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2019 Camino Guides

That one Dispairing Moment?

Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2018)
May (2019)
#1
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
 

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Camino(s) past & future
north route spring 2013
#3
I remember trotting along on the Norte in the spring of 2013, fighting a loosing battle against mud, mud and endlessly more mud, and realizing that every part of me except my arms hurt. I wanted to stop, but there was nowhere to sit down or even put my pack down that wasn't three inches deep in mud. I mused that if I had to sum up my experience in one word it would have been "painful". However, as I pressed on, the aches and pains eased, the sun came out, and I found myself wishing that the camino would go on for ever.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra May/ June 2017
Le Puy en Velay - Ales May 2018
#4
There is one consolation to problems encountered while walking the Camino , that is that today's problem will be replaced by a brand new one tomorrow [ health and injury aside of course ] .
You are never bored by the never ending obstacles that must be negotiated , it adds a variety to the day and gives a purpose for carrying gaffer tape and multi tools .:)
Besides this there are always the therapeutic effects of wine and friendly conversation to get you past the worst of self doubt.
 
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SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#7
Oooh yes been there!
Some examples :
Drunken guy vomiting from his bunk bed on my backpack : not nice to say the least!

Falling asleep with an icepack on my knee when the protection cloth ( that protects the icepack ) fell off and I got a serious coldburn ( a permanent reminder now on my knee ;) )

Feeling very embarrassed and sad when a fellow pilgrim yelled at a hospitalera because he thought he was " entitled " to some special service. To this day I'm ashamed I did not intervene and help that lovely hospitalera out.

And then the general " emotion " of feeling lost because as a solo pilgrim sometimes you can feel rather lonely when you meet a particular group of people.

But the next day : your faith in others and yourself is restored when you meet pilgrims you can connect with and automatically you are able to connect with yourself again too.

Camino equals Life itself.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#8
I still feel bad for the young Italian man who came to my rescue when the albergue was full. He had called ahead to an albergue just 3 kms away. He helped me to call them and book a bed and then said we could walk together. I had already walked almost 30 km - my longest day ever - and then had to add 3 more km. It was hot and I was not amused. The poor man had to listen to my complaints and "are we there yet?" for almost an hour.

It turned out to be a fabulous albergue, well run, great food, best cup of tea on the whole camino, and a cold water pool for my sore feet.. The next day the Italian man found me and asked how I was feeling. I had to agree with him that I was fine, and he was right - I could walk farther than I ever thought possible. This is only one example, but having a bad day gives other pilgrims the chance to help you. And other days you help them.

And I have to mention that the wonderful Spanish people are there for pilgrims. They help to direct us, find us food, lodging etc. You can't expect a 500 mile journey to go perfectly. But if you ask for help, there are so many people ready to help you and to encourage you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed CF in Oct 2016
#9
My wife dropped me off at the airport, left and as I started walking to my flight, I had the buyers remorse full blast, like what am I doing here. I realized I could not turn back, and determined at that moment a prayer thanking God for this opportunity was what I needed. Once I got on the plane I was energized and ready to go.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#10
My wife dropped me off at the airport, left and as I started walking to my flight, I had the buyers remorse full blast, like what am I doing here. I realized I could not turn back, and determined at that moment a prayer thanking God for this opportunity was what I needed. Once I got on the plane I was energized and ready to go.
Buyers remorse can mean you have purchased something and now wish you hadn’t, but you have it still.
Actually going in Camino and experiencing all that it is...will be a purchase you never want to return...except that you WILL return again and again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#12
I'm with @Sailor . Of course I didn't feel absolutely delightful every moment of the many weeks I've been on the Camino. I have never passed a whole month in that perfect state and I wouldn't expect it on the camino! However, I cannot remember any moment when I felt that I wanted to be anywhere else but where I was. Sure I had painful blisters a few times and shinsplints for a few days, but that just required some adjustment of my schedule. Some steep hills left me puffing, but I slowed down.

I cannot think of any moments of despair or "suffering" that caused me to question why I was there, or that are worth thinking much about afterwards.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#13
Although I had walked throughout the summer hiking 20 k up the 1060 meter Ibaneta pass via the Valcarlos route the first time in autumn 2004 at 65 to the monastery at Roncesvalles was certainly the most physically exhausting day of my adult life then to date. I was pooped! Beneath a deep blue sky and brilliant sun I gasped and ached while my pack felt like bricks.

After about 5 hours I finally staggered over the pass into a picnic area filled with a munching mob; they had arrived by bus and cars! Never will I forget the look that one très correct French woman drinking champagne from a crystal flute, no plastic for her, gave me as I trudged past exhausted!
ET would have been better received....Nevertheless eventually I made it to Santiago walking slowly all the way.

