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Would you still walk the Camino if you could not access the Internet ?

Would you still walk the Camino, if you could not access the internet during this entire period?

  • 1. Sure no problem. Won't miss the Internet at all.

    Votes: 127 68.3%
  • 2. Might give it a try but with some reservation.

    Votes: 35 18.8%
  • 3. I willing to try but I think panic might set in after a few days.

    Votes: 9 4.8%
  • 4. Forget it. No internet, no Camino.

    Votes: 13 7.0%
  • 5. What's the Internet ?

    Votes: 2 1.1%

  • Total voters
    186

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Nice to see somebody has a sense of humour - we have one vote for: "What is the Internet ?"
:)
 

vlebe

Walker Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001; 2004; 2009; 2013, (2016/2017)
Hmmm. Not sure if this is a vote for.............or against technology? o_O
Hi Robo!
First of all, I`d like to tell you that I really liked your video from your camino. I was surfing the topic the other day and found it ( I cant really remember where)! Congrats!It brought me back some lovely memories!

I have to tell you that Im not sure either if Im for or against technology considering this statement! :D

I think I have to be glad because of technology is enabling me to go to the camino once again as I`ll be able to be in touch with my work... Considering this point of view, technology is an enabler for me to do certain things I like to do!

Thanks for bringing this view to my attention! ;):)

Ultreya!
 

vlebe

Walker Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001; 2004; 2009; 2013, (2016/2017)
Hi Robo!
First of all, I`d like to tell you that I really liked your video from your camino. I was surfing the topic the other day and found it ( I cant really remember where)! Congrats!It brought me back some lovely memories!

I have to tell you that Im not sure either if Im for or against technology considering this statement! :D

I think I have to be glad because of technology is enabling me to go to the camino once again as I`ll be able to be in touch with my work... Considering this point of view, technology is an enabler for me to do certain things I like to do!

Thanks for bringing this view to my attention! ;):)

Ultreya!
Although, if I could, I would not EVER bring a computer or smartphone with me to this sort of journey!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Hmm. That is not what votes are for, or can possibly accomplish, by their very nature!
Well, life is complicated--and so I think what Dougfitz said yesterday is right:
As for the main discussion, my own view is that discussing the internet as if it was some monolithic device is pretty pointless. The question is the logical equivalent of asking if one would walk if there were no bars at which to eat. Just as bars are only one way of achieving an outcome, and can vary widely in the types of food, styles of service, etc, so it is with the internet. The subject of delivery mechanisms appears to me quite a seperate issue from application functionality and information content, yet they have all been lumped into one amorphous mass as if they could be discussed sensibly that way. Clearly, I don't think they can be, so I will go back to watching with morbid curiosity as you try:).
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
If I could, I would... :D

First time I walked the camino I did not even have a watch with me! It was lovely!

Unfortunately its getting harder and harder for us to truly get offline nowadays!
I have to admit I wasn't really refering to the technology in a smartphone or the internet but rather all of the technology that we all use that enables us to walk :oops: Smartphones/internet are often perceived as a problem but how about this kind of technology?
  • transport... planes, trains and automobiles
  • medicines... modern treatments from cancer drugs to blister plasters
  • communications ... all phones and email (before, during and after the camino)... including internet forums :rolleyes:
  • food and drink... very few of us are cooking over a campfire and most of us enjoy a cool drink at the end of our day
  • accommodation... we like hot showers and somewhere to wash our clothes and rest our weary legs... all the while being bed bug free
  • clothes... hands up anyone with any kind of technical clothing
  • boots and bags... how light is yours? Waterproof? Breathable?
I'm sure we could all add to this list because we all use technology.

I do understand that for some people using the internet whilst walking really does make their walk a lesser experience. I dont think that's the fault of the internet... just a prefernce of the user? Or maybe the restraints and demands put upon us in everyday life that makes us want to get away from it all? If you have to deal with 100's of email every day and the phone never stops ringing... or your kids never seem to leave their computer... then perhaps just getting away from all of that is the joy?

I also think it's easy to blame the internet or social media for folks not talking... but for me, I often reached for my book (aka smartphone with kindle app) when I wanted to lie on my bunk and chill out... or if I just wanted a bit of alone time or wanted to reflect on my walk... I'm a chatty person... be even I like to be quiet from time to time... :D I dont think things are ever quite as black and white as we imagine... and I guess we all have different needs?

So to answer the question... would I walk the camino without the internet.. sure, of course. Would I walk if I had to lose all technology... No, I couldn't.

And... well... I'm sure we've all seen this a few times and it kind of speaks for itself?

reading_on_train.jpg
 
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MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Well Jirit,

Here's the question you left out:

How many carrying an iPhone, pre-booking albergue or hostal accommodation to get a bed, and plugging into the internet, see it as wrong, or beneath contempt, for others to use those other products of modern technology, ie the taxis, buses, cars and trains to do their Caminos their own particular way?

De colores

Bogong(who has to confess, at age 69,using a very basic mobile phone and occasional albergue internet to keep contact with a very worried wife, and adult kids who had seriously explored drawing on their mortgages to travel over to bring my corpse home)
I don't know if I have ever met anyone that feels contempt for technology or the use of it. I use technology, but I don't determine my camino based upon the presence of technology at a given albergue, gite, etc.

