The Post Camino Blues are real for many people. So it makes sense to be ready for it……
I had read a lot about Pilgrims arriving in Santiago and going through a sense of loss. A ‘let down’ that their journey was over.
As you will have read in my Blog I was ready for that, but didn’t experience it. Largely because Santiago was never my real destination. It was the point at which I would go home, sure. But the journey itself was always my destination.
But many certainly wander about Santiago with a sense of sadness and loss, mixed of course with their joy of having completed their journey.
But what when you get home from your Camino?
I talked a little about the transition stage on the Blog here: 19th of June – Post Camino Progress
But it’s now 3 months down the track. I recently made contact with some of the Pilgrims I met along the way and was surprised to find they were suffering the Post Camino Blues. Thinking about it, I realised that I probably was a bit too.
So what is it? And how do you cope with it?
What are the Post Camino Blues?
It seems to revolve around two things.
Firstly, a sense of loss or lack of purpose. You’ve got used to a new routine on your Camino. A Rhythm of Life that is vastly different to the one you have back home.
You rise early. You get lots of physical exercise, you eat heartily. You may have socialised more than you normally would. You have lots of time to yourself and time to reflect. Lots……. And you are not rushed.
And all of this took place in an environment that was focussed on a goal; a goal that was common amongst your whole ‘community’. You were walking to Santiago de Compostella.
So once your Camino is over, not only have you lost that sense of overall purpose that kept you going through the good times as well as the bad. But the community you shared that experience with has gone too. And by community I don’t just mean the Camino ‘family’ you may have spent time with and come to know so well. But everyone around you…..was sharing that common purpose in some way or another.
And secondly, you might find it hard to ‘fit in’ at home. Part of it could be that lack of purpose and drive. It’s also I think, that you feel a bit like a fish out of water. You have changed, perhaps a lot. But everyone at home has probably remained the same.
They may not understand what you have been through. They will certainly begin to tire of your endless Camino stories! (You had to be there to get it)
And perhaps you are questioning your sense of purpose, rather like you may have during your Camino? Your priorities may have changed. Maybe you have a very different sense of what is important to you?
Instead of all the time in the World to get things done, with no immediate hurry, there seems to be a mountain of things to be done. Many of them you may think are trivial, meaningless and not that important.
The Good News and the Bad News
Good News. I’m told by many of the ‘old hands’ that all of this is quite normal. It just takes time to adjust to life back home.
The Bad News. Well not that bad really! But those same ‘old hands’ suggest that another Camino is really the only way to tackling those Post Camino Blues………
Post Camino Blues Treatment?
Well’ I’m certainly no expert and definitely not a psychologist. But the common advice seems to be this:
- Talk to other Pilgrims about what you are feeling. This Forum is a great place to do that: Camino de Santiago Community. Lots of very caring and helpful members who have ‘seen it all before’.
- Give yourself a new purpose. Replace that Camino goal with something else that will fill the void.
- Don’t bore your family and friends to death! Read #1 again 🙂
- Try to reflect on the lessons you learnt on your Camino, and maybe start to put some of them into practice?
Someone even suggested to me that the hard work really starts when you get home from your Camino……
That might just be true….