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Some thoughts on the uniqueness of pilgrimage.

Helge

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Saint Jean Pied de Port - Santiago - sept. 2023.
I absolutely don't want to start a hard discussion, but just share some of my thoughts.
At least something to reflect on, certainly not necessarily comply to.

Maybe think more of them, if you like as possible sub-goals.

Each of us is free to have their reasons for making a pilgrimage, but I wish it was possible to cultivate and keep as much as possible of the uniqueness compared to any other organized tourist trip. There are numbers of tailormade alternatives to participate in, both biketours, mountain walks and other excursions with a high degree of comfort and facilitation. We should of course cheer and support those alternatives. When I think pilgrimage, I think of tranquility, reflection, independence and sustainability. Can I survive and live with less belongings and an «individual depending of course» need of assistance. Think process as important as goal. Think quality more than, quantity, the number of pilgrimages. Less obsession, but still keep the stamina. Not as much as possible, or as long as possible in shortest possible time. Be present in the moment, don't chase towards the next goal or pilgrimage. Perhaps, if possible, be open to the possibility of improvising as opposed to everything being booked/ordered and stored in a spreadsheet. In other words, the opposite of the ordinary life many of us live in our daily life, but of course, needless to mention, but however important to emphasize, everyone is free to choose based on their own wishes and needs.
 
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.
needless to mention, but however important to emphasize, everyone is free to choose based on their own wishes and needs.

…and therein lies the power of the individual choice. As you mentioned we are all unique. Therefore our experiences, thought processes, beliefs and values of what’s important about our journey…”our pilgrimage” and how we plan or don’t plan for it will differ in hundreds of ways. What matters to me is respect and tolerance.

Do you…and I’ll do me ❤️
 
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For many people the last 100 km to Santiago could be, in their minds, quite a challenge if they haven't done a multi-day hike before. Often people start with the CF and go on to do the Northern Camino or Via de la Plata. Some people book their first three nights accommodation. Others might consider sending their bags ahead and then realising but they don't need to.

So it's not all about excess comfort as much as deciding how far they want to leave their comfort zone.

As for planning to the nth degree, for some people it's their personality, and for some it's part of the experience. But you also have the opposite.. people arriving at the airport with an out of date passport.

It's all very well saying "The Camino provides" but that maxim is more true for people with a credit card and bank balance that allows paying extra for accommodation, taxis, changing flights or buying clothes or equipment on the way. In my experience bad planning costs money.
 
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It's all very well saying "The Camino provides" but that maxim is more true for people with a credit card and bank balance that allows paying extra for accommodation, taxis, changing flights or buying clothes or equipment on the way.
In the physical sense maybe - to a degree. In a spiritual sense, it requires no such credit cards.
 
I appreciate a lot of this, but for me, "chas[ing] the next goal or pilgrimage" is very much what my overall Camino journey has been, and continues to be, and that's actually what I want out of my experiences.

As noted by someone above, Sarria to SdC can be a challenge to many and it was to me. Even with prebooked accomodations, baggage transfer, and some (but obviously not enough) physical preparation, I could not reach my "goal" of walking to SdC without a couple of taxi rides. But I certainly walked more, and for a longer period of time, than I had in decades. And even as I was in that first taxi, on my first pilgrimage, I reset my goal, and then worked toward it, tried a different route and completed the 100km on foot to SdC -- still with my lodgings booked (but more camino-like; fewer casas rural, more places right on the way) and my bag transported. Next goal is coming up this summer -- a more difficult "last 100km" route, carrying everything if I can. And while I'm walking that one, I'm sure I'll be thinking of what to do next -- could I make it over the Pyranees? What about a 2 week walk? What about a Camino with less infrastructure?

Could I do this on other hiking/walking paths? Sure, and I've looked at some walks in Scotland and other parts of Europe that I hope to do, but there is something special about doing the Camino -- mostly there's a community of people among which there is a diversity of backgrounds and intentions and goals, and there are a variety of routes that have different appeals, but all are part of one "whole." There's just so much that the Camino provides (so to speak) that isn't the same as other walking or hiking routes.
 
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So it's not all about excess comfort as much as deciding how far they want to leave their comfort zone.
It shows how different people are and what they believe. I think there are lots of people that put comfort and all that goes with it at the top of their list.

