Why do we walk the Camino de Santiago?

Why do we walk the Camino de Santiago?

The question was:

First an unexpected leave from my job, then some money arrived that I had not expected, and the next thing I knew I was booking airfares to Paris and train tickets to St. Jean. I was wondering how others initially found and walked the Camino. My personal point of view is that there are no accidental pilgrims, but that’s just me. How about you?

Read this interesting conversation on why we walk the Camino de Santiago here.

47 Replies to “Why do we walk the Camino de Santiago?”

  1. Very similar to you, I was in the right place at the right time and had the cash. It has so much going for it; Beautiful countryside, historical significance, it’s a relatively inexpensive, it’s a rare opportunity to be totally free from the distractions of our busy lives, and the list goes on. But, mainly, my reason is the satisfaction of completeing such a mammoth journey on my own two feet. That will be priceless.

  2. I have not walked the Camino de Santiago, but I will be shortly. I think I have experienced burn out with my job, and have a feeling of disillusionment and a deep desire to run away from this situation. I cannot understate the importance of this walk to me now. I hope I may find something in the journey.

    1. Wait until the feeling comes upon you on one of the paths. My wife and I walk it in Sept.-Oct. 2011 took us 44 days. I am 62 years old and have never felt more alive and free at any other time in my life. What an experience and journey of a lifetime

      1. I am really looking forward to it and I will try to keep my mind open to what feelings may come upon me on my path. I am reasonably young but I love the idea of taking 44 days… I will pass your message onto my father he is the same age and wondering whether he could do it!

        1. I took 90, but we walked from Seville, then a contrari to Fatima, which is a bit longer than standard. I found a lot on my journey, and hope you have as awesome an experience as I had. I hope to do it again someday.

    2. Hey David,
      Ditto here … I will begin mine in August …. First trip too … hoping to find some answers too .. being in the job too long …

      1. You’re both going to have an amazing time. If you are at all spiritual, keep a heart open to God, and look to find beauty in moments.
        I did mine a little over a year ago and it was more than I had hoped.
        Buen Camino my brother and sister!

  3. My life took a turn when my son passed away 2 years ago.  From that day I knew I was going to walk the Camino- in his honour.  I have resigned from my teaching job, and I am walking the Camino Primitivo with dear friend in July this year.  This will be a life changing time for me and I am so positive about it.  

    1. @ivhdoek I will be walking in the beginning of July as well like the 8th or 9th. I hope we can meet up along the way. My name is Suzanne and I wish you well on your walk. Personally, I was drawn to the Way after hearing about it more than two years ago and the ‘feeling’ that I have to do this has not left me. I just finished buying my airline tickets a half hour ago, so now it is all becoming real…………….scared and excited all in one.

    1. hope it happened. I searched my soul, and it was a wonderful place to search it

  4. This is my first time posting. My writing skills are HORRIBLE so please forgive my grammar and vocabulary. I arrived from my first CAMINO on July 12th. And it still has not left me. I cant describe it, I cant explain it. All I can say is that I cant wait to go back and do it again. I have visited this site EVERYDAY since my return to read EVERYONES posts and comments. For some reason this site takes me back to the CAMINO. So I just wanted to stop by and say THANKS to ALL OF YOU ON THIS SITE. YOU and this website have made and continue to make me feel like I am still walking the CAMINO. Who knows, maybe in a later date I might build the courage to talk about WHY I DID MY CAMINO. Again thank you all.

    1. this road it contagious… and it means you will come back there… Buen camino !

  5. My life was turned upside down, losing a job, significant other and home all in one fell swoop. Some of that was by choice but I feel like my life was erased and I need to start another. What better way to start than by walking the Camino? I am hoping to find clarity, peace and a sense of place…or just a nice walk. I start October 23rd. Less than two months. I am so excited.

  6. Because I got drunk while watching The Way and before I knew it I’d told everyone I was going to do it. It has changed me though…agree with other posters that this i want to go back….but it could never be as good again. It is the people who make the way what it is. Good people

  7. Hi Mary, I’m planning on hiking the way in November. Have you done any planning in regards to the weather. I’ve not found good info on the temps and chance of rain.

  8. My moment was walking with a friend at 2am to watch the Northern Lights at -40. We ducked into a shelter to warm up, and got on the topic of places we could be instead. By the next morning, we’d booked plane tickets, and talked a good friend into walking with us. It was the most spontaneous decision I’ve ever made, and the one I’m the most proud of.

