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Spirit of the Camino

Camino(s) past & future
(2018)
#1
Am I alone in thinking that the Camino has lost its way? Everyone is on their phone/computer booking ahead, sending on their bags, taking a million selfies. Cosy groups. Where is the reflection, the spontaneity, the new friends?
Has the Camino lost its soul?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#4
Well, no. I think that's impossible.
But it may be more diluted than it used to be.
Because now the world is as it is, and we all live there.

Fortunately none of us have to participate in all that kerfuffle you mention, but it definitely has it's effects on the atmosphere of the Camino. It helps me to remember that there is still plenty of goodness out there - and a lot of sincerity and kindness. It's not always easy to notice that, because in all honesty I prefer to grumble.:oops:

If you haven't read this beautiful post, do...the spirit definitely lives.
Its been a little over 3 weeks now since my last day on the Camino de Santiago & in the space of that time, the memory & the mourning for being back on The Way has its moments of feeling palpable. The journey you’ve all followed me on through the photos I’ve shared does little to truly harness the emotion & humility of being a pilgrim. Contrary to the blue skies & wild flowers, what the photos don’t capture is the pain, the tears, the comradery, the willpower, the love & power for change that exists within the confines of the Camino.

Your life suddenly becomes very simple - Each day you wake before the sun rises, quietly repack your belongings in the dark & you find a reason that compels you to put one foot in front of the other. That reason compels you to walk through pain; through shin splints, tendinitis, blisters, rain & hail. You walk, you eat, you laugh, you sleep, you repeat.

You cry. You cry because you’re happy, you cry as a result of pain, you cry because you’re humbled & you cry because of the deep love & respect you have for nature, the path & the people on it. Often you cry without reason at all.

The Camino makes you family; everything you have you must be willing to share. You share your last Compead, your wine, your burdens, your humour, your thoughts. You share of yourself without limitations, hesitation or personal gain. What you share becomes the testimony of your experience.

You share with strangers & quickly learn that 1 step back is more valuable than 100 steps forward in order to help another without thought for yourself. This lesson quickly breeds change & you see the best version of your Self reflected back at you in the eyes of those who you’ve stopped to help. The compassion, both given & received, cracks your heart wide open & makes it impossible to not be unequivocally changed by the experience of being human. By the experience of being a pilgrim.

The Camino compels you to look within, to be vulnerable, to let yourself need & be needed, to be compassionate; to dig deep into the confines of your heart & to learn about yourself. It tests your limits of physical & emotional pain & spins what you find into the most valuable possession you’ve ever held in your own two hands - The most authentic version of your Self you have ever known.

The journey to Santiago de Compostela is not an endurance challenge, a test of fitness, a competition or a walk about kilometres or miles. The Way is a journey into yourself. A journey into friendship, contemplation, silence, nature, humility, spirituality & gratitude.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#5
Are you remembering an earlier Camino which was very different? What you describe sounds like the norm for the Camino Frances these days. Even in the midst of the crush you may be able to make the time and space for your own reflections and your own spontaneity. Not an easy task. Expecting that all the others you meet will join you in your approach is a losing battle I fear.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#6
Am I alone in thinking that the Camino has lost its way? Everyone is on their phone/computer booking ahead, sending on their bags, taking a million selfies. Cosy groups. Where is the reflection, the spontaneity, the new friends?
Has the Camino lost its soul?
Hello @John Phillips, don't be disheartened, the Camino has been a pilgrimage route for over a thousand years and witnessed all the aberrations that human beings are capable of, graffitiing everything along the way with sharpie pens and the thoughtless dumping of toilet paper being some of our more modern irritants and less disturbing than cosy groups and people taking selfies. I walked alone for most of both Caminos but also made life-long friends who I would meet up with during the day or at the albergue. Of course groups make a bigger impression on our visual radar than the many individuals who are walking by themselves and that reflection is an internal activity therefore invisible to others and often something that does not begin until long after you have returned home from the Camino. Also spontaneity is a difficult thing to observe as you need to know the thinking that went before in order to understand the action that is happening in the present. Pre-booking accommodation might be an important safety net for some pilgrims but it doesn't necessarily preclude their being open to serendipitous opportunities. We can never see what is in someone's heart.
Selfie-taking is something I just don't 'get', as is the constant checking in with social media, especially when it gets in the way of face-to-face communication, but then I am a grumpy old woman who can too easily have recourse to uttering phrases such as 'things weren't like that in my day.':D Hope things start looking up for you soon. Buen Camino!
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#9
Has the Camino lost its soul?
We had a famous writer in the Netherlands who was very popular in the fifties and sixties because of his daily columns in a national newspaper. His stories usually dealt with sad situations in everyday life, in the space that arises when an ideal gets overtaken by reality. It seems you were in that space when you wrote your post.

He wrote with empathy and compassion and a keen observational eye, and his little stories were heartbreakingly humorous. He himself battled with the booze and depression; no surprise there, given his subject matter. One of his quotes sometimes pops in my head when I feel a bit down, and it usually helps me to put a least a grin on my face. I hope it does the same for you:
"There is a lot of suffering in the world, but you need to have an eye for it."
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#10
Hmm, Camino is Camino. "The Camino" mostly seems to mean that linear city that runs from an, these days less, obscure town in Southern France, south of the mountains and mostly following an easily accessible and easily accessed route to Santiago. A route re-established in the latter part of the 20th century with the specific intent of attracting pilgrims, the curious and tourists, bless-'em. That there are dozens of other routes from all points of the compass seems to escape many who seek to walk "The" camino. I've been told on more than many an occasion that I hadn't walked "The" camino. Didn't start in StJdP? Didn't walk "The" camino. Didn't do the Napoleon? Didn't walk "The" camino. Didn't get blisters, shin-splints and sun-burnt on the Meseta? Didn't walk "The" camino.

