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The Camino - such an emotional experience!

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I've spent over two years now thinking every day about walking the camino (May 2023 baby!). Watched countless YouTube videos, listened to countless podcasts (check out Dan Mullins My Camino The Podcast - it's brilliant), read countless blogs and books, and have asked lots of questions on sites like this.

One thing I've noted, which of course is obvious to anyone that has already walked, is what an emotional experience it is. Just so much raw unbridled emotion pouring out of so many people. The root causes of those emotions vary from pilgrim to pilgrim, but clearly there's something magical about the camino that draws those emotions out, and seems to give licence to people to display and even share them.

And that magic seems to begin as soon as you feel the call of the camino, before you've even taken a step. I find myself constantly swallowing this strange lump in my throat as I listen/watch/read about the experiences of others. And to be clear - I am not an emotional person by any stretch. Haven't cried since the age of 14, (which is something I'm a bit unnerved by, and is actually one of the issues I hope to confront during my camino.) I'm seriously concerned that I may turn into an emotional wreck somewhere along the way! I'll endeavour to be by myself when I get to the Alta de Perdon and Cruz de Ferro... :)

There are a lot of simple, obvious reasons why the camino can be such an emotional journey, but beyond those obvious reasons I think there's something more, something a little beyond our reach or understanding. Perhaps the collective emotions of millions of pilgrims over time have somehow impacted the energy that surrounds the camino. Or perhaps it's nothing. Perhaps the camino is nothing more than a planned route across Spain, and it has no special powers. But I suspect it is something, and it does have some sort of special power, whatever that may be.

I can't wait to experience it first hand. If you happen across a confused Canadian along the way next spring, who seems at a loss for words and baffled by the strange salty discharge from his eyes, and seems on the verge of laughing and crying, it just might be me... I apologize in advance for my lapse of decorum.
 
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Nicki2009

New Member
My guess is that if you are expecting a certain emotional experience on the Camino, then that is what you will not get. Consider leaving expectations behind so that you are open to whatever the Camino teaches you. It might teach you that you don’t need watery releases to feel your emotions fully and deeply.
 

jblaskovits

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Finisterre 2015
Chemin d'Arles and Camino Aragonés 2018
Camino Portugués 2019
I've spent over two years now thinking every day about walking the camino (May 2023 baby!). Watched countless YouTube videos, listened to countless podcasts (check out Dan Mullins My Camino The Podcast - it's brilliant), read countless blogs and books, and have asked lots of questions on sites like this.

One thing I've noted, which of course is obvious to anyone that has already walked, is what an emotional experience it is. Just so much raw unbridled emotion pouring out of so many people. The root causes of those emotions vary from pilgrim to pilgrim, but clearly there's something magical about the camino that draws those emotions out, and seems to give licence to people to display and even share them.

And that magic seems to begin as soon as you feel the call of the camino, before you've even taken a step. I find myself constantly swallowing this strange lump in my throat as I listen/watch/read about the experiences of others. And to be clear - I am not an emotional person by any stretch. Haven't cried since the age of 14, (which is something I'm a bit unnerved by, and is actually one of the issues I hope to confront during my camino.) I'm seriously concerned that I may turn into an emotional wreck somewhere along the way! I'll endeavour to be by myself when I get to the Alta de Perdon and Cruz de Ferro... :)

There are a lot of simple, obvious reasons why the camino can be such an emotional journey, but beyond those obvious reasons I think there's something more, something a little beyond our reach or understanding. Perhaps the collective emotions of millions of pilgrims over time have somehow impacted the energy that surrounds the camino. Or perhaps it's nothing. Perhaps the camino is nothing more than a planned route across Spain, and it has no special powers. But I suspect it is something, and it does have some sort of special power, whatever that may be.

I can't wait to experience it first hand. If you happen across a confused Canadian along the way next spring, who seems at a loss for words and baffled by the strange salty discharge from his eyes, and seems on the verge of laughing and crying, it just might be me... I apologize in advance for my lapse of decorum.
I very much enjoyed reading what you have written here and I have had the experience of emotions being very "close to the surface" during my caminos. From elation to great sadness and grief, they are all there. I have always thought the outward expression of these emotions is somehow more likely to occur as a result of being far from home and an increased willingness to be vulnerable. Buen camino from a fellow BC pilgrim!
 
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Helen Robinson

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2023
I've spent over two years now thinking every day about walking the camino (May 2023 baby!). Watched countless YouTube videos, listened to countless podcasts (check out Dan Mullins My Camino The Podcast - it's brilliant), read countless blogs and books, and have asked lots of questions on sites like this.

