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Walking with friends

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
I have two lady friends who are walking CF France in May. I have walked with both and believe they have the endurance,mental strength and determination to complete this magical spiritual walk through the finest country in the world, however......
If I was a betting man I would wager they will not walk in together.
I found on the Camino that you find soulmates of either sex and that your pace, conversation and reasons for doing the camino seems to draw you together and you end up as lifelong friends.
My question to to pilgrims of experience is how did your relationship endure the walk to SDC and this includes married couples as well.
I witnessed many spats on the CF which included Jealousy of flirtation, stress under physical pressure, housing arrangements, money,hygiene ( you get to know your friends on the Camino) alcohol, taking a bus on a wet day,snoring and the big one taking the wrong route ( blame game)
I’m sure most mended their friendships on return but am interested in the writers experiences, I for one will walk alone and walk into SDC with a group in the last week.
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
I’ve done both. Walking alone was the most meaningful but walking with friends is an opportunity to know them and yourself better—plus having memories (and funny photos) to share. Is there a way to have some of both? Yes!

We set up the rule that we knew where we were ending up each day. If someone chose to walk by themselves or not talk during the day or to take a taxi, that was honored as an individual choice. It became an important boundary and one both (or all) must honor and be able to claim without the other(s) getting angry. Those who felt the need to walk together and/or chat also could do that with the understanding that it might have to be with people they met along the way. Those who didn’t want to walk in the rain or heat or because they felt lousy could grab transportation without feeling guilty. By establishing where we would end up, everyone had their own choices to make on how they were going to get there. We did this BEFORE we left for the Camino. And have done so again as five of us are going again this fall.

Clingy, needy people who have to have someone else be the hand holder need to experience walking some portion of the Camino by themselves. On the Frances, it is almost impossible to get lost so put that fear aside. The main arguments I witnessed among spouses and friends were based on differences in expectations of who was “supposed” to do what and with whom. I do not believe you can truly experience the Camino if you are joined at the hip to another person or persons—especially 24/7. My opinion only....others may differ.

Unless there are freedoms established, there will be tensions and misunderstandings. The first few days are the hardest when walking with others you know—exhaustion, nervousness and differences in expectations are all in play. And it is easier to lash out at someone you know than at a stranger when you are stressed. Not that there won’t be other hard times but early days set the pattern for the weeks to come.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
We, the Baztan 4 , walked together last year. 6 days on The Camino del Baztan.
I knew everyone in the group but they didn't know each other. We bonded and got on famously. Sharing rooms it very useful being a foursome sharing costs of twin room share. Albergues we had to ourselves. We cooked meals together. No problem. Each person had their strengths. As we never met anyone else we were glad of each other's company. There were no other pilgrims that we met apart from the 3 Spaniards whom we met briefly at Lanz.
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
We, the Baztan 4 , walked together last year. 6 days on The Camino del Baztan.
I knew everyone in the group but they didn't know each other. We bonded and got on famously. Sharing rooms it very useful being a foursome sharing costs of twin room share. Albergues we had to ourselves. We cooked meals together. No problem. Each person had their strengths. As we never met anyone else we were glad of each other's company. There were no other pilgrims that we met apart from the 3 Spaniards whom we met briefly at Lanz.
Yes it can be a very bonding experience
 

Tim Floyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Went with my wife and we had a great time. I was originally going to do CF alone, but she lost her father the spring prior and was just feeling a bit lost. I told her she needed it. It ended up being different, I’m sure, than if I went alone, but it was an adventure we shared. We had hard days. Some very hard. But we had great experiences, met lots of fantastic people, and by the end we were loving it. The best part is that we talk about it often. I cant imagine having done it without her. Going through challenges together can bring people closer together in the end. I hope you find your answer.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I've walked alone and with my 15/16 year old son (birthday on the Camino). I preferred the latter. I later overheard him tell his younger sister that on the Camino was where he learned how cool his dad really is. You can't ask for more than that. :cool: I'm looking forward to the opportunity to walk it with my wife. (My daughter currently has no interest and wants a different trip when she is 16.)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
It is really easy. I have walked twice with friends. Once we walked 1400k. We started out together. then walked our own paces. Sometimes met for lunch. Decided where we would meet at the end of the day. Sometimes we walked some more together and sometimes not. Sometimes one would take a rest day and then we would stay in touch and meet down the road a few days later. No need to make a big deal about it. Talk about it and then go. My friend that I walked the Camino Portuguese with had never walked before. I stayed close to him for a few days until he got the idea of everything. Of course we fought and laughed and talked about important stuff or just gave each other shit like we have been doing for 45 years (now we are up to 47). It really isn't that tough. If someone is needy and can at least admit it then it's up to you if you want to go with them. It is your camino not your friend and the friend needs to know that too.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
If you (as I suppose) are the one with Camino experience, you will tend to fall in the role of organizer. That could be quite exacting. And difficult, when your expectatives and preferences don't match those of your friends (or one of them...)
I suggest some previous agreements about distances, food, lodging. And that includes the clause that if somebody wants to walk alone (or with other people) for a day (or the rest of the pilgrimage) it is ok, no drama. As in "ok, let's start walking together, and see what happens".
But obviously, you could make a fantastic and well integrated group, and will remember this as one of the best moments of your life. Hope so.
 

