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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Tell me about your Return Home

#1
In 1998 I published Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press) based on my doctoral dissertation research in cultural anthropology along the Camino de Santiago which covered a period from 1992-1997. I have remained connected to the Camino continuously since that time and observed numerous changes on many different levels. Over the last six years I have been actively researching and observing in my free time the impact our new relationships to technology are having on the pilgrimage experience. In 2011 I started a thread on this forum: How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage Experience?

I have a new thread topic that I would please like your help with: Tell me about your return home. Please do not send your opinions on whether tech is good or bad along the Camino. There are already a number of threads on these topics and I’m not interested in starting that debate here. If you would like to participate in my previous thread (How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage), it’s still open and I would be happy to hear from you on this topic there.

QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.

How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?

In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Camino Francés.
2016, Camino Portugués from Oporto
2017, San Salvador.
#2
He Nancy.
Twenty years ago, when the pilgrims to reach the hostel were ask: Is there a washing machine?
Now ask: Is there wifi? " No wifi, no stop" Lol:)
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#3
No real transition back home after walking the Camino. It wasn't like I just completed a combat tour in the military, or something like that. I did miss the measure of physical fitness it gave me. Both times I was about 10 kilos lighter and leaner by the time I reached Santiago. Impossible to duplicate that workout everyday back home. I also missed the simple routine that walking the Camino consists of. The old wake up, start walking, stop for coffee, stop for food, find a place to sleep, etc (lather, rinse, repeat :D). As far as friends and family go, after the first Camino shared photos, etc with them. After the second Camino the novelty wore off I suppose, ha ha. Wasn't going to bore them rehashing stories of trekking across northern Spain, drinking coffee in cafes, enjoying the local wine and seeing the sights, all the while they were back home doing the daily work grind.
How did the Camino impact me? Well, I liked enough to do it twice, and I'd do it again tomorrow and I'm on this damned web forum, ha ha. ;)
First Camino I had a mini-laptop in my pack and used that for communicating back home as wi-fi is abundant on the Camino Frances. I know some on here shudder at the thought of carrying a mini-laptop, but it was a lightweight one, and as I had just completed a contract working overseas I had it with me. My second Camino I carried an 8" tablet and used that for communicating and even took some photos with it. Never had problems keeping either charged up.
 
W

Walter1407

Guest
#4
I did two long-distance caminos, one walking and once cycling. Because I encountered quite a few dangerous situations with my bike, I was in the end glad when that was over.
The hiking experience was quite different. After a few weeks I became a "professional" pilgrim in the sense that I felt this was now my normal life. Get up early, walk, eat, drink, find a place to sleep, eat, drink, sleep, get up early... There was nothing else that I had to / wanted to deal with. The phrase I used was that I was "reduced to my essentials". I wanted to arrive, to achieve the completion of my walk. And I did not want to arrive because I did not want the experience to end.
The walking Camino calmed me, and I considered this a good thing. This never totally wore off as far as I can tell. Other than that I was back to my old life very quickly. I rested just one day after my return home. That was in 2002.
Both times I carried a simple mobile phone with me (but no camera), to be reachable in case I had to be informed about my mother who was not in good health, and to make advance bookings (always in France and about half of the time in Spain). Each week I sent and received a few SMS, and I called my mother. I did not have internet access with me either time; in 2002 I went to an internet cafe once, on the occasion of my 50th birthday.
The reactions after my return home (2002) were all positive, including from those who had declared me bananas before I started my walk (the Camino wasn't yet trendy).
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013....2014....2015.......2017...2018...2019
#5
Prior to my first Camino I had a mixed bag of comments,some supportive and some suggesting I needed "help". I only took a basic phone with me" just in case" . On my return the well wishers were interested,but I never bothered with the others.I found that I had a void in my life not following the daily routine of the Camino,and that many things in life now seemed frivolous.I began to plan another Camino for the next year.Due to a serious illness in my family I was unable to 'train or prepair' properly and only did part of the Camino.I admit to Camino obsession,having read 30+ books and watched countless videos,and am in serious training for another walk this year.Did the Camino change me ?yes,for the better?I hope so,and when anyone asks about it I just say GO.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#6
I met Nancy on my 2008 CF. I believe she was leading a group. I was hurt and struggling to make the next albergue and a medicinal cervezas, or two.:):)
Nancy showed me a shortcut to the Albergue.
Many pilgrims have found the resources available here on the Forum, the most important being it's members, valuable for a number of reasons: a place for a shared experience, a source for comfort, renewal, great photos, bed bug locator and a doctoral thesis.
A savvy researcher could mine the data here and produce any number of scholarly documents, or a simple book of poetry.
Falcon has " no commercial interests" and Sil/Annesantiago have successfully made doing what they love a career path.
In what endeavor will the Forum, once again, assist you along the Way? Inquiring minds want to know.
In Dougfitz's case it's his cynical bent that needs servicing:D.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#7
... I have a new thread topic that I would please like your help with: Tell me about your return home. Please do not send your opinions on whether tech is good or bad along the Camino. ... In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. ...
I am a bit confused here. Do I understand you right, Nancy that you do want to know what kind of tech, if any, we used, but do not want to know if we found it beneficial? As I think I understand your question, you might be aiming at the connection of 'staying in contact with those left behind' and how this has or hasn't influenced the return home, correct? SY
 
#8
To Dougfitz - thank you for your apology.

