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Walking with a teen?

heatherrnw

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: April 2012; Future: June/July 2017
Hello :)

I walked the Frances route from St. Jean to about Leon last year by myself and have been planning to return with my husband in June 2014 to go all the way to Santiago. I have been seriously considering taking my oldest daughter with us, who will be 15 when we go.

Can anyone share their experiences if they walked their Camino with a teen? I am a bit nervous about taking her. She is excited to go, but I am not sure how she will fair with the amount of walking that is needed daily. She is very physically active with athletics 5 days a week and playing and conditioning for softball 4 days a week, so I am sure she will be alright physically. Though walking for hours is not the same thing really. I would hope she would enjoy the experience of it, but I know how exahusting and painful it can be at times. I guess I am curious to hear how teens that have walked it have delt with it mentally.

Thank you!

Heather
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
My observation is that teens do quite well until the parent starts parenting! Actually, that is my observation of parent/child pilgrims with the child up into the thirties. Two persons treating each other as adults do fine; when one acts the parent, not so much. :D
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
If your child would follow you into a Pyrenees blizzard, then clearly some parenting needs to be going on.

Officials have recovered the body of a 9-year-old boy who died over the weekend after crashing his snowmobile through a glacier in Alaska.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I walked with my teenage nephew in 2011 and he loved every minute of it! He didn't mind that his companions were mostly senior citizens, but then he is a friendly, out going youngster. He tells everyone that the Camino was the highlight of his life so far!
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
I walked a short camino on the Ingles with my 15 year old daughter about 18 months ago. We had a good time and she (generally) loved it.

There are some posts about it on my blog, including one by her, in the October and November 2011 section or under the Camino Ingles tag.

Hope it goes well!

Andy
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Hi! I think at that age she'd certainly be physically able to do it. If she's prepared and accepts that there will be bad days as well as good all will be well. Consider what your policy will be if she wants to walk on separately with a group of friends, and how you deal with money etc. Buen Camino! :D
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
We walked with children aged 6 to 17, and are currently planning to return! (To be honest, the older ones will not be coming - not because they hated it, but due to work commitments that they prefer to honour). If your 15yo would like to correspond with our 14 and 18yo daughters or 15 and 17yo sons to get their impressions, feel free to PM me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
I took my 21 year old son who was also playing a lot of sport but worried about his fitness for walking.

Right.

I had to weigh him down by putting more into his rucksack because I could not keep up with him, even though he had a dodgy knee.

Mentally his biggest problem was his slower moving father! The rest he really enjoyed.

Falcon has hit it spot on. Treat your daughter as an adult and you will get on fine. Its not your pilgrimage, its not her pilgrimage, it is a joint venture where her needs have to be conisdered and balanced with yours.

In some ways it is no different to husband/wives walking and there has been an interesting thread on their joys and difficulties.

I think you will have a wonderful time, but while you need to seek advice, your family has a dynamic unique to you all, and you will have to talk and work this one through yourselves.
 

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Camino(s) past & future
north route spring 2013
If you're into reading have a look at "Buen Camino- a father daughter journey from Croagh Patrick to Santiago de Compstela" by Natasha and Peter Murtagh. They walked part of the Camino Frances together when she was 16, then went back and did the full route together when she was 18, then wrote the journey up and published it.One of the better books I've read about walking the camino.
 

Moonchick

New Member
I walked this past fall (2012) with my two daughters aged 16 and 19 from Le Puy en-Velay France to Muxia Spain - over 1,600K. It was an amazing adventure which we all wish had not ended so soon (we were away 2.5 months!) and one we hope to repeat again someday together. Both girls liked planning where we would walk each day and I got into the habit of only vaguely knowing where we were going and just enjoying the scenery and company as they lead the way. They always engaged with other pilgrims and loved our shared meals where everyone shared food, stories, wine, and quite often singing at the table. One daughter had severe blisters for about 2 weeks in France, but was undeterred and refused to stop walking, even for a day. We got so used to walking, and loved the rhythm of that daily activity, that we ended up taking only one rest day the entire walk. I speak neither French nor Spanish. The older daughter had some French and the younger some Spanish so they were the one who interacted with native speakers as we found lodging and food. So I agree with treating them like adults and letting the Way unfold. If they are responsible for getting you from point A to point B or for negotiating the sleeping arrangements or food purchases they will be an essential part of the whole and will most likely love The Way. Buen camino!
 

