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We have hit a drought of touchy-feely subjects; we are into the summer necessity of discovering facts. I have noticed that a lot of posts mention solitude. I endorse them. I do not like the feeling of competing for a bed, both because I don't want to lose the race, and because I feel guilty when I win it. I prefer walking alone, but think that a big part of the Camino is people. I do not want a lot of clutter in my vistas, but I do not resent sharing them.

How much solitude is enough?
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Good thoughts, here...

I too, enjoyed the solitude of the Camino. The time to separate from hectic, electronically driven lives where there is little or no escape from a constant barrage of information. We don't speak to people, we email them - even if they are across the street or down the hall. Telephones are our constant companions and we are at everyone's beck and call.

The opportunity to walk, think, reflect, enjoy the sights and sounds at my own leisurely pace may be one of the biggest draws back to the Camino. I enjoy being alone with myself - it doesn't frighten or bore me. I relish the opportunity to slow down and just be.

On the other hand, when the going on the Camino gets tough, it is wonderful to have some others around to help you along. People seem to arrive just when you need them - to offer a kind word, a bit of compeed just when you have used your last... a helping hand in threading a needle... :? When I walked from Santiago to Fisterra, I was totally alone for days and at times found the walking to be arduous. I would have loved to have the company of other pilgrims to lighten the burden of distance, tough terrain and bad weather.

So once again, I think the Camino reflects life - a balance in necessary to keep it all running smoothly. I think for me that has been the constant lesson of the Camino. Balance - not too much distance, time, space, solitude, noise, speed - but rather all in moderation keeps everything going well. Isn't that a good lesson for living as well?

Buen Camino,


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falcon269 said:
How much solitude is enough?

“The whole value of solitude depends upon one's self; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it”
John Lubbock
As much as I love the camaraderie of the albergues, I treasure walking alone. I don't like feeling I'm walking too slowly for someone or walking too fast to keep up with them. Walking alone gives me time to sort things out, when I'm not wondering why I'm doing this to myself again. lol

Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I think different people need different levels of solitude.

I have a lot on my mind, and so I find I need a lot of alone time.
I love walking alone, taking in the scenery, listening to the sounds.
I find someone constantly chattering about nothing to be distracting, even though they're trying to be friendly. That is something about myself I'd like to change, and will try to change next Camino.

I listened to one of those tv preachers this morning - I usually do not like them at ALL - but this lady had my number! She said she'd gone to the doctor's office and a man glommed onto her and began chatting. She found herself praying, "Oh God, make him go away!"

God answered, "If he was Billy Graham would you talk to him? If he was Christ would you talk to him?"

Well, that was a good question!

Sometimes we think we need solitude, but what we really need is to do something nice for someone ELSE instead of ourselves.

But... I haven't learned that lesson yet, so right now I have to say for the most part... I prefer to walk alone. :lol:
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
Hiking for me is walking a labyrinth stretched out. The physicality of it helps me let go. I need the process of walking and thinking and quite frankly going quite blank in order to let God get into my soul and begin to open up in me what I need to discover. I too prefer to walk alone during the day for all the reasons others have mentioned, even when I am walking near others. But I don't always get what I want. I am taking this journey to be available to God in whatever form God presents--and that may well be in the form of a chatty person who makes me crazy but who ends up teaching me something I would never have known otherwise.

In the evening, however, I like to gather with people to hear their experiences, their questions, and even their whining--very instructive, one's whining. I love to hear the stories of how they got here, what they are seeking, and so on. Even better around a bottle of vino tinto.
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I do agree about the evenings, Portia.
It's wonderful to share food, wine, and hear people's reflections about their experience.

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