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

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).
OP here.

Perhaps it’s my personality, but I tend to try to anticipate the potential or likely physical/emotional low points before almost any challenging endeavor. This allows me to better deal with them when they do occur and fosters the understanding that they might well pass, even within hours.

A shout out of thanks for the many very entertaining and varied responses here so far. Keep ‘em coming!
 
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I don't think I was ever seriously thinking of quitting but I can certainly say when I was most discouraged, which was shortly after Belorado (we had started our Camino in Roncesvalles). We had a poor sleep the night before and walked several kilometers more than we really had in us to get to a particular albergue only to find it was closed on Mondays (It was a Monday.) We didn't quit, but we did accept a ride for a few kilometers to the next open albergue. That was our only transport on the Camino.
 
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After 2 bouts of bed bugs, I found myself in Leon with a kidney stone. I could barely talk, buckled over in pain sitting in a wheelchair with a garbage pail infront of me not understanding a thing in spanish. This was what I thought was my lowest. Once I got out of the hospital 3 days later (a much needed break from the bugs), I went back to my hostel and decided to immediately go to the nearest laundromat to wash all my clothes. Before I left I emptied (mostly) my backpack, sprayed with with some spray the host gave me and stuck it on the patio in a black garbage bag under the Spanish sun. The cleaner came along and threw it out! The DAY that I got back from the hospital. Not only did I want to quit, I also felt the Camino was telling me to quit! I didn't and made it to Santiago. The night before I hit Santiago the bugs feasted on me again and 2 days later I counted over 100 bed bug bites. I wondered if this was the last lesson the camino was going to give me. I learned perseverance and that I'm one tough cookie. If I can believe in myself I can accomplish anything. I also learned "surrendering" to whatever is coming my way. I can't control anything, and what will happen, will happen. Buen Camino!
 
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.
I love this sequence of events.
 
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.
I might have to print this out and laminate it for emergency use-- perhaps a few copies. One to keep, others to hand out.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I never had the urge to quit -- finishing the camino was a strong motivation for me. It was very important to me to finish. I suspect this is similar to many people, as evidenced by the "walking wounded" I would often see on the way. I definitely had days where I got sick of the meseta or was frustrated by weather, other walkers, or any number of petty annoyances that felt like a big deal in the moment. They weren't.

The only way I would have stopped was injury, or catching covid (which since I had a firm deadline would have meant i wouldn't be able to finish in time).
 
My first time wanting to quit was on my first camino August to September 2001. I was walking out of Ponferrada through sticky and slippery mud asking myself what in the world was I doing here.

The second time was February 2014. Due to previous day’s rain back slope of Alto de Perdón was very, very slippery. As a result, I fell down spraining my ankle. I laid there thinking how many Compostelas do I need? Furthermore it’s too cold, too few peregrinos, accommodation too far apart for this journey.

Both times I pressed onwards to Santiago and received Compostela.

Now, desperately wishing to walk again asap.

If circumstances allowed a caregiving respite I’d board a plane and walk another winter way.

Something I vowed never again to do.
 
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I need to amend my response: apparently four months before a Camino is when I start asking myself “why am I doing this?”

Of course this will pass & of course I am walking again this spring, and I’m half laughing at myself for having the same doubts and jitters as the first time.
 
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In the "sometimes it makes sense to turn back" vein, a much younger and more naive me once attempted the very badly marked Miquelot trail from Seez to Mont St Michel... in autumn. I got a few days in, having walked through heavy rain and mud that went past my knees, and eventually became somewhat lost in a forest - because the trail markings (whatever they're called in English!) were missing. I picked a direction, walked in a more or less straight line until I found a road, walked down the road until I got to a village, decided the whole thing was a bad idea and gave up. It was, however, a very useful formative experience, and I'd like to do it again in better weather, with decent GPS and a better map :D . In fairness, the markers and paths are only maintained by volunteers, though it does share some of the main national and local footpaths and later connects to one of the routes to SJPDP.
 
I never felt like quitting.
Even when it was hard - harder - hardest, I never thought of stopping. I always knew the Camino would provide.
Also, I do my Caminos with a strong (for me) religious bent, so I knew I was always being looked after and never alone.
 
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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 my first Camino (SJPP to Santiago), I thought about quitting in Burgos. Once I decided to continue, I never felt that way again, even though I got very sick toward the end. On my second camino, (SJPP to Finisterre), I never felt like quitting.
 
