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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

When do most pilgrims feel like quitting the Camino de Santiago?

Burton Axxe

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May 2023
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
 
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Would suggest there is a difference between

*having to quit and
*wanting to quit or
*not wanting to quit but having to quit.

Often "events" mean you can't follow your plan due to underestimating difficulties or your capabilities.

Perhaps you'd clarify which type of "quitting" you are asking about.
 
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I don't think there is a useful pattern to be found. I left once in Sahagun because a family situation arose that was more important than finishing my Camino that year. Another year on another route, I thought about quitting, until my problem was resolved, but the time and the place were totally irrelevant to the situation. Yet another year, I greatly curtailed my walk because my companion had health problems, so we took a tourist trip to the south of Spain instead.

Every minute of every day is not going to be joyful. If it turns out that the Camino is not for you, or that something else takes priority, then you might decide not to continue.
 
Would suggest there is a difference between

*having to quit and
*wanting to quit or
*not wanting to quit but having to quit.

Often "events" mean you can't follow your plan due to underestimating difficulties or your capabilities.

Perhaps you'd clarify which type of "quitting" you are asking about.
Wanting to, or at least considering it.
 
My experience is that I never felt like quitting.
Same for me. but @Burton Axxe you could be feeling nervous ? Being first camino ., you could be thinking that you won’t be as strong as others are etc?

You’ll find as you walk along ., your confidence grows… you get the ‘hang of it’ and you really are looking forward to the next day. The CF is very social if you are open to it and you’ll be encouraged by others if you have self doubt.

It is really a special walk - in more ways than one. That’s why so many of us are into double digits of caminos walked.
Stay positive … you’ll arrive with a big smile on your face.
Ps I’ve HAD to leave earlier than planned on 2 occasions but not because I’ve wanted to.
Buen camino
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I have never wanted to quit. I've had to figure out what to do to keep walking through injury etc. But I never considered quitting.
Of course if there was some sort of serious emergency that forced it, then of course I'd leave.
 
I 'felt' like quitting a few times on my first one.
But if I had really quit, it would not have been out of choice.

I had a few 'down' days, as things were going on at home and I felt I should be there.
I had a few 'hard' days due to injury, but held myself together with tape and pain killers.

I never really seriously felt like quitting though.
If it had happened, it would have been because of something I could not control.
Like a broken leg!

There was no specific section of the Camino that got me down.
It was more about my emotional state of mind.

I had to give myself a serious talking to just before El Acebo!
After that, it was plain 'ish' sailing. :rolleyes:

On one really 'down' day, I stopped to pray for guidance.
And got it! Three times over in the space of 5 minutes......
But that's another story and against rule 2 :cool:
 
Same for me. but @Burton Axxe you could be feeling nervous ? Being first camino ., you could be thinking that you won’t be as strong as others are etc?

You’ll find as you walk along ., your confidence grows… you get the ‘hang of it’ and you really are looking forward to the next day. The CF is very social if you are open to it and you’ll be encouraged by others if you have self doubt.

It is really a special walk - in more ways than one. That’s why so many of us are into double digits of caminos walked.
Stay positive … you’ll arrive with a big smile on your face.
Ps I’ve HAD to leave earlier than planned on 2 occasions but not because I’ve wanted to.
Buen camino
Thanks for the positive words.

I’m not so much nervous as I am trying to prepare myself for the reality that there will likely be times when when I’ll be asking myself if I should be or want to be here. If this tends to happen to other pilgrims at certain set points in their CF caminos this would be a good indicator to forge on despite temporary misgivings.
 
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Thanks for the positive words.

I’m not so much nervous as I am trying to prepare myself for the reality that there will likely be times when when I’ll be asking myself if I should be or want to be here. If this tends to happen to other pilgrims at certain set points in their CF caminos this would be a good indicator to forge on despite temporary misgivings.

IMHO the emotional roller coaster that some Pilgrims go through, outweighs the physical challenges many times over :oops:

In some way, that is the magic of the Camino for me.
Learning to deal with it ;)
And maybe surprising yourself a bit.......
 
The highest incidence of people giving up is on the stretch between SJPP/Roncesvalles and Pamplona.

The one time that I gave up myself was on my first Camino, at Astorga/Rabanal del Camino ; but, having gone home, I received a phone call and between 5 and 10 minutes later, my bag was packed, I was out my front door, and I made my way to Galicia, found my compañeros, walked to Santiago, and the rest is Pilgrimage.
 
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Since 2015 I walked different caminos and avoided the CF because I feared that the crowds were too much for me. This year I decided to try it. It was indeed crowded, certainly in the morning, with sometimes up to 40 people in sight. It was not so much the crowd on the path that became to much for me, during the day it spread out more. I walked alone, the crowd on the Camino Frances was too "atomised", so many places to stay, restaurants to eat and so on. Everyday new faces. In Burgos Idecided to change over to the Via Sanabres; in Burgos I took the bus to Zamora. I liked this a lot more, much more familiar faces, it made me feel more part of a Camino community
 
Quit once, on my second Camino, because of heatstroke and dehydration. That year was extremely hot. Though I recovered after a long sleep, this triggered a complete demotivation to continue. In hindsight, I think that I was ill-prepared to start with, departure was hasty, a funny mixture of just wanting to do it again and a déjà-vu along with a lack of purpose, missing the encounters of my first Camino, hard to explain. Just packed my bag in Viana, taxied to Logroño, rented a car, and drove to Burgos, Léon, over the mountains to Gijon. Then along the Norte in reverse, playing Golf every day.
At first, I had terrible feelings of guilt, loss, loneliness and failure, but during the long, beautiful drive and on the golf courses - along with random Spanish co-players -, good food, I finally recovered and returned home at peace with myself.
Along with my very first Camino, it still is my most memorable one and I keep it on my list of past Caminos because while aborted, it left me with a sense of accomplishment of a different kind. I started my subsequent Caminos in the knowledge that I could stop walking at any time but –because of it? –, I never again had the slightest thought of quitting, smiling to myself every time I pass that spot where I stumbled, just before Viana.
 
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I've worked as a hospi a couple of times on the Francés and I can't actually remember anyone saying they wanted to quit. Walking the camino has been such a big part of people's dreams that once they start, very little will make them want to stop. When pilgrims do give up, it's because they have to, and that can be very hard. Injuries and sickness can happen, or personal commitments back home, but whatever it is, it is a huge wrench to take yourself off the camino. If that happens, you just have to be philosophical about it. Do you know the John Bunyan hymn 'To be a Pilgrim'? We had to sing it at school: "There's no discouragement, will make him once relent, His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim". Great one to sing when things get you down. Worth memorising. Buen Camino.
 
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I never felt the urge to quit. I did have some days of wondering "why am I doing this" at times before Burgos. Some of which was due to long and unseasonably cold days when rain was added to the mix. Some of which was due to my aching muscles. But it was never bad enough that I wanted to quit - and a rest day in Burgos helped me get through it. It was funny though - I took the rest day because it was supposed to be rainy and cold again, but it didn't end up raining and was a little warmer. I ended up feeling like I shouldn't have taken the rest day, but perhaps a "short" walking day instead. This was on the Frances and on to Finisterre.

On the Norte/Primitivo I never even had the "why am I doing this" thoughts - and certainly didn't consider quitting. After Santiago I had been thinking of adding the Portuguese on to that walk - and did decide it had been cold and I wanted to go somewhere warm instead - so I toured Sicily instead of walking the Portuguese. But I don't consider that quitting - as I finished the route I set out to do and the Portuguese was always a possible add on.

For my daughter - she started the Frances about 3 weeks after I started the Norte/Primitivo. She did have some days early on when she wondered why she was doing it but got through that just fine. But much later she did consider quitting. Why? She was in the midst of a horrible heat wave (last summer) and the temps were above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on quite a few days. I remember one day in particular when I was talking to her all day on the phone and I could tell she had heat exhaustion. She had started the day in Ponferrada (can't remember at the moment where she was ending the day). I convinced her to book a room for 2 nights and told her to rest and hydrate and then decide if she still wanted to or needed to quit. She woke up the second morning feeling good, refreshed, and ready to walk. She finished the Frances then stayed in Spain long enough to explore Madrid and Barcelona. Lots of others who were walking with her did quit due to the extreme heat though.
 
I've worked as a hospi a couple of times on the Francés and I can't actually remember anyone saying they wanted to quit. Walking the camino has been such a big part of people's dreams that once they start, very little will make them want to stop. When pilgrims do give up, it's because they have to, and that can be very hard. Injuries and sickness can happen, or personal commitments back home, but whatever it is, it is a huge wrench to take yourself off the camino. If that happens, you just have to be philosophical about it. Do you know the John Bunyan hymn 'To be a Pilgrim'? We had to sing it at school: "There's no discouragement, will make him once relent, His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim". Great one to sing when things get you down. Worth memorising. Buen Camino.
I do think with this there is a different mindset that needs to be considered when it comes to this statement. I found what you said to be true of people who planned for and chose to walk the Camino as a pilgrim. They tend to be determined to finish and they try as hard as they can to finish and are usually devastated if they do have to leave. And most of them do at least have the intention of returning to complete their pilgrimage at a later time if at all possible.