Ever since on the following 9 caminios I always walked very easy. Daily distances cited in the guidebooks are not sacred; remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

Thus I have eventually sensed that special moment when everything 'clicked' while realizing that it was, indeed, MY way and that all was and would be good. Perhaps such secular transcendence felt while walking might be akin to what runners call 'the zone'. Your body can handle the task while your spirit glows with the effort. Neither easy, nor impossible; all simply is and you resolve to continue!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago 2017
#14
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
We had a particularly miserable day about a week in. Got to Estella, totally exhausted and in pain. No hot water at our lodgings. Seriously condidered quiting. The next morning we woke up feeling good and haad one of the nicest days on the Camino. Lesson we learned and applied the rest of the trip and since - Tomorrow is another day. Dont make decisions when you are beat and tired. Wait until the next day. It always seems better.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#15
We had a particularly miserable day about a week in. Got to Estella, totally exhausted and in pain. No hot water at our lodgings. Seriously condidered quiting. The next morning we woke up feeling good and haad one of the nicest days on the Camino. Lesson we learned and applied the rest of the trip and since - Tomorrow is another day. Dont make decisions when you are beat and tired. Wait until the next day. It always seems better.
Yup... how one feels is like the weather: if you don't like how you feel, just wait a while until a feeling that you do like comes along :)
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#16
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
Yes!! Several times before I left and twice while walking. Both times on the Camino I froze on the path, sobbing and asking “WHY?! WHY?!”
When no answer came, I put my big girl panties on, dried my tears, and took the next step and walked on.
What an amazing experience!
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#17
Lots of moments of pain, boredom, discomfort, lack of sleep, putting up with drunks at the albergue, but that is why you find me out there every year for the last 7 years. « Les voyages forment la jeunesse ». « Caminos make people who they are » if my version of it.
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#19
I’m going to Italy this summer...alone. Scared to death...again. I have my ticket and hotels booked but keep asking myself, “What are you thinking?! Who do you think you are traipsing off all alone to Europe!?”
I thank God for my Camino journey that taught me it’s okay to fear, to feel lonely or inadequate.
Reminds me of a quote I once read: “And the day came when the risk to stay tight in the bud was more painful than the risk to blossom.”
Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte, Finesterre 2018 May - Jun
#20
Although I had walked throughout the summer hiking 20 k up the 1060 meter Ibaneta pass via the Valcarlos route the first time in autumn 2004 at 65 to the monastery at Roncesvalles was certainly the most physically exhausting day of my adult life then to date. I was pooped! Beneath a deep blue sky and brilliant sun I gasped and ached while my pack felt like bricks.

After about 5 hours I finally staggered over the pass into a picnic area filled with a munching mob; they had arrived by bus and cars! Never will I forget the look that one très correct French woman drinking champagne from a crystal flute, no plastic for her, gave me as I trudged past exhausted!
ET would have been better received....Nevertheless eventually I made it to Santiago walking slowly all the way.

Ever since on the following 9 caminios I always walked very easy. Daily distances cited in the guidebooks are not sacred; remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

Thus I have eventually sensed that special moment when everything 'clicked' while realizing that it was, indeed, MY way and that all was and would be good. Perhaps such secular transcendence felt while walking might be akin to what runners call 'the zone'. Your body can handle the task while your spirit glows with the effort. Neither easy, nor impossible; all simply is and you resolve to continue!
Beautifully stated.....
 

stevov

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
walked the portuguese way (senda littoral). from porto, vila do conde via viana and redondela Jun 17
#21
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
This 'advice note' from my blog...,
Basically, if your body breaks down your Camino will too, so it’s probably best to think of the Camino as more of a challenge than a holiday. And whilst the Camino is often positively about quietness and reflection, from time to time there is ‘the loneliness of the long distance walker’ which can require a certain mental resilience. So be prepared…there are many highs, but you will get lows. The initial impact will be felt by your body, but holistically, your physical condition is bound to affect your mood and vice versa.
For example, I met a young pilgrim walking slowly because of a painful knee. She was managing to walk, but seeing her struggling, I stayed with her for a while and offered what support I could (I’ve had similar issues with a knee in the past), but she remained in an agitated state, inconsolable ‘that her holiday had been ruined’.
On another occasion however, I overtook an elderly pilgrim who was very visibly limping. Concerned for him I stopped and he informed me that he was due a hip operation and had decided to undertake the Camino before his surgery. Amazingly, he had walked from Lisbon in full knowledge of his condition and no doubt in constant pain, but he was clearly not going to let anything deter him. Our paths crossed again less than 10k from Santiago …I have no doubt he successfully completed the Camino.
For me the worst of it was one day of heatstroke, ongoing blisters and the intermittent cursing of my blisters, and some rather curious effects on some toe nails. There were also many times, usually at points of fatigue, when I had to kick my own backside, metaphorically speaking you understand.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#22
That phrase pretty much sums up every long afternoon for the first few weeks of my first camino when the heat built up and I trudged along dusty step after step, mostly alone because by that time just about everyone else had finished walking, to reach the town where, with my fitter, faster moving, travel companions, we had agreed to stay the night. Our choice of town was always a compromise between me wanting to walk a shorter distance and them wanting to walk further so for me it was invariably too far. And can someone tell me why almost every night’s stop towards the beginning is at the top of a hill? (Where is the violin emoji?)
But somewhere along the meseta, something magic happened and I hit my stride. And that’s why I lined up for a second go.
 
