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Talking about work while on the Camino

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
Why not just tell them you are (or were) a receptionist at a clinic? This is one of those "kind" lies, rather than your suggested response, which sounds a little prickly. I knew a doctor that used this one, only confessing the truth when they got to know people better.

Buen Camino
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Why not just tell them you are (or were) a receptionist at a clinic? This is one of those "kind" lies, rather than your suggested response, which sounds a little prickly. I knew a doctor that used this one, only confessing the truth when they got to know people better.

Buen Camino
I like that suggestion very much. I like it. I certain don't want to seem prickly. I may leave out the "clinic" part though as I may be asked what kind of clinic. Maybe just say a receptionist in an office.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Perhaps you have a hobby that you could fit in? If you are a reader, say you work at a library or book store. If you are crafty, perhaps you work at a fabric store or art gallery. Etc etc. This leaves open the possibility that a conversation may result in a shared passion and at least you know something about the topic.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
"I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today."
I find this response to be a bit "prickly" as you say, since it seems to tell the person that they have asked an inappropriate question. @Rick M's suggestion was good - figure out some words that work for you - that you can use easily and consistently, even have a bit of conversation, and such that you don't feel like total liar. Mentioning the clinic shouldn't be a problem, and since it is closer to the truth, you should find it easier to deal with. If people ask you more, then you can change the topic by saying "Let's not talk about work" but you have not outright rejected the original friendly enquiry.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
IMHO you DO tell them while at the same may add something along the lines of "With all respect Due - I am on a pilgrimage\vacation\etc. and do not practice my profession outside my business hours. I hope you understand" and leave it at that. The person that will take an issue with that - probably not worth your time to be around.
This way you are not lying and making stuff up.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!

Well, I can understand why you might not want to reveal this information. ;)

For me, one of the most wonderful and liberating parts of the Camino is that I spend days and days with people who never ask me what I “do” and never tell me what they “do.” I remember walking once on the Norte off and on with a group of Spanish males from Málaga. For weeks. All I knew about them was that they were all fans of the Málaga basketeball team, and I knew that only because a former student of mine from the US was playing on that team, so I asked them about it when I saw their team t-shirts. But at the same time, I knew a lot of deeply personal things about them, like the fact that they were set to arrive in Santiago on the one year anniversary of the suicide of the wife of one of them. But nothing about what they “did” till we got to the albergue in Arzua and they decided to take charge and make a huge meal for about 40 of us in the albergue. As I volunteered to do the chopping, I marvelled at their skills and one said, oh it’s because we are firefighters and cook big meals for the house all the time. And it really hit me that here I had been walking all this time, knew a lot about them, but had no idea about their life in the working world. And that is not at all uncommon.

I think that asking people about their jobs is far more of a common question in the US (don’t know about Canada — C clearly?). I could do some pop psychology and speculate how in the US so much more of our selves are wrapped up in our jobs or something like that, but whatever the reason it is just not as common a question when people meet each other, at least in my experience, in plenty of other parts of the world. Long way of saying that it’s good that you have a response but maybe making you feel more comfortable knowing that you might not have to use it very often.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I find this response to be a bit "prickly" as you say, since it seems to tell the person that they have asked an inappropriate question. @Rick M's suggestion was good - figure out some words that work for you - that you can use easily and consistently, even have a bit of conversation, and such that you don't feel like total liar. Mentioning the clinic shouldn't be a problem, and since it is closer to the truth, you should find it easier to deal with. If people ask you more, then you can change the topic by saying "Let's not talk about work" but you have not outright rejected the original friendly enquiry.
I appreciate the response. This is why I asked the forum..when you are stuck in your own head for ideas, they are not always reflective of who you are or want to relay. I guess my "canned" answer came from a place where here in my hometown, most people that know what I do cannot help themselves (or clients I see out of my work environment). I am constantly asked on my days off, on vacations or summer trailer...'I know you are off but I have this thing...."
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I understand very well that you don’t want to talk about work while being on the Camino – I wouldn’t either. On the other hand, you are in a position to provide help to other pilgrims, and that is not so bad. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Its not just a USA thing @peregrina2000. The classic Royal Garden question was always "and what do you do?" Not from lovely 'Liz but the outer string. Answers were expected to range from "manage the Ravens of the Tower" to "plant trees on recovered strip mines in Leicestershire".

My old gran's answer was always "get by".