BUT... I will say that this isn't as true for people who didn't come to be a "pilgrim". I am referring to those who "just heard about it and thought it might be a cool hike" or come more as "tourists" or those who just had time and thought "why not" and/or those who were "just along for the ride" with a friend of family member who had planned the pilgrimage and included them. In general, a lot of this group of people didn't necessarily do their research, didn't know what the pilgrimage was all about, and thought others do it all the time so there is no reason why they can't do it. I tended to hear more negativity from them and they were more likely to quit or at least declare t hey would never walk a pilgrimage again. If course - this is a minority as most people who do the Camino do go as "pilgrims" with the intention of completing a "pilgrimage" (regardless of whether or not they are also religious)
 
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Unlike many other people who say they never wanted to quit, on my first Camino in 2016, I was so over it by the end. I had a sprained ankle, blisters on both heals, and my knees hurt so bad at night I could not sleep. I was getting weaker after 45 days of walking. My husband was getting stronger and more excited to get to Santiago. As fate would have it, he got a terrible case of food poisoning in Melide, just days from the end. After 2 days in a hotel, we gave up and took a cab to a luxury hotel in Santiago and eventually a bus to Muxia. I was glad to be done and he had terrible regrets so we've been going back almost annually ever since! Now we walk shorter distances which works for both of us.
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
The first week, it was wall to wall rain and wind, after that I just got on with it and took each day as it came.
 
I have never felt like quitting and the only time I got really discouraged walking was the first two or three days on the Via Vincentina's Fisherman's trail when I asked myself, "What did I get myself into!" For me, plodding through 3-4" of dry sand continuously was difficult physically and emotionally; I wondered when it would end; my hiking poles did not seem to help so I stored them away. Thankfully the sand became more sporadic a few days later.
 
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After being bitten in Ages 40+ times, we left a private albergue at 3am on our first camino ( because the bugs just kept coming from the walls ,and we had been sitting in chairs vigilant since 1am). We walked,mostly under the stars, to Burgos. After visiting a pharmacy, and staying in bed for almost 24hrs, we decided to stop. I couldn’t afford another massive bed bug attack. It was also quite hot and with the bites I did want to take the chance. I left in peace. We flew, instead to Switzerland, saw a doctor, started antihistamines and hiked in Zermatt for two weeks. I knew it was the right decision, when we hiked up to Sunnega, (just6.2km but 650m) and low and behold, a mass was starting including a small choral group with musical accompaniment. A member came around and offered us a special mass booklet which we gladly accepted and celebrated with the small gathering on the huge outdoor Sun deck. We had a wonderful view of the Alps, beautiful music and a welcoming community. It was a healing experience both physically and spiritually. I had personal confirmation then, that it was the right decision. We later caught a train to Innsbruck, rented a Ferienwohnung in the Stubaital and hiked there for two weeks. We then flew fom Munich on Airlingus to Dublin, made a pilgrimage to the Resting place of St. Patrick, and then flew home on the self-same airline.

It was only because of other forum members a year later that I started considering another camino…and I am glad we did! We started that time from Leon in March and celebrated the Triduum in SdC. The crowds, and it was mobbed, were not a problem because we knew from other forum members to book ahead for Holy Week!
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I tested positive for Covid in Cazadilla de la Cueza on June 5, 2022. I had a high fever, extreme fatigue, and was disheartened. Being fully vaccinated, having been exposed to Covid on a nearly daily basis for 2+ years without getting infected, and taking what I thought to be appropriate precautions, I did not expect Covid to find me on the Camino. I made it to León and spent 6 days recuperating at Hostel San Francisco. Had I been able to get on a plane and fly home, I would have! But the 6 days of quiet and rest renewed my body and spirit to continue on. I reached the Cathedral with a heart filled with gratitude for the many kindnesses and genuine caring I received from pilgrims, hospitaleros, townsfolk.
Had I not gotten Covid, would I have considered the possibility of quitting? Maybe, but knowing myself, I likely would have kept going. Deo Gratias!
 
I never ever considered quitting. I could only think of three situations (edit: just realised I actually listet 4 🤣), where the thought would arise: a serious health situation, a serious family situation, a serious company situation or a serious environmental situation such as forest fires.
I guess my brain is not wired for any other reason. Simple suffering of any kind would be more like a strong motivation to continue.
 
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I started in Pamplona and after walking to Leon I began to question why I was walking. Then I got to Cruz de Ferro a few days later and all thought of stopping ended. My life changed at that pile of rocks. If you would like to see a video I made of that experience follow the link below.
 
I never ever considered quitting. I could only think of three situations, where the thought would arise: a serious health situation, a serious family situation, a serious company situation or a serious environmental situation such as forest fires.
I guess my brain is not wired for any other reason. Simple suffering of any kind would be more like a strong motivation to continue.
Agree completely. In my 12 years of walking all sorts of Caminos I never thought of quitting but on my second Camino (Vía de la Plata) a severe medical situation brought me to the emergency room of a hospital in Zamora. I was subsequently evacuated by plane back to The Netherlands. The following year I was back out walking and haven't stopped since😄
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
On six CF's from SJPP I never felt like, or even considered, quitting. Sure, some days were difficult, but those were just challenges to overcome. I make a point to talk to the majority of pilgrims I meet along the way (they number in the thousands now), and very few have indicated to me that they ever considered quitting. I do know some who stopped due to seriously infected blisters, broken bones, bed bug bites, etc., but many people with these same conditions continued on. There were some pilgrims who took the bus thinking they would not be able to tolerate the Meseta, industrial areas or hills--try not to succumb to that temptation, which might be hard when the rest of your group chooses that option.

Keep a positive optimistic attitude, get in shape before you go, and get that thought of quitting out of your head now. Welcome the challenges, and know that you will be tremendously fulfilled each time you overcome them. You are about to embark on a fantastic adventure!!
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
Day 1, part way up the Pyrenees. I was tired, though I was use to walking but not as much with a 6 kg pack going up hill but I made a promise of no complaining or quitting for whatever reason until 1 week was completed. As it happened it took a week or so until my legs got into the Camino rhythm.
 
Hola!

I felt like quitting after I arrived in Pamplona. (I started in SJPDP.) I hadn't booked rooms after Roncesvalles, and when I came into Pamplona on a Friday, I learned there was a festival and the place was packed! After the long walk from Zubriri, I just didn't have it in me to keep walking and looking for a place to stay. I walked into the square and just wept. Then I picked up my too heavy bag and trudged to a hotel that was way out of my budget and stayed the night, had a loud and cheery dinner with friends and just regrouped and reset.

That was the *first* time I felt like quitting. I felt that way at least two more times! LOL And each time I sought out friends I had met along the way who encouraged me to keep going. I would tell myself that finishing wasn't that important because it's just walking and I had clearly proven to myself that I *could* walk, so what was the big deal about completing the Camino? I had blisters, had caught a cold, and was walking alone, mostly. I was miserable. And then something changed. I don't know when it happened, where it happened or why it happened, but somehow I just *accepted* things are they were and stopped complaining, stopped doubting why I was doing it, and just walked. In that moment of acceptance, life opened up, love flooded in, and a joyful peace made its way into my soul.

It was the hardest and easiest thing I have done so far. Absolutely NO regrets.
 
Never felt like quitting. I have done the Frances St Jean to Santiago complete in 3 sessions. (due to vacation limitations) I have been back many times to do 300 or 200 or 500kms dependant on time and finances - never wanted to quit
Once I met a girl in Zubiri in Albergue who looked miserable - I said what's up? She said I'm going to quit and I asked why? She said it's too hard, I'm lonely and haven't met any people. I said you've met me, trying to make her laugh - but no! so I told her what someonehad told me before my 1st Camino, ''If you feel like quitting, wait three day and then see how you feel!'
I met her again in Burgos - looking very happy and with her 'Camino family' of four!
May not work for you - but it sure worked for her.
ps this is if you 'feel' like quitting , not if you need or have to quit for various reasons.
Wait 3 days.......
 
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Same for me. but @Burton Axxe you could be feeling nervous ? Being first camino ., you could be thinking that you won’t be as strong as others are etc?

You’ll find as you walk along ., your confidence grows… you get the ‘hang of it’ and you really are looking forward to the next day. The CF is very social if you are open to it and you’ll be encouraged by others if you have self doubt.

It is really a special walk - in more ways than one. That’s why so many of us are into double digits of caminos walked.
Stay positive … you’ll arrive with a big smile on your face.
Ps I’ve HAD to leave earlier than planned on 2 occasions but not because I’ve wanted to.
Buen camino
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I never once felt like quitting but there were some things I wished I had known as I prepared. For example, I was used to walking long distances and never had a problem with that, but I was not used to walking long distances every single day for weeks. I had to shed some things I had initially thought necessary from my pack that I discovered were not necessary at all. And our home terrain is quite flat so there was little opportunity for hill training - we mostly had trained on stairs which is different, especially on steep downhill and rocky sections. But overall, I would say listen to your body and don’t feel guilty if you need to take a rest. And pay attention to what people have to say about foot care. Be optimistic. It isn’t always easy but it is a wonderful experience.
 