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 wasn't really when I wanted to quit......the worst thing for me was getting shin splints and the thought that my Camino was finished. I got to a hospital in Burgos, after 2 days in pain, and then was advised to rest for 5 days...which I did, and then back on the trail.......thankfully. The rest of the Camino was a breeze after that (sadly I had to miss the Meseta to get my time back, so bused to Leon and then walked to Santiago) This year start off on the Meseta (Burgos to O'Cebreiro)
 
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 our first camino, it was day 2 that we thought even doing one camino was a sign of people lacking a full set of brain cells, while how could anyone not insane consider doing more than one? On the second day, the albergue we were aiming for in Larasoana (spelling?) was closed for bedbugs. We ended up walking all the way to Zabaldika. We we're exhausted and starving, with the communal meal only a thin soup. Then a storm came up and blew all our clothes down the hill. We had to search for them with flashlights provided by the good nuns. Blisters, tendonitis in the week ahead added to our frustration. But then, after spending two nights in Burgos, our bodies not only recovered but we had the drill down pat. Every day after that was better and better. We never considered bailing. And when we finished, we didn't kiss the pavement in front of the cathedral with relief as we expected to do. We cried. We didn't want to go back to the real world. The camino was a magic world of wonderful, caring people living in the moment, experiencing nature, beauty, culture and history. Our spirits picked up when we immediately started planning our next camino. And it continues and continues and continues...Buen camino!
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
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.
Only one "camino" we walked that we regret having done so: Offa's Dyke along the border of England and Wales. Up and down like a rollercoaster, wet, muddy, walking through of fields of moguls with cowpies everywhere, a violent storm on Hatterall Ridge that literally tore my poncho to shreds. Did this build character? Not a chance. I have nightmares even thinking about it now. Fortunately we were rewarded after we completed Offa's with one of our all-time favorite walks: the Pembrokeshire Coast. Such beauty, history, castles, great food...and we got sunshine every day!
 
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.)
Hello there,
I did my first Camino about 4 years ago, after my sister telling me about it then doing some research including watching the film ‘The Way’ I felt compelled to walk the CF in one go.

However, I didn’t feel like doing it on my own so invited my 18 year old son to do it ‘with me’. We did several practice walks at home, some with our packs on and they seemed to go well. When we started our pilgrimage he was nowhere to be seen! He is taller, younger and much fitter than I am so walks much faster than I do, but I had anticipated on him walking with me. On the second day I fell tying my lace with my foot up on a fence (I thought this would be easier than bending down with my pack on). Bruised, and bleeding and my confidence shattered I wondered what the heck I was doing there, what was I trying to prove?!!! When I eventually arrived at our accommodation, where my son was relaxing having showered and done what he needed to do, he greeted me with “where have you been, I got here four hours ago?!” Needless to say I wanted to poke his eyes out and was very angry with him. In fact I think I spent the rest of our pilgrimage being angry with him!

So yes I questioned myself, and doubted myself, but I would never give up or quit, even when my knew felt like it might pop out of its socket and near the end I got a draped nerve in my backside! I took some anti inflammatory and pain killers and completed the CF in 31 days which included 1 day off in Leon.
 
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.)
So, we didn't "quit", but we did decide to stop the day after Granon in 2016. It was our second time walking the Camino. My teenage son has an allergic reaction to sunlight (polymorphous light eruption). We may have been the only pilgrims hoping for clouds and rain. His hands were swollen and he had hives on his fingers and face. He had not been able to sleep well the night before-- and neither had I. The pilgrim next to me had a hacking cough that woke me up repeatedly through out the night. My son had also not had enough to eat at the pilgrim dinner the night before (My growing teenager needed more than the garlic soup and bread.) So all in all, that day we were both tired and miserable, and my son was hurting and hungry.

We had already taken a short rest day two days before in Vianna to stay out of the sunlight, hoping for healing. My son was in just as much pain, so I decided to call it. We took the bus to Burgos had a meal with roast lamb, and then took the train to Santiago, where my son rested and healed. -- In 2019, we returned to Burgos, took the bus back to where we stopped and continued our pilgimage.

I have wondered if we had taken another rest day and gotten a good meal could we have continued? Maybe walking in dark mornings, stopping from 10 till 4pm, and then walking again?

We have also gotten one of the parasol/umbrellas that I hope will help next time. And I hope our next time will be soon.
 
Train for your next pilgrimage on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
Hello there,
I did my first Camino about 4 years ago, after my sister telling me about it then doing some research including watching the film ‘The Way’ I felt compelled to walk the CF in one go.