One thing I've noted, which of course is obvious to anyone that has already walked, is what an emotional experience it is. Just so much raw unbridled emotion pouring out of so many people. The root causes of those emotions vary from pilgrim to pilgrim, but clearly there's something magical about the camino that draws those emotions out, and seems to give licence to people to display and even share them.

And that magic seems to begin as soon as you feel the call of the camino, before you've even taken a step. I find myself constantly swallowing this strange lump in my throat as I listen/watch/read about the experiences of others. And to be clear - I am not an emotional person by any stretch. Haven't cried since the age of 14, (which is something I'm a bit unnerved by, and is actually one of the issues I hope to confront during my camino.) I'm seriously concerned that I may turn into an emotional wreck somewhere along the way! I'll endeavour to be by myself when I get to the Alta de Perdon and Cruz de Ferro... :)

There are a lot of simple, obvious reasons why the camino can be such an emotional journey, but beyond those obvious reasons I think there's something more, something a little beyond our reach or understanding. Perhaps the collective emotions of millions of pilgrims over time have somehow impacted the energy that surrounds the camino. Or perhaps it's nothing. Perhaps the camino is nothing more than a planned route across Spain, and it has no special powers. But I suspect it is something, and it does have some sort of special power, whatever that may be.

I can't wait to experience it first hand. If you happen across a confused Canadian along the way next spring, who seems at a loss for words and baffled by the strange salty discharge from his eyes, and seems on the verge of laughing and crying, it just might be me... I apologize in advance for my lapse of decorum.
Hey mate. I cry a lot. Don't even attempt to disguise it of apologise for it . It's cleansing. If I see you and you want one I'll give you a hug. Xx
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
It's a long walk - with all the predictable responses to the challenges of that. It's not the endless high that many SM 'experts' make it seem - for every high moment there are probably the same number of lows and many more 'meh-moments.'

Unfortunately you can't erase the imprint of the massive amount of camino content you've consumed, @JustJack. Just keep remembering other's people's experiences won't be yours. A first camino without many expectations is a real gift, but one that few people have anymore. That said, if you can manage to put all that aside and keep an open mind and heart, you'll answer your question yourself.

Buen camino, peregrino!
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
A first camino without many expectations is a real gift, but one that few people have anymore.
I so agree!
My first Camino was only 6 years ago, and the only information I had about it was watching The Way (which I realized as a fictional movie would be different from my experience) and reading this forum. I was blissfully ignorant of the many videos, books of personal accounts and FB groups that exist, and I think that multiplied in number since then.

@JustJack - please don't put pressure on the Camino to be anything other than a long walk across Spain, and you won't be disappointed.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
My first Camino was only 6 years ago, and the only information I had about it was watching The Way (which I realized as a fictional movie would be different from my experience) and reading this forum.
I went 'cold,' without any reading or watching, and no preconceived notions of what I'd meet. It was...everything.
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
My first Camino Frances was in 2006 and I seemingly got there 'by accident' but that's another story. My experience is that it does have its own special energy and magic; its own sacredness. It was a place where I had to confront many fears, limiting beliefs and ways of thinking. There were also times when it was just bloody hard work and also times when it was sheer bliss. I think pilgrimage is like that.
Arrive with a curious beginners mind - your Camino will unfold as it's meant to be, unique to you.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I overheard two sisters talking about walking across Spain on the tramping club bus. They called the walk a funny name. I had no idea what the Camino was and it reached out and drew me in. I knew that I had to walk it.

This had never happened to me before and as I prepared to walk I became curious. I went looking for information about it. It took me a while to get the spelling right and when I did the movie called The Way came up and so I watched it. I didn't think much of the movie. It was a fantasy.

What did fascinate me was its title.

Years before, in the 1980's, when I lived in London I watched a little known Turkish movie called Yol (The Way). That Turkish movie made a huge impression on me that was reinforced when I later spent five months driving around Turkey.

This connection with my past reinforced my decision to walk the Camino.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I've spent over two years now thinking every day about walking the camino (May 2023 baby!). Watched countless YouTube videos, listened to countless podcasts (check out Dan Mullins My Camino The Podcast - it's brilliant), read countless blogs and books, and have asked lots of questions on sites like this.

One thing I've noted, which of course is obvious to anyone that has already walked, is what an emotional experience it is. Just so much raw unbridled emotion pouring out of so many people. The root causes of those emotions vary from pilgrim to pilgrim, but clearly there's something magical about the camino that draws those emotions out, and seems to give licence to people to display and even share them.