I have seen it work the other way. A pilgrim we first met in Orisson had just a few days holiday and was due to finish in Puente. That night we said goodbye over dinner. Oh no, she said, I can't stop now. I've called my boss to take unpaid leave. She made it to Santiago.
 
The first time in 2007 There was some where between Ronservillas and Burgus I was done, finished, wanted to quit. I kept fight every thing to Burgus where I got a train and went to Santiago. I decided to only stop and not quite. I'll be back. In 2021 I walked the whole thing from St.Jean Pied de Port yo Santiago in 48 days. I never had a bad day.
I am now 76 and want to walk the Camino one more time. I have some health issues that make it hard to get the support I need. I am working on it.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Agree completely. In my 12 years of walking all sorts of Caminos the thought of quitting but on my second Camino (Vía de la Plata) a severe medical situation brought me to the emergency room of a hospital in Zamora. I was subsequently evacuated by plane back to The Netherlands. The following year I was back out walking and haven't stopped since😄
Wohaa, that sounds like quite an adventure :cool:

I only got a cold-like infection with fever, probably passed on to me by a sick pilgrim in Pamplona who had the bed next to mine. Caused me to do a shorter day and I could have imagined taking a rest day or two if I had to. But it was not as serious as yours!
 
I almost quit just before Lograno:
THE WALL
On April 25, I hit the WALL.....the pain WALL. I have endured foot blisters all my life. No big deal. The blisters I developed coming over the Pyrenees were big, but that was 8 days ago. The blisters developing on top of blisters?....well, of course, this in the Camino. No pain no gain, right guys? The cracked skin, the blood? Hey, that's what bandaids are for. The toe nail lifted by a mega blister? Could have been worse, wasn't like it was my big toe .....
Then coming out of Viana, down those incredibly steep, slippery Roman roads, then up the other side......FOR HOURS ON END!!! The pain.... Ahead, relatively level ground, our destination of Logrono in the near distance. The sun so nice and warm..... The Pain....the beautiful Rioja vineyards....The (@+^*#) PAIN!!!! This ancient pilgrim bridge I'm crossing, sun baking the smooth black stones for over 1000 years.... THE PAIN!!!! I'VE HAD IT!!! I'VE F'ING HAD IT!!!!!!!!
I tell Deb to carry on, I just need to rest. She hears my tone and carries on. I lay on the hot black stone. Feet up on my pack. The Pain.... I stare at the clouds. I wonder who, in 1038, laid this wonderfully comfortable stone. His pains must have been incredible. Pain.....every waking hour, every day
Maybe the cool river water soothed him? Ahhhhh it sure is soothing my pain.
Wow! That sun sure makes this rock hot, soothingly hot. AHHhhhh........Have I been snoozing? Probably, I don't recall that cow, now drinking where I was soaking. I am so glad I stopped here, so soothing and restful. Did my feet really hurt that much? Did I really lie down on a bridge prepared to just stay there forever?.........
Hey! There's Deb waiting in an olive grove not far from the bridge. She notices a spring to my step. We stay a bit, enjoying our bread, cheese and chorizo. We talk a bit about the guy who laid that soothing black stone so long ago.
Then we head up over the hill and in to Logrono.
 
Feel like quitting? Never.
Walking the Camino isn't austere or grueling and to some degree a fair amount of money is spent by everyone blessed enough financially to be able to walk it, not to mention being blessed to have the time to get away and walk it. No way would I spend the money and quit something that I spent the money to do simply because I felt some angst or the like.
Now there were a couple of times I walked it where old knee injuries made it difficult some days. Really difficult and I had to change plans, take days off and jump ahead to stay on schedule.
 
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The first time in 2007 There was some where between Ronservillas and Burgus I was done, finished, wanted to quit. I kept fight every thing to Burgus where I got a train and went to Santiago. I decided to only stop and not quite. I'll be back. In 2021 I walked the whole thing from St.Jean Pied de Port yo Santiago in 48 days. I never had a bad day.
I am now 76 and want to walk the Camino one more time. I have some health issues that make it hard to get the support I need. I am working on it.
I hope you will get the chance! :cool:
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
It depends on when you get injured and where you decide to get a bus, train, plane to go home; or try and rest until you recover, then carry on if you can.

Unless it's a serious injury, most people find a way to continue, albeit at a slower pace and taking more stops and skipping a few stages.

Most people that set out to do it, will complete it, despite getting blisters and various minor injuries. The body takes awhile to get used to the daily walking, so there will always be some that lose the will to keep pushing on at some point. Fortunately, there will also be people around to help you get through the difficult patches, as I found on several occasions, which can be the difference between completing a Camino and not completing one.
 
My plan was to walk from SJPDP to Finisterre, but SDC was always the main plan and Finisterre was to be icing on the cake. When I reached SDC and enjoyed a zero day exploring the cathedral and surrounding area, I found myself less interested in continuing. Fortunately the last person remaining with me from the original Camino family planned to continue. I joined her and was very glad to walk to Finisterre. A few days later back at home, I kicked myself over and over again for not continuing with her to Muxia. I will always regret not walking that last small stretch. I hope to duplicate my Camino one day but extend it to Muxia, God willing.
Bob
 
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Oh boy...love this question. I almost quit in Sarria on my last camino. Just before reaching Sarria, my chest seized up. I couldn't figure out why, thought it was because maybe the day before I was hunched over, walking directly into wind and rain. It was pretty painful to take a deep breath. So I got a taxi to Sarria and checked into the first pension I could find, before the river, sort of on the outskirts of the city.

Context I had been walking since Le Puy, France and it had been raining forever in Galicia (no surprise) and I had officially hit a wall. I was so sick of sleeping in a room full of other people, their stuff strewn about, dealing with weird personalities. Then waking up at 2am to a room full of stinking backpacks and damp clothes because of course someone demands all the windows be closed.

I also ran a slight fever, so I definitely needed a break. I also realized the seized-up chest was actually a panic attack...a lot of stuff was getting stirred up by the time I got to Sarria. When the camino tells you to stop, you stop. So I spent a few days resting, eating caldo, watching terrible american tv shows, and was back on the road about 4 days later.

In thinking about my past caminos, I don't usually hit physical walls, but emotional walls. I process deeply whilst on the camino and it can be energetically draining, so depending on what's going on in the background of my life, I know I tend to need "energy breaks".
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
My first Camino was the CF and I was not prepared as I should have been. Day one, I had to take Via Val Carlos because Napoleon Route closed because of snow. Rainy day and part way through, I ran out of water. First fountain I got to had sign to not drink the water. A woman had to be taken away by ambulance due to dehydration. During this period, I would have quit for a glass of water. Just before Roncesvalles, I came upon a fresh water spring and drank till I could drink no more. Feelings of quitting were gone, I always carried enough water and loved every minute of the Camino from that point on.
 
This thread has opened an old wound. In 2016, while on camino with my best friend on the VdlP, I received a phone call in Cañaveral from my sister in law, telling me that my brother was in critical condition in hospital in Lisbon, and was not expected to survive more than a few days. She knew that my instinct would be to abandon the camino and rush back to Portugal. She begged me not to do that. He was in a coma, and would not be any state to benefit from my presence. Go on to Santiago, she said, and pray for him at the pilgrim mass. I couldn't do it. My friend supported me in that decision, saying we'll come back next year and finish it.
Yes, it was beneficial for me personally to be there when he died, but it was a decision I will always regret.
My friend died suddenly when we were subsequently in the process of planning our return 2 years later. My only consolation is two "In vacario" compostelas.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Wohaa, that sounds like quite an adventure :cool:

I only got a cold-like infection with fever, probably th passed on to me by a sick pilgrim in Pamplona who had the bed next to mine. Caused me to do a shorter day and I could have imagined taking a rest day ort two if I had to. But it was not as serious as yours!
Yes, it was quite the (painful) adventure! Four days in the hospital in Zamora, ambulance to Barajas airport then flown to The Netherlands on a stretcher followed by 2 weeks in a hospital in The Hague, surgery then 2 1/2 months in a rehabilitation center as I was unable to weight-bear on both legs. Why? Spontaneous fractures in my left pelvis and a tibial plateau fracture on the right secondary to undiagnosed osteoporosis 😳. And no, I didn't fall. My trauma surgeon had never seen anything of this nature and I guess would be amazed at what I've done since. Count your blessings (and do the work😉).
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I don't think either of us ever felt like quitting completely, but there were definite days when one of us would get up in the morning and just be sore / achey / poorly rested and not want to walk that day. On those days the other would be the encouragement to continue on. We had rest/tourist days built in to our schedule on our route from SJPdP to Santiago, we always knew there was a day off coming up. Probably the day we both wondered about not going on occurred on our first day of walking to Finisterre. It poured the whole day and was quite cold, and no one whom we had got to know along the CF was going onward so it also felt lonelier. But, the next morning we started bright and dry and carried on.
 
I did not quit. I just stopped walking that particular Camino.
One Camino 16k before Santiago due to semi heatstroke and dehydration.
Another Camino because my heart was not into it. The year before had been an emotional rollercoaster for me. Seems a Camino was not the answer but a regular holiday was a better alternative that year. So from pilgrim to tourist that year.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I'll say one more thing - - that there's a difference between actually giving up ; and stopping at some point, planned or not, but with an intention to reprise that Camino from the same point but at a later date.
 
