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What is a Pilgrim/What is a Pilgrimage?

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
You definitely see images of Jesus hanging on the cross as the central image in Protestant churches behind/above the altar in Europe.
It is pretty much impossible to make any simple statement on this matter - or most others in the field of religion - because a label like "Protestant" covers many different traditions and practices. Sometimes even within one single denomination. And "Europe" isn't exactly monolithic or homogenous either ;) In the university town in Scotland where I studied there were two Anglican churches: one "low church" in the evangelical tradition, the other "high church" emphasising Catholic theology and liturgy. "Bells and smells"! One day I attended a high mass for a festival in the "high church" and happened to sit next to an Anglican priest from the other end of the spectrum. At one point in the liturgy which involved a lot of incense and genuflection my friend nudged me in the ribs and whispered in my ear: "When I come here I always have to remind myself that not only are we the same religion - we are in the same church!" ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
May we respectfully ask you to look and read your own writings from the Cambridge University Dictionary "Keeper of the English Language". We feel that if you read that carefully you would not have penned this post. Sincerely Ian
You phrased it in such a gentle and kind way, it's heart warming. I'm serious. As I see it, the problem with these definitions is that they just don't fit the Camino phenomenon/experience. People are dead keen on identifying themselves as pilgrims and their endeavour as a pilgrimage but the common definitions just don't fit when you "don't have a religious bone in your body". In all these definitions, the main elements are the destination and the respect. Respect paid to the saint, or other person or event that is remembered, not the respect of the environment during travel or of the companions, i.e. desired and acceptable behaviour. Because respect in that sense ought to be a given and not restricted to pilgrimages. I sometimes feel that caminantes would be a good term as a loan word in English to replace pilgrims. OTOH, we have already peregrinos and pilgs. 🙂

And here's a bit of my cheap advice: Chose the titles of your threads wisely, people!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2016 Camino Frances to Leon
Fall 2017 Camino Frances to Finisterre
May 2019 Portuguese
I started this thread early yesterday morning and after a peak in, I backed out of the room and quietly shut the door. The thread was still up on my screen when I got to my computer this morning so I quietly snuck back in. I would like to say thank you IT56ny for posting your original comment. There have been some amazing discussions and insights!
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon.
At least in the most popular parts of the Grand Canyon other than the rim areas, there's no competition for a bed at the point of arrival. I see that things have gotten worse there, too. Many years ago, we walked down to the river, slept in our tents on the grounds of the Phantom Ranch and spent another night somewhere higher on the way up. I'd actually call part of this experience spiritual ... and a walk through the past; if ever there was such a thing, that's it! Anyway, we had to go with a guide who had a permit, otherwise we would not have gotten a space to sleep at short notice, and nowadays you have to take part in a lottery if you want a bed, see website: Lottery entries will be required between the 1st and 25th of the 15th month prior to the desired stay month. You read that right: more than one year before your stay.

Out of curiosity, I also had a look at the details of all the Sarria albergues listed in Eroski. Nearly all of them say that they are open to peregrinos y turistas. Some have a kind of fig leaf and say that they are geared towards pilgrims but open for everyone. Are people even aware of that?
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2015
In ancient times the pilgrimage was used as a form of punishment for minor crimes. During those times tens of thousands of pilgrims were sent off and more than half of them would die. They were killed by all sorts of things, robbers, wolfs, drowning and exhaustion. Being forced on a pilgrimage was almost a death sentence. Those high ranking clergy and nobles that sent out these pilgrims knew that they were unlikely to return. What they were really doing was handing over their punishment to god. If a pilgrim dies on his journey then god did not like him. Every pilgrim with his meager possessions relied on their good relationship with god in order to survive.
Now, a true pilgrim does not have to face wolves or robbers but still has to face the physical challenge, aches, pains and setbacks. A true pilgrim relies on his strength, intelligence and the blessing of god. A true pilgrim walks with an uncluttered mind, yellow arrows ahead and god 10’ behind him. A true pilgrim may not even know it but deep down –
“A true pilgrim puts themselves before the judgement of god.”
 

E V Waight

It's the journey, not the destination.
Camino(s) past & future
September (2017)
Possible September (2018)
Holy Year (2021) (all three Gladys, John and I)
I read the website and as I said in my post my reaction to it was based on someone who referred to themselves as a pilgrim and on pilgrimage in the podcast that I listened to. I never said they referred to themselves as catering to pilgrims. It is the mere fact that you could charge 4,000 Euros for this "tour" that is on the camino is what I have objected to. If you read my responses to everyone else, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, you may see more clearly what I am talking about.
I try not to be judgmental, more so since my Camino of 2017. But yes, 4,000 Euros IMO is offensive no matter if that pilgrim was able and willing to afford it for 10 days. I did my Camino SJPdP/SDC (30 days) with less than 900 Euros (excluding air fare) at tremendous sacrifice coming from Belize. I trust that he learnt something about modesty and humility on his journey. But as several have posted: to each his own, who are we to judge?
 
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Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
Thank you for writing this-- and having the courage to post it! I think most of us have pondered the meaning of pilgrimage vs walking tour. It is a daily choice on the Camino, I think-- more for some than others. On my walk from Le Puy to Conques (too short a walk!), I found myself slipping into the "walking vacation" world and out of the pilgrimage world from time to time. I have thought a lot about what that means. The old saying "A tourist complains, a Pilgrim gives thanks." comes back to me. So much of it is the attitude of those walking, their acceptance of circumstances and others in both humility and kindness. (When I hear walkers complaining to the gîte owner about the how crunchy feeling the towels are, I know I've moved off the pilgrimage route and into walking holidays.) And yes, pilgrimage includes religion and faith and questions and thoughts and prayers and song.

I have only two weeks to walk this Spring-- over Easter. My older son will be joining me and my younger son. It will be his first time, and I am trying to decide where to walk. My younger son wants to be in Santiago for Easter (third time camino for him). But I am thinking of not walking from Sarria-- beautiful though that section is, because I do not want to be with the flocking tourists/vacationers-- esp. during Semana santa. (We are RC and observe the triduum). Perhaps I should look at walking to Rome from Assisi? --Is it not a strange thing that catholic pilgrims should hesitate to walk a pilgrimage because they are believers?!

Some time ago I read that the Camino in Galicia is maintained by the tourist office, while in Castille-Leon, it is run by the cultural office. Does anyone know if this is true?
 

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.
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respect

I would like to address an issue that has bothered me from my very first Camino. But before I begin I would like to say I have made friends through this site. I respect what all of us are trying to accomplish here. I have gained useful information and have felt very good when I as well as when I see others give back to the Camino but imparting and soothing fears and misgivings of new Pilgrims and giving information that is needed by all. We always learn from each walk we take. I know that this forum strives to respect everyone and is tolerant to each persons ideas and as people say we all walk our own Camino. I have done 4 Caminos and have traveled over 4,000 kilometers. I have had great pain, great joy, great tranquility, met the greatest people on earth and had experiences that range from the mundane to the ridiculous to the profound.
I cannot tell you how much the Camino means to me and how much I respect its sacred space. I am writing this on the CF Forum as this path to Santiago has given me great happiness and now causes me great concern.

I have absolutely no problem with people who because of personal or physical concerns or have time constraints, ship backpacks, or take some bus rides, or walk shorter distances. I have no problem with people who have been lucky enough to find a way to take their love of the Camino and make it their home by opening Albergue or pensions, restaurants, or have Camino related businesses or podcasts. What Brendon Burke does or the Pilgrim House or Dan Mullins songs. ( I don't even know if he earns money from his music but I hope he does and I hope everyone who takes that Camino plunge is successful. I know no one is going to get rich materially but I am sure the spiritual rewards are tremendous.

But I think it is possible for all of us to express concerns without having to incur the wrath of others because a controversial topic that is heartfelt and but may not be perceived as tolerant by some. It is time for a learning experience for all of this when this happens. I know some may say this is your issue not the Camino, that you need to be more open and less judgmental. Well we are all walking around all day carrying judgements and issues no matter how hard we try not too. It is the human experience. So yes this is my issue. That is because of the following:

The Camino is a sacred place to me and to many others. I have met people who were making profound changes or decisions in their lives. I have met a man who had terminal cancer and was trying to make sense of the time left and how to spend it. I met a woman who lost her husband and 3 small children in a car accident and had attempted suicide more than once. Her friend took her on the Camino hoping she would find something to help to allow her to go on.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.