I can empathise with the OP. To admit to strangers a skill that might be exploited before even their own sense of self has been acknowledged might well feel like to much exposure. I never tell anyone on Camino that I am an Auditor and a retired public servant because I am a "Don", and thats all they need to know ;)
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I understand very well that you don’t want to talk about work while being on the Camino – I wouldn’t either. On the other hand, you are in a position to provide help to other pilgrims, and that is not so bad. :)
It isn't. I'll let good judgement and consideration for others guide me on that one.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
it is just not as common a question when people meet each other, at least in my experience, in plenty of other parts of the world... (don’t know about Canada — C clearly?
I don't know if that is true. Doesn't it depend more how you meet them? If you meet a person on a walk, you are likely to talk about walking. If you meet them on the commute to work, you are likely to talk about your commute and that will lead to a question about work. Perhaps Americans (and Canadians) are less restrained in asking personal questions in general, but that can be considered either positive (friendly and open) or negative (nosy and classifying), depending on the circumstances.

I do ask the question on the camino sometimes - especially if I am getting to know the person as a friend. Depending on how conversations flow, sometimes it would be odd not to ask. Really, context is everything. If you ask any question of another person who you are just getting to know, you should try to be sensitive to their reaction and response.

Certainly on the camino, there is a culture of not putting people into stereotypical boxes based on a set of questions and preconceptions - age, marital status, # children, occupation, wealth, even religion, etc. - but all of these topics are interesting and natural subjects for conversations. I don't like to label any of them as forbidden topics.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
"manage the Ravens of the Tower" - now THATS a JOB 😄

I do recall I was quite taken by them once they were released early in the morning I was there....
however their croaking was not a poetic (not once have I hear 'Nevermore' :rolleyes:)
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound?
I understand your dilemma. I have sometimes been reluctant to answer the question, and have also sometimes replied by saying "I am in between jobs" - but then realized I had two questions to answer....

But your suggested reply sounds a bit pricky to me as well. Maybe you exaggerate what could possibly happen if you tell people what your job is ? I guess that if you just say you are a massage therapist, and then divert the topic of conversation away from your work, it would become clear to most people you do not wish to discuss your work during your camino. And if this does not become clear, then you can still tell people more directly you want to disconnect from your professional life.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I understand very well that you don’t want to talk about work while being on the Camino – I wouldn’t either. On the other hand, you are in a position to provide help to other pilgrims, and that is not so bad. :)
I'm sure that @Dani7 will assist another pilgrim in an emergency with her professional skills but she's not on the Camino to provide professional services for free and I can fully understand that she wants to disconnect from her daily life, as so many on the camino do. The locals have responded to the demand and offer such services against modest payment (compared to "home"), at least on the Camino Frances in my experience, in addition to regular local health care providers.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
@Dani7, I agree with @Marc S., tell them when you are asked, then steer the conversation away from providing advice and treatment for anyone present, and don't waver if they push. I am sure the Camino wants to teach you how to say no. 😇
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do
Interesting question – because where I come from, if you are still relative strangers, nobody would EVER ask you what your job is. It’s none of their business. If you want to tell them – fine. If you don’t – don’t.
 
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Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
Take the pressure off "coming up with a story" and just be honest with what you do. If anyone asks for advice, tell them that you don't practice your profession away from your place of work and especially not when you're on a break. I would think most would understand and for those that don't, well...walk on! I don't recall many people asking me what I did for a living - the few that did were usually people I had walked with for some time and the question came later as part of an expanding friendship. Though...I guess I wouldn't have the same possible problem as you @Dani7 - not many people asking for advice from a stage manager 😁
 
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Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
On my CF in 2017 and my CI last year, I was never asked and it never came up, Yay!
 

Phoenix

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
Perhaps you have a hobby that you could fit in? If you are a reader, say you work at a library or book store. If you are crafty, perhaps you work at a fabric store or art gallery. Etc etc. This leaves open the possibility that a conversation may result in a shared passion and at least you know something about the topic.
The "this is what I love to do" angle is great and works best for me. Although my career was technical in nature, my passion and natural talent is carpentry. If I come across another woodworker, then we are likely to have a great conversation.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
In my experience for the most part nobody really talks about work while walking the Camino, and only occasionally is what someone actually does asked. Personally I never ask anyone what they do for a living.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
In my experience for the most part nobody really talks about work while walking the Camino, and only occasionally is what someone actually does asked. Personally I never ask anyone what they do for a living.
That is reassuring and good to know.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Hello fellow pilgrim,

I told, when asked. Not more.
I do a job that is hard to describe, especially for a non native speaker. Everytime, if there were more questions asked about my job, I told then that it's hard to describe. And that's it. No further questions.

Tell them you are in some sort of "medical profession" and be not to exact about it. That should be enough to answer the question.
 

Kathyonthego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2020
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
you could say "if I told you then I'd have to kill you" . my husband says that alot
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
I'm an American and always used to ask people what they did for work as an icebreaker question. When we moved to Spain and started meeting people, I always jumped right in and asked them what their names were and then what they did for work. I *finally* learned - after being the cause of the entire mood changing, many times - that many Spaniards don't care to talk about work or what they do, and especially not with the eager Chinese-American girl they just met moments before. Even though it's more normal for us Americans, it can be very "pesado" (heavy, onerous) in other cultures to ask people right away what they do.