How another does their Camino - using bikes (which I still abhor - not to offend those that bike, but I dislike them whizzing by), buses, taxis, etc. is their business and none of my own.

I do think there is a certain benefit when we are denied things upon which we depend or are fixated upon. Denying them forces us to look inward and outward. For example, in my family during the holidays I assure you there will be some sitting around ignoring everyone in the room while talking to whomever that is not present by text. Are those not present in our daily lives so important that we cannot be present for those meeting with us? When we deny ourselves these....modern conveniences we are allowed the opportunity to grow in other ways all which helps us to be present to the life in front of us.

This technology question is quite sensitive. I have had my head bit off for saying something others viewed as negative. I have counseled others in the past to use technology, but not to forget to appreciate the world around them or the other pilgrims in front of them. I am not saying that family and friends back home are not important - nothing could be further from the truth. I am saying to be present and allow the Camino to teach us again the joy of being human with others. I know I am not using the right words and I am not explaining this well, but I do hope you may grasp my intent and meaning.

I will continue to bring my phone; I will continue to use it, but I do it sparingly. My family knows that I will not be in constant contact, but I am available when needed.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
August (2016)
When I walked the Way, I would have given my eye teeth to go without internet - I wanted/needed to go completely off the grid - but I relented when I became convinced that some people I was leaving behind would worry too much about me. I compromised by taking an iPhone (my first) and posting regularly so that those who cared to could know of my wellbeing. Other than that, there was no Skype, no phone calls, and just one or two very necessary emails initiated by me. Next time I hope to go off the grid - in fact I dream of it. :)
How do you connect from Spain to say, Canada? Not sure my data package would support that without costing a fortune. Someone mentioned that I could buy a 'card' in Spain to help with sending texts. Is that correct? I'm confused about texting.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed: Camino Frances - Spring'16
Preparing: Camino Frances - Fall ‘23
Endeavoured to go my entire Camino with no WiFi or internet access. I thought it would be a good exercise to get away from everything for a whole month. No news from the outside world. No communication with anyone but who I saw in person. I made it three weeks but decided to jump back on for the last week of the Camino. A month is a long time :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
Ha! Here I am, the defender of connectedness, who said she didn't want to go anywhere without her smartphone!

It is an odd hypothetical question. One might ask "Would you do X, if you couldn't connect to the internet?" or "Would you walk the camino if you couldn't take a poncho?"

The absence of internet would not be a deciding factor for me. I did many things happily before the internet was invented and would do so in the future too if it were eliminated. However, I have no interest in eschewing the internet on a point of principle, as I enjoy the benefits it brings.

None of the answer choices is quite right for me. I would say "Willing to do so if it weren't available." I would not expect to be panicking.
Hmmm. Not sure if this is a vote for.............or against technology? o_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Hypothetically, I would gladly do a Camino without internet access, BUT ONLY, if no one else had access either. The reasoning is simple. I use the internet primarily to arrange lodging in advance. That is the sole urgent use I reserve.

Everything else can be worked around, somehow. But, without internet and e-mail capability, I would be forced to make voice phone calls in a language I do not know very well at all, to plead for a place to rest my head, as albergues are not in my remit for health reasons. This also presumes someone would answer the phone and be willing to try to understand me, as opposed to dealing with an e-mail message I sent in the lingua franca, courtesy of Google or Bing Translate...

If there was no ability to make advance lodging reservations for anyone on Camino, then the playing field might be more level. However, I suggest it would only accelerate the sometimes "bed race" from village to village, as peregrinos scurry like locusts to devour to next field's offerings... Humans dislike uncertainly. Once you have secured a roof over your head and a bed for the evening, everything else is just detail.

All in all, and as it is simply not feasible to make the entire Camino route structure a wireless and cellular signal-free zone, this notion remains a dream. Personal safety issues aside, the local economy would collapse if the Internet were not available to arrange the many and varied services needed along the way. Most business could not exist without web and e-mail access to backstop telephone calls.

That said, if you are inclined to go old-school, please have at it. Everyone does their own Camino, and I endorse your doing it in this manner. However, and for a variety of very good reason, I will continue to rely on modern communication capabilities.

These internet based "tools" are a convenience, a tool, if you will. I only use them when necessary and for a focused, "mission-related" purpose. I do not use the internet, nor any of its many capabilities for entertainment, only for knowledge and for logistical arrangements.

I hope this helps.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Some of us who avoided the internet still have 'dumb phones' for calling ahead, booking, emergencies, or else keep the smartphone in non-data/wi-fi mode. Our smartphone stayed in airplane mode too except when texting the family and we used the 'dumb phone' to call accommodation.
The only thing we logged into was our cash card to check its balance, but we could have managed quite happily without doing so. As posted before being 'off-line' emails etc was bliss.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
How do you connect from Spain to say, Canada? Not sure my data package would support that without costing a fortune. Someone mentioned that I could buy a 'card' in Spain to help with sending texts. Is that correct? I'm confused about texting.
The use of wifi does not come from your data package so you can connect thru applications that are wifi friendly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
How do you connect from Spain to say, Canada? Not sure my data package would support that without costing a fortune. Someone mentioned that I could buy a 'card' in Spain to help with sending texts. Is that correct? I'm confused about texting.
Forgive me if I'm explaining the obvious, but it was not at all obvious to me a few trips ago!

