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To what extent did 'others' influence your Walking Distance and Stops? (Not a Poll)

Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
This really would make an interesting Poll I think, but I'll resist :cool:

For many of us, a Camino is best undertaken as a Solitary journey.
At least at the start.
And if we meet 'kindred spirits' along the way that may change for a period.......or the rest of the Camino.

Yet others, like nothing better than setting out with friends, relatives, loved ones (not necessarily one and the same)

I've tried both.

Has your Camino been 'shaped' by others? For better? For worse?

Here are some examples to kick things off.

Setting out with Partner/Spouse. Been there, done that. Whilst it was still a great experience it was very different. In my head at least, it became 'their' Camino not mine. I had already had the benefit of a lone Camino and this one was for them to have the best experience possible. And Yes, at times I resented it! We have agreed that if we do this again, we may walk separately through the day and meet up at the end of the day.

But I have seen others make it work. :)

Setting out with Friends. I've never done this and I'm not sure I would risk it given my experience above. But I have seen other life long friendships crack under the pressure! :oops: I think it would need a strong set of 'ground rules'.

Pilgrims you meet along the way. I think this is the most interesting and to a degree unexpected impact. In a truly 'Camino driven' way.

  1. I have walked much too fast for my poor legs and way too far in one day, just to keep up and enjoy the conversation with an amazing young man originally from Galicia. To use that old saying we 'put the World to rights' as we walked. The meaning of the Camino, religion, politics, global warming........... one of those 'instant connections' where you could talk into the wee hours about anything and everything. In the end, I just couldn't keep up LOL.
  2. I changed my planned stages a bit so that I could walk with a retired teacher from Texas. Another of those very fast and very deep 'camino connections'. Whilst staying in different places, we would usually meet up for dinner, and agree a starting point and time for the following day. sometimes walk together or meet at coffee stops along the way. That lasted about a week, until injury on her part caused me to be the one to move ahead and lose touch.
  3. The Camino family. I was on the periphery of a couple on my first Camino. Many of them stayed in the same Albergues, a few of us were in various private accomodations. As one family moved ahead of me, I fell in with another. Then they moved ahead and I finished the last 10 days or so alone. That was quite nice. We would stay connected on whatsapp. And at the end of the day people would announce what town they were in, who was with them, where they were having dinner. That had a small influence on my stopping points, and certainly on my dinner location choices, as it was nice to share meals with them. But the 'families' got quite large, and I'm more comfortable in smaller groups.....
So perhaps on reflection, in many cases at least, I have found the greatest influences on how far I walk each day, and where I choose to stop, would probably be:

  1. Injury Status. Above all, that tends to dictate how far I plan to walk each day.
  2. Mindset/Emotion. Some days I just want to dawdle, others I'm up for more of a challenge.
  3. Other Pilgrims. Those can be the most pleasant impacts on the best laid plans.......and I think provide the 'secret sauce' to what makes the Camino so special.
Maybe that is a key message for Newbies planning their first Camino? Particularly if setting out alone.

Your best laid plans may be dashed by the amazing people you meet.

So have how your 'plans' changed, as a result of who you met?
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Zip. Zero. Nada. De rien. etc. in all languages.

I am more than happy to help out an ailing pilg or resolve such emergencies as arise during a Camino.

That said, I walk as I wish. I start the day when I want and finish it in deep collaboration with my body. No complaints so far.

B
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Year of past OR future Camino
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
My biggest issue has been walking farther or faster than typical in order to continue conversations with folks I find intersting. At best I find myself staying in a village I hadn’t planned. Sometimes this has been good, sometimes not so much. At worst it resulted in an injury that ended my Camino. I walked for three days with a younger and faster Frenchman across the meseta. The miles and hours flew by, I was enjoying the company, and felt pretty good. On the morning of the 4th day was unable to continue. I hobbled into Sahagun with what turned out to be shin splints and was unable to continue. However, looking back I’m not sure I would have given the experience and the conversations even knowing the outcome. Sometimes the Camino giveth, sometimes it taketh. In this case it did both in a big way.

frm
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I have found the greatest influences on how far I walk each day, and where I choose to stop, would probably be:
Of course the overriding factor would be an injury or illness IF I had one.

