Is it difficult to make friends if you walk the Camino alone?

Woman walking alone

The question was:

I will be walking some portion of the Camino Frances in the early autumn 2013. I will only have about 3 weeks vacation. Nowhere near enough time to walk the whole way from SJPP. So I will probably start somewhere west of Leon. I will be a slow walker and don’t intend to push myself beyond what I think I can reasonably do each day.

I was just reading on another thread that it is sometimes hard for someone walking alone to make friends along the way. Particularly if they did not start in SJPP. How true is this?

Read all the good advice on walking the Camino de Santiago alone here.

25 Replies to “Is it difficult to make friends if you walk the Camino alone?”

  1. Last year a group of us walked from Triacastela to Santiago, which was great because you get to reach the Cathedral. It was 6 walking days. Next month we intend to walk from Burgos to Sahagún which is 5 and a half walking days I think.

    1. HELLo – I am going in August and am not sure where to start from. I fly into Madrid. How would i get to Triacastela from Madrid?

      Ash

  2. Where ever u are walking from along the camino u,ll meet people! U will not be alone! 🙂

  3. you’re never alone on the camino (unless you really want to be) – it’s wonderful.  I found people who walked with me – giving companionable silence when I wanted, or conversation as required.  I went last year solo – and am going again next week – again on my own – but never alone.

  4. I biked the camino solo (well not by the end I had a biking buddy) and even then I met walkers along the way to chat to. You’ll find plenty of friends along the way.

  5. If you like it, you never walk allone at the Camino! be shurly

  6. Common denomitarors apply to pairing up with fellow pilgrims:

    1) You must share the same pace of walking

    2) You will have to transcend any language barriers

    3) You will have to decide if you like the person or not

    Have no worries you will meet many new friends along the way………

  7. I’m planning to do the same thing, at the same time, for the same reason.  We are already friends.  See you there!
    Mike Shaw

  8. I can guarantee that you will make at least 15 friends. 5 of which you will become Facebook friends afterwards.

  9. I walked alone from Porto and everyday I met someone to talk to 🙂 Not always it was a pilgrim – especially in Portugal I did not meet them, but lokals… In Spain it was much easier…especially because of their great albelrgues full of pilgrims :))
    But I still remember my 2 hours walking and talking with a Spanish old man who showed me a vineyards around, introduced me to some other lokals and none of them did mind that I do not speak spanish :))
    So it is possible to talk even without common langueage, but the best think you can do is to learn at least “hello, thank you, please, how are you, what is your name and I am hungry” in as many languages as possible 🙂

  10. I just finished walking the Camino by myself and I loved it. I was able to meet so many people this way. I don’t recommend walking after dark…getting into an Alburgue before 3pm is the best. That way there are always people ahead and behind you walking even if you are walking alone you know people will catch up to you. Walking alone, in silence really helped me to center my heart…… There is always someone to walk with if you choose.

  11. I just walked alone……(but not alone as so many have said) from St Jean Pied de Port to the end, averaging 25 kms per day quite easily once the routine was established. I told friends before I went that it was the chance of a lifetime but I was wrong. Met dozens of people of all ages who were doing it, or part of it for the umpteenth time. Doesn’t matter where you start. You’ll walk in company or alone as you choose every day. I felt sorry for those whom I perceived got too “buddied up” and were then sort of morally obligated to be with their buddy full time. The real joy of it is the spontaneous acquaintances / friendships you can make any day…..or night at dinner in the albergues or local restaurants.

  12. I started alone and found friends for the rest of my life, nowhere its easyer to find someone

  13. I am so glad I went by myself. I was alone a few days and then days I would walk with strangers who became friends I still keep in contact with.
    I started in Astorga.

  14. This year I have walked Camino Frances from SJPDPto Santiago. I left SJPDP on JUne 29th, coming to Santiago on July 30th, on the eve of 60th birthday. I walked alone and it was faboulos. In any case, everybody is walking by himself with their own pace.There is nothing to be worried about, because on Camino you’re really never alone. Stay overnight in albergos, there you will definitely not be alone :), talk to other peregrinos, join for menu peregrino… Camino Frances is very populated, you can not get lost, there is always somebody who can give you a hand if needed. Not only peregrinos also Spanish people are very friendy.

  15. When walking the camino we find ourselves with time and reflection upon our minds. A great cocktail to have amazing conversations and make new friends. Being alone during the walking is important part of the path but in the evenings the community of the camino is like a transient city. You can find someone once then not see them again for a week. Others will be with you each step of the way. Its the perfect mix of solitude and community! Go Go Go Go – best experience of my life!!!

  16. I walked the last 250 miles alone as my friend was faster and needed to get her flight, but I always managed to make new friends daily. Don’t expect them to slow to your pace and don’t try to keep up with them. You will probably meet them in the evening or make new ones. I always felt safe even on the solitary tracks. I always kept a tin of tuna and say a tomato plus fruit and water in case I got tired and had to rest in an isolated place. Have fun.

  17. I have done 2 stretches – and in that time have met the most wonderful people I’ve had the privilege to know – never lonely – sometimes alone (but that was through choice). After a few days you begin to recognise the same faces – You tend to end up walking with a group of folks who have about the same pace as you – and these are always grand folks. Enjoy

  18. Perspective is something everyone wants to achieve in live. Slowing down and gaining new perspective is the increidble journey of the camino. It is like a traveling community connected by common intentions. You are not alone and making friends is fabulously fun and easy.

  19. My first Camino was on the coast by bike. It was almost impossible to find a friend, because when we left in the morning, they walked 20-30 km a day, I did 50 – 100.

    On my second, the Portuguese, I found friends, walked with them for a while, lost them, found them again or new ones. This was a very good feeling.

    On the Via de la Plata I slept in an albergue at Guillena the first night after Sevilla. I met two pilgrims in the evening, at breakfast again, and we walked together the whole way to SdC.

    On the Primitivo the same three walked again plus a fourth they knew from the Frances, they had done together.

    So, you can never tell. If you walk the Frances the chance to meet people is very high, on the Via you sometimes don´t meet another pilgrim for one or two days. And it depends on you. if you are open minded and talk to people “you`ll never walk alone”. If you do not want to be disturbed in your thoughts you can walk alone if you want to. Don´t think about it. Let it happen.

  20. No never! I met lots of people and made friends for life. Two of those I met after leaving SJPP and another very special person after Burgos. She is now my wife and we have been married six years and have two children.

  21. I am walking “alone” this Fall (2013) – I hope to meet many great new friends and to walk alone and together. What an adventure we have set before us!

  22. Hello Ivar – my name is Marie I’m 58 years of age and walked the camino from Leon to Santiago alone in April into May of this year. I can honestly say I never ever felt alone on the camino although I did walk by myself through choice most days. There were always other peregrino’s to chat to. The important thing for me was to introduce myself and ask if they would mind if I walked with them for part of the way. You will know immediately if the person does not want to engage with you but I will be very surprised if you don’t receive a warm welcome from fellow travellers as I invariably did. I felt part of a continual roaming community over my 16 days walking sometimes meeting the same people several times but also only seeing some people once. You are never alone on the camino hope your journey is as amazing as mine was Buen Camino xmx

  23. A fantastic experience walked from SJPP to Burgos from August the 19th till 1st September on my own. met many great people especially the Aussies. Enjoy!!

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