To SYates -
You asked: you do want to know what kind of tech, if any, we used, but do not want to know if we found it beneficial?

Nancy: In my Thread: How do Internet Technologies Impact the Camino Experience (https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...mpact-the-camino-experience.10558/#post-66146) from 2011, that's where I'm interested in hearing about your thoughts on benefits, drawbacks, how you use/used tech, any changes you experienced in your use while on the Camino, choices that you made relating to tech as you were going, etc.

I am trying to keep the issues separate as I have a more specific question now and I don't wish to mix the issues. If you care to return to that 2011 post, I discuss my research in greater depth at various points in the 44 post discussion.

You also asked: As I think I understand your question, you might be aiming at the connection of 'staying in contact with those left behind' and how this has or hasn't influenced the return home, correct?

Pre-internet, when the pilgrim went to the Camino, home was left behind. Except for the occasional phone call and postcard, communication was very limited. Leaving home represented a significant break and this was mutually accepted by both home and the pilgrim. Technology allows the pilgrim to take home to the Camino and for home to be in the Camino with the pilgrim.

One of the questions that I am asking pilgrims who do the Camino now in the technological age is to tell me about the return. Yes, I am interested in seeing if there is a possible correlation between one's level of connectivity maintained with home while on the Camino and the ease of transition back home. I prefer to ask open ended questions as I did in the original post to illicit spontaneous responses to the question rather than potentially taint your answers (as I'm doing now). I asked about the tech used and habits on the Camino to get a sense of the relationship to home maintained while away.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#9
I think this question is really universal and not Camino specific. I spent 3 years with the Peace Corps and 6 months with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa and was posted in the lower Sahara. It was between 2002 and 2008 before the widespread use of cellphones, Internet was available on aged computers in sketchy cafes and landlines call from public telephone cabines which were only located in major cities and they were expensive. So yes communication was by letters and post cards.
After I returned home and tried to describe my West Africa experiences and I got the same glazed eye roll I get from anyone I try to explain my Camino experience. I learned quickly "you had to have been there and done that." Unfortunate.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#10
I think this question is really universal and not Camino specific. I spent 3 years with the Peace Corps and 6 months with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa and was posted in the lower Sahara. It was between 2002 and 2008 before the widespread use of cellphones, Internet was available on aged computers in sketchy cafes and landlines call from public telephone cabines which were only located in major cities and they were expensive. So yes communication was by letters and post cards.
After I returned home and tried to describe my West Africa experiences and I got the same glazed eye roll I get from anyone I try to explain my Camino experience. I learned quickly "you had to have been there and done that." Unfortunate.

I understand this feeling so well. I lived in Cambodia from 1994 through 2000. Coming back to the USA was such a huge culture shock for me. I had been through Dengue fever, huge journeys across SE Asia, crisis of all sorts, and learning a new culture and language. I was skilled at bargaining at the markets, and days were spent working hard to run a successful business. My mornings started at 5 AM and ended late. I'd drive through street issues unimaginable, and lost a lot of friends in odd ways: one friend made the mistake of going out with the wrong woman; his fate is too terrible to consider. I got to rub elbows with politicians (yes, some of them butchers), and dance with expat friends until 4 AM. I drove a motorcycle around the beach town I lived in for a year and a half. Ran with the Hash House Harriers....

Then, back to the USA. No one understood, so I learned not to talk about my past life.

When I can find anyone that understands any of the above, it is miraculous. I'm glad to be here, and what I've built is nothing short of amazing...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#11
I understand this feeling so well. I lived in Cambodia from 1994 through 2000. Coming back to the USA was such a huge culture shock for me. I had been through Dengue fever, huge journeys across SE Asia, crisis of all sorts, and learning a new culture and language. I was skilled at bargaining at the markets, and days were spent working hard to run a successful business. My mornings started at 5 AM and ended late. I'd drive through street issues unimaginable, and lost a lot of friends in odd ways: one friend made the mistake of going out with the wrong woman; his fate is too terrible to consider. I got to rub elbows with politicians (yes, some of them butchers), and dance with expat friends until 4 AM. I drove a motorcycle around the beach town I lived in for a year and a half. Ran with the Hash House Harriers....

Then, back to the USA. No one understood, so I learned not to talk about my past life.

