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The Introverted Pilgrim

2020 Camino Guides

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
@davebugg You put my case far more eloquently than I ever could. Or would even if my own social inhibitions would ever allow me to :cool: The "Camino family" leaves me stone cold. Whatever I look for on my caminos social interaction is pretty low on my "must have" list. On my first Camino Frances I met perhaps 30 other pilgrims over 800km. That is about my comfort level :)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me.
Here, I am not so sure about your use of "most." Inevitably, the gregarious people will be noticed and heard more, beyond their actual representation. I insist that "most" of us are very much in-between and can understand both ends of the spectrum. I consider myself to be on the innie side, and I very much dislike attention being drawn to me. That said, I really enjoy the company of people whose company I enjoy!
Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined
I support this reminder fully. At risk of getting into trouble and offending a different group 🤣 :mad: I will suggest that this situation is especially encountered by females who are not conforming to certain stereotypes of smiles and sociability.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Trying to overcome these feelings was one of my motivations for doing the Camino, my burden or weight could not be dropped at Cruz de ferro as it was within me. Although an introvert I like to be alone in a crowd.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
@davebugg you just pretty much described me. I totally get what you are describing here. Especially:

Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.
Oh yeah. I'm with you there. Some love these things - good for them.

Thank you for speaking up for us, Dave!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
Thank you Dave. This was another of those aspects of the Camino causing anxiety, pre-trip. I am not a natural joiner-in, so was wondering whether I would survive what seems like a social free for all. Glad to know I am not alone.

How did you manage in reality, without offending people or becoming ‘that mean guy’?
cheers
Glenda
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Dave,
I'm "a little of this and a little of that". I am sort of an introvert, yet can fully enjoy the company of a few people at a time. I am defintely not a "group" person though. I have never walked my caminos alone, but always with family or friends, so never have developed a true "camino family" as we are already our own little group. That said, I have met and have kept a few close ties with persons I have met on the trails and we participate in yearly "Camino mini reunions" to keep those friendships alive. I too, can become emotionally exhausted after too much time spent with others even if enjoying myself, and am usually quite happy and relieved to retreat to my place of comfort...which is usually home, or when on the Camino back to my bunk or hotel room.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Oh bless you mightily! You have expressed this reality beautifully and I , for one, recognize and walk this path. It may mean that I find myself at the extreme (forget that, 'beyond' fits better) of my comfort zone, but I prefer the uncertainty to the meccas of 'pilgrimage experience'. It certainly is not a judgement on what others look to as a fulfilling Camino but for us introverts, our path lies elsewhere.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I highly recommend “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking”, by Susan Cain. Not just for introverts, as extroverts might benefit from reading it.

I walk alone. I enjoy conversations with one or two on meaningful topics. I hate touchy feely group-speak.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Norway(2016)
88T Japan(2017)
PWC/VF(2019)
KK Japan(2021)
VdlP/Moz(2022)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
As an introvert who battled 'undiagnosed' for many years (ok, decades...) it was truly a relief to properly understand why I feel the way I do & my need to retreat. For me on the trail, interacting socially needs to be in small doses followed by time to recharge the batteries. Walking is exhausting enough on it's own without negotiating the complexities of being an introvert in an extroverted world (population breakdown= 1/3 intro to 2/3 extro). Add the intensity of connections made on the path & it can totally sap your remaining energy.
My way of coping is to stay in non-communal accommodation. This often means certain judgements are passed about me & the authenticity of my journey. I'm okay with that because I'm being true to myself & that is more important.
Even staying in alternative accom, I've made some wonderful & enduring friendships from my walks. So if you ever meet me on a trail, I'm happy (& enjoy) a chat along the Way or meeting up for dinner but I prefer to walk on my own. And you can be assured I will recognise & respect your characteristics whichever side of the scale they fall. 🤗
Sempre avanti.
👣 🌏
 

Nezabudka

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Burgos (Oct 2018)
Sarria-Fisterra (June 2020)
Thank you for bringing it up, Dave.
Probably funny at my age, but one of the things I was hoping for, that Camino could "heal" my introversion :)
It didn't.
Though I enjoyed meeting new people, very much appreciated helpfulness and Camino spirit, I felt very awkward and unease my first night in Orisson ;) I met a wonderful pilgrim and we walked for a week together, slowly opening and getting to know each other - one of the best parts of my journey, but walking on my own was no less beautiful to me.
We all are different for sure and what I learnt, that in order to accept others, first thing, we need to accept who we are ourselves ;)
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Norway(2016)
88T Japan(2017)
PWC/VF(2019)
KK Japan(2021)
VdlP/Moz(2022)
I highly recommend “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking”, by Susan Cain. Not just for introverts, as extroverts might benefit from reading it.

I walk alone. I enjoy conversations with one or two on meaningful topics. I hate touchy feely group-speak.
Another couple of reads I'd also recommend;

"The Introverts Way - Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World" by Sophia Dembling
&
"The Happy Introvert" by Elizabeth Wagele

Both are enlightening & reassuring! 😊
👣 🌏
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I found it easier to walk the Camino as an introvert in a group than solo! Allow me to explain....when I take my kids they do all the socialising, whether that’s walking with others, fixing a meal together or chatting in the evening. I would sit in a corner blogging or zip outside to sketch or knit. When I walked the Madrid alone, I felt compelled to talk to whoever was at the albergue - especially if there was only one other person. It felt rude to excuse myself to write my daily blogpost and I often ended up doing it very late!
For the record, I met very interesting people and actually enjoyed talking with them (perhaps because I walked alone all day) but I did find it challenging, especially as I was anticipating being alone.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Hi Dave,
I'm "a little of this and a little of that". I am sort of an introvert, yet can fully enjoy the company of a few people at a time. I am defintely not a "group" person though. I have never walked my caminos alone, but always with family or friends, so never have developed a true "camino family" as we are already our own little group. That said, I have met and have kept a few close ties with persons I have met on the trails and we participate in yearly "Camino mini reunions" to keep those friendships alive. I too, can become emotionally exhausted after too much time spent with others even if enjoying myself, and am usually quite happy and relieved to retreat to my place of comfort...which is home.
I really understand that, Chris. :)

On my last Frances camino in 2018, I met a guy named Clovis, who is from Massachusetts. I met him on the Express Bouricott shuttle while traveling from the Biarritz airport to St Jean.

It was a mostly full van, and we were seated next to each other. He started trying to converse, and I politely gave him short answers to his questions. It then occurred to me that I did not want to start that Camino appearing to be rude, so I politely asked him some followup questions: Home. . family. . where are you staying in SJPdP. .

For some reason, I warmed up to him. It was odd, because I didn't feel the need for a companion, but something just 'clicked'. After we both had checked into our lodgings, we met up later in the early afternoon, and I gave him a tour of St Jean as we walked.

I found out that he was walking to Roncesvalles over Napoleon the next morning, as I was going to do, and that after spending the night in Roncesvalles at the Collegiate alburgue, he was getting a bike from a rental company and would be riding to Santiago.

We parted company as he had other dinner plans. The next morning, I started over Napoleon and saw him as I was taking a before-midmorning break or bocadillo and Fantas. We sat and chatted, got some pictures together, then he took off on his walk. I left a half-hour later.

I caught up with him about 5 miles prior to Loepeder and the downhill to Roncesvalles. His daypack harness had ripped apart (very flimsy sack) and he was trying to repair it enough to walk with. I stopped and dug out my Sea-to-Summit daypack and loaned it to him. My intent was to keep walking alone. . . I was also filming the step-by-step GoPro video of the entire walk that's on YouTube as a Hyperlapse.

It ended up we walked the rest of the way together. It worked because Clovis seemed to recognize my need for quiet as we walked, and conversations just felt comfortable, albeit sparse.

At Roncesvalles we did hang around for a bit after dinner, and attended the Pilgrim Mass. The next morning, I saw him getting dressed (he was on the same floor) as I passed by, and we said our goodbyes, as I headed out to Pamplona (yup, real long day, but I enjoy the people watching there at night).

I ate some breakfast in Burgette, and as I was walking back to the street from the bar, I heard a loud hello, and saw Clovis riding up on his bike rental. We chatted and decided to maintain contact with each other via WhatsApp. . . which became a nightly base-touching during his 12 day ride to Santiago.

Since that time, we have maintained a friendship and keep in regular contact. In all of the Camino, in all of my years backpacking, I have never made a long-term friend. Funny how life goes. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Thank you Dave. This was another of those aspects of the Camino causing anxiety, pre-trip. I am not a natural joiner-in, so was wondering whether I would survive what seems like a social free for all. Glad to know I am not alone.

