Thank you for stopping by The Camino Experience!
Nancy here, guide and long-time pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
If you have decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, you have chosen to take on something really, really big. Walking the Camino takes courage. It is hard and challenging and life-changing. And many days it is beautiful beyond measure.
I would love to be a part of your Camino experience.
See, I have been in your shoes (or boots). I walked the Camino for the first time in 2005, and I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Sure, I had traveled a lot, and I had even lived out of a backpack for six months on a round-the-world trip. But carry my backpack every day, for four to six hours a day, for a month? Oh no.
I had done some hiking, sure. It’s just walking, right? But walk 500 miles (800 kilometers) across a country? Walk 10+ miles (16+ kms) every day for a month or more? Uh, no.
I had stayed in hostels before, in shared dorm rooms, and I had done it on a super tight budget. But sleep in a dorm room with 109 other people, both men and women, sharing crowded space with sweaty people, wet laundry, and champion snorers? Oh hell no.
The only thing I had going for me, really, on my first Camino walk, was that I didn’t have tons and tons of information to sort through to try to figure out how to do this thing. Back in 2005 there wasn’t much information available, so I had to just go and work it out as I went.
Which I did, and I survived. But I made a lot of unnecessary mistakes. For example…
- My backpack was way too heavy.
- I had the wrong clothes, the wrong shoes, and my rain gear didn’t work at all.
- I had no idea where to find food, so my first day on the trail was a hungry one.
- I had one trekking pole instead of two, which made my knees sore and had me off balance.
- I hadn’t trained at all, so after two days on the trail I got sick – and needed a trip to the doctor and two rest days to get back up to speed.
- I was even carrying my full-sized pillow from home in my backpack.
And those are just a few of my mistakes. There were many, many more!
This is what my first day of my first Camino looked like, back in September, 2005:
Not to worry, though, because I was back two years later to walk the Camino again, and I had corrected my most serious errors. But then I found some more. Every time I have walked the Camino (every year for six years, usually twice a year), and every time I have led a group (13 of them), I have made – and corrected – more mistakes.
I would love to share what I’ve learned with you.
But that’s only part of why I’m here.
There are two more really important reasons why I am doing what I do.
The first is that I love to encourage and empower people to walk the Camino de Santiago their way. Sure, you could pick up a guidebook and go, following the plan that everyone else is following. You could go online and find out how everyone else has done it and just replicate that.
But you are unique. You are living your very own unique and special life, so why not make your Camino truly yours? It won’t take much, just a few thoughtful questions to be sure you know why you are walking, what your needs are, and what kind of experience you are after.
The other reason I am here is because I love to witness people’s journeys. Each person is on his or her own personal journey on the Camino, and it is so beautiful to see how each path unfolds. One trail, many ways.
So that’s me.
Now let’s talk about you and your Camino experience.
If you would like to learn about the Camino de Santiago, you can have a look at the section called ‘About the Camino.’ This section answers a bunch of the first round of questions a future pilgrim might have. Such as:
- What is the Camino?
- How does it work?
- Why do people walk the Camino?
- What is the terrain like?
If you already know a lot about the Camino, you may want to jump ahead to the free program called Where to Start YOUR Camino. The program is a bit like a tutorial – one that walks you through the first steps of designing your Camino experience. Your pilgrimage, your Way.
Again, thank you for stopping by the Camino Experience. It is my pleasure to share in your Camino journey!