When I can find anyone that understands any of the above, it is miraculous. I'm glad to be here, and what I've built is nothing short of amazing...
Yep!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#12
Perhaps for us the Camino is in some ways a half-way-house between time in the Chaco and our current lives in the UK. The immediate family understand but the return was a huge culture shock and part of us is still influenced by the Chaco and by the Camino. (Our daughter and son-in-law, when away from home in the UK, are most at home in the Namib or the Kalahari!) Others just don't really 'get it', but our world view is for ever different to what it would have been under other circumstances.
We expect the culture shock after the Camino so take time to get home again from Santiago.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#13
I've been around a bit. Traveled while in the military, including a deployment to the Middle East during conflict. Worked and lived in Afghanistan in security and as an advisor for five years, under somewhat austere conditions at times. Worked as a patrol copper for several years in the US. In between traveled quite a bit as well. SE Asia. The Middle East, Europe and of course walked two Camino Frances.
Seen and experienced some pretty bad stuff while on the job (not on travel vacations and certainly not while walking either CF), but seen and experienced some pretty good stuff too.
Every time I've been back home in the US I've never experienced any culture shock, per se. I'm just back home. I never gave much thought to whether or not anyone back home could relate to what I've done, and I'm certainly not going to bore them with stories unless they're interested and ask about it. Like I said, I'm just back home. That's it. Thank God they were back home while I was gone. They kept the big, vast machine turning while people like me go on walkabouts. I never put myself on a higher pedestal because of the choices I made. Never gave any thought as to whether anybody would "get it".
While walking the Camino exit was always a bus, train, plane or automobile away. Same as when I worked in Afghanistan. I could always quit if I wanted to, and caught a flight back to Dubai and "civilization". When I was in college years ago, a friend of mine studied in Europe one summer. This was during the early 80's. Cold War. East and West Germany. The wall and iron curtain. He came back with tales of seeing "Checkpoint Charlie" and spending a day in East Berlin. How all that effected him so profoundly and made it difficult to adjust back on his return to the US. Of course being all of 20 years old, and quite naive at the time, I took it all in. Was amazed. I think about it now and laugh to myself. It's almost comical. Sure, it was a good experience to see all that. Widens one's horizons, but you are simply an observer. Egress is simply a travel ticket away.
No way could I ever see the need to de-compress or transition back to life at home after walking the Camino. That would be like taking a vacation from a vacation.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#14
In 1998 I published Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press) based on my doctoral dissertation research in cultural anthropology along the Camino de Santiago which covered a period from 1992-1997. I have remained connected to the Camino continuously since that time and observed numerous changes on many different levels. Over the last six years I have been actively researching and observing in my free time the impact our new relationships to technology are having on the pilgrimage experience. In 2011 I started a thread on this forum: How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage Experience?

I have a new thread topic that I would please like your help with: Tell me about your return home. Please do not send your opinions on whether tech is good or bad along the Camino. There are already a number of threads on these topics and I’m not interested in starting that debate here. If you would like to participate in my previous thread (How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage), it’s still open and I would be happy to hear from you on this topic there.

QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.

How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?

In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
Hi Nancy! I read your book and it was the most fascinating book I read about the Camino. It is wonderful to know you are an active forum member. I will take the time later when I am on a proper computer to answer your question. Too fiddly on the phone. Gitti
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#15
I think this question is really universal and not Camino specific. I spent 3 years with the Peace Corps and 6 months with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa and was posted in the lower Sahara. It was between 2002 and 2008 before the widespread use of cellphones, Internet was available on aged computers in sketchy cafes and landlines call from public telephone cabines which were only located in major cities and they were expensive. So yes communication was by letters and post cards.
After I returned home and tried to describe my West Africa experiences and I got the same glazed eye roll I get from anyone I try to explain my Camino experience. I learned quickly "you had to have been there and done that." Unfortunate.
I can really relate to this, and when I return home from my first Camino this year (setting off in 45 days!) I will be very interested to compare how I feel then with my earlier experiences returning home from travel. I have done quite a lot of travelling over the years, mainly in Europe, and due to living in NZ that has often meant being away from home each time for several months or more (sometimes working for a while in the UK, which I can as I was born there). All of this travelling I've done solo. I totally relate to the "you had to be there" feeling. It was hard to explain to people, a) why I felt it necessary to quit my job and take off for a year in the first place, and b) what I felt and experienced. I kept a journal and took a lot of photos, but it is very difficult for people to "get" what was so great. Some people are really interested and want to hear all about it, and some people... well, they really don't. NZers are used to travel - going anywhere else involves a long trip - so I guess there's probably more understanding here than in some places, but it's still hard to explain. It's such a delight when I meet someone who has visited some of the same places! I am definitely getting the interested-but-slightly-baffled reactions from people hearing about my Camino plans (my mother even more so - she's 79 and gets the "at your age" reaction!).