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MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#23
Yes!!! Every town at the top of a hill! Or just 5 more km away!
I hit my stride in Sarria. My walking companion called it my “Novo Camino”. ☺️
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#24
Yes!!! Every town at the top of a hill! Or just 5 more km away!
I hit my stride in Sarria. My walking companion called it my “Novo Camino”. ☺️
I agree. It’s the last 5 kms that are always the hardest.
But yay for you because there are some long dusty hills after Sarria.
I love that feeling of being able to just throw on the backpack without even noticing the weight and striding out feeling like I could walk forever. There is nothing better than getting to the top of a hill and instead of being exhausted and relieved just being surprised to have already reached the top.
 
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Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#25
My Top-10 "What the hell am I doing here moments?" as follows:
1) Arriving at Paris Airport and searched for my bicycle box for 48-hours...it was left at Heathrow Airport.
2) Hill climb to Orrison Albergue...100 F Degrees...100% humidity...100 sunshine...no wind...I collapsed on the road from no water...and every Pilgrim I saw was going the other direction back to SJPdP to get a taxi.
3) Crossing the Pyrenees Mountains in the worst wind storm I have every seen that was throwing Pilgrims to the ground...I kept looking at the grave markers and thinking it must have been a windy day like today.
4) Arriving in Pamplona just as a hurricane hit the city with 50+ MPH winds that was breaking tree limbs and smashing cars with flying debris...the wettest I have every been in my life.
5) Leaving Pamplona only to find 6"-12" mudslides everywhere for the next 40+ km to arrive in Villateurta to find the entire town buried in 12" of mud...it took me 3-hours to remove the mud from my bike and myself.
6) Trying to ignore the rude American Pilgrims at Granon Albergue that would not let me sleep...stayed up late...got up early...played loud music...and opened the giant windows to chill the room to 50 F Degrees.
7) Biking 90+ km from Granon to Burgos...because no hotels, hostals, or albergues would accept a bicigrino.
8) Mistaking a "house of prostitution" for an Albergue in Mansilla de Las Mullas...my wife is still laughing.
9) Leaving Santiago traveling to Finisterre in a light rain storm that only got worse...new record for the wettest I have ever been in my life.
10) Arriving at Finisterre and wondering why I traveled all across Spain just to see a Lighthouse...the next day I traveled to the Muxia Cathedral and my Camino was finally complete.
Other than I still get annoyed by walking in dripping wet rainstorms...no regrets...and it was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life...and lastly I am doing the Camino del Norte later this year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#26
My Top-10 "What the hell am I doing here moments?" as follows:
1) Arriving at Paris Airport and searched for my bicycle box for 48-hours...it was left at Heathrow Airport.
2) Hill climb to Orrison Albergue...100 F Degrees...100% humidity...100 sunshine...no wind...I collapsed on the road from no water...and every Pilgrim I saw was going the other direction back to SJPdP to get a taxi.
3) Crossing the Pyrenees Mountains in the worst wind storm I have every seen that was throwing Pilgrims to the ground...I kept looking at the grave markers and thinking it must have been a windy day like today.
4) Arriving in Pamplona just as a hurricane hit the city with 50+ MPH winds that was breaking tree limbs and smashing cars with flying debris...the wettest I have every been in my life.
5) Leaving Pamplona only to find 6"-12" mudslides everywhere for the next 40+ km to arrive in Villateurta to find the entire town buried in 12" of mud...it took me 3-hours to remove the mud from my bike and myself.
6) Trying to ignore the rude American Pilgrims at Granon Albergue that would not let me sleep...stayed up late...got up early...played loud music...and opened the giant windows to chill the room to 50 F Degrees.
7) Biking 90+ km from Granon to Burgos...because no hotels, hostals, or albergues would accept a bicigrino.
8) Mistaking a "house of prostitution" for an Albergue in Mansilla de Las Mullas...my wife is still laughing.
9) Leaving Santiago traveling to Finisterre in a light rain storm that only got worse...new record for the wettest I have ever been in my life.
10) Arriving at Finisterre and wondering why I traveled all across Spain just to see a Lighthouse...the next day I traveled to the Muxia Cathedral and my Camino was finally complete.
Other than I still get annoyed by walking in dripping wet rainstorms...no regrets...and it was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life...and lastly I am doing the Camino del Norte later this year.
Oh I think I was one of those pilgrims being blown off my feet crossing the Pyrenees in 9/15 but not on the day you crossed because when I walked the route it was actually closed. I think it must have been the same day that Pamplona got smashed. And before anyone jumps to lecture me I left from Orisson and noone there told us the route was closed. It was heaps too scary to even take the time to think “What the hell am I doing here?”.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#27
Oh I think I was one of those pilgrims being blown off my feet crossing the Pyrenees in 9/15
I crossed the Pyrenees Mountains in a wind storm on 8/30/15 which will be my first and last time crossing...and I arrived in Pamplona the next day on 8/31/15...I grew up in Florida and I have lived half my life in the Colorado Front Range...I thought I had seen wind and rain before...but nothing like the weather I saw in Northern Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#28
I crossed the Pyrenees Mountains in a wind storm on 8/30/15 which will be my first and last time crossing...and I arrived in Pamplona the next day on 8/31/15...I grew up in Florida and I have lived half my life in the Colorado Front Range...I thought I had seen wind and rain before...but nothing like the weather I saw in Northern Spain.
This doesn’t work on a bike but the trick if walking and blown off your feet is to scoot along on your bum, because believe me you cannot get back on your feet until you get to a slightly more sheltered area or until the gust diminishes. Keep in mind, those gusts last what seems to be forever. Planting poles and standing crouched as low as possible helps but doesn’t always work. The best solution is to link arms with two or preferrably more pilgrims. This will hopefully give you sufficient weight to keep on your feet and you may also be able to walk forward.
We met a lovely Italian cyclist on a mountain bike on the meseta on a day of torrential rain and wind. The mud was diabolical. His bike just kept grinding to a halt because it was clogged with thick clay mud. My brother in law had the time of his life helping the cyclist to clear the mud time and time again. And we were walking so that shows you how hard the going was for a cyclist.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#29
I cannot remember any moment when I felt that I wanted to be anywhere else but where I was. Sure I had painful blisters a few times and shinsplints for a few days, but that just required some adjustment of my schedule. Some steep hills left me puffing, but I slowed down.