Most of the "connecting" people are talking about is done by connecting to Wifi while in a restaurant or accommodation in Spain. Most such places have Wifi. You might need to ask for the password, if it is not posted on a sign over the bar. Then you can do email, Skype, internet on your phone even when it has "roaming data" turned off (as is recommended!). You can leave your phone in Airplane Mode, turn on the Wifi, and you will not incur any data charges. Your regular phone messaging won't work, but you could use Facebook or Whatsapp. Your battery will also last longer in Airplane Mode.

If you want actual phone service (not just internet)... Your phone and data service depend on the tiny SIM card inserted into your phone. At home, if you changed providers, you would put a different card in your phone to connect with the new service. In Spain, you can buy a SIM card with one of the phone companies there (e.g. Vodaphone, Movistar) and you will have a plan with their local service. Some companies (e.g. Vodaphone) have a plan for about 15 Euros where visitors can get 60 minutes of international talk and some amount of data (maybe 1 GB) for 30 days. You would have a new Spanish phone number but everything else on your phone (wifi, apps, etc) will work the same as before. Text messaging on the phone service may not be included but you can use internet messaging like Facebook or Whatsapp.

One important thing... Canadian providers usually sell "locked" phones which means that they are programmed to only accept that company's SIM card. To use another company's card, you need to get your phone unlocked. The providers here may charge $50 to do that. You should call your provider to ask about all of this. They will also probably offer you a Travel Plan, which would be more expensive than a Spanish card, but it might be simpler.

Let me know if you have any more questions.
 

LRM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Tolosana, Aragon, Frances (2012). Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2013). Voie Littorale, Norte and Primitivo (2014). Sureste and Sanabres (2015). Begin the Frances in October 2016 and complete it in January 2017-let's hope.
EDITED
When I first did the Camino, the iPhone had not been released and very few people carried mobile phones. The only way to communicate with people back home was either with low speed email using coin operated Internet terminals found in the occasional Cafe, or via slow mo mail services, meaning most people got your postcard shortly after you arrived home from Spain.

Now we have always connected, high speed 4/5G networks, wifi, and Internet enable hand held multiple purpose mobile devices capable of running a small company, that slip into a back pocket. Photos, videos, FaceTime, Skype, and simple emails (including texts, etc) sent in an instant to anybody, anywhere, anytime, in the world.

So I am asking.

Would you still walk the Camino for 3-4 weeks if you were unable or could not to access internet during this entire period?

This means no access to email or the Internet, or Skype, or your fav apps, or electronic guidebooks, etc - basically nothing. Pen and paper kind of world stuff
I never take a smart phone and rarely if ever go online to check emails or anything. I print off a couple pages of maps and another couple of very basic information and have walked several routes both alone and with somebody. I wouldn't have it any other way but that's just me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017
Yep I would, although it did not look like it last year... however in 2012... I went wireless. Had an emergency phone from Burgos onward, I did use in an emergency... how did I know I would need one... well the Camino sorta provided. ;)

Next year, hmm will see.. I love my samsung note 4... it takes such spectacular pictures! :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017
How do you connect from Spain to say, Canada? Not sure my data package would support that without costing a fortune. Someone mentioned that I could buy a 'card' in Spain to help with sending texts. Is that correct? I'm confused about texting.
Diane, if you are with Rogers... give roam like home a try.. really understand the programme and relax, no stuff to buy other then the extra to Rogers$10/day or maximum $100 in a 30 day cycle; it uses your excisting data plan; in essences if you use the plan 10 days, you might as well use it for the remainder of the trip;
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
EDITED
When I first did the Camino, the iPhone had not been released and very few people carried mobile phones. The only way to communicate with people back home was either with low speed email using coin operated Internet terminals found in the occasional Cafe, or via slow mo mail services, meaning most people got your postcard shortly after you arrived home from Spain.

Now we have always connected, high speed 4/5G networks, wifi, and Internet enable hand held multiple purpose mobile devices capable of running a small company, that slip into a back pocket. Photos, videos, FaceTime, Skype, and simple emails (including texts, etc) sent in an instant to anybody, anywhere, anytime, in the world.

So I am asking.

Would you still walk the Camino for 3-4 weeks if you were unable or could not to access internet during this entire period?

This means no access to email or the Internet, or Skype, or your fav apps, or electronic guidebooks, etc - basically nothing. Pen and paper kind of world stuff
I would walk without the internet ..... however I need to make bank transfers, pay bills and possibly reserve a hostel. My choice is to keep off line unless I need to do any of the above. We will be away from home for a total of 3 months or more.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
We "walked the walk" in Nepal. No internet on many of the routes there, but even that is changing. No big deal if your personal life doesn't have complications requiring attention.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
How do you connect from Spain to say, Canada? Not sure my data package would support that without costing a fortune. Someone mentioned that I could buy a 'card' in Spain to help with sending texts. Is that correct? I'm confused about texting.
Diane, I see that others have responded to you with far more information than I could provide. When I started my camino I was so new to my iPhone that I had to ask a kind soul in Roncesvalles to coach me on how to connect to Wifi. And in Los Arcos I had to ask a young Aussie uni student to sort out another issue. (He zeroed in on the problem in seconds.) I am very much still making baby steps in the tech communication field. Buen Camino. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
EDITED
When I first did the Camino, the iPhone had not been released and very few people carried mobile phones. The only way to communicate with people back home was either with low speed email using coin operated Internet terminals found in the occasional Cafe, or via slow mo mail services, meaning most people got your postcard shortly after you arrived home from Spain.