This is a fascinating discussion and I'm looking forward to more comments.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#18
QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.
How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?
In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
Having read and re-read your question Nancy, along with other posts on this thread, I am wondering if the depth of immersion in an "alien" culture affects the ability to readjust when returning home? Having spent 7 years, as a family, in the Argentine Chaco, speaking the Amerindian language in the villages and Castillano in the towns, I have had the experience of deep immersion in other cultures.
In 2009 I walked the Norte (from Santander) and the Primitivo on my own, speaking Castillano (Spanish) the whole time and finding much of my fellowship within the local village culture. For me, my interaction with the local population is an important part of being "on Pilgrimage". It does mean that I placed less importance on finding and being part of a Camino Family and more on listening and talking to local folk on the way, in cafes and shops. I carried a simple cell phone and used it to text home. Six years ago the mobile phone coverage, especially on the Primitivo, was nowhere near as good as it is now.
The arrival in Melide where the Francés joins the Primitivo was as much, if not more of a "culture shock" than arriving back home in the U.K.- back into the rat race with a vengeance! There were ten times as many pilgrims in Melide itself as I had seen in total up to that point. I also clearly remember the first sight of traffic on the autopista near Santiago and thinking "that is what I am going down into". In many ways it was a relief to get back home into the rural South west of the U.K., away from the pressures of city life.
Since then, I have been back to the North West of Spain four times accompanied by my wife. Again, a different experience and a different return home as we were sharing it together. For us, the Camino is not just "a vacation"! It is an "experience". For a short time the immersion in another culture, a different way of life, a simpler way of living. Our worldview is wider than it would otherwise be! If our friends and acquaintances show an interest, we are more than willing to share our experiences with them. Otherwise it is best to say little, rather than become a Camino bore!:rolleyes:

Blessings
Tio Tel
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
#19
Doing the Camino has changed me. When I came home after my first Camino I looked at all the 'things' we had in the house and marvelled that I had managed with so little on the Camino.
I think the lesson that I have learned so well is that enough is enough.
I don't want to go into shops and look at clothes. I have enough.
I don't want to look at furniture or household goods . I have enough.
To be satisfied with what I have is I think 'wealth untold'.

I settle into everyday life here after a few days.
As the years go by I realise that enough is more than sufficient, So many people have to survive on very much less.
We pray, ' Give us this day our daily bread', and any of us who have afforded to go on the Camino can afford our daily bread and that is enough.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
#20
My last pilgrimage was from Arles France to Puenta la Reina Spain. A publisher asked to publish my letters home (Letters from the Way). This is from my letters about the end of my journey (i hope it is useful to you):

"I spent my last night as a pilgrim a few kilometers outside of Puenta la Reina in the town of Obanos. Most of the people I met in Spain are going on to Santiago but I will stop at my goal, which was always Puenta la Reina. In the morning of my last day we walked into and through Puenta la Reina, which presents a gauntlet of breakfast bars and souvenir shops. I said goodbye to my Spanish hiking mates where the bridge crosses the river. I turned back to find not my gîte, but my hotel. Having arrived my pack suddenly felt weighty, my foot hurt, and I wanted nothing more than a shower and change of clothes.

Does one feel exalted when they complete their walk? Yes of course but also a bit sad. There is something wonderfully simple about rising everyday and walking with friends to a new destination. Every day you know what your goal is and everyday you accomplish that goal. Arriving means accomplishment but the simplicity of life on the trail comes to an end. I look in the hotel mirror and see that I should find a hairdresser to color my grey roots. I log into my emails to see what problems have accumulated at home. I notice that my favorite T-shirt is torn. All of this happens so fast, on the same morning I arrive. Reality was patiently biding its time."
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013....2014....2015.......2017...2018...2019
#21
In 1998 I published Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press) based on my doctoral dissertation research in cultural anthropology along the Camino de Santiago which covered a period from 1992-1997. I have remained connected to the Camino continuously since that time and observed numerous changes on many different levels. Over the last six years I have been actively researching and observing in my free time the impact our new relationships to technology are having on the pilgrimage experience. In 2011 I started a thread on this forum: How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage Experience?

I have a new thread topic that I would please like your help with: Tell me about your return home. Please do not send your opinions on whether tech is good or bad along the Camino. There are already a number of threads on these topics and I’m not interested in starting that debate here. If you would like to participate in my previous thread (How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage), it’s still open and I would be happy to hear from you on this topic there.

QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.

How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?

In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
Doing the Camino has changed me. When I came home after my first Camino I looked at all the 'things' we had in the house and marvelled that I had managed with so little on the Camino.
I think the lesson that I have learned so well is that enough is enough.
I don't want to go into shops and look at clothes. I have enough.
I don't want to look at furniture or household goods . I have enough.
To be satisfied with what I have is I think 'wealth untold'.

I settle into everyday life here after a few days.
As the years go by I realise that enough is more than sufficient, So many people have to survive on very much less.
We pray, ' Give us this day our daily bread', and any of us who have afforded to go on the Camino can afford our daily bread and that is enough.
Thank you for this wonderful reply.It says so much.
 

vgen5122

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (August 19-sept 30,2013) (8/2017)
#22
In 1998 I published Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press) based on my doctoral dissertation research in cultural anthropology along the Camino de Santiago which covered a period from 1992-1997. I have remained connected to the Camino continuously since that time and observed numerous changes on many different levels. Over the last six years I have been actively researching and observing in my free time the impact our new relationships to technology are having on the pilgrimage experience. In 2011 I started a thread on this forum: How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage Experience?