It's all very well saying "The Camino provides" but that maxim is more true for people with a credit card and bank balance that allows paying extra for accommodation, taxis, changing flights or buying clothes or equipment on the way. In my experience bad planning costs money.
Again, I couldn’t disagree more based on my experiences, and others who may be like me. Pilgrimage should be difficult and thus sometimes a struggle. The simpler one walks, eating lunch sitting in your pack, shopping every day for lunch and dinner. Sleeping alone in albergues, looking for the bar with the key to even get in the Albergue. (Obviously on less traveled routes.) Finding happiness walking in the worst weather because the Camino is the only place I want to be, and only planning enough to know how much food to bring and how far to the next open Albergue opens a pilgrim’s spirit to find how magical a Camino can be. You also will forget that your credit card is firmly planted in the recesses of your wallet. For me Camino is home, all I need is me and then I see the magic everywhere. It’s all how you approach it.
 
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€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
It's all very well saying "The Camino provides" but that maxim is more true for people with a credit card and bank balance that allows paying extra for accommodation, taxis, changing flights or buying clothes or equipment on the way. In my experience bad planning costs money.

The saying "the camino provides" I don't think comes from material comforts or a high bank balance (what you outlined is more privilege than anything) but from those situations one couldn't have planned which, in my opinion, is what the camino is all about. Crossing paths with that one camino angel who had compeed when you needed it most, or forgetting walking sticks at the last albergue, only to have a fellow pilgrim offload theirs because they no longer needed them (this woman had no idea I forgot my sticks!), or the gîte owner in Figeac on the Le Puy, who didn't have any more beds, but because the rest of the town was booked, offered to dig up their cot in the garage and set it up in front of the fireplace, and charge you only 5 euros.

Was forgetting sticks bad planning? Should have thought ahead more and booked a bed in Figeac? Maybe I just simply forgot to get compeed in Pamplona; it happens. But all those things led to really beautiful experiences with other humans, allowing people to help you, and vice versa.

I agree though, arriving to the airport with an out of date passport IS bad planning.
 
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The camino is many things to many people. I believe the shell ceremony captures what some may call the religious, others the spiritual, others the human experience that the camino offers if one is open to it. Of course, it can be a hike or a tour, and it is wonderful in that regard. It's different things to different people.

We held our annual shell ceremony yesterday. 30 shells were presented with 30 more of us veterans in attendance. As always, the ceremony itself touches all in attendance.

Buen camino!
 

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I absolutely don't want to start a hard discussion, but just share some of my thoughts.
At least something to reflect on, certainly not necessarily comply to.

Maybe think more of them, if you like as possible sub-goals.

Each of us is free to have their reasons for making a pilgrimage, but I wish it was possible to cultivate and keep as much as possible of the uniqueness compared to any other organized tourist trip. There are numbers of tailormade alternatives to participate in, both biketours, mountain walks and other excursions with a high degree of comfort and facilitation. We should of course cheer and support those alternatives. When I think pilgrimage, I think of tranquility, reflection, independence and sustainability. Can I survive and live with less belongings and an «individual depending of course» need of assistance. Think process as important as goal. Think quality more than, quantity, the number of pilgrimages. Less obsession, but still keep the stamina. Not as much as possible, or as long as possible in shortest possible time. Be present in the moment, don't chase towards the next goal or pilgrimage. Perhaps, if possible, be open to the possibility of improvising as opposed to everything being booked/ordered and stored in a spreadsheet. In other words, the opposite of the ordinary life many of us live in our daily life, but of course, needless to mention, but however important to emphasize, everyone is free to choose based on their own wishes and needs.
I finished my 1st Camino, the CF on Nov 25/23. Don't get me wrong, it was fabulous!! I was however surprised by what I would call competitiveness and one-upmenship. How far did you walk today, how far are you walking tomorrow, how many days did it take you to...??, etc. etc. Also, everyone just seemed in such a hurry! Not what I expected.
 
I finished my 1st Camino, the CF on Nov 25/23. Don't get me wrong, it was fabulous!! I was however surprised by what I would call competitiveness and one-upmenship. How far did you walk today, how far are you walking tomorrow, how many days did it take you to...??, etc. etc. Also, everyone just seemed in such a hurry! Not what I expected.

That's sad to hear.

But...

We all walk a Camino for different reasons, have different goals, and enjoy the journey in different ways.
There's a simple solution.
Change the Channel.