However, I didn’t feel like doing it on my own so invited my 18 year old son to do it ‘with me’. We did several practice walks at home, some with our packs on and they seemed to go well. When we started our pilgrimage he was nowhere to be seen! He is taller, younger and much fitter than I am so walks much faster than I do, but I had anticipated on him walking with me. On the second day I fell tying my lace with my foot up on a fence (I thought this would be easier than bending down with my pack on). Bruised, and bleeding and my confidence shattered I wondered what the heck I was doing there, what was I trying to prove?!!! When I eventually arrived at our accommodation, where my son was relaxing having showered and done what he needed to do, he greeted me with “where have you been, I got here four hours ago?!” Needless to say I wanted to poke his eyes out and was very angry with him. In fact I think I spent the rest of our pilgrimage being angry with him!

So yes I questioned myself, and doubted myself, but I would never give up or quit, even when my knew felt like it might pop out of its socket and near the end I got a draped nerve in my backside! I took some anti inflammatory and pain killers and completed the CF in 31 days which included 1 day off in Leon.
I walked with my teenage son too! Nothing like him waiting at the top of a hill for me, me reaching him all out of breath and him saying "Good, you're here finally. Let's go!"
 
Think it governs which subjects are ‘off limits’ on the forum such as politics and so on. I assume in this case it means religion.
Yes, but -- these are liminal topics that one can, rarely, post about. Religion more often than politics.

In that the purpose of the forum is to provide support and assistance to pilgrims, and from that perspective, some posts about the religious element of it, in the practical sense, can be on-topic, mainly such things as queries about pilgrim masses, and so on.

Far more rarely, a somewhat political post can satisfy the same criterion of practical use for pilgrims. Almost never, but nonetheless.

What's really not accepted is religious or political dispute. Not helpful to pilgrims in this place, even though it might be interesting between pilgrims meeting on the Camino Ways themselves.
 
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 me it was almost every day for the first two weeks. A lady at the Rosenvales albergue told me to not decide to stop walking until the next morning. I also told myself I could stop walking the Camino at the end of two weeks if I wanted. I have walked 10 different Camino’s since that time.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Day 2 & 3 were my hardest days. I was sore from the climb over the pyranees, and had developed a few painful blisters. I have a bad knee, and it started to give out on the descent towards Zubiri. Zubiri wasn't my original destination, but I literally had no choice but to stop because of my knee. I chewed ibuprofen all night, and left the next day at about 6:45am. By the time I got to the next town, my knee was flaring again and I thought I may have to throw in the towel. I limped all the way to Pamplona, and decided to take a day off.

Each day past that was hard, but I kept going. Eventually I found a way to manage my knee pain, and even slowly made up lost ground. When I got to around Burgos, some of the athletic people who had passed me bragging about how fast they were had decided to quit because some of them were injured. I think that gave me a huge mental boost, that I was still going and these athletes were leaving. When I finally got to Leon, I knew I was going to make it, but those few days around Pamplona were a bit hit or miss. I think a lot of the camino is mental, and some of that mental fortitude is dealing with pain that you just may have to push through. In my case I think it helped having a flexible schedule - when I was really hurting, I just took a day off.. In total I took five days off, but I still managed to catch up with my original group I had met on day 1, mostly because those rest days helped regain some stamina and I was able to do a few longer days here and there.
 
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 there, I never felt like quitting I did, however, wonder whether I would finish. What I mean by that is that I was concerned that an injury would stop me. But thankfully I got through relatively unscathed 🙏
 
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.

First Camino - too much in my pack - steep down hill before Zubiri - no poles - agonised feet - “I can’t do this”.
But I didn’t feel like quitting - just wondered if I could do it. My new Camino family fed me coffee and encouragement and I was good to go and sorted out gear in Pamplona.
Having said that at various times I have thought - why am I here - I don’t like this Camino - can I go home now - and more. But I know these are only temporary thoughts of the mind. I never actually ‘felt’ like quitting.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
First Camino - too much in my pack - steep down hill before Zubiri - no poles - agonised feet - “I can’t do this”.
But I didn’t feel like quitting - just wondered if I could do it. My new Camino family fed me coffee and encouragement and I was good to go and sorted out gear in Pamplona.
Having said that at various times I have thought - why am I here - I don’t like this Camino - can I go home now - and more. But I know these are only temporary thoughts of the mind. I never actually ‘felt’ like quitting.
Like you I never felt like giving up but I did wonder if I would make it on a few occasions
 
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 me, I had a tough day on day 25. Not sure if it was on the way to Molinaseca, but the route was filled with so many switchbacks, and the rocks seemed like they came from the depths of hell. They really did a number on my feet. I remember tripping on rocks often and my backpack flying up in the air, slapping my back and compressing my spine! My pack was way too heavy. Thank God I have a strong back, but not sure how much more of that I could've handled. That was the first and only time where I wished to be done with the camino and just go home to my wife and family. Once I reached my destination for the day, I did what I always did: checked in to my albergue, took a shower, washed my clothes/hanged them to dry and hit the local watering hole for some grub and a delightful Cubata. Ohh, life was good once again! :cool:
 
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Hiking 20 km up to the 1060 meter Ibaneta pass via the Valcarlos route the 1st time in 2004 at 65 was one of the most difficult days on any camino and certainly the most exhausting day of my adult life then to date. I was pooped!