BenedicteOR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September-October 2013
I'm 18 and doing the pilgrimage from SJPP to Santiago by myself this September. I don't think being younger makes much of a difference - if anything it is better in the long run as you get the emotional and spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage at an earlier stage of your life. I think it is a perfect thing to do as you are maturing as it will help positively shape your life (or so I hope!). I would have loved to do it at 15, and as your daughter is too, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

Bene
 

riatolken

Member
Camino(s) past & future
plan to walk end of may 2013
10 year old boy walking now!

We were going through the mud and rain and passed a little 10year old boy 2 days ago -, can anybody tell me how is he doing!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Re: 10 year old boy walking now!

Was he alone?
 

shartwell

New Member
Re: 10 year old boy walking now!

riatolken said:
We were going through the mud and rain and passed a little 10year old boy 2 days ago -, can anybody tell me how is he doing!
My 10 year old son and I started walking from SJPP on May 30 in the pouring rain. It may have been him you passed. We were accompanied by my brother-in-law. The wind and rain on those first few days made the rest of the walk seem considerably less arduous (physically, at least). We arrived in Santiago on July 1. I can't imagine topping the experiences we had together. He was a rock star the whole way.
 

Rambler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
My daughter and I did it in 2008 when she was 16. I would strongly recommend you read our blog from the trip because she would post and I would post, so you get the perspectives of a teen and a parent.
http://www.savini-santiago.blogspot.com
Definitely read her posts.

Couple of point I would highlight:
1. It was not easy for her to handle the communal living at first. This was a very different environment for her and she broke down at one point and did not want to continue. This was hard for us both, so be prepared and do what you need to to make it more comfortable for them.
2. She was generally the youngest one there. We met 1 other over our three weeks that was younger than her, so she had no peers to relate to. Fortunately, a group of 20somethings included us in their group and she felt very much better to be a part of that, but a teen can feel very alone. Remember that the average age of peregrinos seems to be in their 50s, so the teen may feel like they are surrounded by their grandparents; not what they expected.
3. It is a fantastic bonding experience. Our relationship grew so much over that few weeks. We are still very close even with her off at university. This part cannot be over emphasized and is the best part.
4. The teen hopefully will consider it one of the best things they have ever done. My daughter based all her college application essays off of what whe learned along the Camino.
5. Don't parent too much. I don't mean let them get drunk or anything, but let them make their friends and relationships. You as a parent will be much closer in age to the older crowd, but you have to be careful not to force the teen to be only with people their parent's age.

I plan to walk with my son next summer when he is 16. I suspect it is a very different experience with each child, but in our family we treat it now as a "coming of age" trip. In the last few years, younger people are doing it more, but I do know the feeling for her of being by far the youngest one there was intimidating and isolating. But she wants to go back at the same time.

I will ask her to write her perspective and will post it, but please read the blog and you will get a day by day sense of what she went through.

Rambler
 

ChrisMO

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French (2013)
Right now I am in the Camino with my 2 teenagers, 13 and 17. They are enjoying very much, no need for preparations, they can walk and be happy. Older one brought an iPod and tune off to his music, and we walk together on the beat. The little one just follow along. To not make boring, we are just doing the last 150 km, with arrival in Santiago tomorrow. I am keeping in a week so they are not "bored".
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
I'm a 15 year old girl and yesterday I returned from walking from SJPDP to Santiago de Compostella. i genuinely loved it. it was the best experience of my life and im so thankful that i did it.

yes, the first few days were tough but by day 4 i had totally adapted to the communal living and to the walking itself. my advice is that if you are taking a teenager make sure that they realise that there will probably be no one their age on the way until maybe Sarria but the older people that I met were amazing and opened my eyes to many things.