So it may not come up as frequently if you're walking with people from cultures that don't make work a conversational focal point, but I agree with others that you can come up with a fun story that will politely give people a hint about who you are without feeling like you're opening the door to answering a lot of unwelcome questions about their physical symptoms :)
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I had a French professor in France who advised that it was considered quite rude to ask about someone’s job. He said he had friends whose jobs he never knew and would never consider asking. You can safely ask about their political positions and would expect to discuss issues of the day, but never anything so crass as what job they had.

Perhaps it stemmed from the Revolution and tearing down class divisions.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I don't understand needing to come up with an answer, let alone lying to avoid the issue. Do people really want to cultivate deceit? It may be a small thing, but small things spread and no lie is harmless.

Why not deflect the question to the camino? @NorthernLight has a wonderful solution:
With a smile on your face, “Well, right now my job is to walk. How is your’s going?”
As Faith says, this question isn't everyone's default. I was often crossing paths a lovely youngish guy and was surprised to learn when we parted company at the end of the camino that he was a judge. Who knew?

And the joy of the camino is...who cares? So if people are being sticky beaks, or are just insensitive, it's not necessary to answer their questions. Kind distraction works very well.
 

longwayhome

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
My experience was that it will matter little once you are out there and some magic may even happen as you reconnect with yourself.

I was quite concerned about this issue before my Camino Frances because I was professionally exhausted and I really needed a break from anyone asking me for advice , especially medical advice and I was very averse to sharing that I was a general practitioner who knew a lot about general pilgrim ailments from blisters, norovirus, shin splints to Camino flu, plus I knew all the drugs and could converse with pharmacists fairly well in medical Spanglish. I so did not want to be a care giver, just an anonymous pilgrim. I was plain burned out. And I also wanted to explore more of who else was I when I wasn't being a doctor? However I really didn't want to lie to anybody either and so I decided on an approach of honesty with clarification that I was "on leave".

It did not sit easy with me for the first few days until I realised that people did not generally ask about occupation until well into conversation, sometimes days after first meeting, by which time my defences were disarmed. I also generally let it be known I was having a lengthy break from my work. I relaxed about this by about Estella . A few days further down the Camino I was happily offering to dress blisters in the gutters or reassuring hiking rash sufferers, and otherwise offering a couple of words of wisdom about rehydration, electrolytes, infections and on when to get to a hospital etcetera, all . This advice was freely given , my well of caring had been rejuvenated out there.

Although not yet so burned out again, I know where I will be heading for a recharge after the coming storm of Corona mayhem has passed (I am cancelling my leave for now).

It may all turn out very differently to your expectations. New attitudes will probably find you as you walk. Buen Camino!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I told my podiatrist - the best podiatrist in our region - about the Camino and he said it's a dream of his to walk it. I told him he should either NOT tell anybody on the walk what he does for a living, or he should just set up a foot treatment practice along the Camino and charge for it.
 

K Turner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August-October 2019 CF
I was never asked about my profession last year when I walked the CF!
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
Is this merely a matter of liability insurance or of an unwillingness to be defined by one’s work? Off-duty priests, politicians, bankers, corporate lawyers and counsellors might also prefer not to disclose their profession to fellow pilgrims.
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
Being asked what I do for work is not a question I have ever found offensive, however I do understand that others do, especially if it may mean being asked for advice and or medical treatment. I have found though that it does tend to come up eventually in general conversation.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Is this merely a matter of liability insurance or of an unwillingness to be defined by one’s work? Off-duty priests, politicians, bankers, corporate lawyers and counsellors might also prefer not to disclose their profession to fellow pilgrims.
Anyone could be liable if they cause harm I suppose. My liability insurance coverage is only for Ontario, Canada. When what you do professionally is care for people it does get to a point where you have to take a long break at some point in your career. In my work, emotions can come up with some patients and you would be surprised at how much they tell. You listen with compassion and empathy but do need to keep an emotional safety zone for yourself or you will burn out. With all the positive and even funny comments on this thread I feel confident that I will rest and still be open to whatever the Camino shows and teaches me.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I'm sure that @Dani7 will assist another pilgrim in an emergency with her professional skills
I think that was already answered in post 14, but thanks for the elaboration :)

but she's not on the Camino to provide professional services
I never suggested that…

and I can fully understand that she wants to disconnect from her daily life, as so many on the camino do.
Me too – as I said.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
When I walked last year I was unwillingly retired and very sensitive about it at the start. On the third day I met and spoke with a young Ozzie woman who asked me what I did and I simply said that I was retired. She then asked "retired what?" I avoided the question.