Although I had hiked throughout the summer nothing had prepared me for such an effort. Beneath a deep blue sky and brilliant sun I gasped and ached.

After 5 hours I finally staggered over the pass into a picnic area filled with a munching mob; they had arrived by bus and cars! A kindly couple from Scotland offered me the best ever cup of tea from their thermos. Refreshed I continued on to the monastery, happy that the path was now slightly downhill....Eventually I made it to Santiago always wearing my pack and walking all the way. Perseverance and tenacity had become my motto.

For the next 9 caminos what mattered most was to keep moving daily. Such efforts made it easier climbing up passes or trudging through snow.

...Although now at 84 I am unable to hike long distance perseverance and tenacity still are my motto. Ultreia!
 
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Never.

Usually the feeling is "more, please".

Had to take public transport to skip sections a few times (on several Caminos for different reasons) but never liked it. There was never a moment of "why am I doing this, I want to go home".

First Camino was the Francés. I was *very* slow, physically unfit, very depressed, suffering from social anxiety and panic attacks, on a very low budget, got blisters in the first half and bronchitis in the second, bed bugs inbetween, and still, the thought of wanting to quit never occurred to me. When I sat at the cape in Finisterre I dreamed of walking all the way home (sadly lacked the funds).

Last year I broke my foot in France and got covid in the meseta but quitting was still never really an option, even though I thought at some point that I might have to. Managed not to, thankfully, and arrived in Finisterre.

Would you ask me about the hardest day, I'd probably say the very first on my first ever Camino. My brother had given me a small bottle of schnaps to drink on the worst day of the journey. I had already emptied it before even reaching Valcarlos 🤣.
 
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OP here.

Perhaps it’s my personality, but I tend to try to anticipate the potential or likely physical/emotional low points before almost any challenging endeavor. This allows me to better deal with them when they do occur and fosters the understanding that they might well pass, even within hours.

A shout out of thanks for the many very entertaining and varied responses here so far. Keep ‘em coming!
Good to anticipate and even better to be nervous. This should motivate you to do more practice caminos before you go. Not only will you strengthen your muscles, but you will also see how jettisoning weight makes you not only more comfortable, but able to walk farther. Before we set out on first camino 10 years ago, we walked 18 miles on our final practice camino and were down to 16 pounds for me, including water, and 13 for my wife. We only jettisoned some cheap slippers to wear in showers. Our sandals served that purpose just fine. Even so, we were really nervous and were ready to quit after the second day when our target albergue was closed for bed bugs and we had to walk all the way from Roncevalles to Zabaldika in the heat, with a communal meal of only a bowl of soup. Then a thunderstorm hit and blew all our clothes off the line down the hill. Fortunately, the nuns led us with flashlights down the hill to locate our clothes. Ugh. We nonetheless carried on and by the time we reached Burgos and had treated multiple blisters, we figured out the routine and the rest was truly a joy. We averaged 17 miles per day walking and when we reached Santiago, we could have walked another 500 miles. We were so elated that we immediately started planning our next camino. And we do this after every one. We will be walking two this year, one in May, another in September. We are catching up for the ones we postponed in 2021 and 2022.
 
At the two week point I was so homesick for my husband that I asked our good friend who is a priest- What am I doing? I was allowing myself to think I could leave at any time as I had accomplished a long ways, but it was not what was really in my heart, I had the goal to to finish. He reminded me that some of the gifts of the Camino will not be fully realized until the Camino is over (true- I keep reflecting). Walking to Santiago and thinking of the prize ahead is like our life journey of walking to heaven. He told me- Keep on walking.
I told my husband we couldn't keep being sad focusing on missing each other- that I had to embrace the gift he had given me to be on Camino. I did feel so much peace and joy in this intentional time with God for which I had been longing.
That morning, I left Burgos with severely blistered feet to start the Meseta. Though I loved my time to walk by myself in prayer, It was the one day I never walked without others- familiar pilgrims kept popping up and I met some great new friends that day as well. They just "carried" me with their conversations and company. I also discovered my walk was going to be the shortest I had yet, giving my feet a little respite in the one and only hostel (mini) pool I had that 100+ degree afternoon.
It was as if God scooped me up and said, Keep on walking!"
 