I cannot think of any moments of despair or "suffering" that caused me to question why I was there, or that are worth thinking much about afterwards.
I felt exactly the same way, minus the blisters.
The only time I had a fleeting thought of "what am I doing?" was last year. My friend from home only had 10 days to walk, and left me in Logroño. For my first half hour or so, I questioned why I was walking the same route that I had walked the year before. I decided that if I wasn't enjoying the Frances by the time that I got to Burgos, I would take a train to Porto and do the Portuguese route. However, I never wanted to not be on the Camino!
I’m going to Italy this summer...alone. Scared to death...again. I have my ticket and hotels booked but keep asking myself, “What are you thinking?! Who do you think you are traipsing off all alone to Europe!?”
I'm in that position right now, as I prepare to leave next week for 7 weeks in Guatemala, where I'll be studying Spanish while living with a Guatemalan family! I've never been in an underdeveloped country, and I'm a bit nervous about safety, both food and water, and physical.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#30
My one despairing moment occurred when My son, Caleb, and I were two days out from Burgos last September. Burgos was where Caleb needed to head back home, via Madrid, when his vacation time ended. We had planned on that. I was going to continue on to SdC and complete the Camino.

As Caleb and I started walking on the morning when we were two days away from Burgos, I started really feeling that my Camino beyond Burgos would be missing a significant piece of myself when Caleb caught the bus in Burgos to Madrid. I would periodically tear up. Caleb had melded himself into my heart as PART of the Camino.

Ironically, two days before Burgos, when it really hit me about Caleb leaving, my inguinal hernia that was diagnosed prior to leaving to Camino, and thought to be OK with proper support, decided to become increasingly more aggressive, bulgy, and uncomfortable. Caleb, unknown to me, was on the cell phone with my wife. After Jill consulted with my surgeon, she insisted that Caleb make me come home.

So, on the final day before Burgos, I conceded the need to leave. Caleb and I ended up booking bus tickets together from Burgos to Madrid. He left the day we arrived in Madrid, but I had to wait a day before being able to catch my rearranged flight back to home.

