• This section is a collection of FAQs on the Camino. No new questions can be posted here, but questions that are asked often will be move here by a moderator.
  • Missing the daily forum e-mail? Subscribe again.
A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

Walking alone a choice, or necessity?

S

Sojourner47

Guest
Following on in a sense from another thread, I ask this:
It seems that the majority of pilgrims start off on their walk alone - is this from choice, or because it's difficult to find a compatible companion?
 
A

AJ

Guest
Re: Choice, or necessity?

Choice.

I would not like to walk a whole Camino with the same companion, however I do like to walk with compatible people for a few days or weeks if it suits, and sometimes it does. I met a fellow on the Voie de Vezelay last year and we walked together for 2 weeks; it worked very well indeed. This year he joined me or the first week of the Via Francigena and I expect he will join me next year for a week or two.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I think it's a combination of factors. There's the schedule factor, first. Then there are multiple issues of compatibility: morning rising time, walking pace, and travel style must be considered just as much as personal compatibility.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

Choice and Necessity. Maybe in a few years time some friend or other would like to go with me- but for now they all still have children at home. If we do decide to go together, I know I like to walk parts of the day pretty much alone, so we would need to come to some agreement about that.

I am planning to start walking from Cluny early next April, and I know it will be a much 'lonelier' route. That does scare me a bit, the lack of companionship. A Frenchman who I met on the Camino Frances in 2008 lives not far from Cluny, and has said he would come to Cluny to meet me again. I would love it if he ended up being able to walk the first few days with me as well. Time will tell!
Margaret
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

Although one might start alone on the Camino it is very rare that one continues alone for the entire way. Journeys alone are different to ones with a companion - neither being better or worse than the other - just different. Walking with someone can mean that you preclude yourself, initially, from meeting others in quite the same way as when walking with another - it takes a little longer for the barriers to break down as people see you already with a companion. But once the rythm of the road is established those barriers are broken down whether you are alone, or walking with someone. I must say though, that you are more likely to have interaction with locals if you are alone, (or that has been my experience). Janet
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

Choice.

Have written in some depth about this on another thread so I won't repeat.

However, I prefer to travel solo which is not the same as walking alone.

Agree with everything written above (and Doug below).

This has been edited! :D
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Re: Choice, or necessity?

Interesting question. I travelled from Australia with a friend who had walked the Camino Frances from Pamplona a couple of years earlier, and met up with his German friend who was going to walk with us from SJPDP in Paris. Almost everything we had discussed in preparation went out the window within 24 hours. There were different schedule issues, substantially different walking styles, and different views on a whole range of things emerge to those previously agreed.

On my next pilgrimage, I will start alone.

That said, I expect there to be a camaraderie amongst those on the same section of the pilgrimage that will more than compensate.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I would not begin a pilgrimage with another person. It is my choice to begin solo and then as occaission arises I team up with individuals. Daily I have time that I need to be alone and contemplate. Finding others of similar disposition is perfect.

The Camino offers to much and she provides always.
 

+@^^

Active Member
Re: Choice, or necessity?

nice question
out of choice
i walk with everybody
i just dont feel the need to:
- eat with them
- talk with them
- sleep with them
.
unless they become special
.....as in life, as on camino
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Re: Choice, or necessity?

to walk alone? Choice. To meet others at refugios etc, choice.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I have done both and my preference going forward would be to walk alone with room for exceptions. A commitment to walk with someone can add numerous obstacles to ones choices along the way. I have walked a day or days with someone and enjoyed the time and conversation. I have also walked loosely with others and agreed on an endpoint for the day without actually walking together. I have also encountered Mother/Daughter, good friends and married couples who are sharing the journey together. This make sense as I believe they are bonding or reaffirming bonds that exist. I would like to take this walk with my sons. At this point in their lives they think I am nuts. Maybe when they get older.

The thought of walking the Camino does not appeal to everyone. It takes a long time to undertake. These are contributing factors as to why some, even if they wanted walking partners, might have difficulty convincing others to walk the Camino.