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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 think that if people quit, they're most likely to do it in those first few days, but I'm not sure what stats I saw that make me think that. I completed about 220 miles (the amount I planned) over 20 years ago. I was living in Spain at the time and just got curious about what it would be like to do it, and that was what I had time to do. It was an absolutely transformative experience. I was there doing research for my Ph.D., and I said then that if I finished the dissertation and got a job, I wanted to return and do it again, but a longer distance. And lo, that's what happened, so I couldn't wait to hit the Camino again.

I started in SJPP that second time, which hardly anyone did back then. There was no Orisson, no water up there, no km markers, no nothing (and this was before smart phones), and not another soul all day. It was gorgeous, but very stressful because I was seriously worried about running out of water, and I didn't know how far I had to keep going. I got to Roncesvalles and there was this HUUUUGE albergue, a new construction that hadn't been there before. I didn't sleep well, and there were very gruff hospitaleros kicking us out at some crazy hour of the morning. In the next place, I realized that I was completely exhausted and just not into this and maybe should just go do something else. There was a young German guy who was very proud of himself because, he said, when HE started something, HE liked to finish it.

The thing is that I just HAD finished quite a monumental thing. I'd been pushing myself for months and months to get the dissertation done, and I left for Spain about two days after my defense. I should have given it more time. What I really needed was to sit on a beach somewhere and stare off into space and most definitely NOT push myself and set a fresh goal every day. I needed to just be lazy.

I ended up pausing in Pamplona to assess whether or not to continue. I think I spent 3 days there and just didn't want to keep going. (I DID, however, really enjoy the religious art museum there and just wandering around.) So I called my friend in Madrid and asked her if I could come and sleep on her floor until I figured out what to do. (She had just bought an apartment and hadn't moved in yet; there was no furniture there. I bought a camping mat.) I ended up deciding that what I really wanted was just to be home and sleeping in and relaxing and getting ready for my move to start my new job. So I changed my ticket and went home. It was the right decision, but I think if I'd given myself more time after my defense before leaving for Spain, I would have been fine. But I have no regrets about having gone home back then. I just had no energy -- mentally, physically, emotionally, I was too fried.

That was over two decades ago. I am now at some crossroads and feel a need to ponder things, so I'm going back soon. Like last time, I happen to have recently finished another major writing project, but this time I gave myself some more time between than and starting the Camino. My goal is to have no expectations and just be open to whatever comes and see what the Camino wants to say now. I think this is going to be very different than the last time, the aborted time, because of that time gap I allowed this time around after finishing up a major project. I'm able to just take my time somewhat if I want, so I won't have to push hard every day. But if I find that I'm just really not into this the way I think I will be, or it's just too crowded for me, or I get injured, or whatever, I will do something else instead. I won't abandon it at the first sign of discomfort or anything, but if it's just not working and that's not a temporary feeling, I have some back-up plans in mind, places in Spain where there's a lot of natural beauty and not too many tourists, or at least not many foreign ones. If I need to leave the Camino behind and enjoy other areas of Spain, that'll be OK, too. And I feel like being open to that possibility is actually part of the openness to the experience in general. I am planning on spending some additional time in Spain after the Camino anyway, so if I get to that "other stuff" earlier, well, that'll be fine, too.

Some people learn from the Camino how not to give up, how to persist. People who've already persisted a lot and not given up might need to learn different things, like how to know when you need to stop.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Transport luggage-passengers.
From airports to SJPP
Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
As the OP, I feel compelled to write that I did complete the Camino (2 days ago) and had no serious thoughts of quitting. A few very adverse weather events and that nasty entrance into Burgos served to harden my resolve - that I was walking a pilgrimage, not a day hike - and made the ‘easier’ bits even that much more pleasant.
 
As the OP, I feel compelled to write that I did complete the Camino (2 days ago) and had no serious thoughts of quitting. A few very adverse weather events and that nasty entrance into Burgos served to harden my resolve - that I was walking a pilgrimage, not a day hike - and made the ‘easier’ bits even that much more pleasant.
Congrats!
 
As the OP, I feel compelled to write that I did complete the Camino (2 days ago) and had no serious thoughts of quitting. A few very adverse weather events and that nasty entrance into Burgos served to harden my resolve - that I was walking a pilgrimage, not a day hike - and made the ‘easier’ bits even that much more pleasant.
Bravo!

I think a big difference between a day hike or weekend hike and a longer pilgrimage is that those rougher days are part of the experience on a pilgrimage, and aren't always so "rough." For a day hike, if it's raining or too hot or even if I simply want to sleep in, I just stay home.
 
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