its a great idea to bring your daughter and I honestly think that every teen should walk the Camino.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I honestly think that every teen should walk the Camino.
It is part of the curriculum in many Spanish middle schools. In the spring and fall the Sarria to Santiago may have several groups and their chaperones each day. They were great companions, but do not arrive at a bar just after them; the line will be horrendous!
 

sabrinaray

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 29th 2013
I havejust walked Sarria to Santiage de Compostela with my 18year old daughter. Her gift was walking the camino. Not only did it have the effect that I wanted, it was amazing for us to do it together. There were moments where she was sore, had blisters and even swore at me a few times for taking her. My daughter went on to do a Contiki tour after we finished the camino and she has just returned home saying Spain was her stand out country and how much she enjoyed the walk. It was truly amazing to be together and I cant wait to do the whole 950km one day when I am not time poor. She will love it. A great experience, and good for them to be out of their comfort zone for a while. Enjoy. Buen Camino
 

jsmith199

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June (2013)
I also walked from SJPdP to Santiago with my kids this summer. My daughter is 18 and just graduated from high school. My son is 25. We were actually surrounded by people 18-23 rather than 50 yrs or older. My daughter connected somewhat with the kids, but spent more of her time with me. Communal living was hard for her, as it was for everyone, but she adjusted and never had any emotional breakdowns about it.

For physical preparation, she did core body training at school, but no walking. So she had shin splints, extremely sore feet, hips and back initially.I would recommend getting the kids to walk some distance to ready their bodies for the long haul.

I would also recommend doing a shorter portion of the Camino for younger people. The only kids we saw (9-12 yrs) was one family with two boys who were on the Camino for a about 10 days. We also saw teenagers (15-17 years) once we were passed Sarria, but these were huge groups of high school students and they drank. Being in tight groups, they didn't seem to be looking for new friendships.

I also recommend 4-5 rest days be figured into the trip. And, for the best ending to the whole trip, two nights in Santiago then bus out to Finnesterre and stay for 3-4 days with your Camino family for rest and relaxation on the beach.

Walking the Camino with my kids was the best experience we've ever had as a family, but I would be careful to set up an experience that is appropriate for your teenager's physical and emotional well being. I could see how it could be a very lonely experience for some.
 

romiluna

New Member
Hi, I am 18 years old and walked the camino from Porto to Santiago with my boyfriend (17).

Mentally it wasn't hard for me, it made me think about things and I enjoyed that. But physically it was hard for me. I had a
lot of pain but I didn't do any sports or preparation.

It was seriously the most beautiful journey I've ever done. On my way I saw parents doing the Camino with their younger children and they'll looked very happy so please take your daughter with you! It's nice to see children doing the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona March/April 2013
5 parents walked just from StJPdeP to Pamplona (over 5 days) with 4 children aged 12-13. We all loved it - no problems, all children fit from playing school sports - looking forward to doing the rest of it.
 

ParistoCapeCod

"Come on mom this 14k isn't going to walk itself."
Camino(s) past & future
April 2016 Lugo to SdC. Hospitalera August 2016. Camino del Norte June-July 2014, some of Arles, Le Puy and Vézelay routes.
My son will be 10 when I do the camino in the spring. I can go earlier, in May, if he stays home but have to wait until late June if I take him. He is generally enthusiastic and a great traveler, but I worry about getting one day in and having to fly him home to dad! Would the Portuguese route be easier with a child? Are kids carrying their own gear? Has anyone seen dogs on the route carrying gear, and would dogs be allowed-outdoors-at albergues? I've been considering this idea of taking this American "softee" with me for some time. Thank you for any input, and buen camino.
 