I've done that many times, as I'm sure lots of others do.
If I find myself amongst a group on a very 'different' type of journey, whatever that might be.
Let them move on, walk a longer day. "Catch a different wave"
 
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I've done that many times, as I'm sure lots of others do.
If I find myself amongst a group on a very 'different' type of journey, whatever that might be.
Let them move on, walk a longer day. "Catch a different wave"
Great advice.
We can't change other people, only how we react to them.
 
…and therein lies the power of the individual choice. As you mentioned we are all unique. Therefore our experiences, thought processes, beliefs and values of what’s important about our journey…”our pilgrimage” and how we plan or don’t plan for it will differ in hundreds of ways. What matters to me is respect and tolerance.

Do you…and I’ll do me ❤️
Absolutely you do you and I will do me. We should each be true to ourselves to the best of our ability.

Buy we should all remember, in the din of the "It's my Camino" voices, that no one walks a Camino alone, even on the least walked route. You are walking amongst others: those who walked before, those who walk with you (if there are any), those who will walk after, those who provide the support infrastructure, those who live in the land you are walking through. It isn't only a "my Camino"; it is also an "our Camino".
 
Absolutely you do you and I will do me. We should each be true to ourselves to the best of our ability.

Buy we should all remember, in the din of the "It's my Camino" voices, that no one walks a Camino alone, even on the least walked route. You are walking amongst others: those who walked before, those who walk with you (if there are any), those who will walk after, those who provide the support infrastructure, those who live in the land you are walking through. It isn't only a "my Camino"; it is also an "our Camino".
Totally agree David.
 
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Absolutely you do you and I will do me. We should each be true to ourselves to the best of our ability.

Buy we should all remember, in the din of the "It's my Camino" voices, that no one walks a Camino alone, even on the least walked route. You are walking amongst others: those who walked before, those who walk with you (if there are any), those who will walk after, those who provide the support infrastructure, those who live in the land you are walking through. It isn't only a "my Camino"; it is also an "our Camino".
Hear, hear . . . Well said
 
I never really noticed people asking where we started until sometime after Burgos or Leon. Prior to Burgos it was: 'Where are you from?' and 'Where are your blisters?' The preponderance pulse and pedometers comparers started after Astorga and increased with proximity to SdC.

In the end we just never bothered to answer those questions of where we started. We also discovered that taking longer breaks and falling back, behind the herd, led to a more relaxing day.

As for planning, we arrived in Madrid with no plan. Not wanting to arrive in Pamplona late at night with nowhere to stay, we took a bus to Logrono instead, arriving late at night with nowhere to stay, no plan, no guide, no phone, no credential. Nothing to go wrong if you have no plan. 😊

We were directed to the old town and found a room on Calle Laurel, and the rest seemed to work out.

We had no idea of how far we might walk each day. We asked others where they were stopping that night, but just let each day unfold.

It took a couple of days to re-discover blisters and have our first Albergue experience (in Nájera). But I didn’t feel that my Camino really started until I re-learned to put others first.

My wife thought it was the most relaxing vacation she’d ever had. I thought it might be the start of something.
 
There are numbers of tailormade alternatives to participate in, both biketours, mountain walks and other excursions with a high degree of comfort and facilitation. We should of course cheer and support those alternatives.
This is not meant to be rude or confrontational but why do we need to cheer and support a bike tour or mountain walk? If someone wants to do one of these fine and dandy. Obviously they are popular and sustain lots of companies that cater to those people who like that. Also how do you cheer and support a bike tour that means nothing to you?

I finished my 1st Camino, the CF on Nov 25/23. Don't get me wrong, it was fabulous!! I was however surprised by what I would call competitiveness and one-upmenship. How far did you walk today, how far are you walking tomorrow, how many days did it take you to...??, etc. etc. Also, everyone just seemed in such a hurry! Not what I expected.
I have walked alot of caminos. I agree there are some competitive people out there. But I think that way more times than not people ask these questions as just ice breakers, or genuine interest, or to gain knowledge of other caminos that they may be interested in walking. Try walking less traveled caminos where you may only see a few people for 6 or 700 Kilometers. No need to worry about people rushing.

