A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

this life changing thing

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Hi all - have been pondering about this, this .. what is it? being called, nagged, to go on Camino and one's life being changed by the experience - now, to me it is simple as with my world view it is God that calls and we who answer .. and I feel that goes for agnogs and atheists too - someone sent me a cartoon just now and it made me wonder (after I stopped laughing) how many lives are changed, changed forever by this pilgrimage.
How many thought they were just going on a long hike without really knowing why - how many who had realised their lives were actually empty and went from a mix of desperation and hope.

How many have gone home and been utterly unable to slot back into their old meaningless untrue lives and have realigned themselves; with their friends and family, with the world, with their God (or whatever name they use - it doesn't matter, they are only signposts pointing at something beyond) ... just wondering ... pondering .. how wonderful the Camino is, how blessed we are that it is there, how blessed that we get called, nagged, nagged and nagged, to leave our comfort zones and throw ourselves fully into the immediate and being present life that the Camino is.

That is all .. just pondering, how the Good God - whether you believe he exist or not, will change our lives for the better, whether we like it or not! ;) - this is the cartoon that started this rambly thought process - Buen Camino to you all.

Simon Peter.jpg
 
Last edited:

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Good for you Doug. It was so nice that your response to my post - which was motivated only by warm feelings and humour - you did notice that there was a cartoon? - was so pleasant, and I thank you for that.
 
Last edited:

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I cannot speak for one other person, the Camino brings out a purity inside of me and until I can establish and be that in my everyday life then its the Camino for me + you meet some great people.
 

CykaUJ

Kenyan Heart, Russian Soul, Global Citizen
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago to Muxia Feb 2016
I don't know if I can put a 'why' I am doing it. I know it's a really long hike, and I'm not necessarily searching for a life changing experience. I keep calling it my 'reset button'. 2015 was a spectacularly shite year for me...lost my job of 7 years that I was told I was never in danger of losing, lost a lover, a medical issue came up as well, then several close friends died. So I decided to take a three month sabbatical and spent December in America, most of January at home in Kenya, and now I'm in Portugal about to start the camino to have a few weeks of remembering what it's like to sleep in hotels that are not 5 star, that I don't have to sleep with one hand on my phone to answer that important client call, to not get up at 0400 to try and get a training session in because I'll be too busy for the next 16 hours to do one, to be able to do things my way and not the way my lover wanted it done, to have to answer to no one and just check out for a couple weeks. I am sure I'll be in awe of the cathedral in Santiago, just as I am of any beautiful church, but there isn't anything religious in this for me, as I'm Taoist.
I'm sure it will change me in some ways though, if it doesn't, then it was a terrible waste of time!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Cyka ... 'reset button' - I like that, very much. What a year you have had, a real confrontation with life year - and now, willingly or not, you have stepped out of it and are naked, what a marvellous end gift ... I wonder how the future will be for you. I don't know if the inner Camino experience that many have is about religion - we aren't allowed to discuss religion on here so I will not, though I can say that I really dislike religion, formalised, doctrinal religion - to me the deep Way of the Tao is very similar to the deep Way of the Christian, how else could it be?
I hope that you find (again) the emptiness that is truly filling. If you need more time, and it looks as though you may be time rich, then after your first Camino why not take a bus over to St Jean and do a second one! Buen Camino.


pooh 1.gif
 
Last edited:

CykaUJ

Kenyan Heart, Russian Soul, Global Citizen
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago to Muxia Feb 2016
Thank you, David. :)
I don't know how the future will be for me, and I'm ok with that. I just started a blog for this, hopefully I'll be able to put words to some of this experience though!

I truly wish I was time rich, this is the end of my three month sabbatical, from here I close down my house in Denmark and go back to Tokyo to start my new company. I will go to Muxia, I just haven't decided if I'll be able to walk there or will drive it.
I am fairly sure though that this will be an annual thing. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
I'm sure it will change me in some ways though, if it doesn't, then it was a terrible waste of time!
Something strong pulled you to the Camino and reading about the year you've had, it's not hard to imagine what that was. I think we change every day we are alive however small and seemingly insignificant at the time. But it's all those small changes that add up to some of the biggest things in our lives. The Camino is a wonderful catalyst for change but I am reminded of an old saying "A watched pot never boils". I return again to the Camino in a couple of months and will do my best just to be open to the experience and let in whatever presents itself. I can say safely for myself that even if I didn't experience any 'big' changes, I'd never consider it a waste of time. I hope 2016 is a better year for you...
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
Hi all - have been pondering about this, this .. what is it? being called, nagged, to go on Camino and one's life being changed by the experience - now, to me it is simple as with my world view it is God that calls and we who answer .. and I feel that goes for agnogs and atheists too - someone sent me a cartoon just now and it made me wonder (after I stopped laughing) how many lives are changed, changed forever by this pilgrimage.
How many thought they were just going on a long hike without really knowing why - how many who had realised their lives were actually empty and went from a mix of desperation and hope.

How many have gone home and been utterly unable to slot back into their old meaningless untrue lives and have realigned themselves; with their friends and family, with the world, with their God (or whatever name they use - it doesn't matter, they are only signposts pointing at something beyond) ... just wondering ... pondering .. how wonderful the Camino is, how blessed we are that it is there, how blessed that we get called, nagged, nagged and nagged, to leave our comfort zones and throw ourselves fully into the immediate and being present life that the Camino is.

That is all .. just pondering, how the Good God - whether you believe he exist or not, will change our lives for the better, whether we like it or not! ;) - this is the cartoon that started this rambly thought process - Buen Camino to you all.