A friend who I wrote to about this, who is on our forum feels the same frustration that I do, but advised me to say nothing. But I can't help myself. I speak out to voice a concern but also I am always hoping to hear an argument that may change my mind and bring me some peace.

On my first Camino I met wonderful people. People who were walking with purpose (even though many like myself had no idea what that purpose was. We just knew we had to be there). They struggled with the full spectrum of pain from the physical to the spiritual. There were days even then almost 10 years ago that it was a little hard to find an albergue. But then we reached Sarria. My experience there is something I have never forgotten or gotten over. I usually leave early because I love walking in the early morning dawn. I arrived in Sarria early at my albergue (it was a private one) and was struck by seeing at least 20 backpacks neatly stacked against a wall. All brand new. About 20 minutes later Pilgrims started coming in. We were located on the west side of town and this albergue might have been the last in town at the time. Someone told me all the other places were already full. A little while after that I saw a few people coming in who were hobbled with blisters and other assorted ailments without a place to stay. I called two friends who both had injuries and offered my bed but they said they were staying at a hotel off the camino and would taxi there and back. About 7PM the people started coming in who had reservations and had their backpacks against that wall. Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people and it made me question what is the meaning and definition of a Peregrino.

I recently walked the Norte and for a couple of nights met a few older women who stayed in the same albergues that I did. I was walking with another American and a Swede at the time. We all talked the first morning at breakfast and I mentioned to them how much I respected them walking the Norte as the hills are really intense. Very steep and very long. One laughed and said the hills are not bad at all. It turns out that we found out after a few days that they took taxis up every single big hill on the Camino. I told my friends that night as a half/joke, what have Pilgrims become. The word is losing its meaning. My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.

A few weeks ago I heard a podcast with a "Pilgrim" that had walked 10 days on the Camino. He was on a luxury tour of the Camino. He talked about what the Camino did for him and I do not doubt his words or his sincerity. He wrote an article entitled "A day in the life of an Authentic Journeys Pilgrim:
"Fast forward to present day and you’ll find contemporary pilgrims from all walks of life and from every corner of the world traveling along this same storied path however, while some walk in the traditional way carrying their worldly possessions in their backpacks, bunk down in community albergues and dine from the pilgrim’s menu; there are others who opt for a more luxurious and convenient pace that includes deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining, plus the convenience of having luggage transported from place to place. And at the end of the day, the promise of a little pampering from your personal massage therapist beckons." This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this. I am not begrudging this trip for those who want or can afford it.
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort? Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is? Yes I know Kings and noblemen walked. Yes I know people were paid to walk for them to have their sins absolved. Yes I know the hundreds of other arguments about tolerance and inclusion. No although my personal opinion is these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon. Yes you can't deny people the ability to make a living. You cannot exclude anyone from walking no matter what form their walk takes. Please I am not an idiot, I know! But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim) It is sacred and most be continued in all its forms that include compassion, love and yes sacrifice. You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
These companies are not giving you a pilgrim experience. Larger and larger numbers of people walking are tourists and looking for a cheap vacation.
TOURGRIMS
Please all I ask is that we look at this before the Camino becomes a spiritual Rodeo Drive.
I love the Camino and I love all Pilgrims.
Hope you all understand what I am trying to say. I probably could have said it in a lot less space but I have such a big damn mouth!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
Simply Brilliant I couldn’t have said it better, so many truths. You my friend are a true pilgrim.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2019 TBD
What exactly is the problem?

Is anything the “tourgrims” are doing taking anything away from you or others? If there is littering, or damaging trees or mistreatment of others I could understand your agitation. Maybe it is a perceived attitude or claiming a status that they don’t “qualify” for? Is that worth burdening yourself with judgement of others?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respect

I would like to address an issue that has bothered me from my very first Camino. But before I begin I would like to say I have made friends through this site. I respect what all of us are trying to accomplish here. I have gained useful information and have felt very good when I as well as when I see others give back to the Camino but imparting and soothing fears and misgivings of new Pilgrims and giving information that is needed by all. We always learn from each walk we take. I know that this forum strives to respect everyone and is tolerant to each persons ideas and as people say we all walk our own Camino. I have done 4 Caminos and have traveled over 4,000 kilometers. I have had great pain, great joy, great tranquility, met the greatest people on earth and had experiences that range from the mundane to the ridiculous to the profound.
I cannot tell you how much the Camino means to me and how much I respect its sacred space. I am writing this on the CF Forum as this path to Santiago has given me great happiness and now causes me great concern.

I have absolutely no problem with people who because of personal or physical concerns or have time constraints, ship backpacks, or take some bus rides, or walk shorter distances. I have no problem with people who have been lucky enough to find a way to take their love of the Camino and make it their home by opening Albergue or pensions, restaurants, or have Camino related businesses or podcasts. What Brendon Burke does or the Pilgrim House or Dan Mullins songs. ( I don't even know if he earns money from his music but I hope he does and I hope everyone who takes that Camino plunge is successful. I know no one is going to get rich materially but I am sure the spiritual rewards are tremendous.

But I think it is possible for all of us to express concerns without having to incur the wrath of others because a controversial topic that is heartfelt and but may not be perceived as tolerant by some. It is time for a learning experience for all of this when this happens. I know some may say this is your issue not the Camino, that you need to be more open and less judgmental. Well we are all walking around all day carrying judgements and issues no matter how hard we try not too. It is the human experience. So yes this is my issue. That is because of the following:

The Camino is a sacred place to me and to many others. I have met people who were making profound changes or decisions in their lives. I have met a man who had terminal cancer and was trying to make sense of the time left and how to spend it. I met a woman who lost her husband and 3 small children in a car accident and had attempted suicide more than once. Her friend took her on the Camino hoping she would find something to help to allow her to go on.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.

A friend who I wrote to about this, who is on our forum feels the same frustration that I do, but advised me to say nothing. But I can't help myself. I speak out to voice a concern but also I am always hoping to hear an argument that may change my mind and bring me some peace.

On my first Camino I met wonderful people. People who were walking with purpose (even though many like myself had no idea what that purpose was. We just knew we had to be there). They struggled with the full spectrum of pain from the physical to the spiritual. There were days even then almost 10 years ago that it was a little hard to find an albergue. But then we reached Sarria. My experience there is something I have never forgotten or gotten over. I usually leave early because I love walking in the early morning dawn. I arrived in Sarria early at my albergue (it was a private one) and was struck by seeing at least 20 backpacks neatly stacked against a wall. All brand new. About 20 minutes later Pilgrims started coming in. We were located on the west side of town and this albergue might have been the last in town at the time. Someone told me all the other places were already full. A little while after that I saw a few people coming in who were hobbled with blisters and other assorted ailments without a place to stay. I called two friends who both had injuries and offered my bed but they said they were staying at a hotel off the camino and would taxi there and back. About 7PM the people started coming in who had reservations and had their backpacks against that wall. Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people and it made me question what is the meaning and definition of a Peregrino.

I recently walked the Norte and for a couple of nights met a few older women who stayed in the same albergues that I did. I was walking with another American and a Swede at the time. We all talked the first morning at breakfast and I mentioned to them how much I respected them walking the Norte as the hills are really intense. Very steep and very long. One laughed and said the hills are not bad at all. It turns out that we found out after a few days that they took taxis up every single big hill on the Camino. I told my friends that night as a half/joke, what have Pilgrims become. The word is losing its meaning. My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.