I have a new thread topic that I would please like your help with: Tell me about your return home. Please do not send your opinions on whether tech is good or bad along the Camino. There are already a number of threads on these topics and I’m not interested in starting that debate here. If you would like to participate in my previous thread (How do Internet Technologies Impact the Pilgrimage), it’s still open and I would be happy to hear from you on this topic there.

QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.

How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?

In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
One last reply regarding your post. My return home was different than other pilgrims due to the fact that we. Left Santiago by train at night and traveled to Avila, Spain. My husband wanted to see the home of St.Teresa of Avila. Arriving at the train station in Avila we didn't have a clue as to what direction to go (no yellow arrows here), and it was about 5:30 in the morning. As we walked out of the station we met a Japanese man and his wife who had also walked the Camino. They had also come to visit the Town. They ended up giving us their map and giving us directions. After staying in Avila for the day we caught a night bus to Barcelona where we stayed for two days. Then we went off to Northern Ireland to visit my husband's family before returning home.

The real departure from the Camino started to hit me The closer we got to Santiago.I suddenly realized that very soon
There would be no albergues to find, no more walking to plan, and no more pilgrim meals to eat because we were going home.
The Camino path and the kindness of people alone the way had etched their way into my heart.
On the Camino pilgrims are on the same boat. There is a sharing and giving between pilgrims and also between pilgrims and the towns people visited along the way. Then there is the history of the Camino itself.

When I got home I wanted to share the experience with everyone. I hope that one day my children or grandchildren would walk the Camino just like I did.
I remember that we had met a man named Emilio while in Samos, Spain,and he invited us to a welcome home get together held in Berkeley, California. There we met lots of people that had gone on the Camino and some people that were going to be going in the future. From that time on I started to think about going back to the Camino and doing it again. I brought an ipad2 with me on the Camino. It is something I would not do again. An iPhone will do and it is much lighter.
 

Kerstinh47

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 16 May - 29 June, 2014
#23
Hi Nancy.
I thought I would be elated to return home; and I was for the most part. I find that I seek and enjoy solitude, meditation, and stillness more frequently after my return. There is a quiet depth of 'knowing' that has grown inside - perhaps it is faith, perhaps it is lessening of fear - I'm not sure what it is but I feel a bit different in a good way. Mostly, I am not compelled to share that with others. I didn't know what to expect and I'm grateful for what I took home with me.
I had one dear friend who just gave me puzzled looks before my camino (I think we all have had that experience), yet afterwards, I was surprised at his enthusiasm to tell others (almost boasting about me). He said that most people never do what they talk about doing, and that it was not only remarkable (the walk) but the fact that I did what I said I would. I've thought about his comments, curiously wondering if we don't expect enough (of the best) of those we love? :rolleyes:
I have moments that I long to return to the simple and beautiful experience of the camino, and if I never get back to Spain, I'm very, very grateful that I'm able to recall memories, moments, friends.
As far as tech goes - I did bring my Iphone, used it primarily for photo-taking. When there was a wi-fi available I did send an occasional group message to an assembly of family and friends through an app called, "WhatsApp", which didn't have any international fees (as compared to texting). I did use facetime twice in 43 days to see/talk with my husband at his request. I never called anyone with my phone, never booked ahead, etc. I found that sometimes I really wanted to share an experience, but my primary motivation for using technology was to reduce worrying for those loved ones paying attention to what I was doing.
Good luck with your project :)
Kerstin
 
#24
Thank you very, very much to all of you who are replying. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences of the return. I am listening and reflecting on what you are sharing and it's very helpful. Thank you.
 
#25
I have always had issues returning home from the Camino or any long hike for that matter . The walls of my house seem so close and what now was my everyday possessions seems to be clutter that never bothered me.... it does now. I feel very trapped inside what used to be small and comfortable rooms. And that I've never really been able to explain.

We make all the preparations for our Camino but few pilgrims take the same preparations for returning home.

:(
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#26
QUESTIONS: Tell me about your return home. What was the transition like back home (eg, how you felt upon return and in the months afterwards, reactions of friends and family, how long it took you to readapt to life back home)? I’m aware you may have had multiple Camino experiences over a number of different years and circumstances.

How has the Camino impacted your daily life back home? What did you take home with you from the Camino? How do you think it changed you, if at all?