View attachment 23681
I have been pondering along similar lines. Who is a pilgrim? Is everyone who walks the camino a pilgrim? How do you know you are a pilgrim? I think many people I met on the Camino were definitely on a religious pilgrimage while others were on vacation. I think some people became pilgrims on the Way... and discovered they had to change their name from Simon to Peter!!!
 

kerrychick

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 camino francis 2006 porto way 2010 camino francis 2014 camino francis.starting in Logrono in sep 2016.
The Camino is a pilgrimage first and formost.


The way of St James the apostle ,the clue is in the name
some people go for the long walk and the comraderary
and maybe the wine ,but the way shows you a simple life the way it was meant to be
the way he wanted us to treat each other ,sharing time ,and a simple meal of bread and wine.

Thats why we want to return again and again ,
its that simple.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
I once had dinner with a lawyer from the Hague, who was definitely in the middle of a life changing experience. He simply could not imagine how he would ever go back to his office and his previous life . Religion was never mentioned, and I don't think he perceived the trip as a religious pilgrimage, but there was nonetheless some sort of a personal a revelation in progress!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I sometimes think the Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage of the mind. When I returned home after mine I said nothing had changed, but I was wrong, it just took a little while to realize it.
 

Pray'nwalk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015. Levante, Avila-Toro & Sanabres, Ourense-Santiago
2017. Invierno & Oseira monastery
Hi all - have been pondering about this, this .. what is it? being called, nagged, to go on Camino and one's life being changed by the experience - now, to me it is simple as with my world view it is God that calls and we who answer .. and I feel that goes for agnogs and atheists too - someone sent me a cartoon just now and it made me wonder (after I stopped laughing) how many lives are changed, changed forever by this pilgrimage.
How many thought they were just going on a long hike without really knowing why - how many who had realised their lives were actually empty and went from a mix of desperation and hope.

How many have gone home and been utterly unable to slot back into their old meaningless untrue lives and have realigned themselves; with their friends and family, with the world, with their God (or whatever name they use - it doesn't matter, they are only signposts pointing at something beyond) ... just wondering ... pondering .. how wonderful the Camino is, how blessed we are that it is there, how blessed that we get called, nagged, nagged and nagged, to leave our comfort zones and throw ourselves fully into the immediate and being present life that the Camino is.

That is all .. just pondering, how the Good God - whether you believe he exist or not, will change our lives for the better, whether we like it or not! ;) - this is the cartoon that started this rambly thought process - Buen Camino to you all.

View attachment 23681
David, Thank you for sharing your lovely ponderings; your thoughts echo my own, especially as I am one of those who had to be called, nagged, for years, before I finally heard, and responded. Now I just bask in the sunshine of the new world it has opened to me.

Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 19th Aug - 19th September 2015

Camino Del Norte + Camino Primitivo in the summer of 2016
Thank you for sharing these thoughts - you are absolutely right.

I recently finished reading Paulo Coehlos book about the camino, and I thought the same thing.
Not only his life was changed, but many thousand people realized the same thing as he did on the way: "I can't keep on going like this. I need to, I have to do it differently.".

My whole perspective of my life, and my family, and why I am how I am changed. I suddenly grew. After I came home, people think of me as older. When they hear I am only 21, they are all so surprised. "You seem so much older!" they say.
I know why. The way made me, because I had to.

Oh, and now that we are on the subject about religion too, I never considered myself particularly religious before I went. I found religion while walking. I asked, the camino provided and answered. I guess that kinda life changing too..

Buen camino!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
Why am i walking my Camino? My wife has her knee replaced last year and she said to give her a goal in mind she wanted to walk the Camino. My wife is a woman of great faith. Much more than I have. I've never been an agnostic or an atheist. I started believing in God when I was young then my early twenties. I like to think I serve Him faithfully throughout these years, I believe I did my best and that's all that could be expected of me. I left the church 22 years ago when I found out that I trusted clergy molested my daughter who is 12 years old. It's taking me awhile to get back on speaking terms with God. Now back to my Camino. I told my wife that I would definitely walk with her. But during this last year I've had to figure out if I was walking with her or walking my own Camino. The last 6 months I have been trying to better understand God's relationship with me. And I believe the Camino will help that along. I'm not a religious person I'm not a member of a church and I probably never will be. But I don't think God cares about that, he only cares about taking care of me and my family as I honor him.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
I sometimes think the Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage of the mind. When I returned home after mine I said nothing had changed, but I was wrong, it just took a little while to realize it.
It's an interesting point you bring up. I've considered many times where the Pilgrimage 'takes place' and what it is and agree that the mind is primary but would also add that for me I believe it was through the month of daily physical effort and rhythm of walking that my mind was finally able to let go of all the other internal and external 'noise' in my life and really let the Camino in. After that point it became spiritual but lest I break some house rules, I'll leave it at that ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
How many thought they were just going on a long hike without really knowing why
Elizabeth Tudor (of England) said: "I have no desire to make windows into men's souls"

Only you know your motivations for doing a long hike, doing something between life shattering events or whatever.

Only you know why you start where you do and finish where you do.

And while I like to read the technical stuff about sleeping bags and packs and food and accommodation I love the types of discussion that David has started here.

And only I can catch a glimmer of why that is so for me.

So, thank you @David for this thread.
 