How did you manage in reality, without offending people or becoming ‘that mean guy’?
cheers
Glenda
For me, I try to avoid a situation where someone might be offended. If I am walking and someone velcros themselves to me and wishes to chat, I will politely reply for a short bit, and then slow my pace and let them move along. If they slow down, I'll say something like, "I need to stop and do some readjusting to my pack. . tie my laces. . . take a break to grab a snack. . etc, so I'll see you down the road."

If that STILL doesn't work, I will say, "I need to walk by myself and meditate for a while. It was good chatting with you. Maybe we'll see each other later".

If someone needs help, I'll do my best to offer or render assistance. If someone is taking the wrong fork on the trail, I'll holler for them to point them in the right direction.

Bottom line is that I never purposefully try to hurt people's feelings, but beyond a certain point and after gracefully trying to separate myself to a more comfortable situation, I do not worry about unintentional slights. No more than I would feel that someone is purposefully getting in my face and space just because they do not recognize my needs as an Introvert.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think as a "middle ground" introvert, that the forum is a wonderful place to express myself in my own way and when I choose. It is a very freeing feeling and and my social anxiety "takes a hike" (pun intended). I do not feel boxed in by the expectations of other more extroverted persons. I too, found some of the communal meals too "touchy, feely". I also had difficulty at outdoor cafes filled with other pilgrims I had not met individually beforehand...and usually just kept on walking even if there were a few empty seats available.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
It felt rude to excuse myself to write my daily blogpost
This is the reason I object whenever the subject comes up on the forum where people are criticized for the time they spend on their phones. Often, I would actually prefer to interact with my phone than with people, and what is wrong with that!!! :mad::eek:

I have always loved to sit at a restaurant table my myself, eating dinner and reading my phone or a book. That is often criticized or pitied. However, I don't usually do that on the camino, since I enjoy getting to know my fellow pilgrims in that situation and it is worth making the effort to do so. It always requires a careful middle ground - trying to be open but not needy or imposing.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Something else in reference to Camino walking and being Introverted was touched on above: Family members.

Jill is very extroverted. Why she married me is anyone's guess. I have to actually remember her need for 'chit-chat' in the same manner as other tasks that I need to remember to do. On occasion, like yesterday, I will forget and go quite a spell without feeling any need to converse. Jill will say something like, "time to chat", as a way of making me realize I have missed the boat.

I'm surprised she hasn't come up with a 'Code Word' yet. . . something like "walkie-talkie".

Why it worked for us to walk Camino Ingles is the fact that she recognizes my introversion. Several times along the Ingles, Jill would be just chit-chatting away, and then suddenly stop and say, "sorry. . let me know when you want to chat." I'd laugh and say that she shouldn't apologize, that I was being too quiet for too long.

After the Camino, she told me that she learned to "listen" to her surroundings as she walked, and that by being quieter, she was able to spend time praying for our kids and other things. After the first day, Jill seemed to get more focused on the meditative aspects of Camino. . . and saved a lot of chit chat for our breaks and lunches and the evening times :)
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
This is the reason I object whenever the subject comes up on the forum where people are criticized for the time they spend on their phones. Often, I would actually prefer to interact with my phone than with people, and what is wrong with that!!! :mad::eek:
I agree. Does walking a Camino include a non-negotiable obligation to be fully available for the entertainment of others at the time and place of their choosing? Does someone else's apparent need to probe the personal history, motivations, perceptions and opinions of a chance stranger - or simply to offload their lifetime's accumulated store of enthusiasms and wisdom and recent inspirations on a target of opportunity - take priority over my preference for privacy, solitude, reflection and communication with those who are my real and enduring family and friends? I do enjoy occasional conversations along the way. Some people I find interesting, sympathetic, and occasionally downright fascinating or inspiring. But I do not find that such delightful encounters happen through being forced into a conventional and artificial intimacy which I do not welcome.
 
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kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Norway(2016)
88T Japan(2017)
PWC/VF(2019)
KK Japan(2021)
VdlP/Moz(2022)
I think as a "middle ground" introvert, that the forum is a wonderful place to express myself in my own way and when I choose. It is a very freeing feeling and and my social anxiety "takes a hike" (pun intended). I do not feel boxed in by the expectations of other more extroverted persons. I too, found some of the communal meals too "touchy, feely". I also had difficulty at outdoor cafes filled with other pilgrims I had not met individually beforehand...and usually just kept on walking even if there were a few empty seats available.
Balanced & beautifully, accurately expressed @Camino Chrissy. Introverts are so often misjudged as being anti-social or socially-inept, aloof & loners; that is not the case at all, we merely socialise differently.
My antidote has been to choose the 'less travelled' paths...enough interaction to fulfil that basic human need (a short chat with an accom provider can satisfy that for me) but spaced so as not to send me scurrying...
Being on our own does not mean being lonely or alone...a point often missed by our extroverted contemporaries.
Incidentally, introverts (not solely of course) love to write & I suspect many of the more prolific writers on this forum (guilty as charged...) may be 'innies' whether they recognise it or not. 😊
👣 🌏
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
Thank you Dave. This was another of those aspects of the Camino causing anxiety, pre-trip. I am not a natural joiner-in, so was wondering whether I would survive what seems like a social free for all. Glad to know I am not alone.

How did you manage in reality, without offending people or becoming ‘that mean guy’?
cheers
Glenda
Thank you Glenda for asking the very same question I had.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
« If that STILL doesn't work, I will say, "I need to walk by myself and meditate for a while. It was good chatting with you. Maybe we'll see each other later »

Thank you Dave for your post on this subject. The only anxiety I feel about my upcoming pilgrimage is how to extract myself when I’ve had enough conversation without appearing rude. I’m relieved also to know I am not alone. 🙏
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have been an introvert pretty much from birth, but I think that I am becoming less so as I get older. I walk alone, whether in the mountains or on camino, but I enjoy occasional encounters with other camino introverts, such as @Bradypus and @timr. Part of why introversion is particularly natural for me on camino is my feeling that, as a religious/spiritual pilgrim, I am moving outside of the contemporary common understanding of what a camino is about. I am not a tourist nor an "on holiday social" person. On four longer camino routes I have never cooked a meal with another pilgrim, although I have occasionally shared lunch foods. I tell myself that, as a vegetarian and a solitary, I cannot cook with others or take up common cooking facilities just preparing food for myself. But I don't really want to. I have enjoyed common meals in albergues but find them challenging. For example, on the VdlP, a meal was prepared at an albergue: a simple stew with a vegetarian option and pilgrims chose in advance whether to identify as vegetarians. I was not too thrilled to see the vegetarian portion eagerly consumed by meat eaters as an additional dish. They never considered that what they left would have to suffice for the vegetarians present: much easier for me to just eat alone. On the other hand, I enjoyed everything about the very simple traditional albergues, like Granon and San Anton, where the pilgrim spirit is so visible, in spite of the total lack of private space. I guess I would say that, in my daily life, I am an introvert, largely solitary, but on camino I am a pilgrim, trying to be open to however I experience that.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I must confess to being somewhat introverted myself. My biggest concern is that I may come across grumpy or unsociable while on a camino. It's just that us introverts do like our own space and I find it tiring to be around people too much of the time. Having had a recent long term girlfriend has certainly helped me, but I still prefer to do my own thing at times, which she often saw as rejection due to being extroverted!

Back to the camino, I do find wearing earphones can help me in very busy albergues. Pretty much everyone recognises them as a 'do not disturb' sign and I appreciate being left alone.

That's not to say I don't enjoy the company of strangers. It's one of the big things that keeps drawing me back to the caminos.
 

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
As an introvert who battled 'undiagnosed' for many years (ok, decades...) it was truly a relief to properly understand why I feel the way I do & my need to retreat. For me on the trail, interacting socially needs to be in small doses followed by time to recharge the batteries. Walking is exhausting enough on it's own without negotiating the complexities of being an introvert in an extroverted world (population breakdown= 1/3 intro to 2/3 extro). Add the intensity of connections made on the path & it can totally sap your remaining energy.
My way of coping is to stay in non-communal accommodation. This often means certain judgements are passed about me & the authenticity of my journey. I'm okay with that because I'm being true to myself & that is more important.
Even staying in alternative accom, I've made some wonderful & enduring friendships from my walks. So if you ever meet me on a trail, I'm happy (& enjoy) a chat along the Way or meeting up for dinner but I prefer to walk on my own. And you can be assured I will recognise & respect your characteristics whichever side of the scale they fall. 🤗
Sempre avanti.
👣 🌏
I too, am an introvert. Perhaps an outgoing introvert. But I have a problem with your term “undiagnosed” which implies introversion is a condition with a negative connotation. Simply put, an introvert gets most of what they need from within, while extroverts get most of what they need from others. Therefore, extroverts are the ones lacking what they need to make themselves whole. Introverts need to stop apologizing for not needing what extroverts lack. Introverts make the world go around. They make the best leaders. Stop lookng at it as a negative thing!

