We’ve all been told that in life it is the journey, not the destination, that counts. This is never truer than when you are on a pilgrimage like The Camino de Santiago. The route you take and how long you spend on The Camino is an individual choice, but the experiences of Pilgrims are often shared. Here are a few of the shared experiences that really make The Camino de Santiago a road worth travelling
Time to Think
No-one is immune to the stresses of daily life. There are always so many things to think about and to plan. But on the Camino de Santiago, no matter where you start or finish, each day has the same goal: make it to the next stop. You have time to really be present, to focus on nothing but a few steps ahead. Or you can take the opportunity to ponder, uninterrupted, all the things that are normally pushed to the back of your mind. Time on the Camino is your time, whether you travel in a group or on your own, you’ll still have plenty of it.
The Camino Family
The Camino de Santiago is not a journey you take alone, even if you start off that way. You share the journey with the hundreds of other pilgrims and locals that make the Camino de Santiago what it is. You will meet many other like-minded Pilgrims, going through many of the same things as you are. They will be like your family on the road, everyone there for each other as you each of you make your own journey, together.
Your Camino Your Way
The thought of trying and failing at The Camino may put some travellers off even attempting it. But the route you take is up to you. There are parts of The Camino that cover less challenging terrain, require shorter walking days and are easier on the feet. Making it suitable for almost any fitness levels.
Like any great adventure though, you shouldn’t go in unprepared. Test yourself on walking tracks close to home; see how far you can walk before stopping, wear in your walking shoes, see what terrains are challenging and which you prefer. A little training goes a long way on The Camino, so make those test-runs near home a regular thing in the months before you go.
Once you feel comfortable that you know what you are capable of, start researching the different routes on The Camino de Santiago and find the perfect one for you.
Sense of Accomplishment
Whether you go for a few days, weeks or months finishing a part of The Camino de Santiago is an accomplishment you can be proud of. Thousands of people travel to The Camino every year and each journey is unique, however far you go, whatever your experience along the way it was your journey. You did it. Well done!
The best way to learn what something is capable of is to put it to the test. On The Camino de Santiago you will test your packing skills, your endurance, your friendships, your friend making skills, your moods, your walking shoes and so much more. With every test, you’ll undoubtedly learn something about yourself and what you’re capable of achieving.
Memories to Share
Chances are that if you know anyone who has travelled on The Camino de Santiago, you’ve heard a bit about their journey. Whether they’ve had a profound realisation, a unique experience along the road, maybe they met someone incredible or tried some delicious food – no-one leaves without a tale or two to tell.
Don’t forget the Food
Spain and France are two of the countries along the way that are famous for their cuisine. As you pass through the different regions along the path, you will get a taste of the different food they have to offer. And as anyone who has already been on The Camino will tell you, after a long days walk whatever you’re eating is going to taste great!
Did you think we missed anything? Share your thoughts and some of your own experiences on The Camino de Santiago in the comment section below. In the meantime, check out our Camino de Santiago walking and biking tours.