A few weeks ago I heard a podcast with a "Pilgrim" that had walked 10 days on the Camino. He was on a luxury tour of the Camino. He talked about what the Camino did for him and I do not doubt his words or his sincerity. He wrote an article entitled "A day in the life of an Authentic Journeys Pilgrim:
"Fast forward to present day and you’ll find contemporary pilgrims from all walks of life and from every corner of the world traveling along this same storied path however, while some walk in the traditional way carrying their worldly possessions in their backpacks, bunk down in community albergues and dine from the pilgrim’s menu; there are others who opt for a more luxurious and convenient pace that includes deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining, plus the convenience of having luggage transported from place to place. And at the end of the day, the promise of a little pampering from your personal massage therapist beckons." This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this. I am not begrudging this trip for those who want or can afford it.
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort? Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is? Yes I know Kings and noblemen walked. Yes I know people were paid to walk for them to have their sins absolved. Yes I know the hundreds of other arguments about tolerance and inclusion. No although my personal opinion is these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon. Yes you can't deny people the ability to make a living. You cannot exclude anyone from walking no matter what form their walk takes. Please I am not an idiot, I know! But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim) It is sacred and most be continued in all its forms that include compassion, love and yes sacrifice. You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
These companies are not giving you a pilgrim experience. Larger and larger numbers of people walking are tourists and looking for a cheap vacation.
TOURGRIMS
Please all I ask is that we look at this before the Camino becomes a spiritual Rodeo Drive.
I love the Camino and I love all Pilgrims.
Hope you all understand what I am trying to say. I probably could have said it in a lot less space but I have such a big damn mouth!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
Perhaps one of the things we learn as a Pilgrim is to live and let live. We all have different ways of doing things.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
I don't think it matters whether you are a pilgrim or not. Anyway, it is not an "either-or" thing: we are all somewhere on the scale between 100% pilgrim and 100% tourist. (I was about 70-30.) . The only thing that matters - which I think we should expect from every person who walks it, and speak up to explain when appropriate - is to acknowledge that the Camino is and was a sacred space for millions who have been walking it for 1,500 years, and behave with appropriate respect, like tourists are expected to show in a church. I would say that generally, people do that, even when they are 100% tourists. Those who don't, well, we have to pass over them with indulgence. Serenity and forgiveness are two of the gifts of the Camino.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
What exactly is the problem?

Is anything the “tourgrims” are doing taking anything away from you or others? If there is littering, or damaging trees or mistreatment of others I could understand your agitation. Maybe it is a perceived attitude or claiming a status that they don’t “qualify” for? Is that worth burdening yourself with judgement of others?
You offer a point to contemplate. As i was thinking over your post I certainly considered that some of the things you mentioned -- littering etc -- do occur among those who are more touristy in their purpose. But I have seen those who are walking with backpacks and sleeping in alburgues and stopping at churches do similar things, too. I don't know if the ratio of tourigrino littering per capita is higher or lower than those totally on foot, though. I have a feeling that it is the more traditional walker/pilgrim who is most responsible for Camino toilet paper, though :)

I don't judge Touriginos, but I have experienced the negative effects. For example, on my first Camino in 2017, after a long and particularly hard day -- due to a bout of diarrhea and nausea -- of walking from Pamplona to Maneru, Caleb and I had planned to stay the night at one of only two alburgues in that small village. Unfortunately, we were at the tail end of the arrival of several tour buses which had unloaded gobs of daypackers just at the outside of the town.

I was fairly well spent. Caleb tried to make arrangements but was told "completo". Apparently the Hospitaleria (sp) tried to find accomodations both in Maneru and to Lorca, but things were full. I was about to suggest we try to go to the church and see if we could at least bivouac on their facilities, but the Hospitaleria (sp) had called a taxi for us and one other couple and had made arrangements for lodging in Estella.

As we were being driven to Estella, we went through Cirauqui to drop off a passenger and there was a large tour bus in a lot outside of town. My thoughts were that maybe these were also tourigrinos that filled up lodgings here as well. We spent the night in Estella, then took a taxi back to Maneru early the next morning so that we could walk that stage back to Estella and a bit beyond.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
I don't think I've read a single description of "the true pilgrim" posted on these forums, with the general sense that "in the past the pilgrimage was pure and now it is becoming debased" that would have applied to Chaucer's pilgrims and what is probably the greatest account of a medieval pilgrimage written in the English language (the language we use on these forums). While I may occasionally speak in a jocular fashion about "tourigrinos", that is just joking around. When speaking seriously, I would say that one becomes a pilgrim, not by one's mode of transit, not by what one chooses to carry, not even by one's choice of destination (are those who have walked from SJPP to Santiago still pilgrims if they come back and walk from Le Puy to SJPP with no intention of continuing to Santiago again?), but simply by declaring themselves pilgrims. If you think of yourself as a pilgrim and relate to people and your surroundings as one, however you travel and whatever your destination, that's all it takes to make you one in my books.

YMMV, of course.
Hallelujah my fellow pilgrim! I couldn't agree with you more. Anyone who embraces the real meaning of pilgrim or claims to be a "real" pilgrim, would never have written such a disparaging post about those of us who opt to make pilgrimage in this fashion. I truly feel sorry for this person and others who have claimed that such travelers like me haven't found their way. Well, this article is about me and I am hurt by such prejudice shared with other pilgrims. Who is anyone to judge anyone else's pilgrimage, their calling, their motivation, their means of travel. Personally I embrace all pilgrims, welcome them into my heart.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Hallelujah my fellow pilgrim! I couldn't agree with you more. Anyone who embraces the real meaning of pilgrim or claims to be a "real" pilgrim, would never have written such a disparaging post about those of us who opt to make pilgrimage in this fashion. I truly feel sorry for this person and others who have claimed that such travelers like me haven't found their way. Well, this article is about me and I am hurt by such prejudice shared with other pilgrims. Who is anyone to judge anyone else's pilgrimage, their calling, their motivation, their means of travel. Personally I embrace all pilgrims, welcome them into my heart.
Let me gently ask: isn't your post, however well intentioned, guilty of the same judgement of the OP as you so rightly choose to reject? :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
Let me gently ask: isn't your post, however well intentioned, guilty of the same judgement of the OP as you so rightly choose to reject? :)
I understand your point and while you're entitled to your opinion just as the person who wrote the OP, I expressed how this post made me feel. If you're referring to my definition of a true pilgrim, isn't it all-encompassing? Doesn't it include everyone? Is it prejudiced?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
First off: I understand your concerns, born out of love and passion for the camino. As someone who has been set straight by this ancient path, I get that you can feel offended by those who do not treat it with at least some semblance of respect and maybe even reverence. But when all is said and done, the only thing I feel is: "Their loss. But there is still time."

I will find other roads to wander, where I can sense the grace I have uncovered for the first time on my walk to Santiago. For that discovery I will be forever grateful to the Way. And as to how the Way is twisting and turning at this point in time, Rebekah Scott, a prophet if ever there was one, has already foretold it: the Camino will survive us.
Who said we don't have the same reverence for the Camino? Who said we lost anything?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and frustrations @lt56ny

I think many of us at times may have shared some of your frustrations. I certainly did on my first Camino.

Now I don't let it bother me. Why? Because I realised that I cannot see into the hearts of those 'Tourigrinos' or know their backgrounds or circumstances. Sure there are the loud tour groups, but I found myself being too quick to judge them.

On that first Camino I set out to prove myself wrong about them.........

I stopped to talk to two middle aged ladies who were carrying tiny day packs. Their husbands were waiting for them at the next village with the 'support car'.

One of the husbands was blind and had dreamed of walking the Camino for so long, they went as a Group. His wife led him by the hand over the Pyrenees! The other husband drove the support car to pick up the blind man when he could go no further each day, and they would wait for their wives down the path somewhere.

That group were truer Pilgrims than me..........

Or the Bus Group, laughing and joking along the path. And there up ahead was their bus at the cafe! With their Cheerleader, an 85 old Nun who could not walk far but had organised the trip for them. I made a point of stopping to talk to some of them along the way. Delightful and devout people.........

Am I true Pilgrim? Who knows. I try to be. The Camino for me is a spiritual and sacred journey that I thank God each day for being able to undertake. I visit almost every church I pass and stop at every road side cross.

But......

I stay in private accommodations (I snore a lot)
I have massages (I carry injuries from training for my first Camino)
I visit a physio whenever I can (same reason)
A couple of times I might have to take a taxi ride, as walking a long distance on roads aggravates my injuries so much that it can end my Camino.
And I have been know to send my bag ahead because my Achilles Tendonitis got so bad I could barely walk that day...........

But in my heart I'm a pilgrim. And I think God shares that view as I have felt him urging me on at the times I felt like giving up........... I have shared one of those stories here.

Don't be too harsh on those Tourigrinos............ Maybe I'm one :eek: ;);)
I could hug you. Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
@lt56ny having read your post I went to look at the website of the tour company which seems to have led to your starting this thread. As far as I can tell from reading the site, at no point does the company itself describe its tours as pilgrimages, or its customers as pilgrims. It uses the words "tour", and "trip". It also provides some historical information about the Camino, and the background of the couple who own the company, which they seem to have started after many years of walking the Camino themselves. The word pilgrimage is used by individuals who have been on the company's tours - and reading the entire article to which your first post links (which is not actually the one you quote from), it is clear that the person writing it felt deeply about the experience and to them it was a pilgrimage, whatever the cost or accommodation. The "Day in the Life" article which you quote is by a different person who took the company's tour, and despite the language used in your quote (which seems to have so upset you), this person also seems to have been deeply affected by their journey.