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
It's an interesting point you bring up. I've considered many times where the Pilgrimage 'takes place' and what it is and agree that the mind is primary but would also add that for me I believe it was through the month of daily physical effort and rhythm of walking that my mind was finally able to let go of all the other internal and external 'noise' in my life and really let the Camino in. After that point it became spiritual but lest I break some house rules, I'll leave it at that ;)
Great thread! I wonder, are people's lives changed by the Camino, and if so, why? and how? Is it the "daily physical effort, the rhythm of walking?" or is it getting out of the routine of the consumerist culture? or is it the community of pilgrims? Or, as David says, after the Camino, do people have a hard time going back to their "meaningless untrue lives?" And how have they discovered their "true lives" on the Camino? What makes life on the Camino more "true?" Is it the experience of walking, being immersed in nature, or is it the sacredness of the journey itself? Is there a break from mainstream culture? Is it the voluntary simplicity? Nature awareness? Inhabiting the body more fully? A re-alignment with the natural rhythms of the earth?

I have a lot of questions! I'm very curious to hear people's thoughts.

One more question: if we can't discuss religion on this forum, where might a good place be? I'd like to discuss the pilgrimage from a more spiritual perspective, not necessarily from only a Christian perspective, though.

I will be starting my first Camino from SJPdP on April 22nd. :)

Catherine
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
If you're lucky, or so disposed, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage will change you.
The Camino de Santiago, like it or not, was founded by religious people, with a religious purpose. Religion is also all about personal change, and transformation... as the cartoon points out: it can change your very name.
The Camino is about change and transformation... and suffering, too.
So it only makes sense to discuss the camino in religious terms.

I am always dismayed at the closed-minded pilgrims who refuse to acknowledge the camino's historic roots as a religious pathway, and who come down hard on Christian pilgrims, saying "this is MY camino, I will travel MY way," and who refuse to acknowledge that religious belief, let alone human suffering, can have any positive outcome.
Any mention of the religious reality of the camino is condemned as "judgemental" or "outdated" or even "fascist," and discussions of redemptive suffering are seen as pathological or masochistic or "just sick."

Many pilgrims have had terrible, harmful experiences with Catholicism or organized religion or Christianity, but they choose to walk this overtly Christian path... and somehow they expect the place and people here to bend to THEIR sensitivities and sensibility. I do not think this is realistic, nor is is appropriate. The Camino is studded with crucifixes and blisters and hospitals, because the camino, and religion, and pilgrimage, are all about transformation and change... things that are very hard work. Things that are painful. Things that are inherent in any worthwhile human endeavor.
Christians, like it or not, are taught that sometimes great effort, sacrifice, and pain have wonderful outcomes.
Pilgrims, Christian or not, often discover the same thing as they walk.

I say all that to say this: If you want "the true camino experience," don't look for it in boots, albergues, movies, dinners, plans, guidebooks, routes, or flights. Set aside your preconceptions about Catholicism and religion and pilgrimage and The Camino de Santiago and what the church did to you or your loved ones, and accept that this is a path invented by Catholic Christians, but quite generously open to everyone.

Just walk. Open your ears to the birdsong and rain and wind. Open your heart to what comes. It will be boring and painful and amazing, all in turns... But if you come with a child's heart, God will meet you out there. Somehow, some way you don't expect it, or even recognize.

And wow, that is when the change begins!
 

Cecy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2016
Some intense responses. Although all points of view can be called valid, one thing I know for sure is that you are CALLLED to the Camino, dont think it matters the reason you THINK you are doing it something greater than you is pulling at your heart strings. I will walk mine in Sept, the silence will yell at you if you just breathe and listen!!!
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
I don't know if I can put a 'why' I am doing it. I know it's a really long hike, and I'm not necessarily searching for a life changing experience. I keep calling it my 'reset button'. 2015 was a spectacularly shite year for me...lost my job of 7 years that I was told I was never in danger of losing, lost a lover, a medical issue came up as well, then several close friends died. So I decided to take a three month sabbatical and spent December in America, most of January at home in Kenya, and now I'm in Portugal about to start the camino to have a few weeks of remembering what it's like to sleep in hotels that are not 5 star, that I don't have to sleep with one hand on my phone to answer that important client call, to not get up at 0400 to try and get a training session in because I'll be too busy for the next 16 hours to do one, to be able to do things my way and not the way my lover wanted it done, to have to answer to no one and just check out for a couple weeks. I am sure I'll be in awe of the cathedral in Santiago, just as I am of any beautiful church, but there isn't anything religious in this for me, as I'm Taoist.
I'm sure it will change me in some ways though, if it doesn't, then it was a terrible waste of time!
This is a qualified 'like' - it's never a waste of time. But the rest of your post is right on.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
@Rebekah - Rebekah, I do believe you just revealed an aspect of yourself you tend to keep hidden - that is such a great post, such an honest and true and perceptive post, written from the heart. A marvellous post.

Cecy, and all others who realise they are called - yes, I too believe that we are called; nagged at until we have to go, and if we are willing, on pilgrimage, to let that hurt and armoured mind and heart we have created to be able to survive in that other world melt away and open our hearts, to the pains and the joys, to where we are at each moment and what we are experiencing deep inside, there is the real chance of change, of transformation. Not necessarily into a textbook religious person but, as Thomas of Kempis wrote, to receive, to undergo - "deliverance from all blindness of heart". It is a surrender that bestows freedom.

This Camino de Santiago, this pilgrimage, this Catholic pilgrimage .... it is noted for transformations, it isn't just a long hike, not at all.
 