(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I was pretty annoyed by my small blister that I got down from the Cruz de Ferro.
It lasted until it get treated by a good Samaritan in the Centro de Saúde in Triacastela.
It was so bad that I took a taxi from O'Cebreiro down to Triacastela, but I never thought to give up.

Somehow I did know that I can make it to SdC.
 
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On arriving in Sarria in 2016. I was appalled at how crass and tacky the place had become since my previous visit. I had planned to stop for lunch but stormed through instead and genuinely considered ending my Camino there for fear of finding more of the same down the road. Eventually I returned to a more even keel and continued my journey. But it is the only time I have considered ending a pilgrimage journey for anything other than a seriously disabling injury.
 
The 9th edition the Lightfoot Guide will let you complete the journey your way.
My experience of travelling and camino-ing on foot or bicycle, is that the hardest days psychologically are days three and four.
On the first day, it is no different to a long walk or bike ride at home.
On the second day, adrenalin is still working and that carries us through.
On the third or fourth day, we awake with the aches and pains from previous days exertions. It has dawned on the sub-conscious that this is the new normal.
'Why am I doing this?'
'Shall I stay in bed?'
'I could have gone to the beach!'

If we ever fall off our tandem it's on day three or four, as our (my - I'm steering!) concentration can wander. Luckily we always fall when moving slowly!

But with breakfast, a sunny view or a chat with a fellow traveller or pilgrim, all those doubts disappear! We've not quit yet!

So if your spirit drops on day 3 or 4, be kind to yourself, your mojo will be back!
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
For my first Camino in March of 2015, having not paid attention to the good advice about carrying a back pack weighing about10 percent of my 150 pound body weight, and after not training on any hills, on the second day of of my walk out of Valcarlos carrying a 35 pound pack, I “hit the wall” about halfway up the mountain. Fearing an abrupt end to my first Camino, I collapsed in abject misery until my adult son who was walking with me, noticed a broken backpack cart w/wheels in the weeds. After repairing it with a pair of rawhide shoelaces, I was able to continue up the mountain to Roncesvalles, and absolutely convinced that those who have said that “the Camino provides” are right. By the way, if you are the person that left that broken cart at the side of the road in late March of 2015, thank you, and I would love to hear from you!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Just saying:
When it comes to considering quitting, it makes a substantial difference if one lives overseas and has spent lots of time and money to get to Spain, or in a closeby place/country.
I thought of this same thing, too; absolutely there is no comparison. I never have thought of quitting, but if I had, the huge inconvenience and monetary waste would surely have dissuaded me.
 
Reading through this thread, the OP has received a pretty good sampling of responses. The governing question for most pilgrims is injury. The common idea here is that a vast majority of pilgrims react to their physical state, and make choices based upon that state. Few decide to leave if their health is good, everyone thinks about it when the injuries begin to pile up. In the end, there is a battle of will between you and your body.....endure the pain, or carry on to your goal. Oh, wait, sorry.....you asked not to respond that it depends upon the person.
 
I questioned everything on day 2 of the Camino Frances. I woke up that morning after walking from SJPDP to Roncesvalles, everything hurting and still suffering from jet lag wondering what the hell I actually got myself into lol. Quitting definitely entered my mind but I figured there probably wasn't any form of transportation that could find me out there in the middle of nowhere (so I thought) so I got up and started walking. That was the only time and I am so glad I didn't act on those feelings. :)
 
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Thank you for your question. My friend and I walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to SdC in mid September 2019. We had never done a multiple day walk of any kind before. We trained on all types of terrain a few months prior. We had our backpacks transported as I have a total hip replacement and was unsure of my capabilities to carry a pack day after day. We had an agreement beforehand that if either one of us found the Camino was not for us or we were in too much discomfort we would change our plans and have a holiday in Spain instead. We absolutely loved it despite some hard days and some discomfort. I fell over in Leon in the city in the rain. Sprained wrist I thought. Walked two more days in considerable discomfort, saw a GP who said get to hospital straight away. Most likely broken. Did a detour to Ponferrada hospital. Got my broken wrist reset in a slit cast so was able to fly back to Australia when we had finished. Took a couple of taxis to and from the hospital and on the O’Cebrairo leg and one from La Faba as the rain was still very heavy and did not want to slip again with one pole and one arm. We never felt like quitting in fact in a strange way it made our Camino even more special. Learning to accept help from others was a lesson for me, our wonderful friendship is even more special. Quitting was an option for us more firmly in our minds before we started our Camino. 🌹🥰
 
Last day into Burgos on my 1st camino. Terrible blisters from my favorite well worn hiking boots (actually had three blisters on top of each other on my left heel which I finally lanced successfully on my off day in Burgos). Instead of quitting, I shipped those beloved boots back to Seattle (still wear them when I'm thinning trees and brush on our property, but never again for hiking), bought a pair of Salomon hiking shoes at a hiker/runner shoe store in Burgos and started walking again. Never had another blister and never again thought seriously about quitting the CF.
Last summer I thought about quitting the VF when a string of major thunderstorms hit N. France during my hike and it became dangerous to walk, and to complicate things, I got a case of food poisoning. Took three days off in Reims with a side trip to Paris, and then carried on. No regrets.
Not quitting is a "thing" for old marathoners... just sayin'. I never remember the points in races or on treks where I wanted to quit, at least NOT when I'm regaling my friends with stories of the Caminos or engaging in old-runner stories that mostly entail "lying about how fast I used to be". ;>)
Buen camino.
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience.
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
There was a moment in Pamplona, my day 3, when I suddenly felt all alone and homesick (not for my husband but for my dog 🤫😉) I had no desire to walk the next morning, so didn’t rush to get up and on my way, I just sat in the cafe next door to my accommodation feeling pretty miserable, when two girls walked in that I had shared a dorm with the night before in Zubiri. We all sat together, shared breakfast, chatted a while and my whole day changed in an instant. The Camino will provide! (I’m still in touch with those girls now and my Camino was in May last year ❤️) Enjoy your Camino 🙏
 
I'd differentiate between "having to stop" (due to a family crisis, or an injury) versus "wanting to quit."
The highest incidence of people giving up is on the stretch between SJPP/Roncesvalles and Pamplona.
Perhaps those first few days after Pamplona also? I felt like there were a few people I met who dropped out before and after Pamplona after deciding the camino wasn't for them. I didn't dig deep into how they made their decision, though the one common factor was that they were all young, and I think they had more of a tourist mind-set. And I don't mean that as an insult, but as an observation - they were on a long break, and wanted to do the Camino, and visit Bilbao, and go to Morocco, and see Barcelona, &c.

Interestingly, I had one absolutely horrible what else can go wrong it can't get any worse oh no it just did 24-hour period ... & emotionally I was just fine. I didn't ponder quitting. Whereas the time I wanted to switch to another route it was more a steady string on minor annoyances.
 
I have walked the C to C in England and four Caminos including the CF from SJPP. The possibility of quitting has never entered my mind.
Well done you.

Quitting and being unable to continue are two very different things.

I’ve done a good number of the UK long distance routes; the Frances x3, the Madrid, the Ingles and many shorter sections of the CF. I was about to reply ‘I don’t quit’ and cite prior sporting and military experience to back-up my claim.

But then, actually, it’s not that simple. On an earlier venture on the Madrid I came to a shuddering halt as a knee gave in, and early in 22 the other knee decided not to cooperate on a flat section of the CF.

It’s not all about willpower and a ‘do or die’ attitude - I’ve known better men than I with more of that than most would believe - sometimes it’s physical not mental and we could show a little more understanding of that folks.
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
Hi. You raise a very interesting question.
On my Camino in 2018 I experienced a physical problem which was compounded by reasonably heavy snow. It was day 2 out of SJPDP.
It occurred to me that my Camino was over but this was overcome by the urge to continue and the fact that too many people knew about my training and prep and so there was no way I was going to give up. The remainder of the day was a story in itself. Needless to say the Camino did ‘provide’ and I finished into SdC in 32 days. The value of the Camino to me even to this day would never have allowed me to give up. The kindness I experienced from other pilgrims was overwhelmed. I trust your Camino goes as extraordinarily well as mine did. Buen Camino
 
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Reading through this thread, the OP has received a pretty good sampling of responses. The governing question for most pilgrims is injury. The common idea here is that a vast majority of pilgrims react to their physical state, and make choices based upon that state. Few decide to leave if their health is good, everyone thinks about it when the injuries begin to pile up. In the end, there is a battle of will between you and your body.....endure the pain, or carry on to your goal. Oh, wait, sorry.....you asked not to respond that it depends upon the person.

I think the OP intended for us to share our personal experiences, and wasn't asking for a generic response or blanket advice
 
Camino #1 (Fall 2012) - I was leaving Negreira, heading for Muxia, after a coffee and croissant. About a kilometer out the wind and rain were just sucking the life out of me. So, there was that time.

Camino #2 (Spring 2014) - My Camigo and I were being blown off the path just before Fonfria in a driving (almost almost overwhelming) rain. He looks at me from under a hooded brow and says, "Who's stupid idea was this this?"