I typically, but not always, walked on my own during the day, but totally enjoyed meeting pilgrims at the end of the day, forming great friendships with a select number of those...all mostly introverts. Walk on introverts...you lack nothing.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I too, am an introvert. Perhaps an outgoing introvert. But I have a problem with your term “undiagnosed” which implies introversion is a condition with a negative connotation.
I agree with you. Shame that so many see it as a negative. I suppose it stems from the pressure of being part of a society.
 

Banjo&Matilda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances October 2018
Wow, what an interesting post. I am a card-carrying extrovert and some of my finest memories of my camino were the connections I made with others. I definitely feel the need to have a chat and I enjoy meeting (nice) strangers and learning about others. The only times I enjoy being alone are when I have big feelings to process. I guess my life is based on connections with others, as it helps me to feel energised. I find it hard to understand what introverts need, but your post and the replies are really helpful and I will take some of this knowledge forward with me, so thank you.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Norway(2016)
88T Japan(2017)
PWC/VF(2019)
KK Japan(2021)
VdlP/Moz(2022)
I too, am an introvert. Perhaps an outgoing introvert. But I have a problem with your term “undiagnosed” which implies introversion is a condition with a negative connotation. Simply put, an introvert gets most of what they need from within, while extroverts get most of what they need from others. Therefore, extroverts are the ones lacking what they need to make themselves whole. Introverts need to stop apologizing for not needing what extroverts lack. Introverts make the world go around. They make the best leaders. Stop lookng at it as a negative thing!

I typically, but not always, walked on my own during the day, but totally enjoyed meeting pilgrims at the end of the day, forming great friendships with a select number of those...all mostly introverts. Walk on introverts...you lack nothing.
My use of the term 'undiagnosed' is in inverted commas as it is referring to my own lack of realisation that I was an introvert. As with many, I misunderstood what an introvert was & therefore did not recognise it in myself. I 'battled' because I felt I was supposed to act one way, when my nature demanded another. It was only once I started to research the true nature & characteristics of introverts (rather than how we are perceived) I realised that yes, indeed the term applied to & described me. It is in no way an apology nor a presumption that introversion is negative. In fact if you read the rest of my initial post & the one's following, you'll see I embrace it & stand true to myself by not relenting to other's expectations.
I hope this clarifies my wording choice...which is also a tad tongue-in-cheek based on the 'non-recovering' comment of @davebugg ! 😊
👣 🌏
 
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kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Norway(2016)
88T Japan(2017)
PWC/VF(2019)
KK Japan(2021)
VdlP/Moz(2022)
I agree with you. Shame that so many see it as a negative. I suppose it stems from the pressure of being part of a society.
Please see my response to @Walkerooni!
It IS a shame about the negativity associated with introversion.
We are one third of the population which means two thirds may not understand us either fully or at all but as with many social aspects today, awareness can be raised so differences are recognised & accepted rather than judged.
We need both types of personality trait in the world & one is no more valuable than the other..they're just different. Be who you are...it will save a lot of struggle...but recognizing where you lie is key. I was slow to catch on. 😊
👣 🌏
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I totally get it @davebugg.
I prefer to walk alone and will usually avoid long conversations, unless for some reason I 'click' with someone. I have asked people a couple of times if they mind if I walk alone... Those who want to just chat and chat and chat...

In the evenings I start to get lonely, and will usually try to dine with 1 or 2 others.

I have fallen in with Camino 'families' a couple of times. Generally only because someone I 'clicked' with was part of it.

I'm OK with groups of 5 or 6. Beyond that I struggle a bit.

I was horrified one evening in Burgos when one of our 'family' suggested we meet up for dinner.
I expected maybe 8 maximum.
There must have been 40 people!
I left...............

Part of my issue might be my ADD. I find it very hard to participate in group conversations.
It's like walking into a TV shop and being expected to watch 12 channels at once! It's impossible, so I just make my excuses and leave...

And partly maybe because of my hearing. Too many very loud bangs too close in my previous life.....

I'm one of those who will sometimes approach a lone Pilgrim at dinner, just to have a bit of company. But I'm very sensitive to the reaction and don't impose myself....

Often there may be little conversation. Sometimes we just need a bit of human connection...
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Religion is something we do with other people, spirituality is something we do alone.

I felt totally claustrophobic sleeping my first night in the crowded albergue in Roncesvalles, and from that point on would seek out private accommodations at casa rurals, hotels and pensions to insure a good night's sleep. If I stayed at an Albergue, I tried to get the private room which about half of them seem to offer. Also could not get into my walking meditation, nor could I Chi-Walk when traveling with others which I did about 20% of the time. 80% of my walking was just getting to feel more comfortable in my own skin, listening to the "Great Silence". No cell phone or music ipod either - just a clear empty head walking alone.
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
I'm walking the Camino in June/July this year on my own. I prefer to walk alone but I'm such a people pleaser and hate causing offense of any kind that I'm afraid I will compromise my own experience by talking to people so that I din't appear rude or because it's the expected thing to do.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
This is a very interesting thread, thank you to those who have contributed. I describe myself as an introvert because I know I'm not an extrovert, so what else is there? But after reading some people's thoughts, I now realise that introvertedness is a much deeper concept than I had thought and quite a few of the situations/reactions described here don't apply to me. So I've concluded that I'm not really an introvert but just occasionally a bit shy around large numbers of strangers when the parameters are not defined.
 

micamino73

Active Member
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
just put a badge on, “I’m an introvert” . People with autism do it and then others make allowances.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.
This made me laugh.
True, that.
And thank you for this beautifully written post, Dave. It obviously describes many of us.
Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me.
Some people perhaps, but likely not most.
Why is introvertedness thought to be something that needs to be fixed, anyway? Extroverts can try to impose their way of being on the rest of us all they like, but it's in no way 'better.' Nor is it abnormal.

Anyway, if you can't be quiet on a pilgrimage, where can you be?
 

Aglass

Andrew
Camino(s) past & future
Walked el Camino Frances in 2003. Did the Primitivo in August 13 and Ruta lebaniega in July 14. Summer 2016 - Camino del Salvador.
One day: Ruta de la Plata into the Sanabres, maybe part of the Norte, and perhaps the Olvidado.
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
I enjoyed reading this and it summarises how I often feel on Caminos (and wider life)
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (09/2019)

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santo Domingo (2017)
Santo Domingo to Fromista (2018)
SJPdP to Burgos (2019)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
I usually say "Hi" and Buen Camino. Then gauge their reaction to invite them over or let them be. If there is a language barrier, it makes it tougher, but I have used a translator app to help if needed.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
Ask them, as in: "I am a pilgrim from .. would you like to join me for lunch/dinner?" But be careful how you do this, as some men on camino routes treat solitary women pilgrims as targets. In my experience, these are generally local men, so mention your home country.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Dave,

I think that you and me and a lot of others just conform to what a study showed. The study related to people talking to each other on a plane. The results were that nobody really wanted to initiate a conversation (because in many respects humans are introverts) but when a conversation started everybody seemed relieved that it happened. The only difference was the degree to which each party wanted to maintain the conversation.

I think that many, many of the people who walk a Camino are introverts at heart. We like to talk to someone just to relieve the boredom. Everybody says that human beings are social animals. I think that is true. But there is a big difference between wanting to be around other people and the level to which you interact with that group.

That's the nice thing about a Camino. It's one of the few places that you can be yourself, be accepted as yourself, find others who are totally different and do this all at your own pace and to your own desires. I for one have never felt more relaxed than when walking a Camino. Yet, when I come upon some people along the way I have simultaneously feelings of joy (in meeting them) and non-joy (in meeting them).

People are weird.

Buen Camino to all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015; Scheduled to walk April/May 2020
I found the Camino to be one of those rare spaces (in fact I’ve struggled to think of another space) that is well-suited for both introverts and extroverts. It offers solitude and space as well as sociality and interaction. Certainly, some people enjoy more of one or the other. Introverts, by definition, don’t always need or want to be in solitude. They simply thrive when the conversation run deeper than simple chatter. I found, as a fellow introvert, that the interactions I did have, alongside the solitude that recharged me, were quite enriching. It’s worth noting that if in fact it’s greater solitude that you’re searching for-if that is the kind of Camino you crave-lots of trails leading to Santiago are much quieter and less populated than the CF.
 