In your answer, please let me know what tech, if any, you used on on the Camino and what your daily internet/cell phone habits were. Thank you very much.
I carried a smartphone on my last camino, but only used it for texting my husband so he knew I was OK, for checking my emails when wifi was available, and for taking the odd photo or two (not many). My last 100 kms from Sarria to Santiago were horrible in July; big gangs of school kids on holiday, and everyone in happy clappy groups, so I was very lonely on my own, although I hadn’t been up to that point, whether I was walking alone or not. Anyway, so after I returned home, I thought “Thank goodness I have got that out of my system, now I can get on with my life”. Reactions of friends and family are mixed. One friend disapproves strongly for leaving husband for so long, whereas husband is very OK and understanding about it. Friends in my local hiking club who want to do the camino themselves when they retire ask me all about it. Non-walkers can’t see why anyone would want to walk 8 kms let alone 800 kms, so I try not to say anything at all, but if somebody else mentions to them that I’ve walked the camino, they say wow that’s amazing do tell us, and within a few seconds their eyes glaze over and they’ve quickly changed the subject to something else. Six months after getting home this time, I must have been getting withdrawal symptoms because I felt the urge to take a teeny weeny little peak at what was happening on the camino forum. Big mistake. Now here I am again, having downloaded all the apps this time for my smartphone, and planning the next camino. Has the camino changed me? I don’t know. I hoped it would help me become more tolerant and understanding towards difficult or uncomfortable situations and people, but on the contrary, I became even more intolerant of the crowds after Sarria. Maybe that’s why I feel the call of the camino again, because I haven’t learnt anything yet. Jill
 
#27
Responses to the Return Thread

I’m going to provide a general answer to the forum topic rather than respond to people individually. Thank you again to everyone who chose to participate. I may contact you individually, in private, in the future. This is a long response and has various parts:

Themes common in the Return

Various themes are coming through in the Tell me About the Return responses: the mixed feelings about arriving in Santiago, the fluidity of “the end”, the power of other travel experiences pre-Internet vs. the Camino now, feeling of incomprehension upon return home (people’s eyes have been glazing since time immemorial :) ) , the difficulty of incorporating the Camino into one’s daily life, the longing to return to the Camino, the ways that we can and do incorporate the Camino into our lives to bring it home with us. Thank you for sharing all of these perspectives.

In my book Pilgrim Stories, I describe many of these same themes that are now coming up for you in your post-return. If you are interested in finding comfort in others’ words on the topic or reading about how others also experience the return, the last chapters of my book deal with the process of arrival and the return – Chapter 5 is called Arrivals and Endings, Chapter 6 – Santiago, Chapter 7 – To the End of the Earth, Chapter 8 – Going Home.

Other Travels and Culture Shock

The responses from MarkLee, August Caminodeb and biarritzdon were particularly noteworthy for their memories and comparisons of other intense travel experiences (immersion in an 'alien' culture) pre-internet when the return was often a major “culture shock” experience. It may seem hard to imagine now but for the majority, the Camino was a type of mental and physical boot camp pre-Internet (when a powerful and distinct mental break was made from home and the familiar) that turned your world upside down and forced you to get outside of yourself because you had no other recourse when adversity presented itself. As a society, we are dramatically changing our experiences of “being away” through our incorporation of technology into many different, seemingly innocuous, aspects of the experience. This comment in no way implies that what came before was "better" or that the Camino does not continue to be a magnificent space for personal exploration, growth and creation of a wonderful set of lasting, life long memories and experiences. It's simply different. What the Camino "is" is in a constant state of evolution and renovation by those who course its ways, participate in its forums and tend the way, etc. You see this process in action on the forum all the time where certain themes create constant debate, often heated, about what the Camino is, isn't and how it should and shouldn't be.

What I do as an Anthropologist

As an anthropologist my job is not to give advice but to help us as a community to see ourselves. It is difficult to see what is often only implicitly understood and acted upon. By listening very closely I try to hear both the said and the unsaid, the common and the contradictory and try to make sense of it all then situate it in its larger context. It’s then up to you to go back and listen to what I have pieced together from your vast and complex and often contradictory set of thoughts and actions, and come to your own conclusions. It’s not my role to judge, to tell people what to do, or what is best but to hopefully provoke deeper thought and reflection by offering insights from the perspective of the “big picture”. I have been studying, living, walking, exploring, teaching about and experiencing the Camino every single year since 1992 when I first walked into the Plaza de Obradoiro wide-eyed and curious. That was when I saw my first Santiago pilgrim and I wanted to try and understand this thing called the Camino. Over the course of those years I have seen many changes. Change is normal. Everything is always changing. I haven't felt much need to write further articles about the Camino since I published my book in 1998 because I felt like I had pretty much said everything I had to say and not much had changed in a deep way. I have felt compelled, though, to study and write about the impact our new relationships with technology are having on our experiences of self and others, especially in the context of the Camino where an inner experience has traditionally been fundamental, because I do believe these changes are significant and worth thinking about individually and as a society.