I understand that what you find offensive is the cost and the apparent commercialisation of the Camino by such companies. But to make such a sweeping statement as "They are not pilgrims" - perhaps when you have time to re-read those people's descriptions of their experience and have calmed down a little, you might see that sometimes pilgrims do choose to go on expensive tours, and that despite the cost and type of accommodation, to them it is still a pilgrimage.
Thank you!! I could hug you too!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
Yes, I have read all the posts on this thread. You are clearly thinking deeply about this issue. My reply was specifically to your statement - in upper case, "shouted" as you say from the mountaintops - that the people who go on these tours are "not pilgrims". You are of course entitled to your opinion (although you didn't say "in my opinion they are not pilgrims") - in my opinion, none of us are in a position to judge the motivations, reasons or beliefs of others simply on the basis of what they pay for a tour.

Your later posts refer to disrespect. Going on a costly tour is not in itself disrespectful, any more than travelling cheaply and staying in albergues makes someone respectful (as we know, there are plenty of rude and disrespectful people in that category, and many of them also describe themselves as pilgrims!). I would never personally use the term "tourigrino", as I consider it a snide and superior term (dare I say disrespectful!) that lumps a whole lot of very different people into one category without knowing anything about them as individuals. Whether running a tour company is inherently disrespectful I couldn't say - I don't use tour companies myself and never have, but they have existed for a long time and will continue to exist where people are willing to pay, all over the world. Like some others who have responded above, I have met some very respectful, amazing people on the Camino who happened to be using a tour company for whatever reason. And have also encountered those who operate tours, including some members of this forum, who are deeply respectful and most definitely pilgrims themselves. And I've met some disrespectful, unpleasant people who are not in tour groups.

Respect (or disrespect) has very little to do with wealth or power. It has everything to do with giving people the benefit of the doubt, listening, and having compassion for those who choose to do things differently, whether that's using a tour company or starting one up (often as a way to keep spending time on the Camino while making a living). Misuse of wealth and power is real, and you're right about "a sense of rage that needs to be changed into action and engagement", but little tour companies like Duperier's are not the big bad guys.
Thank you so much for sharing your point of view.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I understand your point and while you're entitled to your opinion just as the person who wrote the OP, I expressed how this post made me feel. If you're referring to my definition of a true pilgrim, isn't it all-encompassing? Doesn't it include everyone? Is it prejudiced?
I wasn't referring to your definition, nor to the fact that you disagreed with the OP. But attempting to assign a motive to the OP based on personal feelings, rather than offering a specific counterpoint(s) which avoid such motives -- which I did not interpret from the OP -- is more akin to personal attack than to rational debate.

I do not discount how you feel as I do not know what is in your heart or mind as you read the post.

By that token, you cannot know the motive of the OP, much less that there was an intent to disparage anyone. I saw the intent of the post as a genuine search for discussion. And I find the author to have a made a reasonable inquiry into an area that is of interest to many Forum members. The OP, in my mind was a legitimate expression as has been much of the follow up postings in response.

What makes me cringe is not that you disagree, as many other posters have done, it is claiming that the author was 'disparaging' and 'prejudiced', among other statements. I consider that phrasing in your post to be akin to the pot calling the kettle black.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
Well, how do you interpret this statement made in the OP?
"The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!"

This is not disparaging? Or prejudiced? I interpret this as a direct insult to all those who do NOT make pilgrimage as the OP does.

EOC
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Well, how do you interpret this statement made in the OP?
"The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!"

This is not disparaging? Or prejudiced? I interpret this as a direct insult to all those who do NOT make pilgrimage as the OP does.

EOC
No, it is neither. It also makes no sense to me when one justifies the use of negative comments by citing what they believe is someone else's negative comment.

In my mind, if there has ever been a definition of a pilgrim/pilgrimage offered. or a standard set, then there is room for discussion and opinion. Example: Does the fact that the Pilgrim's Office defines specific parameters in order to be a pilgrim and to have completed a pilgrimage mean that the Catholic Church is disparaging and/or prejudiced?

The quote that you repeated, was only a singular part of his entire post. In context, the author offered a narrow example of a behavior and style that he found counter-intuitive to his view of a pilgrim and pilgrimage. I found it helpful in putting a perspective to his post. The author also spends quite of bit of time further expanding on his original thesis in follow up postings.

I do not agree that there is an insult made or intended. Nor do I believe that it is a person's responsibility for how someone else chooses to react or respond to what has been written or said; it is not up to me to tell someone else not to offend me, it is my responsibility to deal with how I react to another person's words or actions. Believe me, I have not responded well to other's words or non-violent actions, but it doesn't alleviate me of being responsible for choosing to respond in that manner.

I am not trying to attack with my posts, I am trying to offer perspective on the words written. How you feel is not for me to judge.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Ingles 2018
In ancient times the pilgrimage was used as a form of punishment for minor crimes. During those times tens of thousands of pilgrims were sent off and more than half of them would die. They were killed by all sorts of things, robbers, wolfs, drowning and exhaustion. Being forced on a pilgrimage was almost a death sentence. Those high ranking clergy and nobles that sent out these pilgrims knew that they were unlikely to return. What they were really doing was handing over their punishment to god. If a pilgrim dies on his journey then god did not like him. Every pilgrim with his meager possessions relied on their good relationship with god in order to survive.
Now, a true pilgrim does not have to face wolves or robbers but still has to face the physical challenge, aches, pains and setbacks. A true pilgrim relies on his strength, intelligence and the blessing of god. A true pilgrim walks with an uncluttered mind, yellow arrows ahead and god 10’ behind him. A true pilgrim may not even know it but deep down –
“A true pilgrim puts themselves before the judgement of god.”
When I think of the ancient Pilgrims hardships my comparison is the modern day migrant/refugees from Latin America, Africa, etc to a promised land of North America, Europe. Albeit a journey of economical stability opposed to spiritual.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
I've been so excited about my trip but your post actually made me feel very sad. I am walking the Camino Frances in May and I don't think of myself as a pilgrim on a religious pilgrimage. I'm going on a grand adventure to Spain! All by myself with my backpack, and it's by far the biggest thing I've ever done in my life. I'm not able to complete the full camino but I'm still walking a long way, due to time constraints with work pressure, possibly starting from Burgos to Santiago. Probably not your intention but it feels as though you think the camino belongs only to you and religious pilgrims. I've seen a few Facebook posts lately saying similar things - taking the mickey out of people who are doing things like coming back drunk to albergues or singing as they walk. Labeling people "Tourgrinos" does seem judgmental to me. One man berated a woman who was so excited to share that she had booked a tour for the CF. He said something like "God will be your guide on the Camino. If you book a tour it's like saying you don't trust him." I can only imagine how that might have made her feel. Btw - my own journey is a purely spiritual one for my own reasons. I don't believe in god and I won't be wearing sackcloth and ashes either. Hopefully that doesn't show a "lack of respect." Just my 10c worth.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I've been so excited about my trip but your post actually made me feel very sad. I am walking the Camino Frances in May and I don't think of myself as a pilgrim on a religious pilgrimage. I'm going on a grand adventure to Spain! All by myself with my backpack, and it's by far the biggest thing I've ever done in my life. I'm not able to complete the full camino but I'm still walking a long way, due to time constraints with work pressure, possibly starting from Burgos to Santiago. Probably not your intention but it feels as though you think the camino belongs only to you and religious pilgrims. I've seen a few Facebook posts lately saying similar things - taking the mickey out of people who are doing things like coming back drunk to albergues or singing as they walk. Labeling people "Tourgrinos" does seem judgmental to me. One man berated a woman who was so excited to share that she had booked a tour for the CF. He said something like "God will be your guide on the Camino. If you book a tour it's like saying you don't trust him." I can only imagine how that might have made her feel. Btw - my own journey is a purely spiritual one for my own reasons. I don't believe in god and I won't be wearing sackcloth and ashes either. Hopefully that doesn't show a "lack of respect." Just my 10c worth.
@Mazzy
You may not think of yourself as a pilgrim on a religious pilgrimage, but you will be, by your choice, a walker on a religious pilgrimage route. So long as you behave as you perceive is respectful in common areas or in religious sites, no one will know what you think unless you decide to share with them. If you come back drunk to the albergues, you may discover that you have been locked out for the night, as would others in the same situation. There will be lots of choice for accommodation, so you will not have to stay in pilgrim hostels, but if you choose to do so you will follow their rules, as you would in any other hostel, and you will be welcome. Your spiritual journey is your own. Keep your mind and your heart open to where it is taking you on the camino and you may receive spiritual blessings. Buen camino.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
I watched this a few years ago and have read some earlier accounts of walking the Camino that go back to the 1970's. Having walked myself in 2014, the contrast of what I experienced as compared to the descriptions of 20, 30 and 40 years previous is stark. Folks that I encountered described a much less commercialized Camino even just five or ten years before

In 1995 I was laid off from a job with a package that included six months pay and health insurance. It would have been the perfect time to take this pilgrimage had I known about it. I was younger, stronger and the walk may have had a more profound and positive influence on how I was to pursue the rest of my working life.