"Ummm", I replied, "yours."

"Well, okay, but actually the only reason we're here is because you agreed to guide me on account of my dementia diagnosis." :)

I do miss that guy....

Caminos 3, 4 & 5 - never thought about quitting though there were plenty of reasons to do so.

B
 
Well done you.

Quitting and being unable to continue are two very different things.

I’ve done a good number of the UK long distance routes; the Frances x3, the Madrid, the Ingles and many shorter sections of the CF. I was about to reply ‘I don’t quit’ and cite prior sporting and military experience to back-up my claim.

But then, actually, it’s not that simple. On an earlier venture on the Madrid I came to a shuddering halt as a knee gave in, and early in 22 the other knee decided not to cooperate on a flat section of the CF.

It’s not all about willpower and a ‘do or die’ attitude - I’ve known better men than I with more of that than most would believe - sometimes it’s physical not mental and we could show a little more understanding of that folks.
Yes of course serious injury probably would have stopped me. But not homesickness or depression.
I have had my fair share of blisters. On the CF I injured my foot leaving Pedrouzo and walked the last 20 kms of the Camino in a lot of pain. Nevertheless, I was determined to finish and would not consider public transport.
But hey, thats me. I am in my eighties and enjoy the challenge. I am not critical of others if they feel they cannot continue.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
I decided to quit during my first Camino in 2019 but something changed my mind.

2017 and 2018 was a very tumultuous time in my life. In 2017 various business plans that I had been focused on for eight years crashed and burnt. In 2018 my closest friend who I had been best friends with for over 50 years died unexpectedly from complications following minor surgery. He died without an opportunity to say goodbye. I became very depressed.

In late 2018 I decided that I needed to sort myself out and looked for things to do that would bring joy back into my life. During my late teenage years and early twenties I had really enjoyed tramping and I love the outdoors and so I joined a local tramping club and started going on group hikes.

On the way to a hike one day, on the club bus, I overheard two sisters talking about their plans to walk something called the Camino. I had no idea what that was at the time but something in their conversation caught my attention and the Camino called me.

From that moment, I knew that I would walk it.

Within a couple of weeks I learned enough to book my tickets. At that time I struggled to find really good information about the Camino, I hadn't found this forum for example, but I had heard that there was a tradition of taken a token and leaving it at Cruz de Fero as a way of letting go of things in your life and this really appealed to me.

I decided that walking the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago would be a last adventure together with my deceased friend and that I could say goodbye to him at the Cruz and move on.

I asked my friend's wife if I could have a small personal item of his, something of little value but something that he had used regularly so that it was closely associated with him. I told her that I was going to leave the item on the side of the trail at the Cruz as my way of saying goodbye. I had in mind something like a comb.

She agreed and we arranged to meet at the airport prior to me flying out so that she could give it to me.

When we met I was surprised when she handed over a very personal item of some value and so I reminded her that I was going to leave it by the trail and checked that she was okay with this. She was, and she handed over a second item as well, a hat that my friend often wore. I often wear a hat myself and so I was particularly pleased with this as I could wear it as I walked the Camino and in this way bring my friend with me as I walked.

Things went very well for me until a day before Sahagun. Before leaving home I had put some effort into training and choosing appropriate gear and while walking I had been congratulating myself on my preparation and my subsequent lack of blisters.

The day before Sahagun I was walking around town in my jandals (flipflops if you are from the UK) and something (an insect?) bit me on the ankle and the next day I had a blister on my heel where the bite had been.

I really enjoyed staying with the Marist Brothers in Albergue Santa Clara in Sahagun but the day after I arrived was the first anniversary of my friends death and the Brothers encouraged us to talk and so this was a very emotional time for me.

Also, unknown to me at the time but while staying with the Brothers I became infected with Legionella.

This meant that from Sahagun onwards I was in an emotional low state, in pain for the first time as I walked (from the blister) and rapidly loosing lung capacity and the ability to get enough oxygen. The Legionella got worse as I walked and by the time I got to the ascent up to the Cruz, a week later, I was really struggling and still unknowingly I was seriously ill.

I stayed the night in Rabanal del Carmino and I was totally focused on saying goodbye to my friend the next morning and I had an imagined plan in my mind for how things would go the next day.

I had a very restless night with little sleep and woke up late the next morning. I had wanted to get to the Cruz before too many others so that I could have time on my own and so I was really angry with myself for sleeping in and rushed out of the Albergue and forgot to take any water or food.

I tried to push myself up the trail to the Cruz but my inability to breathe properly meant that I really struggled.

I eventually arrived at the Cruz utterly exhausted but was pleased to see that there was only one couple at the Cruz and so I waited respectfully for them to finish before I did my own thing.

As the couple finished and started walking away a full tour bus pulled into the carpark and I knew that I would need to hurry up before I got surrounded by the bus passengers. As I was walking towards the Cruz a guy from the carpark sprinted past me, up the mound and swung on the Cruz while calling loudly in Spanish to a companion in the carpark to take his photo.

I nearly lost my temper at this stage because I had built up in my mind a picture of how this was going to happen and the reality was the exact opposite of what I had envisioned.

I controlled myself and eventually the noisy guy left but I could see the bus passengers disembarking and walking towards me and so I quickly walked up to the Cruz, said goodbye to my friend and threw my token of him over my shoulder as I stormed off.

This was the emotional low point up to this point.

I continued walking up over the summit and down the other side. As I walked the temperature dropped markedly and it started raining. I was almost oblivious to this as I was wound up in my mind, going over and over again the difference between what I had envisioned this day would be and the reality of it.

I was exhausted, hungry and dehydrated and for the first time I struggled with my footing in the loose rocks of the steep descent.

As I walked I noticed some pilgrims ahead leaving the trail and walking on the road to avoid the loose rocks and difficult footing and then rejoining the trail when it was easier. I vowed to myself not to do that. I would keep to the trail. Eventually, however, after almost falling twice I decided to leave the trail myself and follow the road.

I was so wound up in my own mind that I didn't notice the road veering off from the trail until I had completely lost sight of the trail and any other person.

At this point I stopped and thought about walking back up the road to rejoin the trail but I was so exhausted and struggling for oxygen that I excluded this option. I then pulled out my phone to look at Google Maps to see where I might rejoin the trail further down the hill but there was no cell service and I had forgotten to download the maps the night before and so I had no idea what was ahead. Reluctantly I decided that my only option was just to walk on down the road and hope that I would find something or someone.

I walked on and the further I walked the lower I felt emotionally. Eventually, after about another 30 minutes of walking I was so exhausted, cold, hungry and dehydrated that I had to stop to rest. As I took my backpack off and sat down on the ground at the side of the road I gave up.

I decided that I would stay seated there, cold and shivering with no one else for miles, until the next vehicle came along from any direction. I would then flag that vehicle down and ask for a lift to the nearest town that had transport, get from there to Madrid and fly home to Aotearoa New Zealand.

That was it. My Camino was over.

I sat there for well over an hour and eventually closed my eyes, thinking that I would hear any vehicle approaching.

Maybe I snoozed off, I was really tired and exhausted. Maybe I was starting to get hypothermic.

What ever it was, the next thing I felt was something hitting me on my thigh. As I opened my eyes my friend was standing in front of me and kicking me in the a***. He was saying to me in an urgent voice "Get up!", "Get going".

Many years prior as a teenager I had gone tramping with my friend, got hypothermic and wandered off the trail while walking alone. My friend got worried when I didn't turn up, came looking for me, found me and saved my life.

Here he was back again, telling me to get up and going.

I took his advice. I got up despite my exhaustion, put my pack on and continued walking down the road until I got to a point where the Camino trail crossed the road.

At that point I stopped and I knew that I had a choice to make. I could continue on the road and I was reasonably sure that it would lead me to a town of some sort, get transport to Madrid and fly home or I could turn off the road, back onto the Camino trail and continue walking to Santiago.

I stood there for some time, indecisive, and then decided that perhaps my friend wanted me to continue and so I turned back on to the Camino and walked to El Acebo where I stopped for the day, ate, drank, slept and rested.

Prologue:

# As @VNwalking suggested the last time I told this story on the forum, the mind is a powerful thing that is capable of creating the conditions needed for survival.

# The next day, a couple of hours after leaving El Acebo I realised that I had left my friend's hat in the El Acebo albergue that morning and so I had now finally said goodbye to my friend, in my own way, and left all of his relics behind.

# I struggled on somehow until just past O Cebreiro where I finally collapsed in a bar from the Legionella and went to hospital in Lugo in an ambulance where they patched me up and I finally finished my Camino in late July in Santiago just prior to the Festival of St. James.