Caleb and I return to Burgos in the first week of October this year to finish the Camino together. The hernia surgery has long healed and I am back in shape from the recovery. It is funny how things sometimes work out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#31
I felt exactly the same way, minus the blisters.
The only time I had a fleeting thought of "what am I doing?" was last year. My friend from home only had 10 days to walk, and left me in Logroño. For my first half hour or so, I questioned why I was walking the same route that I had walked the year before. I decided that if I wasn't enjoying the Frances by the time that I got to Burgos, I would take a train to Porto and do the Portuguese route. However, I never wanted to not be on the Camino!


I'm in that position right now, as I prepare to leave next week for 7 weeks in Guatemala, where I'll be studying Spanish while living with a Guatemalan family! I've never been in an underdeveloped country, and I'm a bit nervous about safety, both food and water, and physical.
Scary fun but oh I wish. What a wonderful opportunity?!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles-Finisterre (2018)
#32
Sitting in the cold, wind and sleet between Orisson and Roncesvalles putting on my rain gear, wondering what I’d gotten myself into, feeling sorry for myself until, from somewhere deep inside, I realized that I needed to get moving and lose the negativity. Saved my Camino, changed my outlook. One of the best days of my life, May 19th, 2017.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#33
Yes, I thought that too, especially as my lovely husband had no idea about it all "You what? Where? On your own? ' And my lovely children were giggling and taking bets 'she won't last two days'.
Yeah, I did wonder what I was doing.....
I still do:)
 

SCT

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago 2014
Camino Frances 2016, 2017
#34
The first several days of the Frances this fall were especially tough as I was struggling with a sore knee. I was thinking I should write my friends and family and say, "Never let me do this again!" But of course it was not too long before I thought, "How can I not do this again?"
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#35

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#36
holistically, your physical condition is bound to affect your mood and vice versa
This. I've had days when grey skies and relentless rain affected my mood so much, that my body responded by developing pains and aches. When I finally managed to get a grip on my sulk and get a bloody move on, those pains would magically disappear.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#37
No, not on the Camino, but I’m having one of those ‘what the **** am I doing here’ moments right now. I’m sitting here at home, looking out at the incessant rain, the post-storm debris, the flooded fields, dreading having to put on my waders and carry my bike to the nearest road. At least, I was having one of those moments until I read the replies to this post. Thanks, Caministas!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles-Finisterre (2018)
#38
This. I've had days when grey skies and relentless rain affected my mood so much, that my body responded by developing pains and aches. When I finally managed to get a grip on my sulk and get a bloody move on, those pains would magically disappear.
It’s amazing how the body follows where the mind leads it. I too allowed my negative thoughts to drag down my physically prepared body as I climbed up the Pyrenees on Day 1. As I mentioned above, I decided to remove the negativity that was trying to consume me and that allowed me to fully enjoy my Camino. As it turned out, a life lesson from the Way!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's SJ to Sahagun 2015, Sahagun to Santiago 2016, Le Puy Route, SJPDP to Santiago (2018)
#39
Yes, yes, yes! The first three days were the hardest. Pains in parts of my body that I didn't know could hurt. Sliding in the mud, fighting with the icy rain, etc., etc. But meeting the young gal who had been abused, walking the Camino to help her deal. The old completely blind man walking with his son, "grandma" (85) who was walking because she needed a break from all the old biddies at home (she also cooked meals,did mending for those who needed it and walked faster than anyone else, having the Johanna intervention - she almost stopped four days in because she couldn't carry her pack any further. Of course with her hair dryer, five different lotions, jeans, high heels in her 40 pound pack removed and sent on, she made it to Santiago. The people make the walk!! My fellow Pelegrinos made every doubt melt away.
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
#40
Of all the thousands of people who walk there is no way possible that they will all have a good time. Quite of few of them will have an utterly miserable experience.
I found that a fair number of people get a 'what the **** am i doing this for' feeling at some point during week 2, or there abouts.
It's happened to me. I've advised people to plod on and in a day or two they will wonder what the fuss was about.
Another common time for feeling fed up is after people's walking companions have left or they've split up.
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#41
Having to start walking out of O’Cebriero one early morning in the freezing mist with stiff legs after having spent a miserable night half-awake from the cold and eating a lousy breakfast with fumbling fingers. But that bad feeling only lasted a couple of hours until I reached lower ground and the sun came out…:)
 

mvanert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona - Santiago 2014, St. Jean to Estella June 2016, Estella to Santiago April 17, 2018
#42
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
Yes, in 2016 and I even quit. However... I am booked to return on the 17th of April to resume where I left off, Estella.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#43
I flip out before every Camino and during every Camino. Last year I got as far as Leon. Walked 5 km out of the city and turned around, totally depressed and unable to go any farther. I spent the day in Leon and another night there and woke up refreshed and feeling grand, walking out of the city before dawn into a glorious day, feeling so good I walked all the way to Astorga, not wanting to stop as it was such a lovely day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
#45
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
Yes Brian, I too had a moment on both the Norte (2016) and Portuguese (2017) that had me asking that exact question. Somehow made it through, the arrival at an Albergue when other pilgrims welcome you gave me the renewed strength to carry on. There's a stage on the Norte that terrain difficulty is 5 and no place to stop and eat so you have to pack food in your pack...single hardest day of my life!
 