Your questions and comments reflect conditions on the Camino Frances, where there is a plethora of both options and pilgrims. On other Caminos, the key influence would have to be the availability of accommodations at appropriate intervals along the route.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Of course the overriding factor would be an injury or illness IF I had one.

Your questions and comments reflect conditions on the Camino Frances, where there is a plethora of both options and pilgrims. On other Caminos, the key influence would have to be the availability of accommodations at appropriate intervals along the route.

Yes, you are right of course!
I am sadly still a Pilgrim of narrow experience :)
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
On my first Camino I fell in with a group of about 8 right from the beginning. However, because of illness, injury, etc. it slowly fell apart, until it was just me and a married couple who I thoroughly enjoyed walking and hanging out with, but I was feeling like I was walking their Camino and not mine. So after Logroño we separated - they wanted to stop earlier that day than I did, and I wanted to feel like I was walking my Camino. We did keep in touch along the way, and met up in León, then in Santiago where they celebrated my birthday with me.

On my second Camino a friend came with me for the first 10 days, and she needed to walk shorter distances than I prefer. We did have a great time together, but I was also happy to be back making decisions just for myself.

And like @FRM I also had an experience walking with someone younger and faster, and ending up with Camino ending shin splints.😥

But each time was a learning experience for me.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I was feeling like I was walking their Camino and not mine.
That would be especially so, since you were one person walking with a couple. However, even with a larger group of former-strangers, the group-ness can become too much (even if the people are wonderfully nice) and you are no longer on an independent Camino.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
In my head at least, it became 'their' Camino not mine.

But I have seen others make it work.

I'm surely in the second group. Having walked my 3 caminos with my partner, it never felt it was his camino. Sometimes "our camino", but I surely walked "my camino". It helps being both extremelly easy with different places, situations and food, so we rarely have to worry about each other being comfortable anyway while travelling. Surely we talked about stopping or walking more, and incredibly our intentions matched almost 100% of the time.

That said, my mom asked to walked a camino with me when we have the opportunity. That's when I get what you mean - I find myself worrying about her in albergues, not finding a toilet, getting tired, maybe not being at ease with other pilgrims. I don´t know if it would be a great experience or a stressful one. Still willing to try though.

It probably depends a lot on who you are walking with. It's not about how much you love then or anything, it's just really because everyone is different. I was lucky that my partner-match also happened to be a camino-match! Great, because he is not exactly a cinema-match or music-match :D
 
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OZAJ

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
No. Others have not influenced my distance, speed, stops, except in a minor way. However, occasionally I meet someone and we are compatible without having to try.

One such person I met on the voie de Vezelay in 2010 and we have walked together for a couple of weeks most years since then. One of the very few pilgrims I have kept in touch with.
 

m108

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2011-2016
I was with a friend on my first Camino, we walked separately most of the time. But even then, rarely when we walked together, did I notice that the conversation took me away from the “here and now,” that I was less attentive and present. I have been walking alone ever since. Or at least one day apart 😁
 
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TerryB

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015

basquelady

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2013), CF Pamplona to V del Bierzo (2014), Baztanés, then CF (2016), CF Sahagun to SDC (2017)

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Year of past OR future Camino
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
That said, my mom asked to walked a camino with me when we have the opportunity. That's when I get what you mean - I find myself worrying about her in albergues, not finding a toilet, getting tired, maybe not being at ease with other pilgrims. I don´t know if it would be a great experience or a stressful one. Still willing to try though.

I have had numerous family members/friends/acquaintance express interest in walking with me on my next Camino. I explain they are happy to meet me in Spain for a week of walking and that we probably won’t spend every walking moment together. Part of the magic of the Camino is only found when walking in solitude. I have always walked alone, or with folks met on the Camino, and then only a few days at most. I’m not sure I would enjoy spending 5 weeks with any one person. The distraction and need to converse day after day would take something away. Perhaps I’m selfish but I need what the Camino gives me when I walk alone.

frm
 

Katia Taam

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Every year, since 2000. Most times portuguese camino also twice the french camiño. Two time Le Puy .
Having always walked with my husband can't know how it would be to walk solo... We have walked 16 caminos so it's a long way together. I can't even imagine how it would be and do not want to walk alone.
I think when you have a special relation, when the two of you have found a common way in life this is the way it goes. We have the same needs and we love/like the same things. Evidently, there are diferences, he is more tolerant than me and I am more agitated, always wanting more, but we do found our way and we always feel it our way. There is not my way or his way.
There is no way for me without him and he feels the same.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am perfectly happy to walk alone. I find myself to be excellent company for the most part, and although I have a few bad habits, I find that they're not intolerable.