Last edited:

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
What surprised me was after waiting for over 2-hours in line at the Pilgrim Office for a Compostela...I was the only Pilgrim on my sheet that stated that there reason for completing their Camino was "Religious"...later again at the Pilgrim Service in the small chapel I was the only Pilgrim that again stated their reason for completing the the Camino was "Religious"...and the Catholic Priest actually thanked me for stating that "God gave me the strength to complete the Camino." and I am not even Catholic...but I really never thought that I could complete the Camino de Santiago so I went with the attitude that I would die trying if that was what it would take...and I even went solo because I did not want anyone that I knew to see me fail...but I saw the movie "The Way" and I just knew that I had to try and I could not get it off my mind for two years...also the Camino de Santiago was my third religious pilgrimage after Vatican City and Jerusalem and if you asked me what religion I am my answer would be "Confused"...and I guarantee you that I am not the most religious person you will ever meet but I have faith that has taken me through many difficult events in my life...regardless I was told you could find God on the Camino de Santiago and in my own quiet and unimpressive way I did find God...although I really was hoping for something more truly biblical like a burning bush, manna falling from the sky, maybe an 11th commandment, I did get very close to a biblical flood, well you get the idea...but what I really don't understand is why it is not cool to tell other Pilgrims that your Camino was for "Religious" reasons?

I copied this from the prayer book from the Pilgrim Service in the small chapel in Santiago:

Pilgrim Prayer Vigil:
As well as Abraham did, you also felt the calling to leave your responsibilities, jobs, families, and cities and homes;
And responded to that call you prepared your backpacks and your walking sticks and began a way that would lead you to a final goal;
The Tomb of the Apostle Saint James.
 
Last edited:

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
Hi all - have been pondering about this, this .. what is it? being called, nagged, to go on Camino and one's life being changed by the experience - now, to me it is simple as with my world view it is God that calls and we who answer .. and I feel that goes for agnogs and atheists too - someone sent me a cartoon just now and it made me wonder (after I stopped laughing) how many lives are changed, changed forever by this pilgrimage.
How many thought they were just going on a long hike without really knowing why - how many who had realised their lives were actually empty and went from a mix of desperation and hope.

How many have gone home and been utterly unable to slot back into their old meaningless untrue lives and have realigned themselves; with their friends and family, with the world, with their God (or whatever name they use - it doesn't matter, they are only signposts pointing at something beyond) ... just wondering ... pondering .. how wonderful the Camino is, how blessed we are that it is there, how blessed that we get called, nagged, nagged and nagged, to leave our comfort zones and throw ourselves fully into the immediate and being present life that the Camino is.

That is all .. just pondering, how the Good God - whether you believe he exist or not, will change our lives for the better, whether we like it or not! ;) - this is the cartoon that started this rambly thought process - Buen Camino to you all.

View attachment 23681
David, I'm interested in hearing more about what moves people to begin the pilgrimage. And, I'd love to hear more about how one's worldview changes after the pilgrimage (assuming it does). And I'm wondering if you know of a place where one might have that discussion, if not here. Maybe a FaceBook page? Or another forum that's more about this side of the pilgrimage? Or maybe there are some blogs that people would recommend?

I'm writing about pilgrimage for a class and, having never been myself, I'm looking for first-hand accounts. While people go on pilgrimage for many reasons, I'm beginning to see that some of the reasons people go is to get out of the cycle of the consumerist culture we live in, to reconnect with the natural rhythms of nature and with their bodies, and to find healing after a loss or personal transition. What do you think, David? Has that been your experience?

David, you're saying that the Camino brings a person into an awareness of being present in the moment. Did that sense stay with you after the pilgrimage? Did your experience of Time change while you were walking? What other changes were you aware of after returning home?

I'd love to hear people's opinions on this.

Warmly,

Catherine
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
I am enthusiastically going on my Camino because my wife wanted to. What ever momma wants momma gets. We start our Camino March 19, 2016 and I am looking forward to it. My wife and I really have weekends together, but researching and talking about our Camino and the 12-15 mile hike we have each weekend has drawn us together closer and at least I and hopefully my wife, we enjoy being together. We leave Seattle one month after our 43rd Anniversary, so God has set this course for us to be together and seek His face.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Cat - I cannot answer here as it strays too far into the religious, although what I would write isn't actually discussing religion - even so, some would take exception and post negative things .. there are one or two on the forum who do this, sad really. I know of no other online places where this can be discussed.
All of the below is my merely personal opinion, just that - and it is not about religion :)

I think that I can however write this without breaking forum rules as it is about experience and not religion .... What I do know is that most people seem to have no real idea why they feel that they have to go ... I mean, why would you go? Why on earth would you go? Unless you live in Europe it is stunningly expensive and then ..to suffer walking some 500 miles over three mountain ranges in all sorts of weather, carrying everything on your back, crammed into mixed refugios, most of which are really primitive - why would anyone want to do that? How on earth can that seem to be a good idea? Yet people do exactly that, over two hundred thousands now each year.