For some reason that really bugged her and she persisted in asking me. Eventually her persistence wore me down and I told her that I was a researcher that specialised in applying artificial intelligence techniques to recognising human movement.

She obviously wasn't expecting that answer and thought quietly about my answer for some time. Eventually she restarted the conversation and I asked her what she did?

She refused to answer. Feeling a bit flummoxed, I also persisted. She also eventually answered, saying that she was a registered masseuse. Without thinking I asked her why she was unwillingly to tell me. She said "can't you guess? What do you think would happen if I told everyone that I was a masseuse?" Only then did I click!

Probably best to keep that profession under your hat, as you have suggested. 😃
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
In fact, I remember many times hearing the question ¿qué haces? (What do you do OR What are you doing) and realizing that the speaker was not asking me what I thought I was being asked, but was rather asking me what I was doing at the moment!
"A que te dedicas" is what people in Mexico would say if they are asking you what you do for a living. I think you would probably say it like that in Spain also but I am not sure. Buen Camino
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
Have you considered that no-one will be interested in what you do, I've never been asked my profession in 4 Caminos. If your asked make something up, divert attention or just ignore. I expect you'll be first to volunteer the information as you'll no doubt let the cat out of the bag over a pilgrim meal influenced by vino tinto. Don't sweat the small stuff pilgrim 🤠
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I don't understand needing to come up with an answer, let alone lying to avoid the issue. Do people really want to cultivate deceit? It may be a small thing, but small things spread and no lie is harmless.

Why not deflect the question to the camino? @NorthernLight has a wonderful solution:


As Faith says, this question isn't everyone's default. I was often crossing paths a lovely youngish guy and was surprised to learn when we parted company at the end of the camino that he was a judge. Who knew?

And the joy of the camino is...who cares? So if people are being sticky beaks, or are just insensitive, it's not necessary to answer their questions. Kind distraction works very well.
Good answer to give. I think one thing that many pilgrims learn almost instinctually is to know to respect people's boundaries and their privacy. I learned really quickly on my first camino when people wanted to be conversant regarding a problem or something they wanted to discuss that was personal and when someone just wants you to listen. In November my friends and I invited a German Pilgrim that came into our restaurant. It was the only place in town that was open. We had all seen him at various times and it was always a Buen Camino and nothing more. We had a chair at our table and invited him over. After a few minutes of talking I asked him if this was his first Camino, it was, and I asked him if him why he wanted to walk. His head went down and he mumbled something. I said to him, that is a great reason to walk, my friend said Perfect! We immediately changed the subject. It wasn't hard to pick up on the fact he had no desire to talk about it. After that moment I never asked anyone that question again. It is the second time that has happened. From than on and for all future caminos I will just wait for someone to volunteer that information.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Have you considered that no-one will be interested in what you do, I've never been asked my profession in 4 Caminos. If your asked make something up, divert attention or just ignore. I expect you'll be first to volunteer the information as you'll no doubt let the cat out of the bag over a pilgrim meal influenced by vino tinto. Don't sweat the small stuff pilgrim 🤠
Since I am new to all this I don’t know what to expect. I am understanding more now based on all the responses.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
Take the pressure off "coming up with a story" and just be honest with what you do. If anyone asks for advice, tell them that you don't practice your profession away from your place of work and especially not when you're on a break. I would think most would understand and for those that don't, well...walk on! I don't recall many people asking me what I did for a living - the few that did were usually people I had walked with for some time and the question came later as part of an expanding friendship. Though...I guess I wouldn't have the same possible problem as you @Dani7 - not many people asking for advice from a stage manager 😁
Oh, I can think of questions to ask if a stage manager. But I will leave you in peace.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I do work for a national security agency but when people ask what I do there, I tell them I can't tell them. They typically say the "then you'd have to kill me" joke to which I reply, "Worse. You'd have to work for us." And, that is usually that. :)
And if not then you can pull out a pen and small notebook and start asking them questions. Probably even more effective if the questions have been printed on paper with a letterhead.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
You know one could always say when asked what they did (or had done) for a living is:
"I would love to answer that question, but ever since I started this Camino walk I have completely forgot what it is, and I like it that way because that is one of the reasons I am walking it..."
If they do not get the hint, forget em....
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
I will assume you have a computer in your office. Since hardly anyone if anyone at all has a computer with them, tell them you work with computers. Technically true basically a lie. Worked for me but in my case it was the truth. However, when I retired my daughter bought me a t-shirt that said, 'No I will not fix your computer'. Proved invaluable at home but no one asked me to fix one on the camino 😜😜
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work?
My humble view is that this question is asked more as a conversation opener - much as the question "how are you?" - rather than a real enquiry requiring an in-depth response.

