In Search of Santiago

A personal journey along the Camino de Santiago

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How long should you walk for your Camino ?

How long should you walk for your Camino ?

Rob The Traveller

OK, OK.  Everyone told me this would happen!

Having said that walking one Camino was enough for me……..I’m now planning the next.

This next one will be a ‘short’ walk of 100 kms from Sarria as my wife Pat wants to join me but she’s not physically capable of a longer one.   Maybe we’ll share our journey on this blog too.

So, will a 100 km walk be enough?  Enough to experience the Camino in all its glory?

Honestly I think not.  But it will be a nice taster.  And who knows, we may try a longer Camino together in the future.

So how long is long enough?

This is just my view of course, but I think 14-20 days is the minimum required for those who want to truly ‘experience’ the Camino.  And note that I talk about days, not kilometres.

For me it’s about time on the road, not distance.  It’s the number of hours you walk, not how fast you walk.

The reason I say that, is for me at least, walking the Camino is a bit like meditation.  It’s a time to reflect, to explore emotions, maybe spirituality.  To think about what’s important in your life.  And to refresh a bit.  It’s hard to think about work and your ‘normal’ day to day like whilst walking the Camino.  Why?

Because you’ll be focussing on:

  1. Your physical well being.
  2. Your emotional state.
  3. The wonderful views.
  4. The sensational villages and towns.
  5. And of course the people you will meet along the way.

And to really reap the benefits of all of this, I think you need to walk for quite a while.  Not just a week or ten days.

Experienced Pilgrims had explained the process to me before I departed.  And for me it happened just as they predicted.  And it could not have happened, in less that 2 weeks.

You see it unfolded like this, in phases:

Phase 1 – The Physical.  This might take a week.  You will be focussed on keeping your body going.  Making sure your fee are OK.  Testing and adjusting your gear.  Getting ‘comfortable’ with the whole process of walking for hours each day.  And you’ll be tested physically.

Phase 2 – The Emotional.  This can be a bit of a Roller Coaster ride.  Whilst you might be coping a little better with the physical challenge, emotional challenges can start to appear.  You might be questioning why you are walking.  Or maybe you worry about those you have left behind.  Perhaps you are starting to question if you can really make it…..

Phase 3 – The Spiritual.  Right on time, this happened for me at the end of week 2.  I was comfortable, as comfortable as one can be, with the physical and emotional challenges.  And as I relaxed more and just enjoyed the journey for what it was………..magic started to occur.

I mention in this blog and on the videos, that by the end of week three I think it was, I felt I had achieved what I set out to do.  You see, by that time, I had gone through those three phases.

And this raises the question in my mind.   For how long should one walk, to experience all that the Camino has to give us.   Can those three phases really be experienced in a short period?

I don’t think so.

So if you are planning your first Camino, and you have limited time, I’d suggest you try to spend 3 weeks on the road if you can.  But at least 2.

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