Some people have been upset in the forum because they think I’m just using the forum for my own ends without giving back through offering advice and posting frequently. This is one interpretation and holds a lot of implicit assumptions about what a “good forum member” does and doesn’t do. It also doesn’t take into account the scope of the larger purpose of the project which is to give back to the pilgrim community through my work and insights. Separating myself off as anthropologist, Nancy Frey has many different facets (like everyone else) mother, pilgrim, daughter, guide, teacher, student and I could offer all sorts of advice but that’s now why I’m here. If this was a “normal” fieldwork situation where we could be talking face to face, some people would perhaps feel less “put upon” by my listening. In all my years of doing face to face research and interviews, I’ve never been accused of abusing the system for being an attentive, reflective listener. There’s also an inherent value in asking reflective questions because it asks the individual to go deeper and thereby hopefully lead one to greater insight or understanding Also, no one is obliged to respond, only those who wish to share and reflect.

One of the huge limitations of on-screen relationships is the lack of face to face interaction. If I was able to speak to each of you individually and hear your story, listen to your pauses, wait while you reflected, press you gently to explore a little further, I think you might end up feeling very differently. Because you can’t see me or hear me, some of you are suspicious about that listening and think it’s just taking. In a face to face situation, it would be simultaneously both giving and taking. I have said in previous posts that much of the Camino is now happening on-line which means that these limitations of communication are part of that new reality. Doing fieldwork on-line is not easy precisely because of these limitations and this latest difficulty with my thread has been very instructive (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about several responses had to be censored from the thread due to their inappropriate tone and hostility). To anyone who I have inadvertently offended by my asking reflective questions and listening, I’m sorry. I hope that you will see someday that there’s a lot more to participation in the forum than racking up a large post count.

Keeping the Camino Flame Alive in your Heart

To those of you who are missing the Camino, here’s one way to keep the Camino fire burning in your heart in your daily life. Remember: the Camino is now within you. The Camino is a literal space you go to but once you are there, it starts to grow and imprint itself upon your inner being. It becomes a landscape within. On your inner Camino there’s a rich storehouse of memories, smells, sensations, hardships, triumphs, disappointments, joys, insights….You can return to this Camino anytime you like and draw on the power of those memories and experiences to give you strength in the here and now. No one can take that away from you.

How do you access your inner Camino in your daily life? Make time to take a walk, preferably in nature. Go with intention and keep yourself attuned to your surroundings (ie, take out the ear buds and disconnect your phone). Before you start, visualize a Camino memory or place that you particularly like and start walking, keeping that memory in mind. Give yourself at least 30 minutes. The Camino will come back to you. Let go and allow your mind to do what it does naturally: as you walk memory will flow and you will be on the Camino again. If your mind starts to wander off your inner Camino you can gently redirect it back to the initial memory/place. You may be surprised where your inner Camino will take you. Sometimes those inner miles that you walk will take you the furthest.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#28
Responses to the Return Thread

I’m going to provide a general answer to the forum topic rather than respond to people individually. Thank you again to everyone who chose to participate. I may contact you individually, in private, in the future. This is a long response and has various parts:

Themes common in the Return

Various themes are coming through in the Tell me About the Return responses: the mixed feelings about arriving in Santiago, the fluidity of “the end”, the power of other travel experiences pre-Internet vs. the Camino now, feeling of incomprehension upon return home (people’s eyes have been glazing since time immemorial :) ) , the difficulty of incorporating the Camino into one’s daily life, the longing to return to the Camino, the ways that we can and do incorporate the Camino into our lives to bring it home with us. Thank you for sharing all of these perspectives.

In my book Pilgrim Stories, I describe many of these same themes that are now coming up for you in your post-return. If you are interested in finding comfort in others’ words on the topic or reading about how others also experience the return, the last chapters of my book deal with the process of arrival and the return – Chapter 5 is called Arrivals and Endings, Chapter 6 – Santiago, Chapter 7 – To the End of the Earth, Chapter 8 – Going Home.

Other Travels and Culture Shock

The responses from MarkLee, August Caminodeb and biarritzdon were particularly noteworthy for their memories and comparisons of other intense travel experiences (immersion in an 'alien' culture) pre-internet when the return was often a major “culture shock” experience. It may seem hard to imagine now but for the majority, the Camino was a type of mental and physical boot camp pre-Internet (when a powerful and distinct mental break was made from home and the familiar) that turned your world upside down and forced you to get outside of yourself because you had no other recourse when adversity presented itself. As a society, we are dramatically changing our experiences of “being away” through our incorporation of technology into many different, seemingly innocuous, aspects of the experience. This comment in no way implies that what came before was "better" or that the Camino does not continue to be a magnificent space for personal exploration, growth and creation of a wonderful set of lasting, life long memories and experiences. It's simply different. What the Camino "is" is in a constant state of evolution and renovation by those who course its ways, participate in its forums and tend the way, etc. You see this process in action on the forum all the time where certain themes create constant debate, often heated, about what the Camino is, isn't and how it should and shouldn't be.