I'll always wonder what I missed on that simpler path
M
Perhaps one of the things we learn as a Pilgrim is to live and let live. We all have different ways of doing things.
i agree and I couldn’t care less what someone does. A person who spends 4,000 Euros for 10 nights is no more a pilgrim or on a pilgrimage than a person can only prepare and eats a bologna on whir bread with mayonnaise every day is a chef or a lover of food.
There is also no doubt in my mind that the crass exploitation of something spiritual damages that land as much as an oil spill would.
Does everything have yo be monitored?????
When I am walking I take everyone for who they are,and what feeling a get from them. We all judge everything and everyone whether we like to admit it or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I have not read all the posts here, so apologise in advance if my point has already been made.
IMHO 'pilgrimage' and being a 'pilgrim' is a state of mind. How you make the pilgrimage is a matter of logisitics. Yes, Chuacer comes to mind but also a friend of ours.
To clarify:-
A comment I have made way back -
We had a friend, confined to a wheelchair, who went as a pilgrim to Lourdes every third year. The other 2 years she was fund raising for others to be able to go by the same method. Due to medical issues the group travelled in a 'jumbulance' a specially equipped coach with medical facilities and staff. All accommodation was pre-booked with their need in mind. Pilgrims - certainly - but none of them able to walk in the way that many of us walk the Camino. Had they gone to Santiago it would again have had to be the 'jumbulance'.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
Sorry, but that's a claim that's both grandiose and inaccurate -- the full OED (not the abridged or online versions, which are each flawed in their own ways, but the full length version ; which BTW is still only in its 2nd Edition, 2009) has that honour.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.
I agree.

Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people
Except that these personal characteristics do not cancel out the above.

Meaning is not reserved to the quiet and the sober.

My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.
This is a rabbit hole, sorry -- to make jokes about busgrinos and tourigrinos and taxigrinos is one thing, and it's something I suspect that many of us indulge in, but when you start to take those things too seriously, that's when you start to let slip your own pilgrimage and your own Camino.

No "real pilgrim" or "True Pilgrim" is ever in any way "better" than any other pilgrim on the Way of Saint James.

From a serious point of view one can be saddened by the fact that many pilgrims choose some easy solutions rather than either letting themselves, or having the discipline, to do it "properly", because all they're doing by that is to let themselves down and not getting as much out of the Camino as they could, but as to their impact on others -- well, that used to be a more serious problem when beds were scarce and those doing nothing but walking could find themselves shut out from the more comfortable sleeping options, but nowadays that's rarely the case, and the fact that these people have their own preferred parallel infrastructures, whereas such strategies as only opening the albergue doors at 3-4 PM have been devised too, or setting aside a certain number of beds for obvious full hikers, and so on, have all contributed to a great lessening of the friction between the "purists" and others.

Better to try and be kind to everyone and non-dismissive of anyone, except the odd random personal conflict of course, unavoidable as they are, and then simply talk, or explain, or propose, or philosophise, or joke, or sing a song, or cook some food, as and when the situation might arise as some opportunity for any of these things. Most important though, simply BE a pilgrim. Nothing serves better than good example.

This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this.
Don't be -- it's NOT the Pilgrim Way to be offended by other Pilgrims : a huge part of the Pilgrimage as a Pilgrimage is in the meeting of others unlike oneself, and with ideals and personal realities other than one's own, even sometimes quite opposite to them.

Another major part of any Pilgrimage is to be there with yourself -- not with some unrealistic fake version of yourself, but the real "you" -- one should not expect the rich to pretend to be poor on the Camino, and indeed there's something a little bit offensive about it when they do.

And many of the people who go on to these very expensive Camino tours do in fact walk every step of the way, just like the rest of us.

I usually have to beg my way along the Camino -- and yet, I have nothing but respect for those who walk in wealth instead of poverty.

The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
No, that's nonsense.

It's not your place to judge who is or who isn't a Pilgrim.

Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort?
Yes.

Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is?
Everything of that remains. Including for those with masses of cash.

But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim)
Whatever that might be, and I am one, it's most certainly not involved with these suggestions of yours.

A True Pilgrim has not this sort of judgmentalism.

You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
You have no idea whatsoever about the relationship with sacrifice of anyone other than yourself.

But the fake "sacrifice" of pretending to live as a pauper (when you're not one) just because you're on pilgrimage is a poor manner of walking on the Way of Saint James.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
but not belonging to a defined religion - and all actors have to comply with a set of rules
Sorry, but this is a Catholic and Christian Pilgrimage -- the most unusual one of them all, from having a tradition since the Middle Ages of being completely open to non-Catholics and non-Christians, but the nature of it remains.
I had to look up my post to see the context. It was an attempt to characterise this contemporary space - ie the whole long trails - that is claimed to be holy and sacred by some of those that define themselves as "spiritual but not religious" and have no intention or inclination to (re)enter the Christian faith. I personally simply don't grasp this idea. Someone can be on a holy journey of one kind or another but the road is secular. To me, holy paths are close to a sanctuary that are usually connected to rituals of the religion in question.

I don't agree at all with the belief, not uncommon, that the pilgrimage to Saint James was open to all during and since the Middle Ages. I think we touched on this before. A four line verse from a probably 12th century poem is often quoted as proof. When Christian hospitality was given to all out of a sense of duty and obligation ("good works", duty to invite in the stranger and feed him otherwise risk of eternal damnation), it was hospitality given to pilgrims and other travellers. Jews and Muslims were travellers on the roads and not pilgrims on the way to a Christian shrine with relics. I'd actually like to read more about this aspect of the practice of medieval hospitality but have never found anything other than this poem. Well, not many Muslim travelling around Europe in those days anyway and those who did, like delegates, had financial means and connections to stay elsewhere than in shelters for pilgrims, I boldly assume.
 
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Texasguy

And so...we keep on walking ..
Camino(s) past & future
French completed in 2013
Portuguese Conpleted March 2015
Ingles Completed November 2015
French 2016
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respect

I would like to address an issue that has bothered me from my very first Camino. But before I begin I would like to say I have made friends through this site. I respect what all of us are trying to accomplish here. I have gained useful information and have felt very good when I as well as when I see others give back to the Camino but imparting and soothing fears and misgivings of new Pilgrims and giving information that is needed by all. We always learn from each walk we take. I know that this forum strives to respect everyone and is tolerant to each persons ideas and as people say we all walk our own Camino. I have done 4 Caminos and have traveled over 4,000 kilometers. I have had great pain, great joy, great tranquility, met the greatest people on earth and had experiences that range from the mundane to the ridiculous to the profound.
I cannot tell you how much the Camino means to me and how much I respect its sacred space. I am writing this on the CF Forum as this path to Santiago has given me great happiness and now causes me great concern.

I have absolutely no problem with people who because of personal or physical concerns or have time constraints, ship backpacks, or take some bus rides, or walk shorter distances. I have no problem with people who have been lucky enough to find a way to take their love of the Camino and make it their home by opening Albergue or pensions, restaurants, or have Camino related businesses or podcasts. What Brendon Burke does or the Pilgrim House or Dan Mullins songs. ( I don't even know if he earns money from his music but I hope he does and I hope everyone who takes that Camino plunge is successful. I know no one is going to get rich materially but I am sure the spiritual rewards are tremendous.