Lynn C O'Hara

Mainelynn
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Norte, Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre/Muxia (2016)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
 

Lynn C O'Hara

Mainelynn
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Norte, Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre/Muxia (2016)
I found the Camino to be one of those rare spaces (in fact I’ve struggled to think of another space) that is well-suited for both introverts and extroverts. It offers solitude and space as well as sociality and interaction. Certainly, some people enjoy more of one or the other. Introverts, by definition, don’t always need or want to be in solitude. They simply thrive when the conversation run deeper than simple chatter. I found, as a fellow introvert, that the interactions I did have, alongside the solitude that recharged me, were quite enriching. It’s worth noting that if in fact it’s greater solitude that you’re searching for-if that is the kind of Camino you crave-lots of trails leading to Santiago are much quieter and less populated than the CF.
Love what you said, Dave!
As a retired flight attendant for an international carrier, I thought I was an extrovert. I could make conversation with anyone. At the end of every flight I was exhausted. It took a childhood friend to say to me on a phone call :”put the real Lynn on the phone, not stewardess Lynn. And I was suddenly free!
I can talk to anyone, but it drains me to constantly do so. When friends don’t understand why I prefer solo Caminos, I try to explain, but then they think I’m antisocial. Not at all! I love the people I met. I just need my space to think and relax.
I understand, Dave! I’m sure others do, too!!
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I’ve had people attempt to attach themselves to me while walking. Beyond the fact that I like to walk alone, I can’t walk mindfully (and at my own pace) and have a meaningful conversation at the same time. So I will say, I need to walk alone, perhaps we can talk at a coffee stop later.

Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
I don’t think you can know. There is nothing wrong with greeting the person and asking if they would accept some company. Be ready to talk about something meaningful. Be gracious in accepting their refusal.

The worst form of extrovert (not that there’s anything wrong with that in general) is one who doesn’t shut up. If you can sit in silence comfortably part of the time, you are welcome at my table.

...
Introversion and extroversion are just ends of a continuum, most of us are somewhere between the polar opposites.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
You can pause, look around to assess the situation, make your way to a table near that person, sit down in a position that makes conversation possible (i.e. not with your back to that person). Do what you planned to do, make eye contact casually, say something like "nice weather, eh?" (That would show you are Canadian). Thus you have been friendly without imposing. If the place is crowded and there is no suitable empty table, the game changes. You ask the person permission to join them. Be casually friendly but restrained.

Simple 😁
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
This is a very interesting thread, thank you to those who have contributed. I describe myself as an introvert because I know I'm not an extrovert, so what else is there? But after reading some people's thoughts, I now realise that introvertedness is a much deeper concept than I had thought and quite a few of the situations/reactions described here don't apply to me. So I've concluded that I'm not really an introvert but just occasionally a bit shy around large numbers of strangers when the parameters are not defined.
You might be an ambivert. That's how I identify myself. I suspect that, like so many things we humans treat as binary, introversion/extroversion may be more accurately reflected as a spectrum or a few of them.
 
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Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
I'm walking the Camino in June/July this year on my own. I prefer to walk alone but I'm such a people pleaser and hate causing offense of any kind that I'm afraid I will compromise my own experience by talking to people so that I din't appear rude or because it's the expected thing to do.
I share this same fear Eibhlis. The OP and posts on this thread is helping me overcome some of those fears.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
Sure. . .let me see if I can help a bit.

Introversion is not a phobia, so I am not afraid of being around people. When someone starts a conversation, it isn't 'painful' or otherwise disabling, so it never puts me in distress per se. So if someone comes over and asks if they can join me, or if I would like to join others to grab dinner or walk around town, I would politely thank them for asking me and then decline. But, I would not be in the least offended that someone is being thoughtful enough to ask.

Oftentimes, someone who is shy has a difficult time working up the courage to make introductions and likely would be glad of being asked.

So, I think that it is just listening to the other person, and being aware of verbal cues as you make an attempt at inclusion. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
just put a badge on, “I’m an introvert” . People with autism do it and then others make allowances.
:) I do not need allowances made. Nor do I expect consideration, because I am not dysfunctional. My introversion is not disabling or a phobia. Introversion is just part of how my personality 'is'. I prefer the low-keyed and the subdued and the solitary, but I do not become panicked or upset or wobbly-kneed in crowds or social situations.

I also do not need a badge that says I prefer to walk in sunny weather, or that I prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate :)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I am an Introvert.
As one introvert to another, thank you.

My wife taught the personality type method called Enneagram (nine points). She gave me one of her reader friendly teaching books. As I read through there was one type I did not want to be, until I saw this image: it was of a couple on a date sitting back to back under a tree each reading their own book. There was a a thought bubble above them both with connections back the forehead of each. The thought: "this is the best date I've ever been on".

I am re-reading the notes about my personality type. Included there as a key motivation is "Wants to defend one's self against the intrusion of others." And there are other descriptions of my type that mirror what others have said above.

Kia ora katoa (to you all: greetings, thank you, good health)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
I'm walking the Camino in June/July this year on my own. I prefer to walk alone but I'm such a people pleaser and hate causing offense of any kind that I'm afraid I will compromise my own experience by talking to people so that I din't appear rude or because it's the expected thing to do.
I hear you. :) People are responsible for how they react to something or someone. . you cannot control them, you can only control yourself.

I never intend rudeness by choosing to be more solitary. I do not snap at people, I smile and exchange pleasantries, and interact with others as needed or desired. I do not find it a problem or a stressor to do so.

Refuse to shoulder the burden of responsibility for someone else's issues. I do not expect someone who is outgoing or extroverted (outward focused) to feel badly because they are interacting with me when I do not prefer it. If I am reasonable in practicing my preference, I do not care if someone chooses to interpret that preference as rudeness.

My wife, Jill, shares some of what you've expressed. . . she is a very sociable person, but she is always concerned about 'appearances'. It has taken her quite a while to get used to the fact that, while I try not to be intrusive to others in general and observe the obvious social graces, I simply do not care, in the social world -- and outside of professional obligations - - how someone else looks or 'feels' about me. :)

None of what I wrote may help soothe your concerns. But keep this in mind: how we think someone else sees us, is often blown out of proportion to how others actually see us.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I'm walking the Camino in June/July this year on my own. I prefer to walk alone but I'm such a people pleaser and hate causing offense of any kind that I'm afraid I will compromise my own experience by talking to people so that I din't appear rude or because it's the expected thing to do.
Have some excuses ready. Lovely to meet you, but do you mind if xxxxx See you later I hope.
Just meditating......just whatever.

Avoiding eye contact helps. Eye contact seems to be a 'green flag' to approach...

Turn your back and raise your phone as if taking a photo.

Recite a prayer, poem.....

Once they get into your personal space it's harder :oops:

Or, someone suggested carrying a Rosary. If people see that they may assume you are praying and leave you alone. ;)

Ultimately if you want to walk alone. Tell people. They'll respect that.
Or just, I'd like to walk alone today, do you mind?
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
You can pause, look around to assess the situation, make your way to a table near that person, sit down in a position that makes conversation possible (i.e. not with your back to that person). Do what you planned to do, make eye contact casually, say something like "nice weather, eh?" (That would show you are Canadian). Thus you have been friendly without imposing. If the place is crowded and there is no suitable empty table, the game changes. You ask the person permission to join them. Be casually friendly but restrained.

Simple 😁
That's a nice approach. It's usually obvious then, if they want to strike up a conversation, or not.
 

robproct

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP from Lisbon 2018
For me doing a Camino is a Walking Meditation and being able to spend time just with myself in introspection and absorbing the environment. I had the great luxury when walking the Portuguese recently when I did not even see another pilgrim for the first week out of Lisbon. It felt like an absolute luxury having all that time without having to talk to anyone. I am not antisocial and am happy with my own company much of the time despite my long career as a psychiatrist when I can engage warmly with people. That's enough of people for me and I am very good at it but in my private life I am so glad to enjoy the luxury of solitude with my wife who is more of a 'people person'. I chose to do the Portuguese rather than the Frances because it is a "Road Less Traveled", to use the title of M Scott Peck's famous book.

Attempting to avoid being interrogated by people is another thing I try to cope with. People ask me "What do you do?" I try to avoid it and say that I am retired, which is true as I am now 79yo. They don't take the hint and follow up with "What did you used to do?" I will reluctantly say that I used to be a doctor but not any more. Then they usually press on and ask "What sort of doctor were you?" And so on. I have reluctantly had this conversation many times before they move on with the rest of the interrogation, such as "Are you married, where do you live, do you have any children, etc,?" We are nearly all interested in other people so these questions are perfectly normal and if one is sensitive and an 'innie' then one can read the other persons response to such questions and know how to respect that. Less sensitive people just press on and are quite unaware of the impact of their questions.

On the other as in Dave's account there is also great pleasure in meeting up with a 'Fellow Traveler' where there is a recognition of of each other which is not at the level of verbal interaction. This is also a great luxury as to meet up with such a person can be an most enjoyable meeting souls.
 