Now we have always connected, high speed 4/5G networks, wifi, and Internet enable hand held multiple purpose mobile devices capable of running a small company, that slip into a back pocket. Photos, videos, FaceTime, Skype, and simple emails (including texts, etc) sent in an instant to anybody, anywhere, anytime, in the world.

So I am asking.

Would you still walk the Camino for 3-4 weeks if you were unable or could not to access internet during this entire period?

This means no access to email or the Internet, or Skype, or your fav apps, or electronic guidebooks, etc - basically nothing. Pen and paper kind of world stuff
I walked in 2014 sans device. It took about 2 days to unplug my mind. And then it was such a relief. So liberating.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
We "walked the walk" in Nepal. No internet on many of the routes there, but even that is changing. No big deal if your personal life doesn't have complications requiring attention.
I think you raise an important point here.

We might 'want' to walk the Camino totally unplugged, but sometimes it is the 'needs' of others that require us to keep checking in....

For those with few commitments and responsibilities back home, it's easy of course.
 
Camino(s) past & future
August (2016)
Diane, I see that others have responded to you with far more information than I could provide. When I started my camino I was so new to my iPhone that I had to ask a kind soul in Roncesvalles to coach me on how to connect to Wifi. And in Los Arcos I had to ask a young Aussie uni student to sort out another issue. (He zeroed in on the problem in seconds.) I am very much still making baby steps in the tech communication field. Buen Camino. :)
Thank you so much for your reply. You made me laugh! I've been on my iPhone for some time but am admittedly a techno-boob. I only need to touch base with my daughter every once in a while to let her know her momma is still alive and not to spend the inheritance yet - lol.
 

Doti

Grateful Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2016)
Camino Madrid (planned 2017)
Just finished my first Camino. I did the Primitivo with no smart phone and no GPS, and barely a hard copy guide. I did have my cell phone with me as a camera and wifi at occasional cafes. It was wonderful to be disconnected! However, I did lost my debit card in Oviedo at the start of the trip, and seriously ran out of cash in Lugo. Having a Spanish SMS card and real internet would have made things easier. That said, it was real live people who saved the day and we were able to finish our trip and came home with stories of generosity, kindness and adventure.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
When I walked in 2007 I chose to leave my mobile at home. I put a message on it that said when I would be back.

I occasionally checked email on a pc. I remember calling my mum, feeding coins fast into the phone box on top of the mountain in Pedafrito Do Cebreiro to say 'I know I can make it now!'. She remembers that call too, precisely because I didn't get to call her often.

For me it was about letting go of the need for control. I could not book ahead and I wanted to live with that. I have not gone without phone since, but I know I can, so I don't need to.
 

clearskies

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Here and there
EDITED
When I first did the Camino, the iPhone had not been released and very few people carried mobile phones. The only way to communicate with people back home was either with low speed email using coin operated Internet terminals found in the occasional Cafe, or via slow mo mail services, meaning most people got your postcard shortly after you arrived home from Spain.

Now we have always connected, high speed 4/5G networks, wifi, and Internet enable hand held multiple purpose mobile devices capable of running a small company, that slip into a back pocket. Photos, videos, FaceTime, Skype, and simple emails (including texts, etc) sent in an instant to anybody, anywhere, anytime, in the world.

So I am asking.

Would you still walk the Camino for 3-4 weeks if you were unable or could not to access internet during this entire period?

This means no access to email or the Internet, or Skype, or your fav apps, or electronic guidebooks, etc - basically nothing. Pen and paper kind of world stuff
Absolutemente!! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPDP - Halfway
2016 Fromista - The other half
The question may be more; would you want to? I bet even more would answer yes. To some like me, it would be a luxury, but not practical.

Owning a small business in the USA (website builder) means people are depending upon me and I need be fair to them. The good news is I now have a full time employee. Last year on the Camino I did not. I am thrilled to say that I only had to send 4 emails last year over two weeks. So it was very minimal. I have everything now running through the office, so hopefully, it wlll be even less.

Imagine if you owned a business and your email or website went down and tech support voicemail stated would be back in 3 weeks! That is a long hold time.

Overall, the demographics on the Camino are huge. Age, Country, Employment/Retirement Status, technology savvy and more certainly will have an impact on what is right for the individual person.

Without it, some of us would certainly not be able to consider even going and that is the lesser of the two choices for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
I realise that i am re-visiting a topic that has had no comments for (almost )2 years . but it is a very interesting topic for me - so i may just re-boot /start it up again .

I walked the camino in Sept/Oct 2015 and purchased an iphone just before this first camino especially for the camino .