# The Albergue Santa Clara in Sahagun has had significant improvements made to their plumbing since June 2019 at considerable cost and I am more than comfortable that it is now safe to stay with them again.
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I felt like quitting going up and up to O’Cebreiro. It was pouring with rain and I was soaked! It was the day of my beloved mum’s birthday and I called on her to help me get through it. Suffice to say that I made it to the top!
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I walked the Camino del Norte from September till mid October this past fall. In the first week, I was walking down a gentle sloping gravel road but early in the morning in the dark by headlamp and must have caught my walking stick. It was a very hard fall. I sprained my ankle, thumb, broke my glasses and got a really bad black eye with a couple of big goose eggs. As luck would have it, on this day there were no real roads, towns or many farms around. So I kept walking the next 20 km to get to the next town. I was in a lot of pain by the end of the day. Bussed to Bilbao and took a few days moderate rest in Bilbao doing touristy bus and boat tours and walking around the Guggenheim since I was unable to walk more than about a km to start. I really questioned my desire of more than 10 years to walk any Camino at this point. Prayed a lot. I asked what I was supposed to do. But the thought of being a tourist for the rest of my time here didn't call out to me. And this is no judgement on others who decide to stop, I invite this as a personal decision as this is the right decision for each person. But for me there was something internal calling out to continue. So I started walking again - but slowly to start. Just 6 km the first day and I was really sore then, and then I slowly challenged myself. I was not ever able to walk 30 km distances but by the end I was able to go about 25 a day and made it to Santiago and then on to Finisterre and Muxia! One day a very fit American zipped by and said - his take was that often the first third of the Camino breaks the body, the second the mind and the third we get our spirits freed. The proportions may not be quite the same for me but the general jist of it sure was true for me.
 

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I decided to quit during my first Camino in 2019 but something changed my mind.

2017 and 2018 was a very tumultuous time in my life. In 2017 various business plans that I had been focused on for eight years crashed and burnt. In 2018 my closest friend who I had been best friends with for over 50 years died unexpectedly from complications following minor surgery. He died without an opportunity to say goodbye. I became very depressed.

In late 2018 I decided that I needed to sort myself out and looked for things to do that would bring joy back into my life. During my late teenage years and early twenties I had really enjoyed tramping and I love the outdoors and so I joined a local tramping club and started going on group hikes.

On the way to a hike one day, on the club bus, I overheard two sisters talking about their plans to walk something called the Camino. I had no idea what that was at the time but something in their conversation caught my attention and the Camino called me.

From that moment, I knew that I would walk it.

Within a couple of weeks I learned enough to book my tickets. At that time I struggled to find really good information about the Camino, I hadn't found this forum for example, but I had heard that there was a tradition of taken a token and leaving it at Cruz de Fero as a way of letting go of things in your life and this really appealed to me.

I decided that walking the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago would be a last adventure together with my deceased friend and that I could say goodbye to him at the Cruz and move on.

I asked my friend's wife if I could have a small personal item of his, something of little value but something that he had used regularly so that it was closely associated with him. I told her that I was going to leave the item on the side of the trail at the Cruz as my way of saying goodbye. I had in mind something like a comb.

She agreed and we arranged to meet at the airport prior to me flying out so that she could give it to me.

When we met I was surprised when she handed over a very personal item of some value and so I reminded her that I was going to leave it by the trail and checked that she was okay with this. She was, and she handed over a second item as well, a hat that my friend often wore. I often wear a hat myself and so I was particularly pleased with this as I could wear it as I walked the Camino and in this way bring my friend with me as I walked.

Things went very well for me until a day before Sahagun. Before leaving home I had put some effort into training and choosing appropriate gear and while walking I had been congratulating myself on my preparation and my subsequent lack of blisters.

The day before Sahagun I was walking around town in my jandals (flipflops if you are from the UK) and something (an insect?) bit me on the ankle and the next day I had a blister on my heel where the bite had been.

I really enjoyed staying with the Marist Brothers in Albergue Santa Clara in Sahagun but the day after I arrived was the first anniversary of my friends death and the Brothers encouraged us to talk and so this was a very emotional time for me.

Also, unknown to me at the time but while staying with the Brothers I became infected with Legionella.

This meant that from Sahagun onwards I was in an emotional low state, in pain for the first time as I walked (from the blister) and rapidly loosing lung capacity and the ability to get enough oxygen. The Legionella got worse as I walked and by the time I got to the ascent up to the Cruz, a week later, I was really struggling and still unknowingly I was seriously ill.

I stayed the night in Rabanal del Carmino and I was totally focused on saying goodbye to my friend the next morning and I had an imagined plan in my mind for how things would go the next day.

I had a very restless night with little sleep and woke up late the next morning. I had wanted to get to the Cruz before too many others so that I could have time on my own and so I was really angry with myself for sleeping in and rushed out of the Albergue and forgot to take any water or food.

I tried to push myself up the trail to the Cruz but my inability to breathe properly meant that I really struggled.

I eventually arrived at the Cruz utterly exhausted but was pleased to see that there was only one couple at the Cruz and so I waited respectfully for them to finish before I did my own thing.

As the couple finished and started walking away a full tour bus pulled into the carpark and I knew that I would need to hurry up before I got surrounded by the bus passengers. As I was walking towards the Cruz a guy from the carpark sprinted past me, up the mound and swung on the Cruz while calling loudly in Spanish to a companion in the carpark to take his photo.

I nearly lost my temper at this stage because I had built up in my mind a picture of how this was going to happen and the reality was the exact opposite of what I had envisioned.

I controlled myself and eventually the noisy guy left but I could see the bus passengers disembarking and walking towards me and so I quickly walked up to the Cruz, said goodbye to my friend and threw my token of him over my shoulder as I stormed off.

This was the emotional low point up to this point.

I continued walking up over the summit and down the other side. As I walked the temperature dropped markedly and it started raining. I was almost oblivious to this as I was wound up in my mind, going over and over again the difference between what I had envisioned this day would be and the reality of it.

I was exhausted, hungry and dehydrated and for the first time I struggled with my footing in the loose rocks of the steep descent.

As I walked I noticed some pilgrims ahead leaving the trail and walking on the road to avoid the loose rocks and difficult footing and then rejoining the trail when it was easier. I vowed to myself not to do that. I would keep to the trail. Eventually, however, after almost falling twice I decided to leave the trail myself and follow the road.

I was so wound up in my own mind that I didn't notice the road veering off from the trail until I had completely lost sight of the trail and any other person.

At this point I stopped and thought about walking back up the road to rejoin the trail but I was so exhausted and struggling for oxygen that I excluded this option. I then pulled out my phone to look at Google Maps to see where I might rejoin the trail further down the hill but there was no cell service and I had forgotten to download the maps the night before and so I had no idea what was ahead. Reluctantly I decided that my only option was just to walk on down the road and hope that I would find something or someone.

I walked on and the further I walked the lower I felt emotionally. Eventually, after about another 30 minutes of walking I was so exhausted, cold, hungry and dehydrated that I had to stop to rest. As I took my backpack off and sat down on the ground at the side of the road I gave up.

I decided that I would stay seated there, cold and shivering with no one else for miles, until the next vehicle came along from any direction. I would then flag that vehicle down and ask for a lift to the nearest town that had transport, get from there to Madrid and fly home to Aotearoa New Zealand.

That was it. My Camino was over.

I sat there for well over an hour and eventually closed my eyes, thinking that I would hear any vehicle approaching.

Maybe I snoozed off, I was really tired and exhausted. Maybe I was starting to get hypothermic.

What ever it was, the next thing I felt was something hitting me on my thigh. As I opened my eyes my friend was standing in front of me and kicking me in the a***. He was saying to me in an urgent voice "Get up!", "Get going".

Many years prior as a teenager I had gone tramping with my friend, got hypothermic and wandered off the trail while walking alone. My friend got worried when I didn't turn up, came looking for me, found me and saved my life.

Here he was back again, telling me to get up and going.

I took his advice. I got up despite my exhaustion, put my pack on and continued walking down the road until I got to a point where the Camino trail crossed the road.

At that point I stopped and I knew that I had a choice to make. I could continue on the road and I was reasonably sure that it would lead me to a town of some sort, get transport to Madrid and fly home or I could turn off the road, back onto the Camino trail and continue walking to Santiago.

I stood there for some time, indecisive, and then decided that perhaps my friend wanted me to continue and so I turned back on to the Camino and walked to El Acebo where I stopped for the day, ate, drank, slept and rested.

Prologue:

# As @VNwalking suggested the last time I told this story on the forum, the mind is a powerful thing that is capable of creating the conditions needed for survival.

# The next day, a couple of hours after leaving El Acebo I realised that I had left my friend's hat in the El Acebo albergue that morning and so I had now finally said goodbye to my friend, in my own way, and left all of his relics behind.

# I struggled on somehow until just past O Cebreiro where I finally collapsed in a bar from the Legionella and went to hospital in Lugo in an ambulance where they patched me up and I finally finished my Camino in late July in Santiago just prior to the Festival of St. James.

# The Albergue Santa Clara in Sahagun has had significant improvements made to their plumbing since June 2019 at considerable cost and I am more than comfortable that it is now safe to stay with them again.

This was the best thing I've read in a long time.

Also, unknown to me at the time but while staying with the Brothers I became infected with Legionella.

Yes I stayed there late October 2019 and they shut down just weeks later due to discovery of said Legionella. Glad to see they're open again and cannot wait to stay there in a few months.
 
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Was also thinking about what Kiwi-family posted. Many people on here have done more than one walk so we might be missing why people decide it's not for them. It was my understanding a fair number of people do stop and abandon the Francés. Is that true? Perhaps as many as a 1/3 from SJPP?