  9. First I thought it will be a sport challenge…on the way I found the spiritual side of the way…and now I cannot explain why but the second camino is already planned. 🙂

  10. About 2013 I was vacation planningI when I stumbled across you web site & as I read I felt commitment to take the challege solidify in my very being – I was not able to participate due to chemo and the time it took to rebuild myself physically but the commitment never left – I knew I was going – I am 64 I ahve my plane tickets for mid May & have made some reservations – It is now I shall walk the Camino de Santiago!!! I am excited to be alive to be able to participate in such a glorious experience – Hope to see some of you along my path <3 Marilou

    1. Hi Marilou, my name is Mick. I saw your posting and was moved by your story. I am in the process of
      making a documentary film about people starting their lives again by
      walking the Camino. I would love to talk with you about your plans to
      walk “The Way”. If you are interested, please contact me. Thank you and
      best wishes, Michael.

  11. I always used to say “we are the pilgrims master we always go further. Then a few years ago on a training in France I walked a small part of the camino and the trainer explained what the camino was. Last year my dauchter started to talk about the camino. Then I was hit by the song of the Proclaimers (500miles) and the movie “The Way” finally did the job. Add it all up and you see that I must go. Stuck in my brain 😉

  12. i walk the Camino because it’s a sense of freedom. i enjoy the open space and the serenity..and much more that cannot be explained.

  13. This probably sound crazy but I want to do this for long
    time I heard about El Camino for years, for some reason we group op and work,
    family, bills and many other things in life get in mi way and I forget about El
    Camino, after mi oldest son past away in 2007 I’m tried to fiend the way to get
    back on track whit mi life, I ended loosing mi job twice we probably loose the
    house, I don’t know how I am to do El Camino or went but I felt that this is probably
    a good way to clear mi mind an spend some time by mi self, nature and of course
    whit my son probably let him go this way, I don’t know.

    1. Hi Ricardo, my name is Mick. I saw your posting and your story and reasons for doing the Camino are fascinating. I am in the process of making a documentary film about people starting their lives again by walking the Camino. I would love to talk with you about your plans to walk “The Way”. If you are interested, please contact me. Thank you and best wishes, Michael.

      1. Hi Michael
        You can contact me about walking the camino. My story is long and deeply personal. I will be walking the camino this next week. Hoping for a way to finally disconnect from a part of my past and move on for a more positive future.

        1. Hi Annie,

          Thank you very much for your reply, it’s kind of you to write. At this point I have chosen someone – my father – to follow on the Camino for the purpose of making the documentary. If all goes to plan I will be walking with and filming him starting late next week. I know a part of his personal goal is to meet people and to share his story with them, and perhaps we will connect with you on the way.

          The film I am making is part of a documentary television series in which we explore people’s beliefs. The camino segment will go in the “Rites of Passage” episode and I’m interested in filming with people who are walking “The Way” as a way to transition from one phase of life into the next. In my father’s case he’s drawing towards the end of a long career as a war zone doctor and aid worker and is about to become a grandfather. It’s a difficult phase for him and one he hopes will be clarified by walking the Camino.

          Although my father’s story will be the focus of the film I am very interested in hearing more about your story. It sounds like your motivations fit the bill and could complement the episode very well. If you’re willing to share a bit about yourself and your reasons for the journey by email I would be most grateful.

          Thanks for your consideration.

          Kind regards,

  14. I walked the Camino in Fall of 2012…230 miles. I had seen my 70th birthday come and go and felt myself becoming an old woman..losing confidence, not wanting to get out of my comfort zone. Doing a long walk had always been my dream. I knew if I didn’t do it now, I never would and I would forever regret it. Up until then I had not been East of Colorado or on a plane for more than 4 hours. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m now planning my second Camino for May 2014 and this time I’ll do the entire route and celebrate my 72nd birthday while walking. Why am I doing it again other than I feel like I’ve left something unfinished? Can’t explain the pull of the Camino. I just know it’s a part of me and always will be.