Bleufils

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2018)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Dear David ,I can relate to all of the aspects of your post ,thank you.James
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I fit into both camps I can be by myself on a quieter route and not see any pilgrims for days or even weeks and at the same time I'm not conversing with the locals as well and I'm ok with it, I'm not on my phone all the time either. I have had the thought on a couple occasions 'I have been alone for x days' and I've realised I have been and needed that thought to make me look at my situation because I was unconcerned by it otherwise , in fact my deepest and most precious moments have happened then, on the Arles walking in a forest the wind was blowing through the trees and I started feeling one with it, the lack of distractions can be healing. However when the opportunity arises I do distractions very well and can live that life to the full when on a busier route. So I'm probably not an introvert but I hope and I'm sure I would respect you and your way if I met you @davebugg
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Can you help me with something really practical: If I see someone sitting by themselves in a cafe, how will I know whether they are introverted and so choosing to be alone, or just shy and therefore perhaps more lonely than happily alone??? Thanks.
I wonder why you even need to know? If I am sitting at a table alone over a coffee, anything other than a polite nod might be an unwelcome intrusion. If the place runs out of seats, a polite request to sit at the same table will get a positive response, but is not an invitation to engage in conversation. And if I look blankly at you when you start asking intrusive questions, I am prepared for you to believe that I am innately idiotic rather than to have to disrupt my own quiet contemplation and engage you in pointless conversation.

You could use an opener like 'if this seat is free, may I join you?' That normally creates the opportunity to at least start a conversation. But do remember something that @Bradypus has already discussed, others are not there to provide you with companionship, company nor conversation, and be respectful of that.
 
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truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Nov 2016)
Camino Podiensis/Le Puy (Sept 2019)
Camino Frances (Oct 2019)
Self-proclaimed introvert checking in here! Wow, thank you for putting words to this. I love the Camino but holy heck does it test me. There are many days where I just cannot handle people and need to take a day off in the form of getting a private room. I don’t care to walk with people, preferring to just concentrate on the road ahead. My more extroverted self comes out after I’ve had my shower and enjoying a vino tinto and some excellent snacks.

Even though the Camino is a brother and sisterhood it is a microcosm of the microcosm. Just like “real life” (whatever that is) I run into people I just don’t care for and steer clear. Or they tax me energetically.

And, I no longer ask “why are you doing the Camino?” I have found that question to be somewhat intrusive. Not offensive, just intrusive. I want people open up to me organically. As of late, when asked that question, I find myself already exhausted, attempting to “wind up”, attempting to formulate the words of why I want to walk a god-forsaken amount of kilometers across a few countries. A lot of the reasons why I walk Caminos come from grief, loss and pain and not everyone should have access to that.
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
Have some excuses ready. Lovely to meet you, but do you mind if xxxxx See you later I hope.
Just meditating......just whatever.

Avoiding eye contact helps. Eye contact seems to be a 'green flag' to approach...

Turn your back and raise your phone as if taking a photo.

Recite a prayer, poem.....

Once they get into your personal space it's harder :oops:

Or, someone suggested carrying a Rosary. If people see that they may assume you are praying and leave you alone. ;)

Ultimately if you want to walk alone. Tell people. They'll respect that.
Or just, I'd like to walk alone today, do you mind?
Thank you for this Robo. I really do appreciate it.
I think I need to buy myself a sweet of rosary beads for more reasons than one 😁
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
I hear you. :) People are responsible for how they react to something or someone. . you cannot control them, you can only control yourself.

I never intend rudeness by choosing to be more solitary. I do not snap at people, I smile and exchange pleasantries, and interact with others as needed or desired. I do not find it a problem or a stressor to do so.

Refuse to shoulder the burden of responsibility for someone else's issues. I do not expect someone who is outgoing or extroverted (outward focused) to feel badly because they are interacting with me when I do not prefer it. If I am reasonable in practicing my preference, I do not care if someone chooses to interpret that preference as rudeness.

My wife, Jill, shares some of what you've expressed. . . she is a very sociable person, but she is always concerned about 'appearances'. It has taken her quite a while to get used to the fact that, while I try not to be intrusive to others in general and observe the obvious social graces, I simply do not care, in the social world -- and outside of professional obligations - - how someone else looks or 'feels' about me. :)

None of what I wrote may help soothe your concerns. But keep this in mind: how we think someone else sees us, is often blown out of proportion to how others actually see us.
Thank you for your advice and insights. I wish I could be more like you or at least be able to take your approach but I don't feel strong enough.
Often if I pop into the local shop I will have a pretend conversation with someone on my phone so that if I meet sometime I know, I can nod and continue on with my imaginary conversation and not have a real conversation in person. 🙄
The Camino is going to be a huge challenge for me.
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
I share this same fear Eibhlis. The OP and posts on this thread is helping me overcome some of those fears.
It's going to be one of the biggest challenges for me on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ?
I think I recognise myself in the posts above. I prefer my own company but decided I must try harder to socialise a bit more, that was my self given task for the CF.

But, I failed at the airport. I was met at the taxi pickup by two ladies from America who introduced them selves to us. We were then joined by another couple from Brazil, but I froze, and the American couple did the introductions. So much for overcoming my self challenge.

I’m also happy to be “alone” in a group as my wife is a good “front” for us both and it generally works well.

we don’t really get into walking with people, we tend to have “2 minute conversations” as that’s the time it takes to politely pass someone and stil have short hello with them.

I can socialise, quite well at times, but it does not come naturally.

I guess I shall try again in May, but try harder this time.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
I guess I shall try again in May, but try harder this time.
Do so only if that is a goal that you want to accomplish. Don't feel pressured to do so because you think there is something wrong with you. If you are dealing with shyness, rather than introversion, I can definitely understand trying to develop tools to overcome the tendency to freeze up when in contact with new people.

So I can gently encourage you to explore these issues: try and distinguish between shyness vs whether or not you are an Introvert.

Let us know how things go for you, David. :)
 

el guapo 123

El guapo
Camino(s) past & future
2014 2016 2018
Do so only if that is a goal that you want to accomplish. Don't feel pressured to do so because you think there is something wrong with you. If you are dealing with shyness, rather than introversion, I can definitely understand trying to develop tools to overcome the tendency to freeze up when in contact with new people.

So I can gently encourage you to explore these issues: try and distinguish between shyness vs whether or not you are an Introvert.

Let us know how things go for you, David. :)
Well I enjoyed that commentary immensely. I may lie somewhere between introvert and extrovert as we all do. I walk alone. Have been invited to join groups but I still prefer my own thoughts. But then I crave company. So many lovely people I have met on three Camino. Watching the Way. Again and the longing begins. end of August 2020.
 

Wild Irish

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mixed Camino/ Francés with variants (July/Aug 2020)
[QUOTE="davebugg, post: 8127

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.


Thank you for this @davebugg ! As a newbie it's such a comfort to read this thread, and a relief. I know I'll have to share dorm spaces for a chunk of the time but I couldn't do it constantly and will definitely be taking breathers as much as possible (and thanks for your advice on camping at albergues). Also, some very good tips by everyone on how to navigate not wanting to walk/ talk with someone without appearing rude....it's great to know there are many with a similar mindset! My anxieties have been soothed, thanks all, I hope to meet some of you out there 😁
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
[QUOTE="davebugg, post: 8127

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.


Thank you for this @davebugg ! As a newbie it's such a comfort to read this thread, and a relief. I know I'll have to share dorm spaces for a chunk of the time but I couldn't do it constantly and will definitely be taking breathers as much as possible (and thanks for your advice on camping at albergues). Also, some very good tips by everyone on how to navigate not wanting to walk/ talk with someone without appearing rude....it's great to know there are many with a similar mindset! My anxieties have been soothed, thanks all, I hope to meet some of you out there 😁
Don't forget that even when sharing dorm spaces, you may not be IN the dorm area for much of the time. Doing washing and other chores. Wandering around sight seeing and watching people well into the evening. Having dinner. Doing some shopping at the local mercado for the next days supplies of snacks and other goodies. Looking for unique souvenirs. Sitting in the local plaza mayor soaking up the ambiance of the village or town or city that you are staying in.

The architecture, culture, and the countryside are not in the albergue dorm (although some of the alburgues are quite unique and historic), but outside. So you have a great excuse and opportunity to enjoy yourself even while lodging dorm-style :)
 

Wild Irish

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mixed Camino/ Francés with variants (July/Aug 2020)
Don't forget that even when sharing dorm spaces, you may not be IN the dorm area for much of the time. Doing washing and other chores. Wandering around sight seeing and watching people well into the evening. Having dinner. Doing some shopping at the local mercado for the next days supplies of snacks and other goodies. Looking for unique souvenirs. Sitting in the local plaza mayor soaking up the ambiance of the village or town or city that you are staying in.