That said, I have been very enriched by serendipitous encounters on the Camino. As @Robo described, I have walked side-by-side with kindred spirits for a few days at a time and set the world to rights. There are also people that I became very close to despite meeting them only once or twice. Some of the friends I made on the camino remain friends today.

I have a 50./50 success rate with walks that I have planned with others from the outset. On one occasion, I walked with two companions, one of whom turned out to be "high maintenance," and there was too much tension in the group. On another occasion I walked with one companion whose walking pace was slower than mine. We would spend an hour or so walking together in the morning, then agree on a destination for the day and meet at dinner (or sometimes lunch). I found that to be a very satisfying walk and I would not hesitate to do things that way again.
 
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Plataman

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
I've done most of the walking combinations over four Caminos....walking with groups, friends, a daughter, a close personal friend. Key is to be upfront and walk your own Camino....don't try to keep up to one who walks faster than you, or to tarry about waiting for one who walks at a slower pace; agree to meet later if you wish. On the boring parts (Meseta) it is nice to have people to talk to ( aside from yourself) but the alone time is precious.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have 5 Camino walked. I’ve never join the family. I’ve always walked my own pace even when I walked with a friend from Lisbon to Porto. We both walked our own pace and we’re together for about 90 minutes a day of walking. We met in towns for breaks and meals. Sleeping in the same places was easy as we wanted to go about the same distances. Some days we stayed in the same albergues some days no. We would communicate by WhatsApp and everything worked out fine. Mostly because we were flexible and both decided ahead of time to walk our old Camino‘s without any hard feelings. Every other Camino I walk by myself. Became close with some people. We would check in by WhatsApp often. It works especially well with people who were walking about the same distance as that I was. Sometimes we would meet for lunch in a town other times we would meet at the same Alburger and still other times we would just not see each other for a few days. I highly highly recommend each person walk their own Camino. I have encountered so many people who have been injured and in pain because they insisted on walking with their families even though they should have rested. I have often said on this form and on the Camino they are your friends not really your family. If they were truly your family like your mother or father or brothers or children and you were injured they would wait for you. But they are continuing because they have their own reasons to walk there on time constraints, etc. Yes they are friends but not family. I always tell people there is a 100% chance that if you rest and take care of yourself more just as wonderful and interesting people will come along to enter your Camino life. They will be just as warm friendly and caring as the people who left you behind.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I've done most of the walking combinations over four Caminos....walking with groups, friends, a daughter, a close personal friend. Key is to be upfront and walk your own Camino....don't try to keep up to one who walks faster than you, or to tarry about waiting for one who walks at a slower pace; agree to meet later if you wish. On the boring parts (Meseta) it is nice to have people to talk to ( aside from yourself) but the alone time is precious.

What? Wash your mouth your with Soap LOL :rolleyes: :)
 

Thomas Yingst

Tom ... “the kid”
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugal. May 2019
I walked with my wife, Carol, from Lisboa to Santiago. I enjoyed the time with her but was frustrated with her slower pace (as she was with my quicker pace). I spent a lot of time waiting for her. But we worked out a routine where I would wait for her at a spot where there was juice, cafe con leche, and pastries waiting at the table for her when she showed up. We would walk a while together then I would get ahead and again wait for her at another restaurant/bar. At the end of the day there would be a beer waiting for her at the place we decided to stop. I think it worked out OK. I do, however, want to walk alone again. I think we have a future strategy where I walk alone for one Camino and the next one we walk together. Might have to do two Caminos a year. Now that sounds like a grand idea!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I met a man on the Norte who was walking with his twin brother while his wife was on the Francés walking with a friend. They planned to meet up in Santiago (or perhaps where the Norte joins the Francés), then travel around Europe a bit.
 
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Tim Floyd

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
I originally was going to do walk alone because it was more of something I had been passionate about doing. I was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma, had a lot of uncertainty, and wanted to do it before I arrived at a point I could not. Four months before I was going to go my wife's father died, and I could tell it left her with a big hole in her soul so to speak, so I told her I thought she should come with me and we do it together.