It isn't only a "my Camino"; it is also an "our Camino"
I have always had my own internal issue with the term "we all walk our own caminos/my camino". I do believe Camino is a collective experience in many ways. Whether it is with other pilgrims, local people we meet, or nature. A very wise person who is an indispensable member of the forum, who I know and you are on a first name basis with told me that the camino is not anyone's. It is entirely the camino's and we as pilgrims have the good fortune and privilege to walk on. Of course this person wrote this in a far more eloquent and impactful way than what I have said. I totally believe she encapsulated my belief of the camino that I had struggled previously to formulate.
I saw a saying written on the side of the wall of the Cowboy Cafe many years ago that expands on your statement of it being "our camino". It read: "Together We Walk Alone".
 
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Don't get me wrong, it was fabulous!! I was however surprised by what I would call competitiveness and one-upmenship. How far did you walk today, how far are you walking tomorrow, how many days did it take you to...??, etc. etc. Also, everyone just seemed in such a hurry! Not what I expected.
Perhaps I come at this from a different perspective. I enjoy walking long days. Not being competitive but simply for the joy of it. I am always hesitant to reply when someone asks me where I started or how far I have walked that day. Especially in the final stages of a Camino. An honest answer sometimes provokes an angry or irritable response - as if my decision to walk a long day is somehow a criticism of those who prefer a shorter one. Similarly I do not talk about my previous Caminos unless I am asked a direct question.
 
A very wise person who is an indispensable member of the forum, who I know and you are on a first name basis with told me that the camino is not anyone's. It is entirely the camino's and we as pilgrims have the good fortune and privilege to walk on. Of course this person wrote this in a far more eloquent and impactful way than what I have said. I totally believe she encapsulated my belief of the camino that I had struggled previously to formulate.
I think part of the challenge is that there are (at least) two different but related meanings for the word Camino, as applied to a pilgrimage route to Santiago.

One is the physical route that thousands or millions have trod upon on the way to Santiago de Compostela. When I did my first Camino in 1989, there was one such route that was known and regularly walked. Now there are many, in a network of supported routes that stretches across Europe. That, I think, is the meaning being used by the wise person you are paraphrasing. When people speak of "the Camino", they are often using the word in this sense.

But we we also use the word "Camino" to discuss our personal (potentially transformative) journeys to Santiago de Compostela. If someone walks from their home in Poland, I certainly wouldn't say that their Camino begins when they reach a recognized and oft trodden route. It begins when they step out of their door. This is the sense of "Camino" that I think is most often meant when people say "It's my Camino" or "Remember, it is your Camino." But it is worth remembering that even these personal journeys are always shared. What we do on these journeys affects others. What they do (or have done) affects us.
 
There are numbers of tailormade alternatives to participate in, both biketours, mountain walks and other excursions with a high degree of comfort and facilitation. We should of course cheer and support those alternatives.

Why? I'm 100% indifferent to those alternatives.

I have always had my own internal issue with the term "we all walk our own caminos/my camino". I do believe Camino is a collective experience in many ways.

The "walk our own camino" phrase never really bothered me until the last year or so. I think does apply when someone is walk someone else's camino (ie pushing themselves too hard, fretting about not being fast enough, trying to catch up with everyone, adhering to stages because that's what a guidebook said).

As of late, though, I've noticed that phrase being tossed around as a form of entitlement...just a sense.
 
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I think part of the challenge is that there are (at least) two different but related meanings for the word Camino, as applied to a pilgrimage route to Santiago.

One is the physical route that thousands or millions have trod upon on the way to Santiago de Compostela. When I did my first Camino in 1989, there was one such route that was known and regularly walked. Now there are many, in a network of supported routes that stretches across Europe. That, I think, is the meaning being used by the wise person you are paraphrasing. When people speak of "the Camino", they are often using the word in this sense.

But we we also use the word "Camino" to discuss our personal (potentially transformative) journeys to Santiago de Compostela. If someone walks from their home in Poland, I certainly wouldn't say that their Camino begins when they reach a recognized and oft trodden route. It begins when they step out of their door. This is the sense of "Camino" that I think is most often meant when people say "It's my Camino" or "Remember, it is your Camino." But it is worth remembering that even these personal journeys are always shared. What we do on these journeys affects others. What they do (or have done) affects us.
I agree there is a collective energy that can be felt and experienced on the camino. In my mind your wisdom and years of experience and your (and just a few others) unique perspective of camino based on your expanse of years from your first camino until today gives us all valuable insight that even my 12 years of pilgrimage pale in comparison. To be clear I am not denigrating or comparing my(or any other pilgrim's experience to yours), I am only saying you bring valuable insight based on time that is so interesting and insightful for me. You have given me even a little more to think about. Thanks.
 