It was really great because i was able to take photo's during my walking day and post them to my facebook page whenever i found a bar with wifi- which was nearly every night -this was fun for me and my friends and family were able to share aspects of my camino with me and i received immediate validation and it was just great to share .

After meeting a lovely female companion on this 2015 camino i was able to communicate with her via facebook messenger - and we ended up being able to catch up and we walked together for a fair bit of the camino . ( and afterwards for a while - another story )

anyway ... I also used facebook a lot in the same way on my next camino ( in Portugal) 2 years later in 2017 and when i was a hospitelero . .

However earlier this year ( 2018) i deleted my facebook and social media .

I just realised how dependent i was on it and that i was spending too much time on it.

In 2018 i feel that im now in two minds about technology . i feel that it is a useful tool - in terms of GPS or locating albergues or messaging people but also wastes a lot of time and can be detrimental to our mental health and experiencing things and being ' in the present ' can be compromised .

I am intending to do my 3rd Camino come late september 2018 ( God willing ) . I am thinking that I might change the way i choose to record and remember this upcoming camino . Do things a bit differently this time perhaps .

The last few times i walked (in hindsight ) I feel that I was spending a little too much time in the evening preparing my days walking 'impressions ' for my friends and families at home via facebook with many photos and status updates. I was tired and instead of resting completely i was uploading beautiful pics for people halfway around the world to see.

A few weeks ago I purchased a 100 page notebook and I'm hoping to physically write my evening impressions ( keep a diary/journal) and augment it with some simple drawings and maybe also take a few photos while walking with my i phone to remember certain places, monuments , roads , villages, people and so on . This seems like a better thing for me this time .

I might possibly post a few pics every now and again via instagram which is less time consuming than FB.

I will reflect a little more on this issue.
 

Doti

Grateful Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2016)
Camino Madrid (planned 2017)
I did walk without internet...but my daughter had her phone with her and used at cafes etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Thank you for bumping this thread, Mark, because it's a topic that's good to revisit.
In 2018 i feel that im now in two minds about technology . i feel that it is a useful tool - but also wastes a lot of time and can be detrimental to our mental health and experiencing things and being ' in the present ' can be compromised .

The last few times i walked (in hindsight ) I feel that I was spending a little too much time in the evening preparing my days walking 'impressions ' for my friends and families at home via facebook with many photos and status updates. I was tired and instead of resting completely i was uploading beautiful pics for people halfway around the world to see.
And I bet you were not interacting with others as much as a result, either.
It's an endless argument, and people will say, 'Well, a book or sketchbook does the same thing.' But it does not. These create a very different dynamic, because someone with a sketchbook or book (or even reading on a kindle) is quietly with themselves, but still there. Someone on FB or social media is actually absorbed with an interaction with other people, not there.

I take photos on the camino. Too many. But they're not for an exhibit curated every evening for people who are not there. They're for later, for myself and others when I'm not on the camino.
So when I'm in a common room of an albergue with people who are fixated on their devices, bodies there, but minds far away and no-one greeting anyone else, I can't help but feel sad.

It's fine to stay in touch with family by necessity but there is something lost of community and of presence here and now when we feel compelled to share the camino in 'real time' with everyone.

I admit. I am on my soapbox. And I fully expect to get shot down.
But good on you, Mark. That sketchbook is a fantastic idea! And it does not need recharging.;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
Yes.. A sketch book and journal is now my new (old ) thing :) . I hope that I can just keep a written journal of my thoughts , impressions and reflections (for myself mainly) .

Haha . Reminds me of life pre -internet -which (for me) was actually in many ways perhaps a better way of life .

Im finding , actually , that over the last few years that Ive been going back to a desire for a more pre-digital way of 'being ' .The Camino is part of that .I had a number of digital de-toxes over the last few years and this led me to having a 50 day digital break for Lent early this year (2018) . Then After going back on to social media (FB) for a week , I realised what a waste of time it was for me and then just after Easter I deleted Facebook completely .

This Camino forum has now become my only internet outlet -(other than computer needed for work ) and I really love this forum as I prepare for my next Camino it provides lots of information and a community of real fellowship of pilgrims .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18
I would just go back to collecting 1 and 2 euros to use in the blue phones on the bars to phone my family in Australia. Although not many phones left. Also take my camera which now never gets used. Saying that ,my son would not be happy if he couldn't find me on Find my Phone.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
I could not go if I could not be connected to home through my own data plan. There is someone at home who depends on me in very real ways that require substantial contact. We usually walk at least once a week together for 24k or more. If I can't be there for my person, they still need to have a way to connect to me for anxiety management, for reassurance if something goes sideways, for counsel on matters of life decisions from the mundane to the complex.

Please, please "generous" pilgrims, remember that not everyone has the luxury of abandoning family or other beloved people. Try not to be callous about our Skype or FaceTime chats home, or our check-ins on voice calls. Those people may rely on us to stay well and happy. To do things in some purist way that has a massive hate-on for communication fails to recognize that not to remain connected in some way would prevent us from having access to the 95% disconnect and immersive qualities of camino.