It ended up being very different than it would have been alone, but looking back I would not have had it any other way. The shared experience with my wife made it great. We went a little slower. We probably stayed at posher quarters - mostly B&Bs and small hotels, but we did our share of Auberges for the experience. We had good days and bad days, but we had them together. Walking we settled into a pace that served us both, and found we could do about 12 miles a day before really getting tired, so we just built our plan around that. It took us 40 days, but it was great.

The shared memory for us is more valuable than any individual experience I could have had on my own.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
In 2006, on my very first day of my very first Camino, the hospitalero at L'Esprit du Chemin convinced us to cancel our reservation at Orisson and go the entire first etapa. "You can do it," he said, "It's EASY!"
It almost ruined my first Camino - I was so injured from not being in shape - and I NEVER took anyone else's advice about distance. I listened to my own body from that day forward.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
My first Camino was completed with a Camino family which started with two and ended with 16. Each day with the exception of the first three had a predetermined stopping point. That said, the beginning of each day everyone had their own start time. It was a great time.

My only other Camino, walking with someone, was the Vasco. I had agreed to meet someone and walk together. We separated shortly after we hit the Frances. Another enjoyable walk with the exception of getting lost on the mountain top in foggy, snowy weather.

All my other Camino's have been solo, which I prefer. I can then walk anywhere between 20-50km's per day. I meet many other people along the way. Sometimes walking with them for a few days.

While I prefer solo, I have enjoyed all my Camino's.

San Salvador was the only Camino I never met another hiker. Madrid I met only two other hikers.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I forgot to mention above that once I walked extra far in order to put some distance between myself and a particularly obnoxious pilgrim! 😅

Haha! I had the same experience! In my case it was a C-list operasinger with an alcoholissue. The fact that he had regular outbursts of horrid singing did not help at all. His near vomiting on my backpack was no help either....
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
What? Wash your mouth your with Soap LOL :rolleyes: :)
I agree about the Meseta. I will not say it is the most enjoyable part of the Camino but a whole lot of stuff happens between your ears as you walk. I think it is especially true if you are walking it alone with no one but the garbage in your brain to keep you company. It is a great garbage disposal for useless and self destructive thoughts which I know I have collected over the years. It really teaches me that very little good comes from thinking!! At least for me anyway.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I walk alone!
But two books written by Australian Pilgrims (one published in 2006 the other in 2010-11) but detailed walking the Via De La Pata (incidentally they both started in Granada).
In 2015 I cycled so did not really form any camino relationships, although I do have a "daughter" I communicate with a couple of times a year. The 2017 walk did allow me to form relationships, but not those families that we often read about. Buen Camino.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago, Sept/Oct 2012
Le Puy to Roncesvalles, Oct/Nov 2014
The only time my plans changed as a result of people that I met was when I once decided to walk further than intended in order to shake off, for good, a very noisy "camino family" from my own country that had stayed in the same albergues with me for a few nights in a row. I'm sure that wasn't very pilgrim-like, but it was necessary for my peace of mind!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
The only time my plans changed as a result of people that I met was when I once decided to walk further than intended in order to shake off, for good, a very noisy "camino family" from my own country that had stayed in the same albergues with me for a few nights in a row. I'm sure that wasn't very pilgrim-like, but it was necessary for my peace of mind!

LOL. I think we have probably all done that :)
Start later, earlier, walk further, shorter......
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Ingles 2018
The only Camino I have done was with my wife and daughter. My faster pace did not matter because they were still walking together.
I could not imagine walking with strangers that I did not connect with. If I ever walk without my wife it will be because she has chosen not to go.
 

Alyn

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April 2018
I walked with my best friend and husband in 2018. We both walked at our own pace, most of the time together however sometimes apart. We both feel that we really enjoyed the Camino together.

My husband and I met while traveling in the UK in our early twenties, and have lived in three countries so far. We are now in our sixties and I would say walking the Camino together strengthened our relationship that was already strong. We did have lots of conversation and quiet time. I am truly grateful of the whole experience.
We met up with many beautiful people along the way, and walked with them, sometimes together and sometimes separately and would catch up later. We never had firm plans of how far or where we would walk to, so chatting with other pilgrims sometimes had an influence on where we ended the day but not often.