Why? I'm 100% indifferent to those alternatives.



The "walk our own camino" phrase never really bothered me until the last year or so. I think does apply when someone is walk someone else's camino (ie pushing themselves too hard, fretting about not being fast enough, trying to catch up with everyone, adhering to stages because that's what a guidebook said).

As of late, though, I've noticed that phrase being tossed around as a form of entitlement...just a sense.
I was just a little confused by your statement of being indifferent. I think you are agreeing with me, correct?
Your second statement about walking your own camino brings a little different twist to what I said. I totally agree with what you said. I too have noticed people over the years who push themselves too hard to reach a goal or keep up with their camino "family" when they are injured or sick. I always say to those people that their real family, mother, father sibling, wife/husband etc. would want you to keep walking or would they force you to stop and rest and recover. They are the ones that love you. Your camino "family" is a fantasy and is walking because they have their own pace and timeframes etc. They may like you but they are not looking out for your best interest? So both thoughts are true to me. What you said and your feelings, as well as mine when it comes to the phrase. Buen Camino mi amigo.
 
I was just a little confused by your statement of being indifferent. I think you are agreeing with me, correct?
Your second statement about walking your own camino brings a little different twist to what I said. I totally agree with what you said. I too have noticed people over the years who push themselves too hard to reach a goal or keep up with their camino "family" when they are injured or sick. I always say to those people that their real family, mother, father sibling, wife/husband etc. would want you to keep walking or would they force you to stop and rest and recover. They are the ones that love you. Your camino "family" is a fantasy and is walking because they have their own pace and timeframes etc. They may like you but they are not looking out for your best interest? So both thoughts are true to me. What you said and your feelings, as well as mine when it comes to the phrase. Buen Camino mi amigo.
I think the first statement was a reply to Helge, not to you. An answer that was along the lines of your own answer to the same statement.
 
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I was just a little confused by your statement of being indifferent. I think you are agreeing with me, correct?
Your second statement about walking your own camino brings a little different twist to what I said. I totally agree with what you said. I too have noticed people over the years who push themselves too hard to reach a goal or keep up with their camino "family" when they are injured or sick. I always say to those people that their real family, mother, father sibling, wife/husband etc. would want you to keep walking or would they force you to stop and rest and recover. They are the ones that love you. Your camino "family" is a fantasy and is walking because they have their own pace and timeframes etc. They may like you but they are not looking out for your best interest? So both thoughts are true to me. What you said and your feelings, as well as mine when it comes to the phrase. Buen Camino mi amigo.
Yes, agree with you on the indifference...sorry for the confusion.

And to speak to your point about a camino family...I'm one of those pilgrims who does not actively seek a out family on my walks, nor do I want to play a family "role". For me the word family conjures up not so great memories, so I'm happy to let people drift in and out of my camino...

Oh, and I'm an "amiga" ;)
 
Yes, agree with you on the indifference...sorry for the confusion.

And to speak to your point about a camino family...I'm one of those pilgrims who does not actively seek a out family on my walks, nor do I want to play a family "role". For me the word family conjures up not so great memories, so I'm happy to let people drift in and out of my camino...

Oh, and I'm an "amiga" ;)
Gracia amiga. I did think you agreed with me about point A but one can never be sure these days. Totally agree about the “family” avoidance. I remember my first Camino 12 years ago. No families. Just pilgrims walking alone or with a friend or relative. Less infrastructure meant being in the same albergues many times. The best part was that this loose group of about 15 pilgrims all ended up in Santiago within a day or so. We had two absolutely wonderful dinners as everyone stayed a few days. I walked on to Finesterre and saw three of these pilgrims along the way and had no idea they had decided to walk. This was friendship and shared but singular Camino experiences without “family” but was so wonderful.
 
I finished my 1st Camino, the CF on Nov 25/23. Don't get me wrong, it was fabulous!! I was however surprised by what I would call competitiveness and one-upmenship. How far did you walk today, how far are you walking tomorrow, how many days did it take you to...??, etc. etc. Also, everyone just seemed in such a hurry! Not what I expected.
I finished my first Camino, the Frances June 26/23 and never really encountered this. The only thing I got asked about usually was were I was walking to that day, but not were I started from that day. Never got asked were I was to the next day.
 