reg2450

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2013
I took my 10 year old daughter. It was amazing, wonderful, fantastic... what can I say... I met a lot of mothers walking with daughters (youngest was 17) and a couple of mother/son partnerships. It was ALL good. What a special, amazing journey to take with your child. I am blessed a billion times over. I love Georgia to bits and pieces and the journal I kept (in a leather bound Florentine journal) will be her 21st birthday present.
The only time I found it a tad 'inappropriate' was as we got closer to Santiago - very, very close. About 3 days from the journey's end there were so many people - much more than we were used to - and we were crammed in like sardines in some places (which was a new experience, having started from SJ) and there were people who didn't really know about the little Aussie girl who'd walked from Spain, so there were some relatively inappropriate activities going on (guys walking naked to and from the bathroom/late night drinking & drunk conversations in that horrible loud whisper people use, which is completely useless because it's worse than actually speaking out loud....) anyway - you'll be vigilant and brave for taking them with you, and your rewards will be worth any sleepless night staying awake over their bed making sure nobody falls on them....
Bien Camino
 

reg2450

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2013
My son will be 10 when I do the camino in the spring. I can go earlier, in May, if he stays home but have to wait until late June if I take him. He is generally enthusiastic and a great traveler, but I worry about getting one day in and having to fly him home to dad! Would the Portuguese route be easier with a child? Are kids carrying their own gear? Has anyone seen dogs on the route carrying gear, and would dogs be allowed-outdoors-at albergues? I've been considering this idea of taking this American "softee" with me for some time. Thank you for any input, and buen camino.
Our children are not so soft. some days we walked 5kms. some days we walked 33. Georgia (10) set the pace. I did the pilgrimage, she danced, sang and talked about God. If she got sad, fed-up, frustrated or just plain cold. We stopped. We made it. We did it. And she's a flippin' legend. So will your son be. Take each day as it comes. Do what you can, and God will deal with what you can't. Bless
 

reg2450

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2013
Our children are not so soft. some days we walked 5kms. some days we walked 33. Georgia (10) set the pace. I did the pilgrimage, she danced, sang and talked about God. If she got sad, fed-up, frustrated or just plain cold. We stopped. We made it. We did it. And she's a flippin' legend. So will your son be. Take each day as it comes. Do what you can, and God will deal with what you can't. Bless
941443_10151339496851887_544257673_n.jpg Legend
 

Steve Hackman

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April-May 2015
April-May 2017
Muxia & Fisterra May 2015
My son (14 at the time) and I did the Coast to Coast in north England in 2012. It was on that 2 week walk that we knew we would be doing the Camino de Santiago. We had such an incredible time I wrote a book and blogged on the experience: http://www.stevehackman.net/category/coast-to-coast-hike/
I then started planning for our Camino that will begin in April 2015. My son is 17 now. I found he enjoys being together on the trail...mostly. My problem is not so much that I parent him but that he thinks I get to over the top in my excitement for the experience. Will try to moderate that on this trip a bit.... ;) Yeah, right!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Hello :)

I walked the Frances route from St. Jean to about Leon last year by myself and have been planning to return with my husband in June 2014 to go all the way to Santiago. I have been seriously considering taking my oldest daughter with us, who will be 15 when we go.

Can anyone share their experiences if they walked their Camino with a teen? I am a bit nervous about taking her. She is excited to go, but I am not sure how she will fair with the amount of walking that is needed daily. She is very physically active with athletics 5 days a week and playing and conditioning for softball 4 days a week, so I am sure she will be alright physically. Though walking for hours is not the same thing really. I would hope she would enjoy the experience of it, but I know how exahusting and painful it can be at times. I guess I am curious to hear how teens that have walked it have delt with it mentally.

Thank you!

Heather
Heather, my guess is that your daughter will do better than you. So let her set the pace perhaps (vs dragging her and boring her) and pay attention to her physical limitations (we are all built differently: for ex.: if she feels pain in the ball her of feet and you do not, but she may be in real pain). Treat her as the young woman you and her want her to be, and you will create a binding moment you will never forget. And if the stages you do are not Brierly's, or any other guides, so be it.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Heather, my guess is that your daughter will do better than you. So let her set the pace perhaps (vs dragging her and boring her) and pay attention to her physical limitations (we are all built differently: for ex.: if she feels pain in the ball her of feet and you do not, but she may be in real pain). Treat her as the young woman you and her want her to be, and you will create a binding moment you will never forget. And if the stages you do are not Brierly's, or any other guides, so be it.
@Anemone del Camino, Heather hasn't visited since early 2013, shortly after she posted the original question.
 

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