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#46
Day 33 of my 2015 Camino , the short version .
Not physical but very emotional .
After breakfeast in one of the Albergue 's in Sarria I said goodby to a fellow Pilgrim because she wanted to go home .
On my way to Portomarin during coffee break a colleague called me and after that call I started crying my hart out .
Other Pilgrims ask me what is wrong, lots of emotions coming out .
In Portomarin I got a room for myself , not a surprise that I did that.
Later that day I had a long talk with a young Israeli woman that just left the military.
It started to rain and we had a good cry before the church on the street.
That was the short story of day 33 .
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#47
I have had three overall wonderful Caminos, but was fortunate to walk with family, had very little bad weather in spring, and had no blisters or other true injuries. I never had a "What the xxxx am I doing here" moment.

My hat is off to all those who have walked and truly suffered, but have marched on. And my sympathy to those whose Caminos were cut short in dissappointment due to injury, extreme pain or family crisis back home.

That said, I am not without a few "moments". I walked the Valcarlos route and as @mspath has shared, the walk from V to the Ibanetes pass was extremely difficult for me, in spite of a glorious sunny day, as I tried to keep up with my two adult sons. I might add that my new Camino friend who walked the Napolean route that same day, encountered fog, rain, and wind so fierce that she described it as "going in one ear and out the other". I guess I'll take all my huffing and puffing that day instead of that!

Another day about a week into my first Camino, my mid back felt like it was being stabbed with a knife and I worried that if the pain kept up each day I would have to quit. Ibuprofen took the pain slowly away and I kept using the med for several more days "just in case". Thankfully it did not return.

My last "bad memory" was leaving Castrojerez in the morning with a rainstorm brewing. For the next 4 hours we had pelting rain coming across the meseta in very high winds. Thankfully I had my Frogg Togg rainsuit on and it kept me fully dry. This experience I will never forget....head down, watching my wet feet squish with every step in mud and rocks. The irony is that in its own way, this was an invigorating and special day for me, and might I even say "a favorite", as I felt so alive and like an overcomer!
 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to Santiago (Apr to June 2014); St. Jean to Finisterre (Apr to May 2016); Via Francigena - Lausanne to Rome (Sep to October 2016)
#48
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
I’m also off in May, leaving St Jean on the 7th
 

DebR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances:
2013; 2014; 2015; 2017; 2018 (October)
#49
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
I’m gearing up for my fifth Camino later this year, and my answer to anyone who asks “how was it” has always been the same: I might not enjoy every minute, but I absolutely love every day of it.
And in “those minutes” when things get tough and I start to doubt: I talk to my feet (out loud), tell them what a great job they are doing and promise them a pedicure at the end of the journey.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#50
My hat is off to all those who have walked and truly suffered, but have marched on. And my sympathy to those whose Caminos were cut short in dissappointment due to injury, extreme pain or family crisis back home.!
Nicely said!
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#52
I agree. It’s the last 5 kms that are always the hardest.
But yay for you because there are some long dusty hills after Sarria.
I love that feeling of being able to just throw on the backpack without even noticing the weight and striding out feeling like I could walk forever. There is nothing better than getting to the top of a hill and instead of being exhausted and relieved just being surprised to have already reached the top.
Yes... when the boots and pack become a part of your body. And I knew exactly how many items were in my backpack, and there was a place for everything.
 
#53
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
My one despairing moment was a couple days after I suffered an injury that I am still dealing with 1 1/2 years later. It happened on the third day. The Pyrenees were behind and Pamplona was yet to rise on the horizon.

At least the injury is now manageable. It will not stop the completion of the next pilgrimage.

However, I will restart on May 13/18. Not long now. Starting to search for a flight.
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#54
Leaving Leon, by myself, I met a young Irish girl who invited me to sit for a coffee and we then began walking together. Within 30 min of meeting her, I fell flat in my face. Luckily nothing broke but swollen, scraped nose and eventual black eye. That night we shared a 2-bed room. Next day we walked but my foot began hurting so stopped as she walked in 10 more Km to Astor’s. That night I threw up in the backyard of the albergue. In the morning I was too weak to tie my boots and another pilgrim made me go lie down and insist I not walk. Hospitalero made me tea, covered me with a blanket, and let me stay until a taxi arrived. An American couple waited with me, took me in the taxi to Centro Medico, waited with me two more hours, took me to get some groceries, and got me checked into a hotel.