Well, I have walked "that' camino, and others. And I will continue to walk camino. And if that whole, entire, graded and gravelled strip from the Porte D'Espagne to the Porta do Camino turns into a ribbon mall of opportunities for indulgence it really won't matter to me. The 'soul' of camino is my 'soul', it sits in my heart. My camino is my journey, to a place sacred to me. Undertaken with a sacred purpose and as an offering.

All the rest of it is just stuff, and if sometimes some of that stuff is a mortifying as bad boots on a rough road, so be it. No-one said it would be easy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#11
… The 'soul' of camino is my 'soul', it sits in my heart. My camino is my journey, to a place sacred to me. Undertaken with a sacred purpose and as an offering.

All the rest of it is just stuff, and if sometimes some of that stuff is a mortifying as bad boots on a rough road, so be it. No-one said it would be easy.
Beautifully expressed. Thank you.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#12
I walked in 2016, and 2017 and that was not my experience at all. Yes smartphones are around, I saw people using them more as cameras, myself included.
I chose not to look for anything negative, and looked only to immerse myself in the wonderful experience the Camino offers.
I made lots of new friends, sometimes booked ahead, sometimes didn't (the same as the people we met). Everyone I knew felt changed for the better by the Camino experience in some way. Some walked together at times, other times alone with their private thoughts.
The Camino magic is still there, it is in your heart.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago 2017
#14
Am I alone in thinking that the Camino has lost its way? Everyone is on their phone/computer booking ahead, sending on their bags, taking a million selfies. Cosy groups. Where is the reflection, the spontaneity, the new friends?
Has the Camino lost its soul?
No, it has not lost its soul, but it is struggling under the weight of popularity. As more people seek the experience, it puts more pressure on the infrastructure. I was going to the Camino on my own the old fashioned way - day to day, nothing but alburges. Then my wife’s Dad died and sent her into a period where she was just lost. I told her she needed to come with me on pretty short notice. I used Booking.com on my phone to make sure we had a place, and I hired her bag to be transported so she would not get hurt. It ended up being one of the most blessed experiences of our 37 years together. We met many great people. My wife to this day marvels that she did it, and I can just feel the sense of accomplishment when she talks to people about her Camino. It wont be the old way for everyone. But without some of the newer services and technologies, people like my wife may never get the chance, and I think that would be a shame. We had plenty of reflection, lots of spontaneity and met many new friends. The Camino is still there.
 

miffy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese 2018
#15
Am I alone in thinking that the Camino has lost its way? Everyone is on their phone/computer booking ahead, sending on their bags, taking a million selfies. Cosy groups. Where is the reflection, the spontaneity, the new friends?
Has the Camino lost its soul?

Hey John,

When you say 'the Camino has lost its way' which Camino do you mean? There are lots of quiet Caminos with hardly any people walking them and on those, you won't find 'everyone on the phone' or 'taking a million selfies'. Why not give one of the quieter Caminos a go and meet maybe one or two pilgrims (at most) a day? The Frances is just one way....there are many many more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
#16
Has the Camino lost its soul? In my opinion, No it has not. Are human beings as different and as varied as they have been since the Camino was first walked over a thousand years ago? Yes I believe they are.

Technology cannot be un-invented. People are social animals and new technology feeds their need to be connected and to feel part of something greater than themselves. People of the 21st century will behave in ways that are consistent with our time and place, just as people have throughout history. So I say find a way to be at peace with something that you cannot change. Let other people be who they are. They, like you and me, are on the same journey; we are just at different points along our life journey even if we are at the same place on the Camino.

Personally, even though there may be problems with insufficient infrastructure, I rejoice in the fact that new technology allows lots of people to go on the Camino who otherwise would never contemplate it. The Camino gives something to everyone who walks it, and if I may paraphrase the quote from Purky above, sometimes you have got to have the eye for it, to see it.

Aidan
 

cathn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed one 550 Miile and six partial caminos
#17
Am I alone in thinking that the Camino has lost its way? Everyone is on their phone/computer booking ahead, sending on their bags, taking a million selfies. Cosy groups. Where is the reflection, the spontaneity, the new friends?
Has the Camino lost its soul?
The Spirit of the Camino lies within oneself.
Reflection is always there and new friends are the ones where two people come together in like mindedness.
It is peculiarly personal.
 

leichecerca

Can’t stay away
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Finisterre: May 2018
Camino Frances: April-May 2018
Camino Frances: April-May 2017
#18
Has the Camino lost its soul? In my opinion, No it has not. Are human beings as different and as varied as they have been since the Camino was first walked over a thousand years ago? Yes I believe they are.

Technology cannot be un-invented. People are social animals and new technology feeds their need to be connected and to feel part of something greater than themselves. People of the 21st century will behave in ways that are consistent with our time and place, just as people have throughout history. So I say find a way to be at peace with something that you cannot change. Let other people be who they are. They, like you and me, are on the same journey; we are just at different points along our life journey even if we are at the same place on the Camino.

Personally, even though there may be problems with insufficient infrastructure, I rejoice in the fact that new technology allows lots of people to go on the Camino who otherwise would never contemplate it. The Camino gives something to everyone who walks it, and if I may paraphrase the quote from Purky above, sometimes you have got to have the eye for it, to see it.

Aidan
Aidan21: Outstanding response! Well said. Thank you & bless you.
 

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