The earliest camino was only for those ordered to go, or who had pulled together the relative privilege somehow to leave behind family obligations. But those pilgrims could not leave for the long walk (there *and back*) without the blessing of the local priest who made sure that their finances and houses were "in order" before granting them the leave to seek the intercession of the Saint. Nobody is ever supposed to go on Camino without a care in the world for those left behind. I think that might even be a venal sin.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
When I first walked the Camino Frances there were no smartphones. I kept in touch with family using a phone card, used in public telephone booths (remember those?). Neither were there ATM machines. We had to pre-arrange to buy pesetas (remember those?) at our bank at home, or take travellers cheques and cash them at a bank in one of the bigger towns. There was internet, but accesible only by using one of the coin operated computers mentioned, or a public library or an internet shop. The worst for me was dealing with business or family matters - and they always seemed to crop up. So having to sign and return documents connected to a family will or my business needed me to stay in an expensive hotel with a fax machine.
It was all do-able, but a lot more complicated and certainly time consuming.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2013)Frances;(2015)Pilgrim Office;(2016)Portuguese Coastal;(Portuguese Central,Ingles,Sanabres
Simple, you need to keep your family informed. I don't think they want to hear from you to be sure you are safe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycling Lisbon to Santiago - Oct/Nov 2015
2019? - TBD, I have 2-3 weeks and don't really like crowds
While I work on high tech or maybe for that reason, I love the times I can be disconnected. Friends, family and significant other can't understand how I can leave home without my phone some days and walk around with a laptop and phone others. When work requires it, I have to be fully connected. When I'm away from work, it's the last thing I want. As I'll need to keep in touch to let others know I'm OK and for them to know the same about me, I'd do things the way I did before we could carry technology in our back pockets - I'd find a pay phone (do they still exist?) or find some other type of landline phone a contact home that way.

I've been on several trips in the past 5-10 years where I've been disconnected for close to a week at at time - trekking in Peru and Thailand and a few other times. While a bit weird at first, as there simple wasn't internet or phone service, the choice as be disconnected or not go. I've always choose to go!

We've become a society that is far to dependent on machine interaction and not nearly dependent enough on human interaction. I choose connecting to humans.

Enjoy and Buen Camino!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I think a lot of us would have difficulty stepping out of our lives for the duration of a Camino without some kind of contact.
Yes I would still walk - I would just have to be more organised before I went. Smartphones have made life and travel a lot easier and more convenient in most respects.
It would be quite a different Camino though, wouldn't it, no making reservations ahead except through landline, no calling a taxi from the middle of nowhere if you need it - Booking.com and the like wouldn't be an option.
If your Spanish isn't good, landline calls would be a challenge, and albergues overrun by requests to make phone bookings for non-Spanish-speaking pilgrims from their landline (could be a revenue earner for them).
No google maps to check location occasionally.
No keeping in contact with people at home via social media, text or email - snail mail and postcards on an irregular basis
No keeping in contact with other pilgrims ahead or behind you.
No changing your travel arrangements (buses, flights) as you walk, using their online booking systems. Having to physically book and pay for bus/train/plane travel
No online payments
No using Camino apps - paper maps and accommodation lists would be a necessity to carry

Would graffiti increase with people writing notes for pilgrims behind them instead of using their smartphones?
Would online cafes spring up again?
Would a lot fewer pilgrims walk? In that case booking ahead might not be necessary.

Of course this is how the Camino would have been before Smartphones. There will be people on this forum who have walked the Camino before Smartphones - what are their thoughts.
I have lived in both worlds too, but find online connectivity a bonus for traveling.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I choose connecting to humans.
That is an admirable choice, if you feel you must make a choice between two extremes. On one of my Caminos I was bluntly told by a pilgrim, who made a big deal of being disconnected, that I spent way too much time on my phone, I should be more spontaneous, and even that I did not have a happy enough expression on my face. Needless to say, I did not find that to be "connecting to humans" in any good way, and the expression on my face got even worse.

My point is that dogma often gets in the way of normal human common sense. (Not saying that is the case with you, @LisaAnn ! :D It's just that I'm a little sensitive to the anti-"connected" lobby because of that experience!o_O)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
One of my most "connected to humans" moments was when five proud grandmothers, from Spain and all corners of the globe, stood around and admired each other's photos of grand babies on our smartphones!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
My first camino, 2001 there were internet cafes. Subsequent camino I rented a cell phone. My most recent camino 2014, I was face-timing family back in USA.

I could walk about 4 to 5 days consecutively without internet or cell. But, my parents are too old for me to be offline for very long.
 
QUOTE:

“Of course this is how the Camino would have been before Smartphones. There will be people on this forum who have walked the Camino before Smartphones - what are their thoughts.”

When we walked in 2009, I carried a very basic Sony Ericsson mobile phone.
It had enough memory for “Dum Pater Familias” and a few other pieces of music, and took photographs that were better viewed in the size that they appeared on the phone :D

I was aware that some people were logging into Facebook, on computers in hotels, but the only time I used one was in SdC, to book a room in Pamploma, on the return journey by train.
I’ve never even set foot in an internet café ;)

I spoke with my husband, for a few minutes, most days ... it was cheaper for him to call my mobile, than for me to call him.