    1. Hi Patty, what an achievement! I hope to see you on the route in May 2014 😉

    2. Patty, I plan to be walking my first Camino in May, 2014. Perhaps we’ll run into each other

  15. I’m planing my way in summer 2013. I’ll walk because I’m searching for meaning of my life. I need to find myself, my tao through life and courage to live on. I’m coward lost in my own little world I created for myself as a result of running away from my solitude and loss. It is time to start fighting for my life.
    PS: I dont like The Way movie, but I love the music. 🙂

  16. I ” suddenly ” had the time – left the workforce at 70 and had all “– the time in the world ” . being at good health – why not walk from Copenhagen to Rome !!!

    Well surfing the net for info I soon realised just the stay would cost a fortune.

    but then the camino – pop up – that was another ballgame !! – and cheap accommodation-food, and others have of`course ad to the success of the Camino

    now at 74 I am setting of for the portugal route

    The ultimate camino must be from the – most grand – cathedral – Nidaros in Norway to Santiago de Copostalla – but when average stay in norvay – denmark and north germany is round 50 euros and the food matching even our goldcard or my black card will be streched to much.
    have , you dear reader walked it, share you experience.
    bon camino

  17. Over hundreds of years many thousands of pilgrims have walked the Camino looking for answers. I’m not sure what the questions are yet, but I want to own the pilgrim experience to feel and see and touch what so many others have.

  18. Done it last summer, it is and will be one the best memories of my life. I felt alive, one with the world and with the pilgrims in pain and in faith. Ultreïa, God bless you all.

  19. My brother mentioned that he wants to cycle the camino frances next year. So I googled it and after seeing some fantastic pictures I decided I don’t want to miss out. So May and first week in June 2014 is marked for my first camino – SJPP to Santiago and if I have bit of spare time then Santiago – Muxia – Finsterra (and bus back to Santiago). I know it might sound totally crazy as I haven’t walked it yet, but already in the back of my mind I am starting to think that year, maybe two after that I would want to do the camino del norte and actually start in Bayonne…

    But I guess better to have too many plans than none 😉

  20. Because there may come a time later on when you can’t even if you want to.

  21. Sorry for my english. I did the Camino Primitivo because I have the study of asturian and galician languages as a hobby. I had a very good time speaking with local people and noticing their language diferences. But the most important thing I eventually got from this wonderfull camino was the sense of freedom and espirituality.

  22. Since our first Camino we have been conducting seminars about our experience, but, mostly preparations and what to take along depending on the age and physical abilities of our interested audience. The question is always posed “What or Why did YOU do this”. And my only answer so far is, the Camino is life, and how the Camino has defined me personally is the Why. I cannot imagine doing the Camino again, out of concern the next time would dilute the excitement and wonder of those days after days of living in the moment, and defining each and every step and that feeling the first few times total strangers or shop keepers biding us a “Buen Camino”.

  23. For the last year and a half I’ve been obsessed with walking the Camino. I couldn’t get it out of my head. My schedule had some changes in September, so I bought my ticket with 10 days to prepare. I didn’t know why…and I asked myself, God, the universe why I was so drawn to this experience. A few days in, it was clear. The Way provides. There is clarity without all the noise in our daily life. Everything you need is on your back, you don’t know where you are sleeping, where your next meal is, if you will be injured. Yet, I felt more at peace, complete and fulfilled. I have 3 or 4 examples of almost mystical events that demonstrated how The Way provided for me. So, Why? For me to learn to trust. The Way is a metaphor for life and I will always be taken care of and okay.

  24. I would do it to feel a rebirth, I imagine it is just “in your face PRESENCE,” discovery, pain, sorrow, loneliness, shedding, getting to the core, becoming one with the universe, stars, sacrifice, running away to find oneself, running away to stand still, running away to breathe, engaging all senses, questioning, accomplishment, humility, walking with God, cleansing, silently screaming, internal struggle, SURRENDER


  25. In 2015 my life was turned upside down. A very emotionel experience and kind of traumatic time for me. Coming up like some help I saw Martin Sheen in THE WAY, and I asked my self if that was my way to get on my feet again.
    The problem was that I never walk some 800 k’s – like ever.
    anyways – in sep ’15 I put my self on a flight to Sant Jean piet de Port and walk on towarts Santiago.

  26. When I got there and start walking I kind of changes along the way. And my hope was – and still is – to be a better person og at least a better copy of my self.

    Alle the lovely people I met during my pilgrimage helps me to be just that – one day.

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