I appreciate that there is the chance of someone, on finding out your day job, will immediately expect you to listen to their medical history and their current aches and pains and expect you to treat them, or at least give professional advice, and it would be up to you to respond in the best way that suits you. If such expectations were to become a burden, then a diversionary response would be appropriate. My experience, limited as it is to three caminos, is that such expectations would be the exception rather than the norm.

My suggestion would be to tell the truth about your day job rather than get wound up in knots trying to avoid it, and if a fellow traveller becomes a pest with their medical issues, fallback and find someone else to walk with...
 
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Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I will assume you have a computer in your office. Since hardly anyone if anyone at all has a computer with them, tell them you work with computers. Technically true basically a lie. Worked for me but in my case it was the truth. However, when I retired my daughter bought me a t-shirt that said, 'No I will not fix your computer'. Proved invaluable at home but no one asked me to fix one on the camino 😜😜
I have one of those tee shirts but it doesn't stop people from asking how to make their phones do something. My favourite one to wear to work on mufti days had an SQL query on it which said:-

SELECT * from users
WHERE clue > 0
0 rows returned

For the non-techies that effectively says "Are there any system users here who have a clue? No!"
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
On the one hand, I don't think that kind of question comes up as frequently as it does in off-Camino social gatherings. So I wouldn't dwell on it too much.

If it does come up, what you propose above is fine.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Maybe "I work for an intelligence agency."?
Once upon a time, decades ago, I was living in Madrid teaching English. Among my classes, there were a number for different Spanish government ministries. And among these, a very beginner class, was with the Ministry of Defense, Intelligence Division. One of the lessons was on the different professions. Based on that lesson, I can assure you that what you are more likely to hear from someone who works for an intelligence agency is "I am a civil servant" or maybe "I am a kind of policeman" than "I work for an intelligence agency."
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
When I walked last year I was unwillingly retired and very sensitive about it at the start. On the third day I met and spoke with a young Ozzie woman who asked me what I did and I simply said that I was retired. She then asked "retired what?" I avoided the question.

For some reason that really bugged her and she persisted in asking me. Eventually her persistence wore me down and I told her that I was a researcher that specialised in applying artificial intelligence techniques to recognising human movement.

She obviously wasn't expecting that answer and thought quietly about my answer for some time. Eventually she restarted the conversation and I asked her what she did?

She refused to answer. Feeling a bit flummoxed, I also persisted. She also eventually answered, saying that she was a registered masseuse. Without thinking I asked her why she was unwillingly to tell me. She said "can't you guess? What do you think would happen if I told everyone that I was a masseuse?" Only then did I click!

Probably best to keep that profession under your hat, as you have suggested. 😃
Talk about people in glass houses throwing stones!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Once upon a time, decades ago, I was living in Madrid teaching English. Among my classes, there were a number for different Spanish government ministries. And among these, a very beginner class, was with the Ministry of Defense, Intelligence Division. One of the lessons was on the different professions. Based on that lesson, I can assure you that what you are more likely to hear from someone who works for an intelligence agency is "I am a civil servant" or maybe "I am a kind of policeman" than "I work for an intelligence agency."
Let me start by saying I don't work in one of my country's intelligence agencies. Nor, for that matter, in any of yours!! However, all the bland answer that one is a public servant (aka civil servant) does is invite further intrusive enquiries. The mere fact that one works in the public sector seems to give rise to a view by the inquisitor that even the minutest details of one's work life should also be public, and are fair and reasonable subjects for discussion. Fortunately, Australia has not chosen to use the term civil servant for state employees generally, because there have been times when I have struggled to be even moderately polite to some fellow pilgrims whose persistence on such matters extended well into the realm of rudeness.

This issue isn't limited to pilgrims. Some of you will have guessed that I live in what was a predominantly public service town in times past, so there is always a natural curiosity about what arm of government one works in and what one does there. However, most people take a hint if one suggests a different subject for discussion. After all, none of them want their security clearance - that licence to work for or in government departments so vital to many here - threatened by being reported as a suspicious contact!

So I am sympathetic with the OP's concern about revealing a profession that would generate unwelcome levels of intrusion, including the seemingly inevitable requests for free advice, or even free service delivery, that medical and allied service providers in particular have to fend off in what should be pleasant social circumstances.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Let me start by saying I don't work in one of my country's intelligence agencies. Nor, for that matter, in any of yours!! However, all the bland answer that one is a public servant (aka civil servant) does is invite further intrusive enquiries. The mere fact that one works in the public sector seems to give rise to a view by the inquisitor that even the minutest details of one's work life should also be public, and are fair and reasonable subjects for discussion. Fortunately, Australia has not chosen to use the term civil servant for state employees generally, because there have been times when I have struggled to be even moderately polite to some fellow pilgrims whose persistence on such matters extended well into the realm of rudeness.