On Camino some experience change, many do not. Some experience deep life-altering change, others a new way of looking at their life, a break that has given them perspective. What I have observed is that those who stay in continuous contact with the world they have left tend not to have deep experiences. Those who travel in groups or with their partners tend not to have deep experiences (though they may indeed strengthen their mutual love to a strong degree).. a pilgrimage, as the journey is really internal, has to be encountered alone.
- the Camino is there, waiting .. something happens to a person .. they overhear someone talking about it, or hear about a film, or see someone wearing a scallop shell and google it ... and then it sits in the mind and nags and nags and nags until they have to go, and most don't know why - now, some go on a walking holiday, some go for a long and strenuous hike, some go because their friends are going, some youngsters as a gap-year thing, some go on Pilgrimage ... but all because something has called them and won't let them go. What is common amongst those who go alone - not everyone, but common - is that there is a crisis in their life. Lost a job, partner, debt, lost their religion, God forbid, a child, woke up at 3am and found their life was utterly empty, looked back at the last 30 years of their working life and it all suddenly seems utterly meaningless and they had no idea what was real and what was not .... so they go on Camino .. inside, even though they may not know it, they are lost and are hoping to find 'something' but there is no 'some thing' to find, no external object that will satisfy .... it doesn't exist - but, by going through the physical pilgrimage they also go through an internal pilgrimage and sooner or later they come face to face with who they really are - or rather, the unhappy corrupted lonely person they have been, and at the same time they look to that other life they have left and either see the true treasure within it - their family or children or loved one, or a vocation they can pursue of helping others, or that it is so empty that they will have to create a new one - and they are changed, not into something different but into who they really always were, the original them - bold, courageous, generous, loving, kind, full both of laughter and tears and willing to express both at the drop of a hat ..... this Camino - the why did I go, what did I experience - it cannot really be explained in words - those who have been changed know, those who haven't don't.

.... here's a thing - do you remember those 3D images that at first looked like 2D but if you looked long enough and in the right way they suddenly became these utterly amazing 3D images? The deep Camino experience is like that - what was 2D suddenly becomes 3D - one cannot explain it, one cannot teach it to others and if they try to explain it to those who can only see the 2D picture they will be disbelieved, scorned, call delusional - and it has always been like that.

Cat, you are asking for a product that you can display to your class, but there is no product, only the experiential - I'm afraid that you have to go on pilgrimage to Santiago .. and, poor Cat .... you may not know it but you are already hooked - you will be nagged and nagged until you go :) Buen Camino!

p.s. - what you could do is show your class the film The Way, with Martin Sheen ??
 
Last edited:

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
Cat - I cannot answer here as it strays too far into the religious, although what I would write isn't actually discussing religion - even so, some would take exception and post negative things .. there are one or two on the forum who do this, sad really. I know of no other online places where this can be discussed.
All of the below is my merely personal opinion, just that - and it is not about religion :)

I think that I can however write this without breaking forum rules as it is about experience and not religion .... What I do know is that most people seem to have no real idea why they feel that they have to go ... I mean, why would you go? Why on earth would you go? Unless you live in Europe it is stunningly expensive and then ..to suffer walking some 500 miles over three mountain ranges in all sorts of weather, carrying everything on your back, crammed into mixed refugios, most of which are really primitive - why would anyone want to do that? How on earth can that seem to be a good idea? Yet people do exactly that, over two hundred thousands now each year.

On Camino some experience change, many do not. Some experience deep life-altering change, others a new way of looking at their life, a break that has given them perspective. What I have observed is that those who stay in continuous contact with the world they have left tend not to have deep experiences. Those who travel in groups or with their partners tend not to have deep experiences (though they may indeed strengthen their mutual love to a strong degree).. a pilgrimage, as the journey is really internal, has to be encountered alone.
- the Camino is there, waiting .. something happens to a person .. they overhear someone talking about it, or hear about a film, or see someone wearing a scallop shell and google it ... and then it sits in the mind and nags and nags and nags until they have to go, and most don't know why - now, some go on a walking holiday, some go for a long and strenuous hike, some go because their friends are going, some youngsters as a gap-year thing, some go on Pilgrimage ... but all because something has called them and won't let them go. What is common amongst those who go alone - not everyone, but common - is that there is a crisis in their life. Lost a job, partner, debt, lost their religion, God forbid, a child, woke up at 3am and found their life was utterly empty, looked back at the last 30 years of their working life and it all suddenly seems utterly meaningless and they had no idea what was real and what was not .... so they go on Camino .. inside, even though they may not know it, they are lost and are hoping to find 'something' but there is no 'some thing' to find, no external object that will satisfy .... it doesn't exist - but, by going through the physical pilgrimage they also go through an internal pilgrimage and sooner or later they come face to face with who they really are - or rather, the unhappy corrupted lonely person they have been, and at the same time they look to that other life they have left and either see the true treasure within it - their family or children or loved one, or a vocation they can pursue of helping others, or that it is so empty that they will have to create a new one - and they are changed, not into something different but into who they really always were, the original them - bold, courageous, generous, loving, kind, full both of laughter and tears and willing to express both at the drop of a hat ..... this Camino - the why did I go, what did I experience - it cannot really be explained in words - those who have been changed know, those who haven't don't.

.... here's a thing - do you remember those 3D images that at first looked like 2D but if you looked long enough and in the right way they suddenly became these utterly amazing 3D images? The deep Camino experience is like that - what was 2D suddenly becomes 3D - one cannot explain it, one cannot teach it to others and if they try to explain it to those who can only see the 2D picture they will be disbelieved, scorned, call delusional - and it has always been like that.

Cat, you are asking for a product that you can display to your class, but there is no product, only the experiential - I'm afraid that you have to go on pilgrimage to Santiago .. and, poor Cat .... you may not know it but you are already hooked - you will be nagged and nagged until you go :) Buen Camino!

p.s. - what you could do is show your class the film The Way, with Martin Sheen ??
David, thanks so much for writing back. First, I do understand the nature of "calling" and the nagging that won't leave you alone. I've been feeling it for several years and yes, I have no choice, I have to go. I am leaving SJPdP on April 22. Tickets paid for and reservations made. :) In fact, I could have written my paper about almost anything but, no, not really, I had to write about pilgrimage. It just wouldn't leave me alone. So I do understand.