But I think it is possible for all of us to express concerns without having to incur the wrath of others because a controversial topic that is heartfelt and but may not be perceived as tolerant by some. It is time for a learning experience for all of this when this happens. I know some may say this is your issue not the Camino, that you need to be more open and less judgmental. Well we are all walking around all day carrying judgements and issues no matter how hard we try not too. It is the human experience. So yes this is my issue. That is because of the following:

The Camino is a sacred place to me and to many others. I have met people who were making profound changes or decisions in their lives. I have met a man who had terminal cancer and was trying to make sense of the time left and how to spend it. I met a woman who lost her husband and 3 small children in a car accident and had attempted suicide more than once. Her friend took her on the Camino hoping she would find something to help to allow her to go on.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.

A friend who I wrote to about this, who is on our forum feels the same frustration that I do, but advised me to say nothing. But I can't help myself. I speak out to voice a concern but also I am always hoping to hear an argument that may change my mind and bring me some peace.

On my first Camino I met wonderful people. People who were walking with purpose (even though many like myself had no idea what that purpose was. We just knew we had to be there). They struggled with the full spectrum of pain from the physical to the spiritual. There were days even then almost 10 years ago that it was a little hard to find an albergue. But then we reached Sarria. My experience there is something I have never forgotten or gotten over. I usually leave early because I love walking in the early morning dawn. I arrived in Sarria early at my albergue (it was a private one) and was struck by seeing at least 20 backpacks neatly stacked against a wall. All brand new. About 20 minutes later Pilgrims started coming in. We were located on the west side of town and this albergue might have been the last in town at the time. Someone told me all the other places were already full. A little while after that I saw a few people coming in who were hobbled with blisters and other assorted ailments without a place to stay. I called two friends who both had injuries and offered my bed but they said they were staying at a hotel off the camino and would taxi there and back. About 7PM the people started coming in who had reservations and had their backpacks against that wall. Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people and it made me question what is the meaning and definition of a Peregrino.

I recently walked the Norte and for a couple of nights met a few older women who stayed in the same albergues that I did. I was walking with another American and a Swede at the time. We all talked the first morning at breakfast and I mentioned to them how much I respected them walking the Norte as the hills are really intense. Very steep and very long. One laughed and said the hills are not bad at all. It turns out that we found out after a few days that they took taxis up every single big hill on the Camino. I told my friends that night as a half/joke, what have Pilgrims become. The word is losing its meaning. My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.

A few weeks ago I heard a podcast with a "Pilgrim" that had walked 10 days on the Camino. He was on a luxury tour of the Camino. He talked about what the Camino did for him and I do not doubt his words or his sincerity. He wrote an article entitled "A day in the life of an Authentic Journeys Pilgrim:
"Fast forward to present day and you’ll find contemporary pilgrims from all walks of life and from every corner of the world traveling along this same storied path however, while some walk in the traditional way carrying their worldly possessions in their backpacks, bunk down in community albergues and dine from the pilgrim’s menu; there are others who opt for a more luxurious and convenient pace that includes deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining, plus the convenience of having luggage transported from place to place. And at the end of the day, the promise of a little pampering from your personal massage therapist beckons." This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this. I am not begrudging this trip for those who want or can afford it.
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort? Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is? Yes I know Kings and noblemen walked. Yes I know people were paid to walk for them to have their sins absolved. Yes I know the hundreds of other arguments about tolerance and inclusion. No although my personal opinion is these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon. Yes you can't deny people the ability to make a living. You cannot exclude anyone from walking no matter what form their walk takes. Please I am not an idiot, I know! But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim) It is sacred and most be continued in all its forms that include compassion, love and yes sacrifice. You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
These companies are not giving you a pilgrim experience. Larger and larger numbers of people walking are tourists and looking for a cheap vacation.
TOURGRIMS
Please all I ask is that we look at this before the Camino becomes a spiritual Rodeo Drive.
I love the Camino and I love all Pilgrims.
Hope you all understand what I am trying to say. I probably could have said it in a lot less space but I have such a big damn mouth!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
Somehow, I agree with you. After walking the French Way in 2012, for the first time (3 times after that). There is no way i would walk that Camino Again. Currently is a tourist destination.
This year I walked the Camino de Invierno, and although the services are very slim, and it is a very lonely Camino. I LOVED IT!!!!
No drunks, no loud stereos, no people trying to get in after the albergue is closed..... Just some incredible times walking alone with the rain hitting your poncho, the issues with the mud, the need to plan for supplies when you have 35 km the next day.... All of these things is what makes the Camino unforgettable.

To each its own, but to call yourself a Peregrino when you are not really "DOING THE PILGRIMAGE", it is truly a misrepresentation.

To each its own, I could think of many tourist destinations to go on vacation.

Currently, I would not recommend the French Camino to anyone that really wants to experience El Camino de Santiago, i think with time, when people get tired of the trash, the lines, and the multiple "party people" the Camino Frances will regain "again" the incredible experience it used to be.

Buen Camino PEREGRINOS!!!

Texasguy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Members will be minded, as I posted early in this thread, that this topic has often led to the closure of a thread. I'm minded that moderators have not, yet, felt obliged to intervene. For that we are grateful.

However, after reading some recent posts I feel obliged to remind all that they should seek to avoid personal criticism of other members and their views or beliefs. Anyone who needs to refresh their memory of forum rules is directed here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/forum-rules.20973/
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
Do "real" pilgrims carry an ATM card to get cash from a stocked account somewhere, whenever they need it? How should Catholics who believe that St. James is buried in the cathedral in SdC feel about those of other religious faiths co-opting this Christian pilgrimage by claiming it as their own? Do real pilgrims fly and bus to their starting point or do they walk from their front door? Do they compare their expensive tech-wear on internet message boards? Do they refuse to speak Spanish while walking across Spain, only really interacting with people who speak their own (foreign) language?

Give up. Don't tell us what a pilgrim is or where the line is drawn. Even drunk, loud people who ride taxis up hills, annoying as they may be, have as much right to be walking the Camino as those who are fighting cancer.
As frustrating as it can be, it is not our job to decide who qualifies to call themselves what.

Jill
(who earlier posted a thread called "I Am Not A Pilgrim" that I think finally got shut down, too)
 
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lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Somehow, I agree with you. After walking the French Way in 2012, for the first time (3 times after that). There is no way i would walk that Camino Again. Currently is a tourist destination.
This year I walked the Camino de Invierno, and although the services are very slim, and it is a very lonely Camino. I LOVED IT!!!!
No drunks, no loud stereos, no people trying to get in after the albergue is closed..... Just some incredible times walking alone with the rain hitting your poncho, the issues with the mud, the need to plan for supplies when you have 35 km the next day.... All of these things is what makes the Camino unforgettable.

To each its own, but to call yourself a Peregrino when you are not really "DOING THE PILGRIMAGE", it is truly a misrepresentation.

To each its own, I could think of many tourist destinations to go on vacation.

Currently, I would not recommend the French Camino to anyone that really wants to experience El Camino de Santiago, i think with time, when people get tired of the trash, the lines, and the multiple "party people" the Camino Frances will regain "again" the incredible experience it used to be.

Buen Camino PEREGRINOS!!!

Texasguy
I felt the same way about walking at the CAF. Just walked in Norte and it was wonderful quiet and there was a lot of solitude. I do love walking the Camino Frances I felt the same way about walking at the CAF. Just walked in Norte and it was wonderful quiet and there was a lot of solitude. I do love walking the Camino Frances and decided the best time to walk it will be in the winter. So my next Camino will either be a November December 1 or February March. I think it’s a great challenge for me and will be very interesting to be walking in the dead of winter especially if I go in February.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Do "real" pilgrims carry an ATM card to get cash from a stocked account somewhere, whenever they need it? How should Catholics who believe that St. James is buried in the cathedral in SdC feel about those of other religious faiths co-opting this Christian pilgrimage by claiming it as their own? Do real pilgrims fly and bus to their starting point or do they walk from their front door? Do they compare their expensive tech-wear on internet message boards? Do they refuse to speak Spanish while walking across Spain, only really interacting with people who speak their own (foreign) language?

Give up. Don't tell us what a pilgrim is or where the line is drawn. Even drunk, loud people who ride taxis up hills, annoying as they may be, have as much right to be walking the Camino as those who are fighting cancer.
As frustrating as it can be, it is not our job to decide who qualifies to call themselves what.