This issue isn't limited to pilgrims. Some of you will have guessed that I live in what was a predominantly public service town in times past, so there is always a natural curiosity about what arm of government one works in and what one does there. However, most people take a hint if one suggests a different subject for discussion. After all, none of them want their security clearance - that licence to work for or in government departments so vital to many here - threatened by being reported as a suspicious contact!

So I am sympathetic with the OP's concern about revealing a profession that would generate unwelcome levels of intrusion, including the seemingly inevitable requests for free advice, or even free service delivery, that medical and allied service providers in particular have to fend off in what should be pleasant social circumstances.
I wasn't suggesting that the OP would reply with "I'm a civil servant". (Although that is how I would now reply, if asked. And I do try to remain civil. Otherwise, I'm just a public servant.) It was just a comment based on a particular lesson decades ago when we were talking about vocabulary for people's work (doctor, teacher, etc.) and, as suggested by the lesson plan, I asked some of them what they do. :)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I don't think that kind of question comes up as frequently as it does in off-Camino social gatherings.
However, most people take a hint if one suggests a different subject for discussion.
I agree with both these statements. Virtually any question (maybe all?) should be posed with sensitivity! For example all of the following questions can get you into trouble if you persist, or if the recipient is very sensitive for some reason, but usually they are innocent and casual enquiries:
  • Where are you from? (either today, or where you live, or where you were born)
  • How far have you walked? (either today or since starting this pilgrimage)
  • What do you do? (e.g. occupation)
  • Why are you walking the camino?
  • Are you married? (and any follow-up questions)
  • How heavy is your pack?
  • Do you snore? :D
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I wasn't suggesting that the OP would reply with "I'm a civil servant".
I didn't think you were. I was commenting about my past experiences being relatively open about my profession in light of your earlier post and the OP's concern about this matter.

And let me add that public service is a (relatively) honourable profession in my country, as I suspect it still is across the world despite some of the hard knocks it gets in public discussion. And the most uncivil public servants - perhaps those whose name suggests that they might be?
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I agree with both these statements. Virtually any question (maybe all?) should be posed with sensitivity! For example all of the following questions can get you into trouble if you persist, or if the recipient is very sensitive for some reason, but usually they are innocent and casual enquiries:
  • Where are you from? (either today, or where you live, or where you were born)
  • How far have you walked? (either today or since starting this pilgrimage)
  • What do you do? (e.g. occupation)
  • Why are you walking the camino?
  • Are you married? (and any follow-up questions)
  • How heavy is your pack?
  • Do you snore? :D
I’m laughing because these are probably the more frequent questions one would get. And unfortunately, I seem to jane developed a snore. 😬
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
And let me add that public service is a (relatively) honourable profession in my country, as I suspect it still is across the world despite some of the hard knocks it gets in public discussion.
Sorry, that was a 'rose coloured glasses' moment. There are clearly places where government service is used to line the pockets of those involved in some way or other. Whether it be petty backhanders or more systemic rorting of weaknesses in the governance arrangements, we are not a world free of public sector graft and corruption.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Do you snore?
I've never heard myself snore! Nor have all the people who assertively claim not to, despite contributing to the albergue dormitory snorechestra every night.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Interesting. The thread. I can’t imagine not telling the truth about my job. I have no idea if people asked me. Of the people I walked along with, shared meaningful times with, I have no idea what they did for a living. That is not what stays with me. Oh, no! I tell a lie! There was a group of four lovely young women we fell in step with on the first camino. They taught us a lot about cleaning aeroplanes in between flights. However, their wonderful humour and joy and delight at what they were doing together in walking the camino was what stuck, When I came to live in Ireland, I learned eventually that when asked, how are you? I was not actually being asked what those words meant to me. It was a way of saying hello. That’s all. So, maybe for some people it is just an opener, as was suggested above. Maybe, though, given the fact that it is enough of a concern for you to seek opinions, you might say something like: well, you know, that question is one I am trying to forget the answer to while on my camino. Then, ask if the one who asks the question ever makes bread, and see if you can swap recipes. Or whatever. Of course, it has to be true! Otherwise you will walk yourself into a web of deceit.... and I am already tired listening to my own effort to help you avoid talking about what you prefer not to talk about! I hope that by now you are already much more relaxed about the whole thing. What did you say your job was, again?....;););)
 