kay lee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Santiago (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017)
Aosta to Rome - Via Francigena (2018)
I will be leaving Seattle in two days for the first Camino walk all by myself -- yeah! This is the reason why I'm doing the St Jean-SdeC for the 5th time. In all four previous walks, I "guided" the companions who didn't speak English or Spanish or understood Western culture well. It was rewarding to lead/help them, but it was also exhausting 24-7. It was especially difficult with those who were older and wanted special services (I was a free guide/friend). I am so looking forward to walking, looking around, meeting new friends, sleeping in, etc.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
We, the Baztan 4 , walked together last year. We bonded and got on famously.
Ditto for the Baztan 5 the year before.
;) Maybe it's the Baztan?

Mature people with mature friendships can weather all sorts of Camino-related storms. (And the maturity of the friendship has nothing to do with its longevity, but more to do with whether both parties have the emotional maturity to process challenges as they arise. Because it's the Camino. And challenges will arise - it does that remarkably well.)
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I have two lady friends who are walking CF France in May. I have walked with both and believe they have the endurance,mental strength and determination to complete this magical spiritual walk through the finest country in the world, however......
If I was a betting man I would wager they will not walk in together.
I found on the Camino that you find soulmates of either sex and that your pace, conversation and reasons for doing the camino seems to draw you together and you end up as lifelong friends.
My question to to pilgrims of experience is how did your relationship endure the walk to SDC and this includes married couples as well.
I witnessed many spats on the CF which included Jealousy of flirtation, stress under physical pressure, housing arrangements, money,hygiene ( you get to know your friends on the Camino) alcohol, taking a bus on a wet day,snoring and the big one taking the wrong route ( blame game)
I’m sure most mended their friendships on return but am interested in the writers experiences, I for one will walk alone and walk into SDC with a group in the last week.
I walked the first and a number of subsequent Caminos essentially alone, after a few days with a friend, which wasn't right, as we were too different.
Several years later I walked the Le Puy route for the second time and took my husband, who was 81 at the time. We walked from Le Luy to Roncesvalles in 45 days and it was one of the most magical times in our relationship. So glad we did this together.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have two lady friends who are walking CF France in May. I have walked with both and believe they have the endurance,mental strength and determination to complete this magical spiritual walk through the finest country in the world, however......
If I was a betting man I would wager they will not walk in together.
I found on the Camino that you find soulmates of either sex and that your pace, conversation and reasons for doing the camino seems to draw you together and you end up as lifelong friends.
My question to to pilgrims of experience is how did your relationship endure the walk to SDC and this includes married couples as well.
I witnessed many spats on the CF which included Jealousy of flirtation, stress under physical pressure, housing arrangements, money,hygiene ( you get to know your friends on the Camino) alcohol, taking a bus on a wet day,snoring and the big one taking the wrong route ( blame game)
I’m sure most mended their friendships on return but am interested in the writers experiences, I for one will walk alone and walk into SDC with a group in the last week.
Generally I prefer backpacking and walking solo. I do not enjoy worrying about the needs, pace, rest breaks, etc of others. So on my first Camino when I invited my son, Caleb to come with me, I was concerned about how compatible we would be.

The funny thing is that we have a long history of backpacking together since he was four years of age. We would get along just fine. But I wanted this Camino to be a spiritual focus for me, and I did not know how being with Caleb would fit into all of that.

Here is part of what I wrote in my blog:
". . . an important aspect of the Camino has become the fellowship, helpfulness, and loving kindness of Caleb. I don't know when it happened, but what my Camino now means to me, includes doing the Way with Caleb."
 

