Don’t be put off!

“Well I’m never doing a Camino after reading your blog!”

“I don’t want to go any more. You were far too real on your blog.”img_8257

These two  comments have been haunting me since they were uttered soon after we got back! Did I really make it seem *that* bad? I didn’t mean to. Truly! And actually we mostly had a great time. And even the hard bits we’d do again.

Would I change anything? Yes, I’d take a fleece vest to wear when walking. If we’d been a little bit warmer in those long days in the rain we would have been much more comfortable. Wet is one thing. Wet and cold possibly coloured my writing (I’ll have to go back and have a look at what I said!)img_7030

I still wouldn’t take a bus – but you could! If that would be the difference between you trying a Camino and staying home, then you could take a bus – or a lot of busses for that matter.

I still wouldn’t opt out of the snoring dormitories. Even though I am quite the introvert, I do enjoy the evening shenanigans with fellow pilgrims. If I were to walk without kids in my care I might invest in ear plugs, but with kids I rest better if I know I’m aware of what’s going on with them (especially after a guy came into the big open room that was called the ladies’ shower – no cubicles, no curtains – not once, which would be accidental although the way he had to struggle with the locked door might have suggested something to him, but twice in about three minutes……but hang on, I’m meant to be allaying your fears, not adding to them!)img_8736


“You’re brave,” people have told me. I’m not. Especially when standing starkers in a shower! I do, however, know how to employ a loud voice. And the Camino is not a scary place.  In fact, people look after each other. I got a text about eight one evening asking if a particular Korean girl was staying with us. She had said she was going on to the next town and typically would have arrived long before. When she didn’t turn up people started talking and tracking her known movements. Before our conversations were complete she staggered in, having taken a long break in some shade mid-afternoon because it was too hot to walk….so you see, people look out for each other.

You’re brave to travel with all those kids. Firstly, remember four is not the daunting number to me that it might be to someone who is not used to caring for eight! Secondly, those kids are not babies. They look after all their own gear (or lose it, as the case may be, but it’s not my responsibility – except for money and passports). They do all their own washing. They cook dinner most nights while I do the work of blogging! No bravery required.img_8666

That said, I have spoken with someone who doesn’t like to travel and who finds it very stressful. Perhaps it is important to acknowledge we are all wired differently. I thrive on the challenges that come with travel, I enjoy the new sights and smells and sounds, I love new food and am stimulated by trying to communicate in a foreign tongue. These things are positives for me – they may not be for someone else, and for some people, to walk a Camino would require bravery. But if you *wanted* to (and not everyone will, of course), could I give you the confidence that you CAN do it?

If it’s the snakes that are bothering you, remember the only live ones we saw slithered *away* from us. All the photographed ones were dead.img_8229

The cows are quite docile if you don’t take an octogenarian grandfather who insists on chasing them!img_7796

The bedbugs. Fair enough, they’re a pain. But you could spray your silk sleeping bag liner with permethrin (we didn’t) or be That Annoying Pilgrim with a can of bug spray (sometimes we were).img_7845




4 thoughts on “Don’t be put off!

  1. I read your blog every day, and what struck me most of all was the long distances walked each day. It seemed that on the Via de la Plata you had no option, because the distances between accommodation were large. I don’t want to do that route because of this factor. 18 Kms per day is my limit! I also like more choice of accommodation, and always try to get a private room if I can. (I walk on my own and am not on such a tight budget.) In fact, I am a relatively well-heeled pilgrim, you might say! However, I still feel a sense of achievement in walking as far each day as I reasonably can, aged 71. Often it is not easy, and this year I found the Le Puy Chemin particularly hard. But I am proud that I did it, and hope to doanothersection next year. So, for those people who said they could never do it, there are easier alternatives if they want them!

    • Absolutely agree! The Camino Frances has much more frequent accommodation. Some of our distances were by choice (we are comfortable around the 30km mark), but sometimes there was nothing sooner. Good to research these things before choosing a route!

  2. The octogenarian grandpa claims the right of reply! I did not chase any cows. I simply kept walking when they were around. I don’t think age is a factor in deciding whether or not to walk. The obvious factors are fitness and physical strength. An 80 year old cannot expect to perform like a youngster of 50 so the wall has to factor in your ability. But if you like new experiences and walking and you have the right gear-go fot it !

  3. Ahh don’t let these young ones put you off. They are absolutely amazing but they have grown up doing things like the Camino. Keep in mind that as Rachel says the Camino Frances is far easier. I’m retired and I did it last year and if I can do it anyone can. Just be warned…it calls you back!

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