I, too, am going through a transition and my intention was to do the walk alone, but my partner will join me for the first week. I hope that this brings us closer, like you say. And I'm glad to have the rest of the trip for my own personal journey.

You have been so articulate and helpful in your description of the internal journey. I also appreciate your observation that those who stay in constant contact with the "world they left behind" don't change as much. That, I think, says a a lot about the need to really let go of that life for a time, to be in limbo, in between lives, for the duration of the walk. This seems to be an important aspect and possibly explains why so many people have emotions about the use of technology on the pilgrimage.

Right now I'm thinking quite a bit about what this need to go on pilgrimage says about our culture, about the possible meaninglessness of the consumerist/technological culture we're so wrapped up in; rather than it being about one's personal life, does it make a statement about our culture? Like you said, over 200,000 people sign on for this experience, and like you said, Why would you? Why on earth would you? :)

Yeah, I know, we have no choice.

Warmly,

Catherine
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Catherine - you are very kind - but is only my personal opinions!

Ahh - so you are one who has been called and nagged and nagged to go? Marvellous!

Yes, I am one of those opposed to the constant electronic contact with the old life - for many reasons, all to do with the "thereness" - and even boredom! - of the inner journey.

Why do we do it? No idea really. apart from this "call" I sometimes wonder if it is in our genes? Were we migrating herd followers for millenia before we started farming? It seems certain that the ancient cultures such as the Celts did pilgrimage over long distances - will we ever know??

We may meet! I should be on Camino at that time, doing first aid - look out for a fat man in brown with a face like an old coconut ;)
 

kerrychick

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 camino francis 2006 porto way 2010 camino francis 2014 camino francis.starting in Logrono in sep 2016.
Catherine - you are very kind - but is only my personal opinions!

Ahh - so you are one who has been called and nagged and nagged to go? Marvellous!

Yes, I am one of those opposed to the constant electronic contact with the old life - for many reasons, all to do with the "thereness" - and even boredom! - of the inner journey.

Why do we do it? No idea really. apart from this "call" I sometimes wonder if it is in our genes? Were we migrating herd followers for millenia before we started farming? It seems certain that the ancient cultures such as the Celts did pilgrimage over long distances - will we ever know??

We may meet! I should be on Camino at that time, doing first aid - look out for a fat man in brown with a face like an old coconut ;)
Dave i think we met in st jean a few years ago i think you were giving out ear plugs

very welcomed indeed my sister is a snorer ,so thanks again

if that was you .
 

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
Catherine - you are very kind - but is only my personal opinions!

Ahh - so you are one who has been called and nagged and nagged to go? Marvellous!

Yes, I am one of those opposed to the constant electronic contact with the old life - for many reasons, all to do with the "thereness" - and even boredom! - of the inner journey.

Why do we do it? No idea really. apart from this "call" I sometimes wonder if it is in our genes? Were we migrating herd followers for millenia before we started farming? It seems certain that the ancient cultures such as the Celts did pilgrimage over long distances - will we ever know??

We may meet! I should be on Camino at that time, doing first aid - look out for a fat man in brown with a face like an old coconut ;)
I hope we meet, David. Where will you be doing first aid? I will definitely look for you!

And, I agree, The Call seems to be an ancient, unexplainable, intuitive human condition.

Just had a long discussion with my partner about how we will, or will not, use technology on our journey. :)

Thanks for all your thoughts!

Catherine
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Dave i think we met in st jean a few years ago i think you were giving out ear plugs

very welcomed indeed my sister is a snorer ,so thanks again

if that was you .
Well I never! - Brother David then - Of course I remember you!! - I am still Brother David, just on this forum as 'David' - well then, I remember you well, you delightful pilgrim, all nervous novice and ready to go that you were!! - Buen Camino Peregrina!!! And your Camino went well? and do you return??? Tell all!!
p.s. Actually, you weren't nervous at all!
 
Last edited:

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I hope we meet, David. Where will you be doing first aid? I will definitely look for you!

And, I agree, The Call seems to be an ancient, unexplainable, intuitive human condition.

Just had a long discussion with my partner about how we will, or will not, use technology on our journey. :)

Thanks for all your thoughts!

Catherine

Catherine - hello! I hope to be strolling around the first 6 to 8 days from St Jean about your time .. I do so hope that we will meet .... your partner is a man, a bloke, he really doesn't believe in techno silence - just in case of what he might miss!! - is ok, he will slow down ;)
 

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 was called to go on camino. I felt that God was calling, and I went. It was wonderful. Now, I no longer feel called, I just want to go. I try to resist the urge, as it feels like self-indulgence. But I am taking a second course in Spanish and insisting on the Spanish of Spain. How do pilgrims negotiate the space between the initial call and response and a later urge to go? How do you stop yourself from trying to recreate the previous experience when you know that you must simply accept what you are sent? How can I commit to this expensive journey from western Canada when I know that I could do much good with the money that I will spend? These are my questions to answer, but I would appreciate some help.
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2018
If you're lucky, or so disposed, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage will change you.
The Camino de Santiago, like it or not, was founded by religious people, with a religious purpose. Religion is also all about personal change, and transformation... as the cartoon points out: it can change your very name.
The Camino is about change and transformation... and suffering, too.
So it only makes sense to discuss the camino in religious terms.