ginniek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
And then you get situations where what people do work-wise just kind of springs up. Last year, between Pamplona and Puente la Reina I was sort of tortoise-and-hare leapfrogging (I'm the tortoise) with a small group of two guys and a much younger woman. At one point, as I came up where they had stopped, one of the males said something about flying and simulators. Magic words to me, because in recent history I had safely landed an F-35 (the much-maligned but very cool new jet fighter) on a simulator, while everyone else was crashing. Of course I had to share. And then discussion of how I came to be doing this (planning work sometimes with a U.S. Marine Corps Air Station), and the guy was a retired Air Force pilot working for a simulator manufacturer.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Interesting. The thread. I can’t imagine not telling the truth about my job. I have no idea if people asked me. Of the people I walked along with, shared meaningful times with, I have no idea what they did for a living. That is not what stays with me. Oh, no! I tell a lie! There was a group of four lovely young women we fell in step with on the first camino. They taught us a lot about cleaning aeroplanes in between flights. However, their wonderful humour and joy and delight at what they were doing together in walking the camino was what stuck, When I came to live in Ireland, I learned eventually that when asked, how are you? I was not actually being asked what those words meant to me. It was a way of saying hello. That’s all. So, maybe for some people it is just an opener, as was suggested above. Maybe, though, given the fact that it is enough of a concern for you to seek opinions, you might say something like: well, you know, that question is one I am trying to forget the answer to while on my camino. Then, ask if the one who asks the question ever makes bread, and see if you can swap recipes. Or whatever. Of course, it has to be true! Otherwise you will walk yourself into a web of deceit.... and I am already tired listening to my own effort to help you avoid talking about what you prefer not to talk about! I hope that by now you are already much more relaxed about the whole thing. What did you say your job was, again?....;););)
All the responses have most definitely made me more relaxed. I’m sure my question is as also based on personal experience here at home whenever my profession is known.
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
All the responses have most definitely made me more relaxed
First lesson for an enjoyable Camino - leave your expectations at home, and relax...
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
I think you should come up with an answer that is so outrageous that no one will pursue it and those of us here in the forum will immediately know it's you.

Inquisitor: "So what do you do for a living?"
@Dani7: "I'm a seven-time black widow spending my inheritance."
[or something even more outrageous]
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
I don't think work talk comes up early in conversations between pilgrims. I must have talked with several hundred pilgrims in 1100 miles of walking and 3000 miles of cycling caminos, and work-talk wouldn't total fifteen minutes across all of them.
On one morning after Puente la Reina, a pilgrim limping and wincing overtook me while I had stopped to clear gravel from my shoes and eat some nuts and raisins from my pack. Twenty minutes later I caught up with him and asked him how he was. He said he was hurting, that he had many blisters and the Way was tougher than he had expected, but that he only had a couple of days to go before he went home (to resume another year). I decided to slow my own pace to walk and talk with him, hopefully distracting him from his pain. I was also interested in his story, since he looked Indian, and I had encountered pilgrims from many countries but not there.
I asked him where home was. He said 'Italy', and I silently chastised myself for making assumptions based on the colour of his skin. Nevertheless we talked about the view, where we had stayed, where we each might stay tonight, etc.Conversation somehow got into the nature and meaning of pilgrimage. For him, the pain and hardship were a reminder of the notion of pilgrimage as sacrifice and penitence. Whereas I argued that the scenery, the company and the simple routine made pilgrimage about exploration of the world and ones inner self, an opportunity rather than a sacrifice.
As you can tell, we had an extensive and deep conversation!
When eventually we caught up with a companion of his, and I prepared to make my goodbye and accelerate, he thanked me for my company and asked if he could 'bless' me. I thought it strange and my face must have said so. It was only then that he revealed he was a Catholic priest, originally from Pakistan but now working in an Italian diocese.
I accepted his offered 'blessing' but I admit that for most of the afternoon I rehearsed our conversation in my head, wondering if I'd sworn, blasphemed or tested the limits of acceptable theology!
 

cgard3

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2018
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
[/QUOTE


Hi, Just tell the truth and in the same sentence that you are on vacation and do not have a visa to work in Spain.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
Tell them you are an accountant. I know from many years experience that usually ends a conversation fairly quickly.
I was going to offer the same suggestion. If there is a follow up question you can say that you manage the books for a medical practice. That should do it. I have recently retired from a profession that I don’t want to talk about either. I usually give a brief sideways answer immediately followed by the same question, “How about you, Paul, what do you do?” and a quick follow up, “So how does that work in Quebec?”
 