My iPhone is usually in Airplane mode :rolleyes: but I use an iPad (both presents from number one son) but I would never take my iPad on the Camino ... far too heavy!

Not sure how I’d manage with my iPhone ... it’s a 5, and I’m not really used to using its keypad ... too small :) It’s just for emergencies, really.
So, that’s probably what I‘d use it for on camino.
That, and Facetiming my beloved :) ... and our children.
Oh, and taking photographs!

PS Others’ attitudes to staying ‘connected’, whatever they are, are their concern ... I have no feelings/thoughts about it at all, either way :)
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
My first Camino was before smart phones. No texting. I did take an old phone for emergency but never used it. Coin operated computers...that took coins very efficiently but internet and email was dreadful.
 

GlobeTrekker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
Norte (July/August 2019)
My first Camino 2013. I didn't have my phone with me. I had a camera and coins for the occasional slow computer email system found in bars and some alburgue. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.

When I returned in 2016 with my iPhone (wish I had left it at home) Except for the Camera, I didn't see any coin computers anywhere. Did I just not see them because I didn't need them or are they gone now because everyone carries a phone?

When I return in 2019, God willing, I would love to go without my phone. Not sure if I can do it though. Only because doing the Norte I've heard it's wise to have downloaded maps and the like due to detours and such.

If I do have my phone I will definitely limit internet usage, is that even possible? I mean, if you have your phone with you can you really stay off the net? Hmmmm.

Peace be with you and God Bless.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
There will be people on this forum who have walked the Camino before Smartphones - what are their thoughts.
My first Camino was in 1990. Mobile phone service did not exist on the Camino. The internet was still largely an academic project rather than an everyday tool and certainly was not generally available or expected. Communication was by post or landline phone. The absence of 24/7 communication and constant access to digital information was not a problem or a cause of concern to those walking then - you tend not to miss something you have never had or even aspired to! Modern gadgetry like the smartphone I often use to post here would have been implausible "Star Trek" fiction. There was no expectation or possibility of being immediately contactable during your journey or of having ready access to a telephone. Booking ahead was not a significant issue - numbers walking were very small and could easily be accommodated with the existing basic infrastructure. I think that I met fewer than 30 other pilgrims between St Jean Pied de Port and Santiago even though I walked in July and August. On many days I walked without encountering a single pilgrim and spent my nights in a refugio alone. There may have been several other barriers to my direct interaction with other pilgrims but modern technology was certainly not one of them. As the internet for all practical purposes did not yet exist tasks such as making or altering travel arrangements were done through travel agencies either in person or by phone. No one missed using online services because they never had them in the first place :) I am sure that my children - both born in the 1990s - do not fully understand the huge differences which the internet has brought to simple everyday tasks. As someone who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s I am still astounded that almost every obscure and trivial question that crosses my mind can be answered in seconds with a few keystrokes rather than hours of travelling to and from libraries and leafing through books which may or may not have the nugget I am searching for. To be able to find, book and pay for a bus ticket for my wife from St Petersburg to Tallinn in under 5 minutes from my kitchen table in Wales is nothing short of miraculous. But it is the new normal and commonplace. For my children it is simply expected. For those like myself who remember the pre-internet age there may be some nostalgia and a longing for that simpler and in many ways slower and gentler experience. And those who have never known a time which was not dominated by information technologies might have a romantic desire to recreate something similar for themselves on their Camino. If so then I wish them well. But I think that it would be anachronistic to argue that an unplugged Camino is a more authentic or superior experience.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Yes, at the end of the day, technology or not, the physical aspects of the Camino amount to putting about one foot in front of the other every day for 800kms, carrying your gear on your back. The internet doesnt make that any easier.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
When I walked the Camino in 2001 no one that I met had a mobile telephone with them. No one. People were still buying phone cards and calling home from public pay phones. Some mailed postcards.
 

kalavati

One more time!
Camino(s) past & future
May (2014), Camino Frances, SJPdP 28 April. to Muxia
May (2016)- Again,better rain gear
Absolutely! I would and did walk without technology. I took the cell phone, (with my India sim) for emergency only, and gratefully never used it. I trusted an albergue would have a space, when I got there. A couple times I has to share a rental room, or walk farther, as many had obviously booked ahead.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
When I walk, I leave my wife and children and a 92-year old mother back stateside. If walking the Camino meant we would not be able to communicate in real time for five weeks, I wouldn’t do it. For me, technology is an enabler, not a barrier. On my first Camino, I learned that I was going to be a grandfather through a FaceTime call from my eldest daughter. That call was priceless.

I’ve always viewed technology as a tool, not a pastime. Bringing my iPhone won’t get in the way of me connecting with people.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
There was no expectation or possibility of being immediately contactable during your journey or of having ready access to a telephone. Booking ahead was not a significant issue -
Fair point. It caused me to reflect on the differences in my life from 1990 to know, and the place of technology in it. As an academic, I was an early adopter, and used it primarily to use the library from home at night when my infant was sleeping, then to manage my banking the same way. By the time of my first Camino, a publishing time-line changed over the course of the summer I had a contract to finish a book, and taking my iPad allowed me to do both things: get the book copy edits done, and walk SJPDP to Santiago.

