santiago) of about 30 days, which has necessitated a little bit of distance planning just to make sure I'll get to my destination in time. I've found both the distances between villages guide (along with albergue details) and elevations guides issued at St Jean and handily reproduced (links at the bottom) here to be invaluable for planning. Just dividing days by distance works well on paper but not so well in practice, location of accomodation, elevation, terrain, fitness and tiredness all play a part in deciding how far to walk on any given day. What has worked for me in the past is to take the first third of my walk failry easy as a settling period before tapering up my effort as I get fitter and hopefully a little lighter towards the end. There is a little risk in this strategy as it may not leave you with time in hand should you pick up an injury or something but I prefer to be optimistic and think this approach reduces the possibility of getting an injury in the first place.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
Profiles

Distances and Albergues
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
I don't want to rush either.
But I'm trying to be in SdC after ~30-34 days. I try to pause my walk in the bigger cities or in Bars near the most crowded albuerges / best known attractions to eat and drink, maybe have a chat with fellow pilgrims and try to walk a little bit further to not so well known albuerges or the not so often mentioned villages / albuerges.
In example I try to avoid to stay over night in Pamplona. I know the city is beautiful and most of the albuerges there are very well kept, but I want to use my ability to walk in a higher pace than average to avoid crowds and try to keep my camino as simple as it could be.

The only thing that is planned and booked for me is my flight to bayonne. Anything else will hopefully teach me the Camino.
I just read this post and I think you have the best plan a Pilgrim can have. You are open to everything!!!! The only thing I would tell you is get rid of your plan about big cities and where to eat. You never know what village, town, city, bar, restaurant or fellow pilgrim will pull you in for a memory of a lifetime.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
One thing I've learned from all the reading I've done in the forums over the years is that it's alot like when a woman is expecting. Someone always has a horror story of how long labor took them or some other version of something planned for that went wrong.

The horror stories do not stop women from having babies (well I never did but it wasn't the stories lol) and the potential to be a victim of assault that is present from so many solo female pilgrims doesn't keep us from doing it. Instead, women and others have been reassuring us repeatedly not to miss the experience.

I for one will not be missing the meseta experience. I love the expanse. I love the openess. I'm hoping for a bit more solitude on that stretch. I'm taking all my issues with me and perhaps what is frightening is what healing may come. This is the stretch where people start dropping the spiritual baggage and have some of the most intimate conversations with their creator. @SeattleJen loved reading your story.

I will be walking solo either in May and September. I love people so meeting them won't be problematic for me. I'm nervous about flying, airports, pre-booking, entering the larger cities solo than the trails.

However I usually don't train in state and national parks solo. Mainly because hiking alone is not wise, given the potential for injury. But the Camino isn't a hiking trail. It's a pilgrimage route and people are likely to be by in a couple of hours in the event of injury. Most of the towns and villages exist because of the Camino so they have a long history of being kind to the pilgrims because of deep-rooted faith.

Will there be the random sociopath walking the Camino for whatever narcissistic reason they might have? Surely. But you needn't fear. My sociopath magnet will quickly draw them away from you lol. You'll be fine.

I was asked by my fanatical Catholic convert friend if I was not scared of all the muslims. Of all people that might've asked I was surprised it was her. Not at all I answered. Spain is still Catholic I reminded her. That's true of the towns where pilgrims stay, regardless of who is deeming the Camino this season to be an in-vogue trip.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I was asked by my fanatical Catholic convert friend if I was not scared of all the muslims. Of all people that might've asked I was surprised it was her. Not at all I answered. Spain is still Catholic I reminded her. That's true of the towns where pilgrims stay, regardless of who is deeming the Camino this season to be an in-vogue trip.
Just to say that even were Spain to be a Muslim country (as much of it was when the relics of St. James were discovered) with all these Muslims everywhere, there would be no reason for any additional fears on that account.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Exactly but my friend is one who deems Latin masses higher than others, the priests more devout for doing so (nevermind everytime she disparages the ones who don't, she's disparaging their ability to confer the same blessings, her own confirmation into the Church for one lol). I might add she voted for Trump despite being married to an illegal Brazilian immigrant.

I don't fear Muslims, gypsies or any other disenfranchised population. I fear sleeping in the elements because I may not be able to handle simple technology like calling ahead (now that I know it's about survival and not selfishness).
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Muslims, gypsies, Trump...?

What in the heck? The Camino Frances is a walk between villages and towns and cities in rural northern Spain. Not a trek through the Panshir Valley. Not a single step of the entire route is scary or trippy. No packs of wild dogs howling and searching for victims. No highwaymen waiting to ambush. No mirages in the distance as one is desperately seeking water or shelter, crawling along on the dirt. No hallucinations or bad spirits.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September - November 2013, Pamplona to Muxia (& beyond!)
You might want to join one or more pilgrims in the earliest part of the meseta. Once you get a feel for the landscape, and your rhythm, you might see that there is nothing to fear. Then again, you can also shift from solo walking to walking with others through the days and see what you like best. If you leave it to chance and serendipity, you might be surprised at what unfolds... Buen Camino pelegrina!
 

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