We enjoyed many communal meals at the end of the day with other pilgrims! Looking forward to the next time!
 

Dilbin

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
This really would make an interesting Poll I think, but I'll resist :cool:

For many of us, a Camino is best undertaken as a Solitary journey.
At least at the start.
And if we meet 'kindred spirits' along the way that may change for a period.......or the rest of the Camino.

Yet others, like nothing better than setting out with friends, relatives, loved ones (not necessarily one and the same)

I've tried both.

Has your Camino been 'shaped' by others? For better? For worse?

Here are some examples to kick things off.

Setting out with Partner/Spouse. Been there, done that. Whilst it was still a great experience it was very different. In my head at least, it became 'their' Camino not mine. I had already had the benefit of a lone Camino and this one was for them to have the best experience possible. And Yes, at times I resented it! We have agreed that if we do this again, we may walk separately through the day and meet up at the end of the day.

But I have seen others make it work. :)

Setting out with Friends. I've never done this and I'm not sure I would risk it given my experience above. But I have seen other life long friendships crack under the pressure! :oops: I think it would need a strong set of 'ground rules'.

Pilgrims you meet along the way. I think this is the most interesting and to a degree unexpected impact. In a truly 'Camino driven' way.

  1. I have walked much too fast for my poor legs and way too far in one day, just to keep up and enjoy the conversation with an amazing young man originally from Galicia. To use that old saying we 'put the World to rights' as we walked. The meaning of the Camino, religion, politics, global warming........... one of those 'instant connections' where you could talk into the wee hours about anything and everything. In the end, I just couldn't keep up LOL.
  2. I changed my planned stages a bit so that I could walk with a retired teacher from Texas. Another of those very fast and very deep 'camino connections'. Whilst staying in different places, we would usually meet up for dinner, and agree a starting point and time for the following day. sometimes walk together or meet at coffee stops along the way. That lasted about a week, until injury on her part caused me to be the one to move ahead and lose touch.
  3. The Camino family. I was on the periphery of a couple on my first Camino. Many of them stayed in the same Albergues, a few of us were in various private accomodations. As one family moved ahead of me, I fell in with another. Then they moved ahead and I finished the last 10 days or so alone. That was quite nice. We would stay connected on whatsapp. And at the end of the day people would announce what town they were in, who was with them, where they were having dinner. That had a small influence on my stopping points, and certainly on my dinner location choices, as it was nice to share meals with them. But the 'families' got quite large, and I'm more comfortable in smaller groups.....
So perhaps on reflection, in many cases at least, I have found the greatest influences on how far I walk each day, and where I choose to stop, would probably be:

  1. Injury Status. Above all, that tends to dictate how far I plan to walk each day.
  2. Mindset/Emotion. Some days I just want to dawdle, others I'm up for more of a challenge.
  3. Other Pilgrims. Those can be the most pleasant impacts on the best laid plans.......and I think provide the 'secret sauce' to what makes the Camino so special.
Maybe that is a key message for Newbies planning their first Camino? Particularly if setting out alone.

Your best laid plans may be dashed by the amazing people you meet.

So have how your 'plans' changed, as a result of who you met?
Hi. I've had mixed experiences many like you have mentioned above. Friends, family, other pilgrims etc. The times I've went on my own are always the times I've ended up meeting loads of pilgrims. For me its always about the effects it has on the experience. Whenever I'm walking with others or arranging to meet or stay at particular Alberques I find I'm back partaking in worldly things( if that makes sense) which is ok if it doesn't affect my peace of mind. The less a days walking or evenings lodgings are dictated to me the better the experience. That being said when I'm on the Way I'm always glowing.
 

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Anto

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2017 SJPDP to Pamplona
Hi
As I am not yet retired have walked the CF in two week stints starting in SJPDP in 2017 finishing in Burgos in 2019 . Next stage timing to be decided probably 2022. On the CF I've only ever walked with my wife, her sister and her husband .
I've always enjoyed it but have occasionally wondered what a solo walk (at least in part) would be like .
I have done the Sarria to SDC stage before with my wife ,son and 3 other people. Also enjoyed that .I can see constraints in group walking as there is the give and take of simple decisions which I suppose can be irritating from time to time however the company and conversation particularly at the end of the day can be something to look forward to.
Overall I think having time to yourself is important, how much varies from person to person
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
For many of us, a Camino is best undertaken as a Solitary journey.