That’s why we do it. So we can be with Angels!
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#55
I had my "why am i doing this?" moment in Leon - had had a bad head cold a couple of days earlier and walked 18 km with it, took a taxi into Leon and spent a couple of days in a hotel recuperating and remember waking up one morning and asking myself if I really wanted to do this for another fortnight...

Needless to say, I banisheed that though tot the dark reesses of my mind nd carried on.

Duly finished my camino in Santiago, having learned one of the great lessons of the Camino: "no matter how bad things are today, tomorrow is a brand new day, and everything will be different!".
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#56
There are so many great responses I couldn’t read them all. I was frightened also before my first Camino. How can I do this and am I crazy.
As I prepare for my 4th and definitely not last Camino I look forward to the challenges, the pain, the days of being lost and when you right the ship, realizing a 22k day is now 28k. All the other sores, blisters, hills that never end, get to the top and there is another one. Not seeing a marker for 20 or 30 minutes.
It will all melt away. For me, I look for solitude during the day. I love to meet new and old friends at breaks and in the albergues at night but the joy of silence and hearing only the rhythm of the sounds below your feet, to the sides of your ears and above your head. Learning what the Camino k pas you need. Accepting the pain in your knees or your neck or wherever and stopping the fight against pain and allowing it and releasing its power over you. Meeting a pilgrim or farmer or shop owner who helps you when you most need it and before you can even ask for it. Bonding and making friends for life with someone you meet for a day or even just a few hours. You both may not even know each other’s language but the Camino forms a kinship that will hold the two of you forever.
Accept everything, it’s just one step of the time, stop thinking, just feel and know you are not here to escape the “real world” but you are finding a world that has more meaning and is more real for you than anywhere else. This is your time be selfish and live it to the fullest .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Flights booked and paid! Flying out of Sydney 5 April 2018
#57
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
Yes, in April/May this year. I had the “what the hell am I doing here” moment on the first day going from St Jean through the mountains via the Valcaros route. It was heavy rain, mud, all up hill and my friend was about 200 meters or more ahead of me. I stoped in the middle of the mountain and cried out aloud “I don’t want to be here, I just want to go home” Then going down to Zubiri I injured my hamstring and i was so frustrated. BUT I finished the whole Camino right through to Finisterre and Muxia and loved every moment even though I’ve brought back a couple of injuries that after two and a half months I’m still receiving physio. I would so much love to go back. I don’t think there is any better feeling than walking the camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#58
@Africa, I'm glad you ended up enjoying your camino experience after your first few days towards Zubiri. It's interesting how different it can can be for each of us. I've walked the Valcarlos route twice in mid April. I had perfect weather both times, and the budding trees, many with blossoms, were a real highlight for me. I could smell the fresh green of spring and loved it! I'm sure an awful downpour would have soured those memories!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#59
The camino, and my backcountry walks, and my tendency towards depression, have taught me that I have a steel backbone. Nothing can stop me. When things are going very badly, I can always put one foot in front of the other and go on. My last camino went badly, and friends responded to my emails about my situation by suggesting that I quit, take a bus and get out of there. While I appreciated their support, I never even considered quitting. Yes, I can walk 1,000 km, alone, without the support of other pilgrims, and with a man whom I met along the way bothering me for half the distance. I can even be supportive of some others along the way, and accept negative judgments of myself (not believing them, necessarily). I think that I needed this affirmation of my strength, although it was certainly gained at cost. I see this as a common thread in many of the postings above. The camino gets difficult and pilgrims who feel that they can't go on find out that they can, and feel stronger for it.
Last week, I met a large bear close up in the back country, twice in one day. The second time, I was eating my lunch at a picnic table when it wandered past, about 20 meters away. After lunch, I set up my camp at that campsite, as planned, but I did not meet it again. Yes, there are real dangers, needing to be evaluated, faced, and decisions made. Those of you with injuries or illness who turned back may return to the camino when able. But I am grateful to the VdlP for calling out all my strength and showing me that I am able to go on.
 