Jill
(who earlier posted a thread called "I Am Not A Pilgrim" that I think finally got shut down, too)
I agree with you I think everyone has a right to walk the Camino. But I also believe completely that people who were drunk, loud in the middle of the night, rude and selfish have no place anywhere when they have to share accommodations with others. Do what you like but at least have the decency and courtesy to be respectful of those around you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Pamploma (April/May 2014)
VDLP March 2019
This conversation is about the Camino and pilgrims/pilgrimages but might just as easily be about any number of other ethical or moral dilemmas that create a sense of outrage in us.
Outrage is something I've frequently felt at injustice, unfairness, stupidity, meanness, thoughtlessness, greed, violence etc etc
And over time I've (too slowly) come to know my outrage benefits no one. It makes me feel distressed, it makes other people avoid me - I'm not very nice to be around when I'm outraged - it can even make me begin to resemble the very thing/person I'm outraged about.
The problem of what to replace it with is difficult. I still have all my 'judgements' and righteousness about what it is that I dislike or feel outraged about but increasingly I try to be a 'naive enquirer' and seek to understand first. Get alongside people whenever I can rather than set myself up in opposition - it's not easy for me and I'm very much a learner. But what I do know is if I ever had any chance of making any sort of difference it would come from being alongside someone not from being in opposition to them and showing or expressing my outrage/judgement. And it's better for me.
An example occurred one day when I saw 3 boys about 11 or 12 with their bicycles beside a river in my home town. I watched them throw their rubbish into the river. IMMEDIATE outrage welled up inside. Almost instantly I knew I had an opportunity to make a difference and that bollocking them would have the effect of creating opposition from them and even greater distress in me. So in the few steps it took me to walk up to them I managed to quiet myself and say to them something like..."oh guys, that beautiful river, I feel so sad when I see our rubbish in it, I wonder what it must be like for the seals and fish". They were defensive but because I wasn't telling them off they seemed surprised and we were able to have a little conversation. I don't know the outcome as I've never seen them since but I'd like to think that even if they thought I was a weird interfering person it will have had a tiny impact and that my kindness towards them in understanding their behaviour and not sounding judgemental more sad (whilst keeping a tight rein on the part of me that wanted to slap them!) enabled them to be open to another point of view.

This is a bit long winded - sorry, perhaps could have made my point more crisply - the thing I wanted to say is the issue about pilgrims - who is/ who isn't/ who is doing it right/who is missing the point etc etc - is like so many other human difficulties and I've needed to find a new lens on which to view these difficulties when they arise for me and when I manage that people around me benefit, as do I.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Pamploma (April/May 2014)
VDLP March 2019
And perhaps a PS too.
I've deliberately chosen not to walk the main route simply because I know my outrage button would be triggered more than I would like or be able to cope with and my 'evolved' self would quickly give way to my less attractive outraged one! There are plenty of places to be that are less crowded and where I can still have a contemplative walk.
I also know what it is like to lose something to change that has been very dearly loved - as perhaps many on this forum experience sadness about the way the Camino used to be? I grew up beside the Abel Tasman National Park in NZ and spent many weekends for years exploring there but being there now that the rest of the world has beaten a path to it is painful so I don't go any more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I am stuck. I do not have any answers, even for myself. Should I choose a less busy and noisy route to walk, because I prefer it? If I do, perhaps I am just declaring my desire to be a more comfortable tourist on my holiday. I am convinced that I was called to walk the camino, but I don't know in advance what I am supposed to get out of it. Maybe my learning on the camino is intended to be in a context which is sometimes, or much of the time, more uncomfortable than I want. If I am called, I have no way to judge what I am called to experience and to grow spiritually from. I will try to open my heart to accept and learn from whatever comes and to try to be of service to all, including to those who are not naturally attractive to me. I hope that they will be inspired to do the same.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I also know what it is like to lose something to change that has been very dearly loved - as perhaps many on this forum experience sadness about the way the Camino used to be? I grew up beside the Abel Tasman National Park in NZ and spent many weekends for years exploring there but being there now that the rest of the world has beaten a path to it is painful so I don't go any more.
Very much what I feel about the Camino Frances. I walked it first in 1990. Then a second time in 2002. And most recently in 2016. Far too much of my time in that third journey was taken up with sadness and occasionally rage at what it has become since my first walk. Time to let it go and let others find what joy they can in it. I now look in other places for the things which I treasured on my first Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I agree with you I think everyone has a right to walk the Camino. But I also believe completely that people who were drunk, loud in the middle of the night, rude and selfish have no place anywhere when they have to share accommodations with others. Do what you like but at least have the decency and courtesy to be respectful of those around you.
True anwhere, not just on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
Members will be minded that this is a topic that has led, often, to the closure of the thread.

@lt56ny 's post is heartfelt and passionate.

I'll posit a slightly different view; offered to me by Chico, a volunteer Hospitalero at Albergue parroquial San Nicolás de Flüe. "There are no tourists on the Caminos, just some pilgrims who have not yet found their Way".
Chico sounds like a great guy. However, as a non-religious person, I think that line is kind of patronizing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Very much what I feel about the Camino Frances. I walked it first in 1990. Then a second time in 2002. And most recently in 2016. Far too much of my time in that third journey was taken up with sadness and occasionally rage at what it has become since my first walk. Time to let it go and let others find what joy they can in it. I now look in other places for the things which I treasured on my first Camino.
My first Camino was 1989 and my second was 2016. And I really enjoyed my second Camino. Sure there were more pilgrims. A lot more! And there was also a lot more infrastructure. I appreciated the pilgrims that I met and the infrastructure that I benefited from. Not that I didn't enjoy the first. But change isn't always in a better or worse direction. Sometimes it is just in a different direction and, while we can be sad about things that are different in our route (or try different routes which may be more like what we remember) we can also appreciate what we see in the changed route.

I am also minded of all of the places on the Camino that were built about a thousand years ago (give or take a few hundred) to support the pilgrim traffic. (Places called Villafranca, for example, come to mind.) I wonder if people then also complained about the increase in numbers, increase in infrastructure, increase in commerce, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
I agree with you I think everyone has a right to walk the Camino. But I also believe completely that people who were drunk, loud in the middle of the night, rude and selfish have no place anywhere when they have to share accommodations with others. Do what you like but at least have the decency and courtesy to be respectful of those around you.

Yes, you're right!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
True anwhere, not just on the Camino.
Very true, and many of our national parks in the US are becoming incredibly crazy busy, not just the camino. We took our kids to many of them in the late 80's-90's...Glacier, Yosemite, to name two of a dozen we visited. We've been going back in recent years. If you don't start your day really early, forget getting a parking spot unless you use park shuttles. The difference is incredible, and not in a good way!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Very true, and many of our national parks in the US are becoming incredibly crazy busy, not just the camino. We took our kids to many of them in the late 80's-90's...Glacier, Yosemite, to name two of a dozen we visited. We've been going back in recent years. If you don't start your day really early, forget getting a parking spot unless you use park shuttles. The difference is incredible, and not in a good way!
The situation is the same in the busier Canadian national parks, in particular in Banff, which is the closest and easiest to reach national park from Calgary. Fortunately for me, this extreme busyness only exists within two days walk of the nearest roads. Once I have spent two days in camping spaces, they disappear and I can wild camp by myself. Depending on where I am, I may have the wilderness entirely to myself and the animals for a week or more: Paradise! But you really would not want to go there, of course.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Albertagirl, You are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area. I visited Banff and Jasper 2 years ago and yes, experienced the same busyness as in the US parks. You are brave to wild camp. I have a fear of bears so would not get a wink of sleep doing that!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Do "real" pilgrims carry an ATM card to get cash from a stocked account somewhere, whenever they need it? How should Catholics who believe that St. James is buried in the cathedral in SdC feel about those of other religious faiths co-opting this Christian pilgrimage by claiming it as their own? Do real pilgrims fly and bus to their starting point or do they walk from their front door? Do they compare their expensive tech-wear on internet message boards? Do they refuse to speak Spanish while walking across Spain, only really interacting with people who speak their own (foreign) language?
Not sure what any of these have to do with anything (the ATM question is particularly odd), and for the life of me, I can't see why the actions of others should be seen as a matter for one's own judgment nor a cause for anger, unless it's stuff like bad behaviour in the dormitory, but that's a matter for ordinary sociability and respect, not a special particular of the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
Yeah, the ATM question might have been a bit out there. It just occurs to me, when people talk about what a "real" pilgrim is, that for many centuries, this trek was uncomfortable, insecure and even dangerous. My guess is that there had to be a lot of faith to take on such an arduous journey. No one nowadays is replicating that. Today, we can just withdraw cash if we need a meal or go to a farmacia for blister relief. And I'm not sure how common it was in the old days to actually choose to suffer. There wasn't a pack courier, but if one could afford it, most would welcome having a donkey or servant to carry their gear. I also assume that, if buses and cars were accessible, most pilgrims would have jumped at the opportunity not to walk. I don't know. I am just very reactive when I sense a holier than thou attitude about how someone should approach walking the Camino. No question that we all wish that people who are loud and drunk or otherwise make others miserable would stay away. But please don't tell me that a pious religious person should feel more ownership of this route. That's all I'm saying.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
“In the old days”, people didn’t fly to Spain every year or every other year to walk another camino, nor did they pick a different camino to explore for their next pilgrimage and so they didn’t have a chance or a reason for the kind of comparisons and the kind of complaints we have now. Unlike today, many if not most didn’t look for a few weeks or a month or two to live the simple life in Spain, they already had a simple life at home. Those who travelled by foot then did so because they had no other choice. Those who carried their stuff then did so because they had no other choice. And pilgrimage to find their real selves or their true purpose in life? They would not have a clue about what on earth you are talking about.