Sparleb644

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis 2017
del Norte 2018
Fisterra 2018
Primitivo 2019
Madrid (2020)
In my experience for the most part nobody really talks about work while walking the Camino, and only occasionally is what someone actually does asked. Personally I never ask anyone what they do for a living.
We walked the Via Podiensis in 2017 and the question didn’t come up once until about 4 weeks in..... loved it.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
Seems that the only time it comes up is when people talk about WHY they’re walking the Camino.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
Last week sitting with my sister (a physician) and my mom in an A&E / ER. There was a four hour wait and about 40 people crowded on hard plastic chairs in the waiting area. I whispered to my sister "If you're not nice to me I'm going to stand up and tell all these people you're a doctor" 😜
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I had a French professor in France who advised that it was considered quite rude to ask about someone’s job. He said he had friends whose jobs he never knew and would never consider asking. You can safely ask about their political positions and would expect to discuss issues of the day, but never anything so crass as what job they had.

Perhaps it stemmed from the Revolution and tearing down class divisions.
I had similar advice from a French student I knew in Ireland. She also suggested that some interlocutors would be offended that you might think that they were the sort of person who needed to have a job, rather than live from their capital. But she reminded me that life and how one enjoyed it was always much more interesting that a job.

I was reminded of this on the del Norte a few years ago when chatting with a French pilgrim and asked her what her occupation might be, and she side-stepped the question. Realizing that I had made a faux-pas, I exclaimed that clearly she was a pirate. She admitted this, and we had an energetic if surreal conversation about piracy and the Paris métro. I'd always wanted to meet a pirate.
 

Soni

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino St. Jean Pied-du-port to Santiago ‘April 2020’
I too am a Remedial Massage Therapist and I was due to start my pilgrimage in 2 weeks. I was going to offer fellow walkers who were struggling, a foot massage as I go, as a way to connect and earn a little Euro on the way. Yes I understand we cannot go anywhere without someone asking " I know you are on holiday but could you just give this spot a little rub". It is very frustrating, as yes we want to switch off too. However on the Camino I am willing to help out fellow Pilgrims who are having aching feet issues. When I will be able to reschedule my walk....... who knows.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I too am a Remedial Massage Therapist and I was due to start my pilgrimage in 2 weeks. I was going to offer fellow walkers who were struggling, a foot massage as I go, as a way to connect and earn a little Euro on the way. Yes I understand we cannot go anywhere without someone asking " I know you are on holiday but could you just give this spot a little rub". It is very frustrating, as yes we want to switch off too. However on the Camino I am willing to help out fellow Pilgrims who are having aching feet issues. When I will be able to reschedule my walk....... who knows.
I respect your choice. Buen future Camino.
 

Tony Lenton

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (2018)
Camino Frances ( from Ponferrada 2019)
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
I like your post. I was once advised , as I prefer not to talk about my profession, to simply say I am a flautist and leave it at that. Of course I never took the advice and, in explaining why I didn’t want to talk about my profession, ended up doing precisely that. There’s no escaping our life choices.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
Good idea. i should do that too as when people find out what I did they ask too many questions.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Good idea. i should do that too as when people find out what I did they ask too many questions.
Lots of good ideas given and suggestions. My biggest takeaway is that while in the Camino most pilgrims don’t ask and/or is a cultural faux pas. I’ll use the KISS principle and keep it real while behind kind to those in dire need.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
Hello everyone :)

Been thinking about this for awhile now. What will I tell peregrinos when they ask me what kind of work I do or did (the may assume I am retired with my head of mostly white hair, but I am not)? You see, I am a Canadian registered massage therapist (the profession is regulated in Canada for over 100 years now and has its own regulatory College) and a licensed osteopathic practitioner (osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, however you do need liability insurance as you do with massage, and also be a member of an approved, credible association (which monitors closely osteopathic college curriculums) in order for patients to be reimbursed by their insurance providers.

Can you imagine if I tell fellow pilgrims my line of work? :eek: I would be asked for opinions, evaluate "bobos" (french slang for aches and pains), and a multitude of other scenarios (especially potential discussions about feet). I have chosen not to provide any professional opinion of this forum regarding medical questions as I am not comfortable doing so. Too many unknowns regarding medical history etc.

...and so I think I have come up with a good reply should I be asked: "I would prefer not to talk about work on my Camino as I need to disconnect from my professional life and just focus on today." How does that sound? Any suggestions are more than welcomed...please show some restraint on the "tongue in cheek/funny" comments 😂 my bladder can be weak at times 😄!
As long as you ask (and you did ask), Say "Hospital administration". And shrug, like "it's such a boring job, what can do you". If you don't want to give massages, bandage your hands. In three Caminos and dozens of pilgrim conversations, I scarcely knew anyone's profession, nor they mine. Executive Secretary: Not one person asked me to make coffee or type a letter. Wow! They were ... pilgrims. First names, a country of origin. I knew a woman who handled the snow in Roncesvalles so well she laughed, said she was a Canadian lobster fisherman's daughter and this snow was nothing compared to back home! And not one single person at our table at dinner that night asked her for recipes for how best to cook lobster. Isn't that amazing!
 

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