No one is an island,
Entire of itself,
Everyone is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.

with small apologies to John Donne (1572-1631) poet, priest, whatever

I am also of the view that every pilgrimage is a solitary endeavour.

My journey is not your journey, even if, one morning, we start start from the same place and at days end stop at the same place.

My first day out of Le Puy-en-Velay on early April 2016 is a very good example.

Within an hour of being sent out from the Cathedral a young chap fell into step with me for a few moments. In that short time we exchanged simple information about ourselves and our intentions for the day and the days ahead before he "sped" on.

A few hours later I encountered a women I had first encountered the day before: she was starting in not great weather and I was spying out the land. We two walked for the rest of the day, sharing a lunch together. At days end we parted, me to the first gite I encountered, she to her pre-booked accommodation. And we never met again.

By the guy I had met earlier my first day I kept on bumping into. Although he was clearly on a budget, on one occasion he trusted me to negotiate and pay the tent fee while he went to buy food before the small shop closed. When I had to leave the camino at Burgos, he was the last person I saw as I headed off to the bus station.

And these are but two encounters of so many over more than 3,000 km long distance walks in Europe and at home, not including training walks

And If I can mention one encounter on a training walk a few weeks ago (it is summer here, as it is for you, @Robo). I was walking down a local beach just before low tide and had almost completed 15 km. There had been many encounters from locals out for jaunt in the good weather. The last one was a woman who had deliberately crossed over to the water's edge, where I was. She wanted to renew an acquaintance we had made, first in this forum, and then in person as we walked together for an hour into Viana where we took coffee together.

So, yes, @Robo, a solitary endeavour with tremendous opportunity to catch-up with others and learn from them.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going when it is safe for all)
 
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hielienie

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April 2020: Del Norte: Irun -> Santiago
April 2017: SJPDP -> Santiago -> Muxia -> Finisterre
I walked Camino Frances in April 2017 starting in SJPP. I wanted to walk on my own. To find myself. The extreme introvert in me did NOT want people in my space, intruding on my "me-time". About 30 days later, on my way to Muxia, I wrote the following:

"After walking on my own for most of today, I am a little bit nearer to verbalising what I'm taking away from my Camino.

I came to Spain to walk on my own. That was all I wanted to do.

Just walk.

Alone.

And in the process maybe find myself.

But two days in, in a small Albergue in Larrasoaña, I had dinner with some people who promptly became my breakfast, lunch and dinner companions for the next 25 days.

For the first few days the connections were super exciting. Each interaction a blank page of possibility. Théý were interesting and exciting and I felt interesting and exciting. Each sentence and shared laugh and bit of eye contact were new and surprising.

But after a few days we knew all the basics about each other. We asked all the obvious questions. We've heard all the funniest jokes. And conversations became a bit awkward and the dinner table less exciting.

So about 12 days into my Camino, I came at a crossroad. I had the choice to go off and find my own way. To make new friends who will again be exciting and full of possibility. Or to disconnect from all groups and walk alone.

Like I intended...

And I actually did. Early on Good Friday I left our bedroom for 6 and started walking the Meseta. I wanted a Camino reset. A clean page full of possibility. But somewhere during the next 8 hours on a gravel road on the Meseta I realised - if I go off now, I am just going to get caught in a new cycle. One where I make new connections every few days. One where I will always feel exciting and full of possibility. But also one without any vulnerability or depth.
I started wondering what would happen if I stayed with my group for just a few more days? Maybe, just maybe, what was only a possibility in the beginning, might become reality.

So I stayed.

I stayed for the awkward silences. I talked when there was something to say and I just kept walking with them when there wasn't.

I stayed for the snoring and the farts and the smelly feet. For the shared bedrooms and bathrooms and bottles of wine. I got to know my family when they were tired and in pain and homesick. And they did the same for me!

On days when I wanted to cry because every step is like a heated iron clamp around my ankle, they were at the end with a beer and a "you did well today!"

And I was there at the cross, with everyone near, but not in my space, knowing that we are there for each other. Giving each other space to feel the emotions.

Family.

Not even always knowing what beasts the others are fighting, but ready to just be there.

I was there for the late nights where we opened up and shared our hearts and our wine and whiskey and G&Ts

And I was there in front of the cathedral to laugh at the silliness of "All the single ladies" and a construction site.

