Camino de Santiago

The Camino’s Not for Everyone…And That’s Okay

February 19, 2015
arrows on garbage cans in industrial area

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ― Abraham Lincoln


Not too long ago, I read the following post in a Camino Facebook group:

Home at last from Camino Frances. Never again, hated it from the 5am bed-runners in the albergues disturbing a good night’s sleep, to the human excrement lined trail, to the stress of wondering if a bed would be available for the night. Home sweet home.

Responses to the post, as always, ran the gamut. There were those who appreciated her honesty, some who agreed with her opinions, others who said they hoped that with time she would have more positive feelings about it, a couple who were rather belittling of her feelings, and still others who responded with a simple, “It’s not for everyone.”

And that is exactly how I feel about it. It’s not for everyone.

Here is my response:

For me this is a reminder that not every experience is for every person and that’s okay. I love that this person shared her truth because it may help someone who is considering going on the Camino to dig deeper into whether or not it is an experience they truly wish to have.

While researching the Camino in an effort to decide whether or not it was really something I would like to do, I ran across Francis Tapon’s article, “Ten Reasons Why the El Camino Santiago Sucks“. I was fascinated by the strong emotional reactions his article elicited; many people became quite angry with him for the opinions he expressed.

Quite frankly, I was glad to read a negative opinion about the Camino because I felt that as a result of having done so, my decision about whether or not to go would be more reality-based than it would have been otherwise. This is especially true because so many people, myself included, focus on what is wonderful about the Camino when writing about it online. Another great site in this regard is “The Camino’s Ugly Side” blog post by Ott’s World.

The bottom line for me is that I was called to do the Camino despite the potential negative aspects, and am so glad I was. The Camino may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for me.

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I also wrote:

For what it’s worth, I had no problems with bed bugs (perhaps because I used a permethrin-treated Tyvek sheet?), saw no excessive drinking (I don’t drink alcohol at all so it was a big concern for me), never saw feces on the road, and the struggles all brought me something I needed to learn and never took away the magic.

As an introvert, I was also worried about the sheer numbers but aside from a few times, mostly after Sarria, it wasn’t the issue I thought it would be. And I was one of the 5AM early risers…tried to keep it quiet and pack outside the dorm rooms…

Anyway, I’m glad you (and everyone else) has a more complete picture.

Some photos of the more industrial parts from my 2014 Camino Francés

And of course, there were beautiful landscapes and picturesque towns as well.

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  • Jen Hofmann February 19, 2015 at 22:28

    I love this. I love how open you are to everyone’s truths rather than being threatened by them. As always, your writing inspires me and makes me think.

    • Sometimes She Travels February 19, 2015 at 22:37

      Thanks Jen. I consider that a huge compliment as I greatly admire your writing and your authenticity.

  • Ignacio Sainz-Ezquerra Pellon February 20, 2015 at 02:20

    Cada uno debe de hacer su camino.
    Yo lo que veo es que cada persona hace un camino diferente.
    Y desde esta perspectiva de pensamiento todos pueden hacer el camino que ellos quieran.
    Para mi lo importante no es llegar a Santiago. Yo lo que valoro es estar en el Camino.
    Disfrutar de sus paisajes, sus monumentos, su cultura, de las gentes de esos pueblos, oler el aire limpio y fresco de la mañana, ver las puestas de sol.
    Contaré dos formas de hacer el Camino extremas.
    Este año entre Hospital de Orbigo y Astorga vi una tienda de campaña apartada del camino y como camuflada entre la vegetación. Tenía bastante curiosidad por saber que gente iba haciendo el Camino de esa forma. Poco más tarde lo vi. Una pareja con un perro. Y lo comprendí. El perro no puede entrar en los albergues, ni en hoteles. El extremo opuesto me lo contarón en un hotel, en Astorga. Otros peregrinos, no se si mayores de edad, pero si más pudientes económicamente. Hacian el camino sin equipaje, este era transportado en taxi hasta su hotel, a lo largo del día. Por la noche cuando llegaban a su hotel se duchaban y se ponian el traje de noche y salian a cenar.

  • Lili Ram February 21, 2015 at 08:27

    I like what you said about the Camino “calling” you. I am not sure I can do it, but I do want to. At least the last 100 from Sarria. I plan to go this end April, to start May. Wish me luck!

    • Sometimes She Travels February 21, 2015 at 13:47

      Thanks Lili! I’ll wish you better than luck…I’ll wish you a buen camino! Let me know how it goes!

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