That’s just a few of the many fundamental differences between then and now. The “real pilgrim” / “they are not pilgrims but I and my friends are” issue that we discuss here is a totally modern construct.

PS: Just in case someone wants to bring up the fake pilgrims of the good old days, that’s an entirely different topic again.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
“In the old days”, people didn’t fly to Spain every year or every other year to walk another camino
Nor did they have an online avatar that said: “We’re doomed. Doomed!” as we see today. Although ... perhaps a fitting motto for those who went on a long journey to seek eternal salvation in SdC. 🙃
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Nor did they have an online avatar that said: “We’re doomed. Doomed!” as we see today. Although ... perhaps a fitting motto for those who went on a long journey to seek salvation in SdC. 🙃
So you recognise it! :) I am working my way through a list of grumpy middle-aged and elderly Scotsmen and choosing one to fit my current mood.....

Certainly the huge increase in numbers is not to my taste. I am intensely shy and private and solitude is an enormous pleasure and source of strength for me. Hard to find on the Camino Frances these days. But my unease is not simply to do with numbers. There has been a marked change in the "flavour" of the Camino. What was initially a low-key and modest volunteer-led project has become a large scale commercial enterprise. Contact with local people now is predominantly linked to business of one kind or another: bar owners, shopkeepers, hospitaleros and social interaction is mostly with other pilgrims. From being a largely theoretical idea that barely touched the lives of the places it passed through - little more than a few painted arrows and the occasional refugio - the Camino has become a large self-absorbed entity in its own right which dominates in all but the largest of towns. In the early years of the Camino revival the low public profile meant that there was a great deal of common ground between those who walked: essentially you had to be actively religious, a history buff or a keen long-distance walker to have even heard of the Camino much less decide to walk it. It was widely understood that the pilgrimage was essentially a Catholic exercise but one which others like myself were free to join. That distinctly religious flavour has largely been lost and replaced in the main with a focus on personal spiritual concerns and an eclectic 'pick & mix' feelgood mysticism. The Caminos are now extremely well-known internationally and regularly feature on newspaper travel "bucket lists" and are sold as package holidays by mainstream travel companies. Much of that sits very uneasily with my personal interpretation of "pilgrimage".
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Yeah, the ATM question might have been a bit out there. It just occurs to me, when people talk about what a "real" pilgrim is, that for many centuries, this trek was uncomfortable, insecure and even dangerous. My guess is that there had to be a lot of faith to take on such an arduous journey. No one nowadays is replicating that..
Well, I am, but that's entirely beside the point. It's not an exercise in atavism.

As far as I'm concerned, a "real pilgrim" is any Pilgrim who has understood enough about his or her own Camino to be able to explain it, or at least start to explain it, to others.

Passively, any pilgrim that you might meet who can tell you something pertinent and personal, through understanding, about his or her sensitivity towards and experience of the Way, but also towards you personally.

There are no Pilgrims who teach me, and others, new things and new perspectives and new attitudes who aren't "real pilgrims". And of course most Pilgrims do exactly that. They all have something about the Camino that they have understood, and they all know how to at least start saying it.

And it's a joy.

People do seem to carry on confusing the "purism" of some, for the more sensible approach of most !!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
:::Just wanted to give myself a little prideful credit here for my momentary tactful, mature sense not to say out loud so many things I am tempted to say about the ups and downs in the history of religion and cultural persecution on the camino...::: Okay, maybe I broke that just now. But anyway, carry on and I'll re-apply the duct tape ("cinta americana) to my mouth.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
So JP, how are you doing with those handmade leather sandals, the water gourd, the hair lice and the chronic tooth infection? Hope the Templar Knights are watching out for you! :)
It's size 14 army boots -- a little plastic bottle for water, no hair lice because of modern hygiene, nor chronic tooth infection as I do not fill my mouth with a nonstop supply of modern sugar solids nor liquids.

Your "Templar Knights" comment suggests to me that you might not have all the answers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
So you recognise it! :) I am working my way through a list of grumpy middle-aged and elderly Scotsmen and choosing one to fit my current mood.....

Certainly the huge increase in numbers is not to my taste. I am intensely shy and private and solitude is an enormous pleasure and source of strength for me. Hard to find on the Camino Frances these days. But my unease is not simply to do with numbers. There has been a marked change in the "flavour" of the Camino. What was initially a low-key and modest volunteer-led project has become a large scale commercial enterprise. Contact with local people now is predominantly linked to business of one kind or another: bar owners, shopkeepers, hospitaleros and social interaction is mostly with other pilgrims. From being a largely theoretical idea that barely touched the lives of the places it passed through - little more than a few painted arrows and the occasional refugio - the Camino has become a large self-absorbed entity in its own right which dominates in all but the largest of towns. In the early years of the Camino revival the low public profile meant that there was a great deal of common ground between those who walked: essentially you had to be actively religious, a history buff or a keen long-distance walker to have even heard of the Camino much less decide to walk it. It was widely understood that the pilgrimage was essentially a Catholic exercise but one which others like myself were free to join. That distinctly religious flavour has largely been lost and replaced in the main with a focus on personal spiritual concerns and an eclectic 'pick & mix' feelgood mysticism. The Caminos are now extremely well-known internationally and regularly feature on newspaper travel "bucket lists" and are sold as package holidays by mainstream travel companies. Much of that sits very uneasily with my personal interpretation of "pilgrimage".
Admittedly, that "low key and modest volunteer-led" revival of the Camino was, itself, very different from the medieval pilgrimage it was attempting to revive. The size and growth of commercial infrastructure we are seeing now is probably more similar to the medieval pilgrimage, which had large numbers and a bustling, commercial infrastructure, than the low key route that you first walked. We can complain about the success, but it is just what the people who first painted the yellow arrows were after.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Despite an apparently prevailing current to secularize the Camino, there is the undeniable fact of its origin as a religious pilgrimage. It is an invitation to be alone with God. The churches and wayside shrines are all visible reminders of that; the crosses, reminders of the sufferings of Christ and the pilgrims’ uniting their suffering with his, for truly the early pilgrims suffered, depending on Providence, the monasteries and churches along the way, as well as the kindness of strangers. So there is this deeply personal, spiritual aspect of the Camino, which draws so many, whether they realize it or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
JabbaPapa: "As far as I'm concerned, a "real pilgrim" is any Pilgrim who has understood enough about his or her own Camino to be able to explain it, or at least start to explain it, to others."

I don't feel the need to explain my Camino to anyone. I am all ears if you want to tell me about yours, but it isn't required, in my opinion.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
JabbaPapa: "As far as I'm concerned, a "real pilgrim" is any Pilgrim who has understood enough about his or her own Camino to be able to explain it, or at least start to explain it, to others."

I don't feel the need to explain my Camino to anyone. I am all ears if you want to tell me about yours, but it isn't required, in my opinion.
No, there's no requirement whatsoever to explain yourself to anyone. Ability to explain is not a "requirement" to do so.
 
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