Somewhere the excitement of new possibilities turned into love. The kind of love where you only want the ultimate best for the other.

And in the process a surprising thing happened!

I found myself.

The mé I am in community.
In the African culture they have a concept called Ubuntu which can mean:

"I am, because we are"

And that is exactly what I am taking away from my Camino. And I hope that I can pull it into every one of my relationships at home.

To stop searching for new possibilities. New excitement. New blank pages.

But to start loving the ones I'm with.

To stay for the new and exciting. But to keep staying for the boring bits, the difficult bits, the tears and pain and ugliness. Because I want to be there for the cross and the cathedral and the tapas and the whiskey. I don't only want new and exciting anymore.

I want community.

I want family.

I want Ubuntu
"
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
When I walked with my son in 2016, our walking distances were set by me but with strong consideration of what I thought he was up for, especially after it became apparent that many repeated days of over 25k walking led to bad blisters for him, but if we could generally keep it under that his feet didn't act up to much. Where we stopped was also influenced by what we were both looking for in an albergue. He was definitely looking for wifi which was often, but not always, accommodated.

When I walked by myself in 2018, overall walking distances were generally not influenced by the people I found myself walking with although which albergue I stayed in was occasionally so influenced. I can remember at one point deciding not to turn off the route for a diversion to the waterfalls, which I likely would have done had I been walking alone at the time.

I have altered my walking pace to match those I was walking with but not to the point of noticeable discomfort.
 

Arn

Veteran Member
I prefer not to have a specific walking partner on any of the long walks/pilgrimages I've walked. On any given day, I may get up and leave early. I may set out to walk a set number of miles and change my mind mid stream walking longer, or shorter. A specific historical, or cultural site may spark an interest, or hostel of such appeal, I extend the time there. At Irache (vino fountain), I walked past several times on the same day. Much slower as I progressed. Actually stayed at the same hostel so I could repeat the next day. Injuries have a way of impacting the planned forward progress should you have a walking partner. In this case, purchase Naprosyn or, return to Irache. Both ease the pain and can entice a walking partner, should you have one, to slow down a bit.
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
I had always intended to walk alone but walked the first couple of days with someone I shared transport from the airport with. Our plans for the first few days were the same and we had a similar walking speed so it worked out okay. We went our separate ways when I decided to spend an extra night in Pamplona. From then on I walked alone and wasn’t influenced by what anyone else was doing. I did meet people along the way and occasionally walked a mile or two with them but never more than that. It was important to me that I did it my way.
 
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Sharonih

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
This really would make an interesting Poll I think, but I'll resist :cool:

For many of us, a Camino is best undertaken as a Solitary journey.
At least at the start.
And if we meet 'kindred spirits' along the way that may change for a period.......or the rest of the Camino.

Yet others, like nothing better than setting out with friends, relatives, loved ones (not necessarily one and the same)

I've tried both.

Has your Camino been 'shaped' by others? For better? For worse?

Here are some examples to kick things off.

Setting out with Partner/Spouse. Been there, done that. Whilst it was still a great experience it was very different. In my head at least, it became 'their' Camino not mine. I had already had the benefit of a lone Camino and this one was for them to have the best experience possible. And Yes, at times I resented it! We have agreed that if we do this again, we may walk separately through the day and meet up at the end of the day.

But I have seen others make it work. :)

Setting out with Friends. I've never done this and I'm not sure I would risk it given my experience above. But I have seen other life long friendships crack under the pressure! :oops: I think it would need a strong set of 'ground rules'.

Pilgrims you meet along the way. I think this is the most interesting and to a degree unexpected impact. In a truly 'Camino driven' way.