NomadBoomer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September 2017), Vdlp (April 2018)
#60
I have not had a what am I doing here moment. Even in the odd bad patch I know how lucky I am to be walking a camino :)

I have had I hate this at the moment periods, particularly the horrid rocky down hill to El Acebo :( I will be back there in probably a month or so I may try the road this time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#61
I have not had a what am I doing here moment. Even in the odd bad patch I know how lucky I am to be walking a camino :)

I have had I hate this at the moment periods, particularly the horrid rocky down hill to El Acebo :( I will be back there in probably a month or so I may try the road this time.
It is so interesting to note how different we all are. One of my very favorite areas on the camino was exactly that part on the way to Acebo! I went through that section in May with beautiful wild flowers everywhere in purple, pink, yellow and white, and the mountains off to the left were gorgeous! And I happen to be one who loves the downhills, rocks and all!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF April 4- May 12, 2018
CP April 2019
#62
My only real WTF was 1st day walking. Left Pamplona wearing my jeans (i know iknow but plan was to ditch them in Puente Reina) as I left Pamplona it started to rain as I walked said jeans were soon soaked and ice cold making my thigh muscles cramp and i uttered those words “what am i doing here?” Finally reached Zariquiegui, my 1st Albergue where i left the jeans, met Charlotte from Denmark who schooled me on my pack not being on tight enough (thats why my back ached) proper use of rain jacket, pack cover AND poncho. Next morning even though still raining(as was next week or so) I fell in love with the Camino and never again wondered what i was doing there
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#63
Yup... how one feels is like the weather: if you don't like how you feel, just wait a while until a feeling that you do like comes along :)
I’m going to try this for the remainder of the summer, as I struggle with “I don’t deserve respite or rebuilding of my body and mind when others I love need me and cannot travel.” I’m going to look for my happy place feelings that are attached to the one waiting for me nearish to Burgos, and focus on a joyful return to my beloveds here who do want me to have an adventure of my own. In other words, I’m going to run to beckon that better feeling.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2018)
May (2019)
#64
So as I near my Camino in May I can't help but wonder how many of you had that one "What the hell am I doing here?" moment/s or question to yourself? If so, I assume it was short lived and even something you look back on and laugh about now. It just seems it would be hard to walk a partial or definitely the whole Camino without a little diversity or bad situation getting the best of us, if even for a brief moment.
Well, I'm happy to report I had no WTF am I doing here moments. A few discomforts, annoyances, a little rain, etc. but nothing even close to the level of despair or wishing I was somewhere else. I felt I was lucky though and basically formed a 'camino family' early on, weather was great for the most part, no injuries, and took to the communal lodging better than I thought and just rolled with things out of my control.

Honestly, my most down in the dumps moment was only for a couple hours one morning on day 8 or 9. The only real hangover I had (the result of ending early and having time to kill with a bar right next to your Albergue). Couple that with no food and a little rain resulted in the least energy and worst attitude I had the whole time. But, first town we hit and some food and a couple Café con Leches later and I was back! Called myself a wuss and told myself to suck it up and that was that. And off we went for what was another good day. Most everyone will endure some adversity or moments that suck at some point...it will pass (barring serious injury, etc.), and you will most likely laugh about it eventually. Lesson learned for me - maybe not drink that excessive to reach hangover status. HA! Who am I kidding? That isn't going to happen. Good people, good food, good conversations, getting caught in the moment...it was worth it and I look forward to my next potential hangover on my next Camino. Even if it means having a not so positive attitude for an hour or so. :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF: SJPdP to Burgos/Leon to SdC
2018, CF: partial
#65
Mine happened on the first day of my first Camino experience (Valcarlos route): Feb 28, 2014.

I came to the Camino to assist/be a teammate for a friend with Parkinson’s. Right out of the gate from SJPdP, we were battered by sheets of rain. After a brief weather respite (and a great breakfast) in Valcarlos, we proceeded upward to Roncesvalles. During the last few kilometers of uphill before beginning the descent into Roncesvalles, we encountered more rain, then sleet, then light snow, and finally an outright snowstorm. Fortunately, we had plenty of cold gear, with the exception of snowshoes.

It was during this time, while trying to plow through knee-deep snow with daylight waning quickly, that I realized we were on the precipice of being in real trouble—not panic, per se, but rather serious concern in the order of “uh oh--we could die out here if we don’t get a move on.” I remember thinking, “How in the world did we end up in such a precarious situation on the very first day?”

During one of several micro-breaks to catch our breath after plowing through snow, my friend/teammate--a very devout man--suddenly yelled, “@%#& you, Martin Sheen!” The outburst was immediately followed by an embarrassed half-grin as he had apparently realized that Martin Sheen’s perfectly-coiffed hair, large backpack (which was most likely filled with bubble wrap during filming), and seemingly effortless gait were, in fact, a romanticized version of the Camino experience.

The sheer humor of our situation and his uncharacteristic outburst carried us the rest of the way to Roncesvalles, where we arrived well after dark, roughly 12 hours after leaving SJPdP.
 

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