I am always dismayed at the closed-minded pilgrims who refuse to acknowledge the camino's historic roots as a religious pathway, and who come down hard on Christian pilgrims, saying "this is MY camino, I will travel MY way," and who refuse to acknowledge that religious belief, let alone human suffering, can have any positive outcome.
Any mention of the religious reality of the camino is condemned as "judgemental" or "outdated" or even "fascist," and discussions of redemptive suffering are seen as pathological or masochistic or "just sick."

Many pilgrims have had terrible, harmful experiences with Catholicism or organized religion or Christianity, but they choose to walk this overtly Christian path... and somehow they expect the place and people here to bend to THEIR sensitivities and sensibility. I do not think this is realistic, nor is is appropriate. The Camino is studded with crucifixes and blisters and hospitals, because the camino, and religion, and pilgrimage, are all about transformation and change... things that are very hard work. Things that are painful. Things that are inherent in any worthwhile human endeavor.
Christians, like it or not, are taught that sometimes great effort, sacrifice, and pain have wonderful outcomes.
Pilgrims, Christian or not, often discover the same thing as they walk.

I say all that to say this: If you want "the true camino experience," don't look for it in boots, albergues, movies, dinners, plans, guidebooks, routes, or flights. Set aside your preconceptions about Catholicism and religion and pilgrimage and The Camino de Santiago and what the church did to you or your loved ones, and accept that this is a path invented by Catholic Christians, but quite generously open to everyone.

Just walk. Open your ears to the birdsong and rain and wind. Open your heart to what comes. It will be boring and painful and amazing, all in turns... But if you come with a child's heart, God will meet you out there. Somehow, some way you don't expect it, or even recognize.

And wow, that is when the change begins!
Ahhh Rebekah. Thank you.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Albertagirl - good questions indeed - I think you should start a brand new post on this - I think it will get some interesting responses - I would love to hear from others on this subject - will you post as a new post? (Think you should!!).
 

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
Albertagirl - good questions indeed - I think you should start a brand new post on this - I think it will get some interesting responses - I would love to hear from others on this subject - will you post as a new post? (Think you should!!).

Albertagirl, I agree with David. I would love to hear the responses to these questions.

David, I am wondering if you would mind very much if I quoted you in my academic paper. I could keep your identity private, maybe just referring to your as "D?" I'm just looking for firsthand accounts of the transformational nature of the pilgrimage and you've said it so well.

Catherine
 

CatPhillips

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Primitivo (partial) (2017)
Camino Norte (partial) (2017)
Of course, if you think it would be helpful. D if you like but happy for you to use my name.
Thank you, David! Very much appreciated!
 
S

simply B

Guest
@Albertagirl -

A modest attempt at your questions...

How do pilgrims negotiate the space between the initial call and response and a later urge to go?

By telling yourself that you might not have learned everything you needed to learn the first time. Additionally, you may be called to provide more service than you have already given.

How do you stop yourself from trying to recreate the previous experience when you know that you must simply accept what you are sent?


Just give up any expectation that it will be anything like the first (previous) walk. You’ll be at a different point on the space/time continuum and one cannot step in the same river twice. It has changed, you have changed.

How can I commit to this expensive journey from western Canada when I know that I could do much good with the money that I will spend?

I take exception with “know(ing) that I could do so much good with the money that I will spend.” That is a level of certainty with which I am unfamiliar on this topic.

“Good” for yourself? If you are getting the call (disguised as "wanting to go":)), and it is stronger a pull than other choices, then the Camino must be the better choice.

“Good” for others? Did you do no good, directly, for others on your Camino? I would be surprised if that were the case. I would not be surprised if you under-estimate your contributions to one or more fellow pilgrims.

If it is about charitable use of your money, that is a stickier question. Personally, I would rather give livelihood to some kind and deserving Spaniards than to see a large charity take upwards of 50% for administration. The Camino turned me away from “charitable donation” as commonly understood. I now give only directly (and anonymously) to people having a streak of bad luck.

These are my questions to answer, but I would appreciate some help.

Done what I could with limited time, hope it is of some help!

B
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
I don't know if I can put a 'why' I am doing it. I know it's a really long hike, and I'm not necessarily searching for a life changing experience. I keep calling it my 'reset button'. 2015 was a spectacularly shite year for me...lost my job of 7 years that I was told I was never in danger of losing, lost a lover, a medical issue came up as well, then several close friends died. So I decided to take a three month sabbatical and spent December in America, most of January at home in Kenya, and now I'm in Portugal about to start the camino to have a few weeks of remembering what it's like to sleep in hotels that are not 5 star, that I don't have to sleep with one hand on my phone to answer that important client call, to not get up at 0400 to try and get a training session in because I'll be too busy for the next 16 hours to do one, to be able to do things my way and not the way my lover wanted it done, to have to answer to no one and just check out for a couple weeks. I am sure I'll be in awe of the cathedral in Santiago, just as I am of any beautiful church, but there isn't anything religious in this for me, as I'm Taoist.
I'm sure it will change me in some ways though, if it doesn't, then it was a terrible waste of time!
I tried to reply to you, but don't think it posted. Please excuse me if you read this twice!
I was revisiting this thread and your last sentences caught my attention. I do not think there are many proclaimed Taoists on the Camino because I received many a blank stare when I told someone I was a Taoist Catholic. While pondering along the Meseta, I wondered since "Camino" means "way" and "Tao" means "way," which "Way" was I walking? After a few more days of thinking, I realized they could be the same. However, (apropos to Rebekah Scott's reply), I also realized the Camino is God's Way, and, while on it, I should respect it, not judge, but accept. Peace to you.
 