And that magic seems to begin as soon as you feel the call of the camino, before you've even taken a step. I find myself constantly swallowing this strange lump in my throat as I listen/watch/read about the experiences of others. And to be clear - I am not an emotional person by any stretch. Haven't cried since the age of 14, (which is something I'm a bit unnerved by, and is actually one of the issues I hope to confront during my camino.) I'm seriously concerned that I may turn into an emotional wreck somewhere along the way! I'll endeavour to be by myself when I get to the Alta de Perdon and Cruz de Ferro... :)

There are a lot of simple, obvious reasons why the camino can be such an emotional journey, but beyond those obvious reasons I think there's something more, something a little beyond our reach or understanding. Perhaps the collective emotions of millions of pilgrims over time have somehow impacted the energy that surrounds the camino. Or perhaps it's nothing. Perhaps the camino is nothing more than a planned route across Spain, and it has no special powers. But I suspect it is something, and it does have some sort of special power, whatever that may be.

I can't wait to experience it first hand. If you happen across a confused Canadian along the way next spring, who seems at a loss for words and baffled by the strange salty discharge from his eyes, and seems on the verge of laughing and crying, it just might be me... I apologize in advance for my lapse of decorum.
If I were you I would write all this down again and then burn the page and burn if from your mind. Just walk and have NO, NONE, NUNCA, ZERO, expectations. The likelihood of you experiencing all or some or even any of what you "think or want" to happen is very small. If something does happen let it and you can't plan it. You want to be alone at Alta de Perdon or Cruz de Ferro, depending on when you go the strong likelihood is there is no chance you will be alone unless you can clear all your expectations and thoughts and preconceived notions out of your head and be mindless and tranquil and letting things inside instead of projecting out. Just walk, take one step at a time, and whatever happens be happy with that. A very wise friend told me once when I was going through a difficult time and was searching for answers and trying to change how I did things. She would call me everyday and ask me what I did for myself today.
The first time I told her I did nothing and started to berate myself she stopped me. She said today you did nothing. That is all you could do today. Be happy with nothing.
 
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JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I am most certainly embarking on this adventure with my eyes wide open and my head clear. Despite the fact that I've probably spent far too much time absorbing the experiences of others, I'm under no illusions regarding what to expect for my own camino, and frankly I'm not anticipating any real surprises there. I'm endeavouring to have few expectations. And disappointment isn't really an option for me - regardless whether I love it, hate it, or land somewhere in between, I will have a strong sense of satisfaction that I did it. Any positive emotions above and beyond that will be a bonus.

When you spend a lot of time on a topic like this, and in particular when you've just finished immersing yourself in a blog post or podcast, you can kinda get swept up and carried away with the whole notion. And it's at times like that when I tend to post some sort of hippy-dippy touchy-feely comment like the one above. I subsequently come back and reread it a day or two later and wonder why the heck I posted such drivel... But that said, I have about 8 more months to enjoy the anticipation of my first camino. And while I strongly suspect it will be the first of many, there is only one "first", so I intend to squeeze every moment for any little bit excitement and anticipation that I can. So feel free to quietly roll your eyes when you see one of these types of posts. I continually cringe at the things I've said in the past :) .
 
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K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
Camino was very emotional for me. It caught me my surprise, although really I should have expected it. I burst into tears when we rounded the corner to Cruz de Ferro. I cried one morning while walking alone. I cried when I walked through the gate and into the square in Santiago. I sat down and sobbed at the airport after my taxi driver wished me Buen Camino, at the realization that this would be the last time I would hear that phrase repeated over and over and over every day.

Buen Camino! It will be an amazing and draining experience! I'm walking the Portugues route next autumn and I can't wait!
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I am most certainly embarking on this adventure with my eyes wide open and my head clear. Despite the fact that I've probably spent far too much time absorbing the experiences of others, I'm under no illusions regarding what to expect for my own camino, and frankly I'm not anticipating any real surprises there. I'm endeavouring to have few expectations. And disappointment isn't really an option for me - regardless whether I love it, hate it, or land somewhere in between, I will have a strong sense of satisfaction that I did it. Any positive emotions above and beyond that will be a bonus.

When you spend a lot of time on a topic like this, and in particular when you've just finished immersing yourself in a blog post or podcast, you can kinda get swept up and carried away with the whole notion. And it's at times like that when I tend to post some sort of hippy-dippy touchy-feely comment like the one above. I subsequently come back and reread it a day or two later and wonder why the heck I posted such drivel... But that said, I have about 8 more months to enjoy the anticipation of my first camino. And while I strongly suspect it will be the first of many, there is only one "first", so I intend to squeeze every moment for any little bit excitement and anticipation that I can. So feel free to quietly roll your eyes when you see one of these types of posts. I continually cringe at the things I've said in the past :) .
I think we start our Camino with that first thought - I think I might do this thing. So in my mind you are well on the Way - with no need to apologise for any of the wide range of emotions and experiences that will arise. (And I seem to be discovering that they can be quite different each time) 🙃😉😌
Buen Camino
 

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