In 1990, my mother was young, and my kidd-o not yet born. Nobody in my life would have expected or needed me to be in constant reach if not constant contact. I also did not know about the Camino and was, at 22, just making my first trip to Europe. I have been fortunate enough to spend months of sabbatical time living in Ireland and France, but took my family with me on those stays. I can't do that anymore.

Now I am 50, almost 51 (if/when I get to Spain this year), and because my beloveds can be derailed by health concerns but also want me to live my life, the ability to stay connected literally allows for all needs to be addressed. I won't be boarding my flight out unless I have all the ducks in a row to provide the support that normally falls to me. The work of putting all that in place is already in various stages. I worry far more about *that* than about what goes in my pack.

I know I'm not the only pilgrim with frail or elderly people who need us. I know there is someone on the forum who was called home for a son who w became ill and died, unexpectedly. Tech made it possible for that man to see his son before the son died.

I'm truly happy for all those pilgrims whose families are completely healthy and have no needs. But I wish that those people would stop asserting that what we are doing with our tech is being vapid and destroying the camino. If I could bring my beloved family with me, I would. But one would be thrown into chaos by the daily upheaval and lack of certainty; the other is simply too frail now. My iPad with a SIM card gives us access to each other. And I get the bonus of having the wise pilgrim guide and all its lovely GPS enabled maps, several books to read at night, and all my travel documents backed up on a half-pound miracle.

Why there is such a preponderance of uncharitable judgement is rather beyond me. It's counter intuitive to the pilgrimage project, I think.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
In an interesting series, a Danish radio producer walked and were filmed doing the temples of Shokoku 88 in Japan.
He deposits his phone in temple no1 and picks it up again after the entire route.
He finds 385 mails !!
I would love to have a service with Jaco Trans, sending my distractive phone all the way to SdC !!
A took a special pride myself in taking every step on the French.
Maybe I should rather do it entirely without a phone !
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
In an interesting series, a Danish radio producer walked and were filmed doing the temples of Shokoku 88 in Japan.
He deposits his phone in temple no1 and picks it up again after the entire route.
He finds 385 mails !!
I walked the Shikoku 88 temple circuit earlier this year. I speak almost no Japanese and met only Japanese people for the first 2/3 of my journey. Very few spoke English. I walked alone except for one afternoon and part of one morning when I met an Australian pilgrim and we shared a few hours walking together. For me my phone was very useful - providing me with information in English and translating signs when no English text was available. A very different situation from the comfortable familiarity of Spain. I did not regard my phone as a distraction while in Japan but as a tool which made my journey far more practical and enjoyable. I could of course have walked without it but can think of no convincing reason for doing so.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
But I think that it would be anachronistic to argue that an unplugged Camino is a more authentic or superior experience.
I totally agree. I was thinking in the lines lines of doing without, to see if you would reach other layers of experiencing the walk.
I still like to keep my use for a specific time to contact home every day, but find myself popping out the device if I have a map problem, say ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Le Puy- St Jean Pied a Port (September 2018 )

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
"I never felt lost because I had Google Maps with me, and could always find my way to where I wanted to go. "

But do remember, you can do the same thing without google maps- it's called "Asking people the way" It usually works.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
"I never felt lost because I had Google Maps with me, and could always find my way to where I wanted to go. "

But do remember, you can do the same thing without google maps- it's called "Asking people the way" usually works.
Sometimes though it doesn't. There were three of us, one on a bicycle, two walking - the plan was to meet up in the same village. The cyclist took what she thought was a shortcut alternative, got horribly lost, took advise from another cyclist and ended up 30 kms in the wrong direction, before eventually using Google maps and finding our village.
I was one of the walkers. We had no excuse for getting lost. The mistake we made was to blindly follow others, and we too got horribly lost, realised we were 9kms north of where we should be, asked a villager. We misunderstood his reply and continued to walk on in a different direction, equally wrong. 4 hours later we met a Camino angel. On a bike in flowing white clothes (we thought we were hallucinating). We were sunburnt, had run out of water, hadnt seen anyone for about 4 hours, had no idea where we were.
She spoke English and told us that if we continued on the same road we would end up in her village,miles away from where we needed to be. She gave us directions, topped up our water, and hours later her directions proved right and we found our village. Camino angels - I'm a believer.
We walked a really long time that day, and were absolutely shattered, we were too late for the meal at the albergue and too tired to go in search of food. We should have used Google Maps earlier.

It made for a very memorable day though - and taught us to look for our own arrows.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many
While I appreciate the camino-centric phrasing of the question, it might be more simply put:

"are you dependent on the internet for successfully completing day to day tasks which are not internet related"?

or

"are you dependent on the internet"?

or even

"are you dependent on anything"?

and then

"are you ok with that"?

Recognizing a dependence, or an obsession with distraction, is a hard thing to do. If anything the camino might help people to re-realize the benefit of communicating face to face. A slow weening rather than cold turkey.

Use technology to communicate ONLY when it means the quality of communication is improved. I prefer to talk over text. But I prefer to text things which need to be recalled at a later time... like a grocery list. I would rather whats-app my location than try to describe it. I would rather write a card than receive an email.

A bit of balance and self-awareness go a long way.
 

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