  1. I have walked much too fast for my poor legs and way too far in one day, just to keep up and enjoy the conversation with an amazing young man originally from Galicia. To use that old saying we 'put the World to rights' as we walked. The meaning of the Camino, religion, politics, global warming........... one of those 'instant connections' where you could talk into the wee hours about anything and everything. In the end, I just couldn't keep up LOL.
  2. I changed my planned stages a bit so that I could walk with a retired teacher from Texas. Another of those very fast and very deep 'camino connections'. Whilst staying in different places, we would usually meet up for dinner, and agree a starting point and time for the following day. sometimes walk together or meet at coffee stops along the way. That lasted about a week, until injury on her part caused me to be the one to move ahead and lose touch.
  3. The Camino family. I was on the periphery of a couple on my first Camino. Many of them stayed in the same Albergues, a few of us were in various private accomodations. As one family moved ahead of me, I fell in with another. Then they moved ahead and I finished the last 10 days or so alone. That was quite nice. We would stay connected on whatsapp. And at the end of the day people would announce what town they were in, who was with them, where they were having dinner. That had a small influence on my stopping points, and certainly on my dinner location choices, as it was nice to share meals with them. But the 'families' got quite large, and I'm more comfortable in smaller groups.....
So perhaps on reflection, in many cases at least, I have found the greatest influences on how far I walk each day, and where I choose to stop, would probably be:

  1. Injury Status. Above all, that tends to dictate how far I plan to walk each day.
  2. Mindset/Emotion. Some days I just want to dawdle, others I'm up for more of a challenge.
  3. Other Pilgrims. Those can be the most pleasant impacts on the best laid plans.......and I think provide the 'secret sauce' to what makes the Camino so special.
Maybe that is a key message for Newbies planning their first Camino? Particularly if setting out alone.

Your best laid plans may be dashed by the amazing people you meet.

So have how your 'plans' changed, as a result of who you met?
I walked with my husband, what an amazing experience to share. Yes as you are walking with a person you have to adjust. We found our rhythm, always starting and ending together but during the day though we had eating/beverage breaks together walking we found walking our own pace worked the best. Sometimes together sharing the experience other times alone or with others. Best experience ever.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm surely in the second group. Having walked my 3 caminos with my partner, it never felt it was his camino. Sometimes "our camino", but I surely walked "my camino". It helps being both extremelly easy with different places, situations and food, so we rarely have to worry about each other being comfortable anyway while travelling. Surely we talked about stopping or walking more, and incredibly our intentions matched almost 100% of the time.

That said, my mom asked to walked a camino with me when we have the opportunity. That's when I get what you mean - I find myself worrying about her in albergues, not finding a toilet, getting tired, maybe not being at ease with other pilgrims. I don´t know if it would be a great experience or a stressful one. Still willing to try though.

It probably depends a lot on who you are walking with. It's not about how much you love then or anything, it's just really because everyone is different. I was lucky that my partner-match also happened to be a camino-match! Great, because he is not exactly a cinema-match or music-match :D
I can totally empathize with how you may feel walking with your mother. I'm a people pleaser and caretaker at heart. I'm very perceptive about people's feelings but in the end you can't control her feelings and only yours. I tend to worry about how other people are feeling...is it too hot for them, is the albergue not up to their standard, is the food not good enough? etc. That's why, my next camino will be alone. I don't have to please anyone but myself and in the end isn't that what we are supposed to do before pleasing others?
 

vwzoo

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Absolutely none. I walked by myself and would have a rough idea where I thought I would walk for the day. I usually planned to stop walking before the afternoon sun and heat got too much.
 

Jackie Robinson

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First Time this year
The only way others influenced my journey was when they failed to accept that I enjoyed my own company, my own timetable and pace. I wasn't adverse to the occasional bout of idle chit chat with others once I'd reached wherever I'd be spending the night but I'm comfortable in my own company and wasn't there to be 'adopted' by well-meaning sorts or become immersed in other folks' tales/backstories etc.

Sadly, there were a few occasions where despite it being obvious that I was a solo traveller in the true sense of the word, I found myself with an uninvited walking companion. I'm not one for beating around the bush but being conscious that some may find my saying I prefer to walk alone as a slight against them personally (as happened on one occasion), I found that adding a pit-stop with a 'No, No, you go on - don't wait for me' was the least offensive method of resuming my solo meandering.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I love to walk alone, but not to say I haven't met people along the way I wished/tried to speed up or slow down for, to continue a conversation. I remember one time, 20 K out, where I had planned to stop soon (because my mind has convinced my body that I can't walk much farther than that). I met a couple of guys resting under a tree who were soon heading out another 10 K to another town I was looking forward to spending time in, too. They had already walked farther than I had. It just kind of opened my mind that I could do it, too, and I did, not with them, but alone. I walked 34 K that day, which might be a record for me. And it was fine!
 

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