MarsN

New Member
Thank you, David, for your thought provoking questions. Thank you to all of you who have posted about your experiences. I have had this nagging/calling for over two years. I had never heard of the movie until after I had the idea in my head of walking the Camino and I had only met one person who had spoken of it. Why the idea popped into my head, I have no idea. Anyway, I'm contemplating walking the Camino soon. Initially, the idea was to walk and I realised that I would need to do some physical training. Perusing this forum and the many posts written about preparing physically have left me a little baffled about how much training I need to do. Over the last couple of weeks, I have come to realise that it is far more important to me to be spiritually prepared. Coming across this post has helped me to cement that thought that this is necessary for me. (I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that I cannot openly speak about the religious side of the Camino because of the forum's rules when, after all, the Camino is/was a religious pilgrimage.) My biggest worry has been how much will it change my life and that of those I leave behind while I walk. I'm nowhere clear in my head about the answers to my worry, particularly when I am considering going in April of this year, but, I thank you for sharing your experiences.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
@MarsN - exactly as Kanga says.

Don't be too concerned about physical ability. If you are generally healthy you should be fine. Problems occur when pilgrims carry much too much weight and try to keep to 'day stages' such as in the Brierley guide. They try to keep to those distances regardless of what their bodies are saying and then can become a cropper. As long as one builds in plenty of time then one can start slowly and build up - have short days when tired, take the odd day off. It isn't an endurance race, it is a pilgrimage - so remember that Camino guides are just that, guides! Pack light and walk at your own pace the daily distances that your body is happy with and you will be fine.

Now, this my opinion, and I may be wrong (I often am) and although this is difficult I am leaving out any talk of religion or spirituality - though how one can feel called to Camino without there being a One doing the calling ... well ... :).
Most people walk Camino and return home with fond memories and get back on with their lives. The "life-changing" experience is to do, perhaps, with how false one's life has become at home. By 'false' I mean a life lived where over years the habit of living a false or empty or meaningless life has taken over. The demands of certain others at home that are always surrendered to, a job that is only there to get money and for no other reason and one possibly hates it. An empty marriage, a feeling that there must be more to life but an inability to find it when hemmed in by the cares and worries that the habitual life has led to. Also, there are critical points; divorce, redundancy, illness, the loss of a child or other loved one .. the pain that goes round and round and won't let one go - there are tragedies out there, walking.
Well, can you remember being a child? Those feelings of wonder? How one would laugh, cry, draw, dance, at the drop of a hat? That person is still there, hidden by layers of living, but still there.

What the Camino can allow is a time outside of that lived life .. a time where life is utterly simple .. walk, eat, sleep - repeat. And in between glorious countryside, sleepy villages, ancient calm churches, meeting pilgrims from all over the world, of all ages .. a flowing community - even if one remains silent and single within it at times.
There are times when it is physically difficult .. but this is eventually embraced, in an odd way, if one just surrenders to it, somehow enjoyed. By living this Camino life for so many weeks a self-confidence builds and feelings of courage, confidence - "I am doing this! I can do this! I can do anything!".
The body responds to the exercise by becoming stronger. Oxygenated blood courses through the body and the brain, allowing the mind to function properly and it becomes clear. During this time, walking alone, walking in beauty, there is time to think and one thinks about one's past, memories and feelings come flooding up - some of them not very pleasant indeed ... one can start to see one's home relationships from the outside, one's job from the outside ... one can, if one allows oneself to go through this process and if one isn't in contact with 'home' all the time (if one is then it can stop the process as one hasn't gone anywhere, one is still at home) eventually face oneself - selfishness, bigotry, envy, keeping an awful marriage because one has been too scared to leave, same for the job .. one faces it all as it is, not as we have lied to ourselves - and then, and then - well ... one starts to let all that go, like putting down a heavy suitcase and walking away - one is changed, unburdened again .... the natural childlike responses to situations returns .. kindness, charity, giving to others, spontaneous laughter and tears .. wanting to help another who is hurt, if only by sitting and being with them .... and then, well, one cannot go back into the old life but must prune, change, live a new life at home that is healthy, mentally and spiritually healthy.

So the Camino is like that - but not to all. For many it is a long walk, a marvellous holiday. For many, well, they already live honest and healthy and happy lives at home so there is nothing to change - but for some ... for some the Camino can be life-changing - and quite right too.

There - not a word about religion - except ... in my view .. when we are become what we really are it is then "God in us, as us" ;)
 
Last edited:

C3 to Camino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Sept 2018 planned)
@MarsN - exactly as Kanga says.

...Problems occur when pilgrims carry much too much weight and try to keep to 'day stages' such as in the Brierley guide. They try to keep to those distances regardless of what their bodies are saying and then can become a cropper. ...
;)
There is a lot to contemplate on this thread. I haven't done a Camino yet, but I do know that after a month in Galicia last summer, we came back craving simplicity and "decluttering" in our lives. I suspect the Camino will support that as well.

Insofar as the "day stages" go, I must admit when I first started learning about the Camino I thought they were near absolute. I have come to learn that there are many places to stay between those stages, and that you can pick your own. A great relief for me, as I am my husband and I (we will be doing the Camino together) are among those who like to visit the area as we go along.
 

MarsN

New Member
Thank you Kanga and thank you, particularly, David. For the first time, in a long time, I went to bed with a smile on my face. Thank you.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com


Advertisement

Booking.com

Latest posts

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 12 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 40 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 136 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 223 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 66 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 18 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 261 29.0%
  • October

    Votes: 108 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top