The architecture, culture, and the countryside are not in the albergue dorm (although some of the alburgues are quite unique and historic), but outside. So you have a great excuse and opportunity to enjoy yourself even while lodging dorm-style :)
Absolutely true, there's so much more to focus on! It's good to keep things in perspective, it's only one aspect of it and good not to get bogged down worrying about it, which I must admit I was a tad, just due to negative previous experience! And who knows, I might really enjoy it anyways this time around. Must keep an open mind 😁 Cheers for that! 👍
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I find that it is easier to be alone/independent/anonymous in a large dorm than in a small one.
I feel absolutely the same way! Give me a 20+ person dorm room where I am less likely to be noticed over a 4 person room!

This is the reason I object whenever the subject comes up on the forum where people are criticized for the time they spend on their phones. Often, I would actually prefer to interact with my phone than with people, and what is wrong with that!!! :mad::eek:

I have always loved to sit at a restaurant table my myself, eating dinner and reading my phone or a book. That is often criticized or pitied. However, I don't usually do that on the camino, since I enjoy getting to know my fellow pilgrims in that situation and it is worth making the effort to do so.
Once again I agree with you.

I'm another "ambivert", which is one reason why I love the Camino. I can be alone when I want, and there are usually plenty of people around to socialize when I want. I prefer walking with just a few people - no large groups please.
I spent a week on the Salvador this year with no one to talk with in English, and only one in Spanish, which given my poor level of Spanish, I found exhausting, and was relieved when he decided to stop at Pajares, while I continued on to Campomanes.
I don't think that there is anything wrong with introverts or extroverts, and I believe that most of us are somewhere on the "spectrum".
It looks like I am agreeing with @C clearly yet again! -
Here, I am not so sure about your use of "most." Inevitably, the gregarious people will be noticed and heard more, beyond their actual representation. I insist that "most" of us are very much in-between and can understand both ends of the spectrum. I consider myself to be on the innie side, and I very much dislike attention being drawn to me. That said, I really enjoy the company of people whose company I enjoy!

I disagree with the statement made somewhere above that extroverts are "missing" something because they need other people to make their lives whole. The way that I understand introverts/extroverts is that introverts need alone time to "recharge" and find being with other people too much to be draining, while extroverts are energized by being with other people. I find myself in both camps at different times. I definitely need my alone time, especially after a prolonged time with other people, but on many occasions I am energized by being with others.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I am very much the same, Dave

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me.
That sort of situation can give me an anxiety attack, and if that happens I simply have to leave in order to be completely alone. Inevitably, some people can be offended by this, but that doesn't mean I have any control over it or that I could just "get over it". So I've learned to just completely avoid such events.

That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.
I've moved on past the stage when that genuinely bothered me, though it is one of the more annoying features of the Way in-between SJPP and Pamplona/Logroño particularly.

But well, I have found that answering "I haven't had a serious blister since 1994" and telling them where I started walking does tend to quiet them down. Though it does help in this endeavour that I am a passive-aggressive. And I've found that this actually works fairly well as a filter letting through only those with something actually meaningful to respond with to, well, me.

Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .
Let them come !! I can out-Camino-philosophise the worst of them !!! :po_O:cool:

Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.
Well yeah, but -- the last "Camino Family" I belonged to was 5 loner fast long-distance hikers, split into two groups of 3 and 2 (I was in the latter group).

That was OK, as none of us bothered any of the others.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Yep, spot on.
___________________________________

Here, I am not so sure about your use of "most." Inevitably, the gregarious people will be noticed and heard more, beyond their actual representation. I insist that "most" of us are very much in-between and can understand both ends of the spectrum. I consider myself to be on the innie side, and I very much dislike attention being drawn to me. That said, I really enjoy the company of people whose company I enjoy!
Really, most people in society are gregarious. You just have to compare the numbers living in villages, towns, cities to those living isolated & out in the sticks. It is the norm of human behaviour, and the "outsiders" are typically viewed with mistrust and suspicion. Sometimes with even worse attitudes.

It's why social exclusion is such a harsh punishment.

Having said that, the Camino and other long-distance hikes will obviously attract a far greater number of loners into the same places together, and very possibly such "in-betweenies" as yourself.

So I think that the ordinary rules of society aren't quite the same on the Camino.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Religion is something we do with other people
Usually yes, but that's not quite right, as there are the occasional huge exceptions (a long solitary religious foot pilgrimage, as a completely random example of this 👉)

Religion is something we do the same as other people.

spirituality is something we do alone.
Religious spirituality is not something we do alone.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Hi Dave
I have been reading this thread now since you started it.
I am definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert, even though I have held positions which required presenting, socialising and operating in large and loud teams of people. (My husband like your wife is the more outgoing).
I have coped by doing as little as possible out-of-work socializing, as I need that time as my 'recovery".
Three nights of corporate hosting in a week, and I need a weekend by myself in silence. The energy required to be "on" all the time is incredible. Weirdly enough I love event management which can be very much like herding cats, so it's not the stress or the mental effort that bothers me.
I have even turned down 'junket' work trips, as the idea of having to be with these people all day and night for a week (and stuck in a car or plane with them) would push me over the edge. (My sister is a psychologist, and hates it even more than me which I find really funny).
So I was concerned the first time I went to Spain - I wasn't sure if I could cope with albergue life. Turned out that I love it, although every week or so, I book a private room for a night. I only once stayed in a small dorm of 4, most of the time, there at least 6 bunks.
And I'm fine with group dinners, the only issue is if we cant share a language. I mainly walk by myself. As long as someone has the same pace, I'm happy to walk with them for a bit, but if they stop, I will go on or vice versa. I have made friendships that didn't involve walking together or even seeing each other every day.

But what I couldn't cope with last time was the first day out of Sarria. It wasn't so much the huge numbers of people. It was the fact that lots of them were in groups, loud groups from the minute they got off the bus. Their loud high pitched chatter and shrieks the whole time was awful all that day. The last time I walked was in June 2017, there were less people altogether, and less and quieter groups)
When we got to Portomarin, I was done with people and noise, almost traumatised. I actively avoided those people trying to converse with me, they probably thought I was rude, but I was past caring what anyone thought of me. I was struggling just to share the path that day let alone chat to anyone. I think it probably doesn't help when you've been walking for weeks on your own. I know people say to welcome their excitement, and be carried along by their energy, but I'm afraid I just couldn't do it. It was like being in a mall at Christmas time, one of my least favourite places to be.

The weird thing is that those people disappeared after that first day, and the other days into Santiago were similar to my 2017 walk, and just fine. Where did they all go, I have no idea. My husband thinks they got back on a bus, but that would have been a lot of buses. His comment was at least walking with them was better than being confined on a bus with them - which was true. I was just grateful they were gone. Even now, being back for a few months, we often talk about that day..

So I have learned something about myself, its not just ME time that I need, its also QUIET time. Many of my friends are also introverts and feel the same way, the double whammy of too many people, and too much noise can be a deal breaker.

People are often concerned that I walk alone a lot, and some have almost been shocked when I say I walk alone (or with my dog) by preference.
Maybe I'm generalising but I think wanting to walk alone is something extroverts have trouble comprehending.
When we were just married my husband used to come walking with me in the mornings before work. He would chatter, sing, want to change up the route - drove me crazy. . In the end he was relieved when I told him I didnt want him to walk with me, as it turned out he was only coming because he thought I wanted the company.
 
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tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I think these introvert/extrovert labels, presented too often as polar opposites, do us all a big disservice. I see it more as a continuum, and it really gets down to what feeds your soul. For me it is deep connections with an intimate group. I’m not big on large groups, where the interactions are often superficial, but I’m also not a loner. I need to connect with people and nature. Sometimes I need alone time, but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it.
 

Leibniz

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
I feel the same, Davebugg, and it seems there are a few of us! I don’t dislike people at all and I don’t mind listening to conversations, but I feel like my own little island (and I like it that way).

In the past though I have sometimes felt that it was a “problem” and that I should overcome it and become an extrovert. The first time I was on the Camino someone asked me what my “quest” was, and I didn’t have one. But then I thought about it and I ended up praying that this would be it, that the Camino would “cure” me from my introversion.

But the wonderful thing that happened in fact was that I got cured of my shame of being an introvert. Now I’m accepting myself as I am and loving my introvert self, I no longer worry about having to pretend I’m an outie just because that expected and more “acceptable”.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The weird thing is that those people disappeared after that first day, and the other days into Santiago were similar to my 2017 walk, and just fine. Where did they all go, I have no idea.
It's the same thing in SJPP, Roncesvalles, Burgos, and León -- as you move away from these congregation points, the crowds there get scattered along the way, sleeping here and there depending on how far they walk, instead of everyone sleeping in one place. Plus the cyclists just disappear on ahead. Plus on the Meseta everyone who vanishes from skipping it, their loss ...