What I do as an Anthropologist

As an anthropologist my job is not to give advice but to help us as a community to see ourselves. It is difficult to see what is often only implicitly understood and acted upon. By listening very closely I try to hear both the said and the unsaid, the common and the contradictory and try to make sense of it all then situate it in its larger context. It’s then up to you to go back and listen to what I have pieced together from your vast and complex and often contradictory set of thoughts and actions, and come to your own conclusions. It’s not my role to judge, to tell people what to do, or what is best but to hopefully provoke deeper thought and reflection by offering insights from the perspective of the “big picture”. I have been studying, living, walking, exploring, teaching about and experiencing the Camino every single year since 1992 when I first walked into the Plaza de Obradoiro wide-eyed and curious. That was when I saw my first Santiago pilgrim and I wanted to try and understand this thing called the Camino. Over the course of those years I have seen many changes. Change is normal. Everything is always changing. I haven't felt much need to write further articles about the Camino since I published my book in 1998 because I felt like I had pretty much said everything I had to say and not much had changed in a deep way. I have felt compelled, though, to study and write about the impact our new relationships with technology are having on our experiences of self and others, especially in the context of the Camino where an inner experience has traditionally been fundamental, because I do believe these changes are significant and worth thinking about individually and as a society.

Some people have been upset in the forum because they think I’m just using the forum for my own ends without giving back through offering advice and posting frequently. This is one interpretation and holds a lot of implicit assumptions about what a “good forum member” does and doesn’t do. It also doesn’t take into account the scope of the larger purpose of the project which is to give back to the pilgrim community through my work and insights. Separating myself off as anthropologist, Nancy Frey has many different facets (like everyone else) mother, pilgrim, daughter, guide, teacher, student and I could offer all sorts of advice but that’s now why I’m here. If this was a “normal” fieldwork situation where we could be talking face to face, some people would perhaps feel less “put upon” by my listening. In all my years of doing face to face research and interviews, I’ve never been accused of abusing the system for being an attentive, reflective listener. There’s also an inherent value in asking reflective questions because it asks the individual to go deeper and thereby hopefully lead one to greater insight or understanding Also, no one is obliged to respond, only those who wish to share and reflect.

One of the huge limitations of on-screen relationships is the lack of face to face interaction. If I was able to speak to each of you individually and hear your story, listen to your pauses, wait while you reflected, press you gently to explore a little further, I think you might end up feeling very differently. Because you can’t see me or hear me, some of you are suspicious about that listening and think it’s just taking. In a face to face situation, it would be simultaneously both giving and taking. I have said in previous posts that much of the Camino is now happening on-line which means that these limitations of communication are part of that new reality. Doing fieldwork on-line is not easy precisely because of these limitations and this latest difficulty with my thread has been very instructive (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about several responses had to be censored from the thread due to their inappropriate tone and hostility). To anyone who I have inadvertently offended by my asking reflective questions and listening, I’m sorry. I hope that you will see someday that there’s a lot more to participation in the forum than racking up a large post count.

Keeping the Camino Flame Alive in your Heart

To those of you who are missing the Camino, here’s one way to keep the Camino fire burning in your heart in your daily life. Remember: the Camino is now within you. The Camino is a literal space you go to but once you are there, it starts to grow and imprint itself upon your inner being. It becomes a landscape within. On your inner Camino there’s a rich storehouse of memories, smells, sensations, hardships, triumphs, disappointments, joys, insights….You can return to this Camino anytime you like and draw on the power of those memories and experiences to give you strength in the here and now. No one can take that away from you.

How do you access your inner Camino in your daily life? Make time to take a walk, preferably in nature. Go with intention and keep yourself attuned to your surroundings (ie, take out the ear buds and disconnect your phone). Before you start, visualize a Camino memory or place that you particularly like and start walking, keeping that memory in mind. Give yourself at least 30 minutes. The Camino will come back to you. Let go and allow your mind to do what it does naturally: as you walk memory will flow and you will be on the Camino again. If your mind starts to wander off your inner Camino you can gently redirect it back to the initial memory/place. You may be surprised where your inner Camino will take you. Sometimes those inner miles that you walk will take you the furthest.

Beautiful writing, and a generous, generous gift. Thank you, Nancy.

I usually don't go into too much detail with my "cultural difference" stories of life in Cambodia (and the region), as some of the tales are so shocking that people don't understand why I would be there. There are shocking aspects of life in the USA too, but don't people just develop blinders? Also, those of us with some socio-economic status (ahem, not bragging, just fact) tend to be fairly insulated from the gruesome aspects of life in the American ghetto.

Anyway, there is much to think about here, and I will be reading your post for a long time. I look forward to obtaining your previous book, too.

Best regards--
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Spring (2014)
Frances- Spring (2015)
#29
Hi Nancy - I'm wondering if the phenomena known as "Jerusalem Syndrome" has more of an impact on how one transitions - more to do with individual emotional state than technology itself. I have further thoughts on this but am on my phone and then back on Camino but will get back to you at some point. Pat
 

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