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…and therein lies the power of the individual choice. As you mentioned we are all unique. Therefore our experiences, thought processes, beliefs and values of what’s important about our journey…”our pilgrimage” and how we plan or don’t plan for it will differ in hundreds of ways. What matters to me is respect and tolerance.

Do you…and I’ll do me ❤️
Excellent insight. If I run across a pilgrim who is doing a pilgrimage and does so grumbling, complaining, snearing, criticizing, etc. I ought to honor and respect him/her just as much as any other pilgrim or even myself. Each of us is in his own place in life at a particular point in time and is on their individual/unique path, however good or bad it may be to someone else.
 
When I think pilgrimage, I think of tranquility, reflection, independence and sustainability.
Well, if "tranquility, reflection, independence, and sustainability” is what you want, best go where that exists. If it is no longer on Camino Francés, well, then it just isn’t.
 
Excellent insight. If I run across a pilgrim who is doing a pilgrimage and does so grumbling, complaining, snearing, criticizing, etc. I ought to honor and respect him/her just as much as any other pilgrim or even myself. Each of us is in his own place in life at a particular point in time and is on their individual/unique path, however good or bad it may be to someone else.
I only did one camino so far and did not meet anyone who was having a rough go for the whole way, just parts of it (including myself).
 
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It shows how different people are and what they believe. I think there are lots of people that put comfort and all that goes with it at the top of their list.


Again, I couldn’t disagree more based on my experiences, and others who may be like me. Pilgrimage should be difficult and thus sometimes a struggle. The simpler one walks, eating lunch sitting in your pack, shopping every day for lunch and dinner. Sleeping alone in albergues, looking for the bar with the key to even get in the Albergue. (Obviously on less traveled routes.) Finding happiness walking in the worst weather because the Camino is the only place I want to be, and only planning enough to know how much food to bring and how far to the next open Albergue opens a pilgrim’s spirit to find how magical a Camino can be. You also will forget that your credit card is firmly planted in the recesses of your wallet. For me Camino is home, all I need is me and then I see the magic everywhere. It’s all how you approach it.
I agree with you that is the experience I chase and love.

I have done both types of travel even in the same camino. I started off solo, staying in Albergues and winging everything, then met up with a long time friend for the last 100k staying in booked private accom with bathroom, backpacks going ahead, which was her style.
They were very different journeys.

Personally I like the Albergues, but my week spent in relative luxury with my overseas friend was the opportunity of a lifetime. But still for my souls enjoyment it craves the rougher more solo introspective journey.
 
I absolutely don't want to start a hard discussion, but just share some of my thoughts.
At least something to reflect on, certainly not necessarily comply to.

Maybe think more of them, if you like as possible sub-goals.

Each of us is free to have their reasons for making a pilgrimage, but I wish it was possible to cultivate and keep as much as possible of the uniqueness compared to any other organized tourist trip. There are numbers of tailormade alternatives to participate in, both biketours, mountain walks and other excursions with a high degree of comfort and facilitation. We should of course cheer and support those alternatives. When I think pilgrimage, I think of tranquility, reflection, independence and sustainability. Can I survive and live with less belongings and an «individual depending of course» need of assistance. Think process as important as goal. Think quality more than, quantity, the number of pilgrimages. Less obsession, but still keep the stamina. Not as much as possible, or as long as possible in shortest possible time. Be present in the moment, don't chase towards the next goal or pilgrimage. Perhaps, if possible, be open to the possibility of improvising as opposed to everything being booked/ordered and stored in a spreadsheet. In other words, the opposite of the ordinary life many of us live in our daily life, but of course, needless to mention, but however important to emphasize, everyone is free to choose based on their own wishes and needs.
Yesterday, on duty in the Camino Information Centre, St James's church, Dublin, we had a Pilgrim blessing. As on every first Saturday of the month when the centre is open, most months of the year.
There is a small side chapel, and some members come each time, other people are random. There is a shell just outside the little chapel, same as on the streets in Pamplona, and elsewhere. The blessing is so simple! The intention is the bond. Being pilgrim.
 
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I have been incredibly inspired by so many stories of loss, pain, diagnosis, or other stories that tug at my heart strings, but one pilgrim, since lost in the threads here, was an 83 year old man...
I started my training walks last fall in preparation for the camino frances this year. This included walking in the mall in bad winter weather (ugh!). My husband was undecided about joining me...

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