I love all the stories here. It's not an easy thing to do. I never wanted to seriously quit but as I'm thinking about it, I have a half dozen moments where I needed a sleep or a day to reset my intention. The questions were.. Do I need to stop for a day or more or have an alternate plan? Do I remember I don't have to do this and don't have anything to prove? Am I really ok?
 
Once I met a girl in Zubiri in Albergue who looked miserable - I said what's up? She said I'm going to quit and I asked why? She said it's too hard, I'm lonely and haven't met any people. I said you've met me, trying to make her laugh - but no! so I told her what someonehad told me before my 1st Camino, ''If you feel like quitting, wait three day and then see how you feel!'
I met her again in Burgos - looking very happy and with her 'Camino family' of four!
May not work for you - but it sure worked for her.
ps this is if you 'feel' like quitting , not if you need or have to quit for various reasons.
Wait 3 days.......
There once was a girl in Zubiri
Whose countenance seemed rather weary
She cried "I may be quitting"
I replied "You must be kidding"
"Just wait three days and you'll be cheery"
 
I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
I felt like quitting on the Via de la Plata during a period of heavy spring rains in the south when I spent days walking either in mud or where the trail was completely flooded. But, I told myself, it’s weather and there is nothing to be done for it except maybe take a day off to relax, rest, and dry out a bit.
On the Camino frances, a person I was walking with decided to bail after we had a major bedbug encounter just after Cebreiro, in Fonfria. We left the albergue at 3 AM and somehow got to a hotel in Sarria that day, whereupon she announced she was going home, her worst fear having materialized. She lived in Australia so home was far away! We checked into a hotel, sent everything to be washed, then she wandered up the hill and spoke with some other pilgrims who talked her out of going home so late in the game. They told her she would regret it for the rest of her life. Clean and bedbug free now, she saw reason and continued on to Santiago.
 
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But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?
It never occurred to me to quit, but if it had, it might have been when each foot was lifting three kilos of clay in the rain as I walked the bike because the mud ball built up behind the brakes prevented pedaling. (And ironically, at the same time it made the rims slippery so the brakes wouldn't work!)

Or dragging the bike (and the 37-kilo trailer) up the mountain between Santiago and Fisterra while every root or rock grabbed the four wheels and said "You shall not pass!"

But think: if a 64-year-old guy can do that, a younger fellow with a ten-kilo backpack can surely do better.
 
In 2015 on first CF I felt like quitting after 2 weeks of intermittent nausea, diarrhea etc. Ended up with IV in Burgos emergency room for dehydration and set out again next day. In 2022 ended up with Covid on day seven out of Geneva - definitely wanted to quit but after 10 days of rest was able to walk the Primitivo. During those dark moments it would be easy to say »that’s it , I am done » but in the back of my mind I knew I never would.
 
I decided that walking the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago would be a last adventure together with my deceased friend and that I could say goodbye to him at the Cruz and move on.
That's a wonderful, uplifting and yet sad story.

I had a similar experience on my arrival to the Cruz, one particular pilgrim dominating (and to my judgemental mind) disrespecting a sacred place.

Like you, I waited. It was raining and I was cold. When the coast was clear I reached for a pebble that I had carried a couple of thousand Kms only to discover that I had lost it a couple of days before when I fell off my bike (yes! I'm one of those!).

Long story short, after a bit of reflection I realised that the journey to get there was far, far more important than the symbolic process of dropping off a pebble. Like you, it was going to be my way of saying a final goodbye. As it turned out, rather than one moment of saying goodbye we had a journey - not to say goodbye but to settle the details of the new type of relationship. Several years later I am very glad that I didn't say goodbye.

I do wonder if people sometimes place too much emphasis on specific places or events to the detriment of the journey to get there. To me, that's a risky proposition because if things we have placed too much importance on turn out to be disappointing that can have a detrimental effect on our well-being. If nothing else, it may convince some of us that we are doing things "wrong".


As for the OP I have never considered quitting but I have often changed my plans to the point now that travelling is done on only the barest bones of what people call "planning".
(On a side note, "quitting" is such a negative term. I think the language we use is very important. Some might say I recently "quit" a long distance bike adventure after two and a half years on the road but I just changed my destination.)

I have travelled on many long distance journeys on my bike in many strange parts of the world and one thing I have learned is that what faces us on the road can be very different to what we saw, or read sitting at home. We have a choice. Adapt to the reality, embrace it or force our perceptions on that reality.
To put it another way, we can prepare for a lot of "things" but often neglect the preparation for how we might feel.

As an example, it was my plan to take the road from Saint Jean to Roncesvalles but on feeling the excitement in the air as the walking pilgrims went one way and I pointed another I changed my route and followed the walkers. Probably one of the dumbest things I've done on a bike but one of the most rewarding.

I vividly recall meeting two German cyclists outside a café sheltering from the rain. It was their first day on the Camino and they had ordered a taxi-bus to take them and their bikes to Pamplona and from there they were taking public transport to Santiago and home.
They were wet, miserable and cold and had a terrible morning's ride. I was cold and wet too but I had had a great morning's ride. Their gear (and bikes) were far superior to my budget equipment and to this day I cannot understand their decision to stop. On paper, they had everything to succeed. The reality they faced, and their inability to deal with it though, was beating them.

Also, not many people are willing to follow a forum, or indeed post about negative experiences so this thread, I imagine, will be mainly positive and may give a false impression.

Another aspect of travel is the amount of time we have to think and indeed for negative thoughts to grow and thrive. It's not a bad idea to include a remedy for that in your preparation and packing.

Good luck!
 
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I nearly did after an 18 mile, long for me, hot walk into Logrono.

I'd booked an apartment as I was intending having my first rest day. I arrived 2hrs before the time I'd said, but phoned to ask if it was available on the off chance. I got a lot of moaning with the eventual result of NO!

So I sat in a bar next door to where I was going to stay and ordered a burger, but found it was Tapas sized. When I eventually got in the apartment it was pretty rubbish compared to the photos. A chair collapsed when I sat on it and there was a light switch hanging off the wall. My feet were quite blistered and that night the noise from the local bars kept me awake till gone midnight.

I woke the next morning late, at around 9am, & discovered that the Compeed & Dr Volterol had worked wonders. So I decided not to go home, but to move on just doing 8 miles (with 10 miles the following day) instead of another 18 mile day on the following day as I'd planned.

If the plan isn't working, change the plan. My worst day (apart from Rock Music Man!) but best decision on the Camino.
 
All interesting stories told here; some with heartache involved. One person's pain, whether physical or emotional, may be reason enough to quit, yet can be another person's fuel or stubbornness to persevere and keep moving forward.
We are all wired differently. A few will regret the decision to end their camino early; others may regret that they pushed themselves beyond what they should have and suffered long term damage to their bodies as a consequence.
 
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I’ll put my hand up as someone who wanted to quit. I did well until Burgos, then I hurt my foot. 2 days rest in Burgos then I went on. But just after Sahagun I knew I had to stop. It was a low point. It’s emotionally hard to be injured and to watch pilgrims go by. So I took a week of rest away from the Camino — I took a train to visit a friend elsewhere in Spain -- which was so important. Then I returned to walk. There came another moment before Astorga when I was ready to leave for good due to the injury, but my loved one back home (wisely) said he’d book me a ticket home but not for 24 hours. So I just started walking again because I was mad at him (in that moment) and ended up completing the Camino. It took way longer than I thought it would.

It made me rethink what “quitting” actually meant. And also what it shouldn’t mean. Sometimes it’s exactly what you should do. Sometimes it isn’t. And you are the only person who should decide that for yourself.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
My experience is that I never felt like quitting.
I’ll put my hand up as someone who wanted to quit. I did well until Burgos, then I hurt my foot. 2 days rest in Burgos then I went on. But just after Sahagun I knew I had to stop. It was a low point. It’s emotionally hard to be injured and to watch pilgrims go by. So I took a week of rest away from the Camino — I took a train to visit a friend elsewhere in Spain -- which was so important. Then I returned to walk. There came another moment before Astorga when I was ready to leave for good due to the injury, but my loved one back home (wisely) said he’d book me a ticket home but not for 24 hours. So I just started walking again because I was mad at him (in that moment) and ended up completing the Camino. It took way longer than I thought it would.

It made me rethink what “quitting” actually meant. And also what it shouldn’t mean. Sometimes it’s exactly what you should do. Sometimes it isn’t. And you are the only person who should decide that for yourself.
I never felt like quitting, but I cursed all the way up O'Cebreiro
 
I never felt like quitting, but that doesn't mean there weren't hard moments. That does mean I didn't push through pain and lost toenails, heat waves and rain.

I think there are beautiful moments and difficult moments everyday. My advice to a new pilgrim is to know you will be challenged: In some ways. In many ways. Emotionally and Physically.

A Camino friend had to stop last spring because he broke his femur bone. He was devastated. I don't count that as quitting. Just heard that he's healed and planning to return.

I think it's easy to dream about the Camino and gloss over the hardships. This is a pilgrimage and there will be hardships. Knowing this at the onset is really helpful.
 