Disey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2017)
I have two lady friends who are walking CF France in May. I have walked with both and believe they have the endurance,mental strength and determination to complete this magical spiritual walk through the finest country in the world, however......
If I was a betting man I would wager they will not walk in together.
I found on the Camino that you find soulmates of either sex and that your pace, conversation and reasons for doing the camino seems to draw you together and you end up as lifelong friends.
My question to to pilgrims of experience is how did your relationship endure the walk to SDC and this includes married couples as well.
I witnessed many spats on the CF which included Jealousy of flirtation, stress under physical pressure, housing arrangements, money,hygiene ( you get to know your friends on the Camino) alcohol, taking a bus on a wet day,snoring and the big one taking the wrong route ( blame game)
I’m sure most mended their friendships on return but am interested in the writers experiences, I for one will walk alone and walk into SDC with a group in the last week.
I started walking the CF in 2017 with a friend but holes started to show in the friendship very early on. My preference had always been to walk on my own but as my friend and I had always done a walk each year here in Australia and she also wanted to do the CF, we made our plans. Our walking paces were always different, as well as our levels of endurance (mine has always been greater than hers as she would agree). We would wait for each other or agree to meet at the start of a town if we didn’t walk in together. We changed the schedule to ease it for her (less km per day). After around 400-500km my friend started developing ailments which initially could be attributed to specific matters and she started getting her pack transported. But after an osteopath appointment one afternoon in Ponferrada, my friend said she may have to slow right down. Early next morning in the dark she left ahead of me and we missed each other in the dark. I walked on asking people I knew if they had seen her and 25 or so km later I got to my next destination and wifi zone where I received her message that she had turned around in Ponferrada and was going to stay there a few days. She virtually blamed me in the text that we had missed each other but I let that go. She also messaged that I should continue and hopefully we would reconnect in a few days’ time. Wifi was poor at the Albergues and area where I was headed and I ultimately received a message that she was hospitalised with Bells Palsy. She messaged I should forget about her and continue!!! By now I had walked over 50km and it was tough to know what to do, especially since I was meeting an old school friend in Santiago on a certain date! Obviously I wasn’t going to forget about her but as she messaged she had family support, I continued to message her every day once I got into wifi. My Australian mobile plan didn’t allow me to make or send texts unless I was on wifi, I could receive but not make phone calls unless I was on wifi. Neither of us called until I reached Santiago and finally I called her. She was upset I hadn’t called her earlier but she hadn’t called me either when she was well enough to do so. She ended up travelling to London with her UK based sister and was hospitalised there as well before her husband flew to the UK to accompany her back home. Long story short, I have contacted her a few times since we returned to Australia but our friendship is well and truly over. Some may say it never was a true friendship in the first place and while I accept I could have done things differently, I think that goes both ways. However she was the one who got sick. That said, I am now planning on walking the Camino again next year but I will go alone!! The Camino can really test a relationship as I we’ll know.
 

PeteD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Bicigrino SJPdP - SdC Mar 2016
Kumano Kodo Sept 2018
VdlP (Mar 2020)
How a relationship impacts on your experience of the Camino and how the Camino experience affects your relationship is something that my wife and I have been discussing.
I cycled the CF in 2016 alone and found that a large part of the benefit I received was from undertaking the challenge by myself. Rediscovering my inner strength, resilience and openness to opportunity was a huge part of that wonderful experience.
There were many times though when I wished that I had an enduring companion along the way to build a deeper connection and shared experience with. Because I was cycling, often I would make wonderful connections which I would immediately outdistance!
I'm keen to walk a Camino and my wife is interested as well. We are both keen to share the experience yet find the benefits of doing it solo.
We have just come up with an intriguing idea of walking different Caminos. She will walk the CF and I will start earlier and walk the VdlP meeting in Astorga to share the last section of the CF into Santiago de Compostella.
Best of both worlds?
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I think the main thread has been covered - you and your female friends will find that you all walk and differing paces. This needs to be communicated prior to arrival in France/Spain. Maybe during your training walks, especially those longer ones in the month before you fly out, decide that everyone one should walk the first 3-4-5 km (or miles) and their normal walking pace when carrying a 5-8-10kg backpack. If you pack your lunch decide where the lunch stop will be and all stop for at least 30 mins, regardless of when the first or last arrives. Walking at different paces allows you all to take in the surrounds and over a beer or wine at the days end you can reveal your different experiences. Buen Camino!!😀;)
 

Disey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2017)
How a relationship impacts on your experience of the Camino and how the Camino experience affects your relationship is something that my wife and I have been discussing.
I cycled the CF in 2016 alone and found that a large part of the benefit I received was from undertaking the challenge by myself. Rediscovering my inner strength, resilience and openness to opportunity was a huge part of that wonderful experience.
There were many times though when I wished that I had an enduring companion along the way to build a deeper connection and shared experience with. Because I was cycling, often I would make wonderful connections which I would immediately outdistance!
I'm keen to walk a Camino and my wife is interested as well. We are both keen to share the experience yet find the benefits of doing it solo.
We have just come up with an intriguing idea of walking different Caminos. She will walk the CF and I will start earlier and walk the VdlP meeting in Astorga to share the last section of the CF into Santiago de Compostella.
Best of both worlds?
Thanks for your feedback. Your wife and your plan sounds like a great idea, you’ll both have different experiences to share, then a joint experience from Astorga. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2017
Camino Frances Sept 2020
I have two lady friends who are walking CF France in May. I have walked with both and believe they have the endurance,mental strength and determination to complete this magical spiritual walk through the finest country in the world, however......
If I was a betting man I would wager they will not walk in together.
I found on the Camino that you find soulmates of either sex and that your pace, conversation and reasons for doing the camino seems to draw you together and you end up as lifelong friends.
My question to to pilgrims of experience is how did your relationship endure the walk to SDC and this includes married couples as well.
I witnessed many spats on the CF which included Jealousy of flirtation, stress under physical pressure, housing arrangements, money,hygiene ( you get to know your friends on the Camino) alcohol, taking a bus on a wet day,snoring and the big one taking the wrong route ( blame game)
I’m sure most mended their friendships on return but am interested in the writers experiences, I for one will walk alone and walk into SDC with a group in the last week.
I walked with my dear friend of 40 years. We had a great time, our bond was even deeper after 500 miles, and we walked together everyday. We settled into a rhythm that worked for us. And...are better friends today
 

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