There are a couple of albergues before reaching Sarria proper, just on the outskirts walking in, that are handy, else it might be better just walking on through and further along. But then if you get into Sarria and the crowds aren't so big that day, it can be OK.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I need to connect with people
But introverts don't need to ...

Of course you're right that it's not a hard binary either/or, and that there are degrees of introversion just as there are degrees of extraversion, and that in many people there's some degree of both simultaneously.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
On my first camino I walked the Camino Aragones and the Camino de Invierno as well. If I walk at home now in the winter I prefer it to walk in the night... because I feel more alone then, even if I walk in the park in a big town. So I think I am more introverted than extroverted.

But I think I could have as much contact and talking on the camino as I wanted to have. Of course not all of the time... but very often I could choose if I want to walk alone or with other pilgrims in a group.
And of course often talking was a kind of smalltalk. But sometimes it was very different... and only after a few minutes we talked about topics that I usually only talk about with my best friend maybe.

I think I can choose a lot as a pilgrim to adjust my camino to my kind of being introverted or extroverted:
Which camino? Which time of the year?
And every day maybe different: Albergue or private accommodation? Communal dinner or not? Walking alone or in a group?

Some of the best moments on my camino I had while being together with pilgrims and talking with pilgrims I have not known the day or a few days before... and some of the best moments I had while walking alone... without seeing anyone.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think these introvert/extrovert labels, presented too often as polar opposites, do us all a big disservice. I see it more as a continuum, and it really gets down to what feeds your soul. For me it is deep connections with an intimate group. I’m not big on large groups, where the interactions are often superficial, but I’m also not a loner. I need to connect with people and nature. Sometimes I need alone time, but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it.
Tom, you have described me well in your few short words. I also relate to portions of many of the posts on this interesting thread.
 

Cheri SLP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2015
Camino Frances—starting in January 2019!
I highly recommend “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking”, by Susan Cain. Not just for introverts, as extroverts might benefit from reading it.

I walk alone. I enjoy conversations with one or two on meaningful topics. I hate touchy feely group-speak.
I was going to recommend this book as well! Modern Western society values the extrovert, and for most of my life i’ve felt bad about myself because I’m shy and introverted, but after reading ‘Quiet’ I finally found peace with who I am. It’s a powerful book, and a useful read before doing something as intensely personal and social as a Camino.
 

formysons

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles - Santiago 2009; Portuguese, Ingles, Finesterre and Muxia - 2019.
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
I concur, I like people and get along with most, but I tend to be more of a listener than a talker. I did the Meseta on my own in September last year and can say without a shadow of doubt that it was the most fulfilling and enjoyable Camino, to walk in silence with only the crunch of your shoes, sky above and endless vistas, I had some very interesting conversations with myself and reached home with such a sense of self worth and confidence and I'm sure its because I did all the travelling and what goes with it all on my own at age 75. Wonderful solo quiet Camino !!
 

MWerda

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2020)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
Dave,
Thank you for your post. I, too, am an introvert by nature (Meyers Briggs INFJ type). I have had to work very hard at being social in group settings. When I took the Meyers Briggs personality inventory, one of the descriptions of my personality type explained that as introverts we can and do work in social settings. This is not our preferred setting; it will drain our internal batteries very quickly. We need those quiet times by ourselves to recharge these inner batteries.

One of my hardest challenges is small talk. After the customary introductions, I run out of things to say and then comes the awkward silence. But wait an hour or two later after I’ve had time to internally process the situation, and I’ve got a lot I could have said.

My Camino is coming up this June and July. I am relishing some stretches alone along The Way. For those times when social interaction is needed, I’ll work hard at being open and friendly. But, when the “battery” starts getting low, I will have to retreat and observe from a safe distance. The flip side of that is once I get to know someone, then I can let down my guard. I then can engage in some personal conversation or let out my sense of humor.

Thanks, Dave, for your post. Hopefully it will open the eyes to some or many that we are not anti-social. We just need our time to recharge and process.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
One thing this simple dichotomy misses is the added factor of self-absorption.
Extroverts who care about others are (mostly) a delight. The self-absorbed ones.......well, never mind.
Introverts are harder to peg as far as that's concerned. But it still matters. Some people radiate a 'leave me alone' vibe, like energetic porcupines (I have to admit to often doing this on planes...). Others are kind and caring but simply do better with quiet and solitude.
But if people are not self-absorbed - and hence sensitive to others - they are worth being around no matter what.
 

Wild Irish

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mixed Camino/ Francés with variants (July/Aug 2020)
I concur, I like people and get along with most, but I tend to be more of a listener than a talker. I did the Meseta on my own in September last year and can say without a shadow of doubt that it was the most fulfilling and enjoyable Camino, to walk in silence with only the crunch of your shoes, sky above and endless vistas, I had some very interesting conversations with myself and reached home with such a sense of self worth and confidence and I'm sure its because I did all the travelling and what goes with it all on my own at age 75. Wonderful solo quiet Camino !!
You just transported me there @formysons sounds heavenly! I'm really looking forward to walking the Meseta and hope to have a similar experience 🙂
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Whew! What a long and intensely interesting thread to read. I have been lurking during my 30-day exile, but can now toss my two or three cents worth in.

I applaud Davebugg for starting this thread, It is a subject that pleads to be discussed. I enjoyed every single post above, even those I might not totally have agreed with.

For me, I am an introvert by design. I lived most of my life this way. Along the way I learned that being a solitary person was different from being a lonely person. Being alone does not equate to being lonely. In the same vein, being an introvert does not mean you dislike people. You are just more self-contained, your own best friend so to speak.

However, once I retired, then discovered the Camino, I discovered a calling to help others, to engage with them to see if I can be of any assistance to them. Over several years and several Caminos and volunteer stints in Santiago, I also came to understand that I had a need to help other pilgrims. I am still fond of telling myself that any day that I help another pilgrim is a very good day indeed.

Yet, I am still an introvert by design. At the end of a day of engaging with others to be helpful, I am exhausted.

While on Camino, I will always exchange standard greetings and pleasantries with other pilgrims. In cafes or tiendas, I will always exchange polite chit-chat in others. My Spanish is starting to get good enough to do so in that language.

At dinner, I enjoy the company of others, but for a relatively short time. As has been said above, I do need my time and space. Typically, I find that by solitary-walking during the day on the Camino.

I guess I am a 'mixto' pilgrim...?

One thing, on my first or second Camino (can't recall clearly just now) I encountered a young woman walking with a hand-lettered sign on her rucksack that said:

"Silent Pilgrim
Thank you"

The sign was made of about an A4 (letter sized) piece of cardboard, suspended by a string. It conveyed the message. This woman was telling all who walked up to her that she desired to walk a silent pilgrimage. I, and others around me at the time just waved at her or tipped their hats or poles in salute. as they passed.

This raised the thought that you could prepare such a sign at home, using water-resistant plastic corrugate material available in any hobby shop and most office supply stores. Or recycle some roadside sign of the right size. The back side is usually always plain white.

Using a waterproof marker, you might state the same message as above, or something similar in both English and Spanish:

"Silent Pilgrim
Peregrino Silencioso
Gracias"

That should do it. A "desk-tent card" sized version of the above placed on a cafe or restaurant table should deter most all interlopers as well.

If you wish to be left alone there are passive ways to accomplish it. Personally, I have learned that I enjoy the quiet and peace while walking from town to town, but once I stop, I crave some human contact. As I get older, I find that I enjoy being out around and helping people.

Hope this helps... damn glad to be back in the flock...
 
Last edited:

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It might have seem to you that long ;-)
BC SY
1. YES, it did feel that long... I can now reduce my alprazolam dosage...
2. Thank you for pointing out the typo. The zero key is just next to the hyphen key... silly boy.
3. It is fixed... ;-)

Let me know by separate post, how things are faring for you and the Chaplaincy for the coming season.

Best regards,

Tom
 

ISABEL linares

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
Whew! What a long and intensely interesting thread to read. I have been lurking during my 30-day exile, but can now toss my two or three cents worth in.

I applaud Davebugg for starting this thread, It is a subject that pleads to be discussed. I enjoyed every single post above, even those I might not totally have agreed with.

For me, I am an introvert by design. I lived most of my life this way. Along the way I learned that being a solitary person was different from being a lonely person. Being alone does not equate to being lonely. In the same vein, being an introvert does not me you dislike people. You are just more self-contained, your own best friend so to speak.

However, once I retired, then discovered the Camino, I discovered a calling to help others, to engage with them to see if I can be of any assistance to them. Over several years and several Caminos and volunteer stints in Santiago, I also came to understand tat I had a need to help other pilgrims. I am still fond of telling myself that any day that I help another pilgrim is a very good day indeed.