I feel that most Pilgrims could easily find someone to walk with at least for several days at a time. While my preference is to walk alone, I would walk with someone, for a period, who was uncomfortable on a remote or poorly marked route, had a bad experience etc.

The question is a good one but not easily answered. The primary driver is probably the reason as to why you are walking. Some individual reasons for one persons action are hard for others to accept.

So to answer your question, I believe it is both.

I like the solitude of the walk and at the same time enjoy the communal aspect of the Albergue and Pilgrim dinners.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I chose to walk alone, and look for companionship in the albergues

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
 

+@^^

Active Member
Re: Choice, or necessity?

i experienced the most wonderful walking etiquette on the vdlp
those of us starting out in the dark
would assemble outside the albergue
in silence
and start walking together
until the route was easier to see
.
then a seemingly unwritten pilgrim code happened....
slowly the small band of pilgrims would start moving apart
one might fake a re-adjustment of boot laces
another might stop for a wee
or to take a photo of the sunrise
.
and within an hour there would be considerable distance between us
so that you couldnt see another pilgrim
and it was like you were walking on your own again
beautiful
 

CaminoGen

CF May-June 2011; Oloron to Fisterra Sept-Oct 2013
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances-SJPP. Santiago (2011); Oloron to Fisterra (Sept 5-Oct 23 2013)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

+@^^ (how do you pronounce that again?)

I think this happens to most "made-up" groups.

After walking alone this year, save for the last 15 km into Santiago, I'm planning to walk with a fellow pilgrim in 2013 which is kind of terrifying. I loved walking by myself and the few times I needed my sprit lifted, it seemed that I met someone to carry me through before getting on alone again. The Camino will give you what you need; it really does.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I would not choose to walk in an organised group as I have written elsewhere. I believe it weakens the purpose - of being open to the ways (and foibles) of strangers: an important lesson on the Camino. With an organised group, I have witnessed that the converation becomes "inter-spective": focused on the group's experiences, not the individual's. I have chosen to walk alone on three of my Caminos, with my daughter on the fourth. The first time I walked in 1999 I was determined to do so alone, but by the fourth day I was beginning to feel a bit "left out": especially when hoards of Brazillians began cooking garlicky things. By the time I got past Estella I was decidedly grumpy and then I met a wonderful German woman and we bonded. Along the way we "picked up" 11 others (and they did us). By the time we got to Santiago we were a family. But at no time during the walk were we exclusive: others came and went. I think that is far less likely in an organised group by definition, especially when the members have paid to be there and/or the group is a "guided" one.
So, start alone yes. End alone, no. Either way, walk alone or with one other if a terribly compelling conversation must be held peripatetically. Cook and eat in whole group where possible - that makes the feast into an "agape". Shower alone though. :oops: Sleep alone too ...not enough room for two in a sleeping bag!
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPDP--->SDC (Dates TBD)
Re: Choice, or necessity?

I think that I'm pretty determined to walk alone, at least for the beginning. This is something I would want for a number of reasons.

1.) my walking pace will be erratic at first, until I settle into a rhythm.
2.) I want to use the first few days of my Camino as a retreat; to "go into the wilderness", if you will. I think that would be a nice, prayerful time to let Him speak. Prayer, Scripture meditation and just being.
3.) I might start walking from Bayonne, so as to help with reason #1. According to my research; the route is 52 kilometers (32 miles for us Yanks) mostly along country roads. I'm thinking that I could feasibly cover that distance in two days. It looks like ES_16 is walkable.
4.) Having a few days to myself before seeking out other pilgrims would also give time to reflect on my purpose. As Brierley says in his section on St. Jean, "if you don;t know your purpose by now, ask." Or, something along those lines.