I am a hospitalera. I have talked to a lot of fed-up, exhausted people who were planning on quitting the Camino the following day. I always tell em:
At some point the Camino is going to kick your a---. Today is your day.
The Camino's not for everybody. There's not any shame in heading for the beach!
Don't buy a ticket right now. First, get a shower, get a meal, have glass of wine and a good night's sleep. Decide tomorrow, when your head is clear. Maybe you just need to take a day off.
Some of them keep walking. Some of them go.
 
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I 'felt' like quitting a few times on my first one.
But if I had really quit, it would not have been out of choice.

I had a few 'down' days, as things were going on at home and I felt I should be there.
I had a few 'hard' days due to injury, but held myself together with tape and pain killers.

I never really seriously felt like quitting though.
If it had happened, it would have been because of something I could not control.
Like a broken leg!

There was no specific section of the Camino that got me down.
It was more about my emotional state of mind.

I had to give myself a serious talking to just before El Acebo!
After that, it was plain 'ish' sailing. :rolleyes:

On one really 'down' day, I stopped to pray for guidance.
And got it! Three times over in the space of 5 minutes......
But that's another story and against rule 2 :cool:
What's rules 2 may I ask ? x
 
Amazingly, there were two times on CF I felt like quitting:
1. June 1: It had rained heavily on us as we left SJPP and it kept raining as we walked up to Orisson. By the time we stopped at Orisson for our break and change into dry clothes it had started snowing. From Orisson to the shelter it had snowed and hailed with heavy winds. I was drenched inside my parka. We stopped and changed into my last dry clothes inside the Izandorre shelter. I was frozen from the wet clothes. I was only able to keep going due to support from my new Camino friend, Domingos.
2. June 2: Blisters started developing as we were going down the slope into Zubiri. By the time we reached Logrono on June 8, there were blisters under older blisters, on the heels and between toes. The largest ones were 20cm blisters on both the ball of the feet. I took an extra day at Logrono contemplating going home, but my wife told me to not give up. I could not catch up with Dominigos and the next 3 days I focused on my internal growth. From Logrono to Tosantos I walked slowly on the outside of my boots so I would not land on the blisters. After Ages, the blisters had become calluses and they never bothered me again.
 
Really great question with such interesting and varied responses.

For my part, quitting on the Camino Frances in 2010 had never really entered my mind. I didn’t have a particular timeline I was walking to and could always take a little longer if needed. However I was severely tested in Burgos for two reasons.

Firstly, the blisters. Given my enthusiasm for starting the Camino I’d covered a lot of ground quickly and the distance (and my newish boots) resulted in the soles of both feet covered in blisters from heel to toe. Walking on them was excruciating, particularly in the mornings.

The second reason was somewhat related. Given I couldn’t walk as fast or as far, I needed to bid farewell to the group of friends I’d been walking with. I’d started the Camino alone but had fairly quickly found a group of strangers from around the world (Spain, Austria, Canada, Ireland) to walk with. Watching this group of new friends continue on without me was tougher than I’d expected. Sitting at a restaurant in the bustling streets of Burgos, I’d never felt so alone.

But moments like this (or O'Cebreiro or the meseta) make the arrival in Santiago even more rewarding.
 
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I decided to quit during my first Camino in 2019 but something changed my mind.

2017 and 2018 was a very tumultuous time in my life. In 2017 various business plans that I had been focused on for eight years crashed and burnt. In 2018 my closest friend who I had been best friends with for over 50 years died unexpectedly from complications following minor surgery. He died without an opportunity to say goodbye. I became very depressed.
.
The dignity of this story, honouring of the memory of a lost friend is especially moving.
 
when I suddenly felt all alone and homesick (not for my husband but for my dog 🤫😉)
🤣 I can totally relate! Not sure if it is wise to talk openly about such issues though 🤣
Maybe it is because our dogs do not understand the „why“ we are away. And we cannot be in contact with them via text messages or other means 👀
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
Don't be so sure that you will consider quitting! When I first walked the Camino Frances in Spring 2011 (when I was 65), I avoided the Pyrenees (too difficult!) and I avoided the meseta
(too boring!). I had such a wonderful walk that I went back in the fall and walked from St. Jean, over the Pyrenees and through the meseta, and then every year after that I walked all or part of the Camino Frances until 2020 when the Camino-world stopped. I never considered quitting, as no part of the Camino Frances was too difficult or too boring! I plan to return in the fall to walk from Pamplona to Sarria and do another hospitalera stint (#7).
 
I plan to return in the fall to walk from Pamplona to Sarria and do another hospitalera stint (#7).
@MaryLynn, those of you who are willing and able to volunteer as hospitaleras are amazing. Thank you for all the unselfish service you have done, and will be doing again this coming fall.❤️🙏
 
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I’m pretty sure that at some point(s) many, if not most, pilgrims question what they are doing and consider the possibility of quitting. And I’m quite sure that I’ll experience that feeling when I do my first CF this spring. But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims? Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?

(addendum: please don’t reply that it depends on the person. I’d like to know your experience. Thanks.)
Every person is different, body and soul. I did have moments and days that I felt like quitting. Truthfully though, I was surprised that sometimes these feelings came on the easiest of days,( as well has the difficult ones). It didn’t necessarily correspond to the terrain. I find no trophy in whether I had these days or not. They were just what they were. Usually, on my low days I needed to listen to what my body, emotions and soul needed.
 
I wonder if there are few “wanted to quit” posts because the ones who did, have not returned to the forum!
Very likely. But this statement reminds me of a pilgrim I met this summer in Santiago. We were at the laundrymat. He went on and on about all the things he hated about the Camino and stressed that he would NEVER consider doing another. He didn't enjoy it. At all. Yet - he was sporting a brand new, ink still wet, Camino Shell tattoo...
 
On arriving in Sarria in 2016. I was appalled at how crass and tacky the place had become since my previous visit. I had planned to stop for lunch but stormed through instead and genuinely concesnsidered ending my Camino there for fear of finding more of the same down the road. Eventually I returned to a more even keel and continued my journey. But it is the only time I have considered ending a pilgrimage journey for anything other than a seriously disabling injury.
I felt much the same on one Frances that I abandoned, somewhere around Santo Domingo. I just couldn't take the filthy tracks, and I don't mean mud. It would have been my second Frances, fifteen years and a lot of walking on other routes after my first.
I got a bus to Bayonne and the train home from there. I had walked from home, and I couldn't accept the contrast compared to walking in France.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I can't remember exactly where but I think it was my first stint, which was in the height of August, partway through a long day maybe halfway to Burgos? I had developed huge mushy blisters on the underside of my feet, and no amount of tape or changing shoes helped. I grit my teeth and pushed on to somewhere a town was marked on the map and listed in the guidebook, and it turned out to be one of those ghost town places with a load of empty appartments and not even a shop. I literally sat by the side of the road, took off my socks, looked at my feet, and cried for a solid 5min. But a Guide smiles and sings under all difficulties, and besides, there wasn't anywhere to stay, so I did the best job I could to patch up my feet, swapped to my sandals, ate some snackies and got up and carried on - and then spent an extra day at... I think it was Santo Domingo... which allowed my feet to heal up. After that things were fine, made it to Burgos in my two weeks, and went back a year and a half later (after doing a postgrad) to tackle Burgos to Leon.

And I guess the other time I came close to quitting would be 2019, when I was supposed to go back for the next stretch and everything was closed, but I'm hopeful of managing at least a week this summer if everything is open again, if I can get the time off - otherwise it's plan for next year... I have about two weeks of walking left to complete the Frances, so...
 
Hi,

I Started in Saint-jean and I didn't wanted to wanted to quit the Camino (or simply don't remenber) before an certain point. At the last 100 km, I felt overwhelmed and alone in a crowd I did not understand, I just wanted to skip all this and take a taxi directly to home (I live in Canada). Hopefully I went to Santiago and Finisterre.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
But I wonder where/when this tends to happen to most pilgrims?
My personal experience will give you no insight into this specific question. I have contemplated whether I would be capable of walking on after an injury on my first CF. On my second CF, my brother died, and while I had told my family before I left for Spain that I wouldn't return for his funeral should he pass away, it was still tempting to do so.
Is there a section or point where the questioning tends to set in?
Again, I only have my personal insights here, and for me this wasn't about a place, but about what was happening at the time.

I wonder how you are using the wonderful contributions you have to your OP. You now have a wealth of understanding, not about your questions, but about how pilgrims who have pushed on have overcome the challenges they faced. I suspect that is the far more important outcome you have achieved than the direct answers you have.

I know that my experience on my first camino made me more conscious of thinking through how I would strengthen my mental and emotional resilience alongside my physical preparations for subsequent pilgrimages. This included having strategies, rather than specific plans, for events that I felt might unsettle and distress me. These don't have to be complicated, they just have to be something that you can start to implement to move to different outcome instead of dwelling on the fact that what you might have wanted isn't going to work.

As an example, when I reached Sarria on my second CF, and Tui on the CP last year, I reminded myself that I would be seeing lots of enthusiastic Spaniards, many perhaps walking for the first time, eager to undertake this religiously and culturally significant walk. While I could still walk in quiet contemplation, as I might have done for the previous three or four weeks, I should also enjoy the joy and delight they would bring when they were loud and noisy.
 
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