Yet, I am still an introvert by design. At the end of a day of engaging with others to be helpful, I am exhausted.

While on Camino, I will always exchange standard greetings and pleasantries with other pilgrims. In cafes or tiendas, I will always exchange polite chit-chat in others. My Spanish is starting to get good enough to do so in that language.

At dinner, I enjoy the company of others, but for a relatively short time. As has been said above, I do need my tie and space. Typically, I find that by solitary-walking during the day on the Camino.

I guess I am a 'mixto' pilgrim...?

One thing, on my first or second Camino (can't recall clearly just now) I encountered a young woman walking with a hand-lettered sign on her rucksack that said:

"Silent Pilgrim
Thank you"

The sign was made of about an A4 (letter sized) piece of cardboard, suspended by a string. It conveyed the message. This woman was telling all who walked up to her that she desired to walk a silent pilgrimage. I, and others around me at the time just waved at her or tipped their hats or poles in salute. as they passed.

This raised the thought that you could prepare such a sign at home, using water-resistant plastic corrugate material available in any hobby shop and most office supply stores. Or recycle some roadside sign of the right size. The back side is usually always plain white.

Using a waterproof marker, you might state the same message as above, or something similar in both English and Spanish:

"Silent Pilgrim
Peregrino Silencioso
Gracias"

That should do it. A "desk-tent card" sized version of the above placed on a cafe or restaurant table should deter most all interlopers as well.

If you wish to be left alone there are passive ways to accomplish it. Personally, I have learned that I enjoy the quiet and peace while walking from town to town, but once I stop, I crave some human contact. As I get older, I find that I enjoy being out around people.

Hope this helps... damn glad to be back in the flock...
Whew! What a long and intensely interesting thread to read. I have been lurking during my 30-day exile, but can now toss my two or three cents worth in.

I applaud Davebugg for starting this thread, It is a subject that pleads to be discussed. I enjoyed every single post above, even those I might not totally have agreed with.

For me, I am an introvert by design. I lived most of my life this way. Along the way I learned that being a solitary person was different from being a lonely person. Being alone does not equate to being lonely. In the same vein, being an introvert does not me you dislike people. You are just more self-contained, your own best friend so to speak.

However, once I retired, then discovered the Camino, I discovered a calling to help others, to engage with them to see if I can be of any assistance to them. Over several years and several Caminos and volunteer stints in Santiago, I also came to understand tat I had a need to help other pilgrims. I am still fond of telling myself that any day that I help another pilgrim is a very good day indeed.

Yet, I am still an introvert by design. At the end of a day of engaging with others to be helpful, I am exhausted.

While on Camino, I will always exchange standard greetings and pleasantries with other pilgrims. In cafes or tiendas, I will always exchange polite chit-chat in others. My Spanish is starting to get good enough to do so in that language.

At dinner, I enjoy the company of others, but for a relatively short time. As has been said above, I do need my tie and space. Typically, I find that by solitary-walking during the day on the Camino.

I guess I am a 'mixto' pilgrim...?

One thing, on my first or second Camino (can't recall clearly just now) I encountered a young woman walking with a hand-lettered sign on her rucksack that said:

"Silent Pilgrim
Thank you"

The sign was made of about an A4 (letter sized) piece of cardboard, suspended by a string. It conveyed the message. This woman was telling all who walked up to her that she desired to walk a silent pilgrimage. I, and others around me at the time just waved at her or tipped their hats or poles in salute. as they passed.

This raised the thought that you could prepare such a sign at home, using water-resistant plastic corrugate material available in any hobby shop and most office supply stores. Or recycle some roadside sign of the right size. The back side is usually always plain white.

Using a waterproof marker, you might state the same message as above, or something similar in both English and Spanish:

"Silent Pilgrim
Peregrino Silencioso
Gracias"

That should do it. A "desk-tent card" sized version of the above placed on a cafe or restaurant table should deter most all interlopers as well.

If you wish to be left alone there are passive ways to accomplish it. Personally, I have learned that I enjoy the quiet and peace while walking from town to town, but once I stop, I crave some human contact. As I get older, I find that I enjoy being out around and helping people.

Hope this helps... damn glad to be back in the flock...
Introvert by design,well done
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
Well said Dave. I am very much the same as you have described. If my wife is away on a business trip I can happily go for days without speaking to another person. I have always been very comfortable with my own company.

My wife is the polar opposite of me. Opposites atrack? If not for her I would happily live in a cabin out in the woods, 500 miles from the nearest human and make semi-annual supply runs.

The challenge at all times is to not appear to be rude or aloof as extroverts find us puzzling to say the least!

My happiest days on the Camino is when I can't see another person anywhere. My wife generally finds people to chat with during the day as we have vastly different walking paces
.
We generally stay in private rooms as I really can't stand bunk rooms at all. They are simply endured when no other option exists.

So Dave if we ever cross paths on a Camino, I will just nod and smile and keep walking!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2019, 2020)
Note: Undoubtedly there will be some unintentional flub up I've made while trying to write down my thoughts on this topic, but it is not intended to offend anybody. And I do hope that nothing written is meant to convey an attitude of unfriendliness or unwillingness to help others or lend a hand.

Hi. My name is David, and I am a non-recovering Introvert.

I do Camino Pilgrimages for myself. Generally, it is for religious and spiritual reasons; I do not do them for social interactions. . . . . which is an odd thing to say, given the fact that, depending on the Camino and the time of year one walks a Pilgrimage, you will be surrounded by lots of people who are also doing their Camino walks.

I just generally don’t enjoy talking to strangers. It is not because I am an antisocial guy, it is simply a symptom of the fact that I am an Introvert. . .or more Introverted than Extroverted. I am an Innie, not an Outie. It is just a fact that my comfort level is better served by slowly getting to know someone, which is often diametrically opposed to Camino-life realities.

And no. . I have no more control over being an Introvert, any more than someone can control the need to breathe. It is not something that can be cured, like a disease or short-term illness; it is just part of how I am hard-wired.

Don’t get me wrong. . . being an Introvert does not inform HOW I behave toward others; it is about how I feel and react inside to being around groups and strangers. If someone screeches their fingernails on a chalkboard, I cannot control the gooseflesh reaction. . . but I can control whether I cringe or groan or show any other voluntary reactions.

Large groups, at parties or ‘get togethers,’ will find me either MIA or sitting back in the shadows, observing the group dynamic. Always being “on” when surrounded by people is simply too mentally exhausting for me. That exhaustion is multiplied many times over on Camino, when surrounded by new communal cohorts and asked the same questions every..single..day.

Q: Why are you doing Camino? I’m on a mission from God.

Q: Where are you from? A great place on Earth.

Yup. . just like those two sample questions. Sometimes, I almost feel like I should print out business cards containing the typical questions with my answers so that I can just hand them out and avoid being corralled into an involuntary interrogation. But I know that folks do not look at 'breaking the ice' questions as anything other than harmless conversation. Well, except for those who fancy themselves as Camino Philosophers and relish bending the ear of any hapless Pilgrim with what is really just a load of metaphysical bovine feces. Add vino, and. . .well . . .

I do not like feeling a need to appear to be open around new folks. . . I know I am not required to do so, but I also know that it is easy for people to assign negative motives if I am not. Humans, as a species, ARE social creatures. Some of us, however, are not.

This is why the dorm life of an alburgue is challenging to me, even though I will stay in albergues a lot of the time... ( plus I had enough of it in the Army in barracks). Or why I would rather walk barefoot over fingernail and toenail clippings, piled onto a bed of thorns, that are covering the stony path into Molinaseca, than to stay at a place like Orisson. Or that the notion of a ‘Camino Family’ is equivalent to a case of food poisoning.

Look, I intellectually understand that most folks don’t have the same ‘temperament’ as me. I do not begrudge that one little bit. I just do not emotionally and psychologically understand how anyone can enjoy social interactions in so open or easy a manner.

Maybe this will help folks understand that not everyone sitting by themselves, alone, needs a social ‘rescue’. It is certainly worthwhile to reach out to that person to see if such is warranted. . . pilgrims should look out for each other. Just consider not being offended if the offer is declined :)
I'm also an "innie" and was often surprised when I looked up and was at my day's destination. The time had flown and I hadn't had a conversation with a single person. I even had trouble remembering to say Buen Camino! I enjoyed meeting people here and there. Or walking along for a bit with someone. But I was happy to take a break with my coke and ice, legs stretched out, maybe shoes off, and not even notice whether I talked to anyone. That being said, I had some memorable interactions with pilgrims and villagers along the way. I loved that the Camino allowed me the freedom to have as little or as much interaction as I wanted for the moment. The idea of walking with someone (even my husband) for the entire trip buts a big damper on my desired experience just thinking about it!
 

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