Buen Camino
:D Wandering "not anti-social" Christian :arrow:
 

magdelanye

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
walked to Manjuran in 2008,coming back end of Sept (2112)
Only once on my camino did anybody get a bit pushy about walking together,and this was someone I liked,we had a great time in the evening before and so so quite naturally she thought it would be fine to walk together,so we did for a while but finally she got it: I was walking at my own pace and could not be cajoled to hustle,or to forgo each marvelous old bench that I passed.

Mostly, the people are all wonderful and after a days walking alone, I am usually glad to socialize with the pilgrims and residents wherever I may be.

RE: Bayonne, it sounds interesting to me,can you fill me in on how you are planning to find this?
I am still dithering about where to start as I pack up my life and place it in storage, and I leave in a couple of weeks! Actually I'm considering that this is the beginning of my camino,and when I step off that plane at CDG I will start looking for arrows as I leapfrog my way back to the main path.

Buen Camino!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
magdelanye said:
....
RE: Bayonne, it sounds interesting to me,can you fill me in on how you are planning to find this?
I am still dithering about where to start as I pack up my life and place it in storage, and I leave in a couple of weeks! Actually I'm considering that this is the beginning of my camino,and when I step off that plane at CDG I will start looking for arrows as I leapfrog my way back to the main path.

Buen Camino!
For walking from Bayonne to SJPdP see the French web site of the Amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques des Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Here is the link >> http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/spip/spip.php?rubrique590 . See also their Voie de la Nive >>http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/spip/spip.php?rubrique640 and their Voie du Baztan jusqu’à Urdax >>http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/spip/spip.php?rubrique398




Bon Chemin and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
magdelanye said:
RE: Bayonne, it sounds interesting to me, can you fill me in on how you are planning to find this?
Hello, WanderingChristian & Magdelanye
Here are a couple of links to help you along, also....

Bon chemin,
Lovingkindness

Bayonne to Irun: Voie de la Cote & Le Sentier Littoral
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-del-norte/topic11152.html

Where to start the Norte: scroll down a little for a conversation with Eiliin_st about starting in Biarritz
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-del-norte/topic13746.html
 

krazeekuban

Coordinator Valley of the Sun Chapter/APOC
Camino(s) past & future
May/June(2012) Camino Frances. Sept/Oct Camino Frances, Santiago/Finsterre 2013. 2013 Pilgrim Office Amigo Volunteer. Oct 2014 Camino Ingles , Pilgrim Office in Santiago Vol Sep '15, Camino Portuguese Oct '15,volunteer Sept 2015 Ribadiso muni albergue
I chose to travel alone during my journey and was respected when I chose to walk alone and at my pace for the majority of the Camino Frances. I also chose to not have a cell phone or any other tech devices and it was quite free!! It is amazing to be able to think, walk, pray, listen to nature and ones footsteps. Buen Camino
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
krazeekuban said:
I chose to travel alone during my journey and was respected when I chose to walk alone and at my pace for the majority of the Camino Frances. I also chose to not have a cell phone or any other tech devices and it was quite free!! It is amazing to be able to think, walk, pray, listen to nature and ones footsteps. Buen Camino
It was a pleasure to meet you on the Camino and very glad to realize we were both members of the forum. You are the only one that I have met that I know is on the forum.
I hope it all went well for you the rest of the way into Santiago.
Ed
 

krazeekuban

Coordinator Valley of the Sun Chapter/APOC
Camino(s) past & future
May/June(2012) Camino Frances. Sept/Oct Camino Frances, Santiago/Finsterre 2013. 2013 Pilgrim Office Amigo Volunteer. Oct 2014 Camino Ingles , Pilgrim Office in Santiago Vol Sep '15, Camino Portuguese Oct '15,volunteer Sept 2015 Ribadiso muni albergue
HI! and I remember you also! You were getting ready to return home after being gone for a while! I had a fantastic journey! I will send you a private message.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com


Advertisement

Booking.com

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 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 37 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 133 15.6%
  • May

    Votes: 205 24.0%
  • June

    Votes: 61 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 17 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 254 29.7%
  • October

    Votes: 101 11.8%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top