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Dog In The Manger?

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by ChristopherX, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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    Hello everyone and greetings from a cool and wet UK.

    "When I'm 64 ....", which occurs during this autumn, I have a plan to walk the Camino Frances. A long term ache for spiritual insight - for transformation - compels me to embark on my first ever pilgrimage. But before I commit myself to the journey, I am hoping that there might be someone on the forum who, like me, has a rather solitary and private nature and might be prepared to share their thoughts with me. I can only afford the undertaking were I to stay at municipal alberges and there's the rub. Although sometimes at the end of a day walking alone, I could imagine myself welcoming and needing human company (and who knows, this might be the catalyst for the transformation I seek), I have to admit that quite often the thought of eating, conversing with people fills me with a nameless dread. Maybe it's a form of autism. I know that people can be offended by my failure, oftentimes, to engage with them but do pilgrims, by definition, tend to be tolerant and forgiving?
     
  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Hi Christopher - This that you are wondering about is a concern for many, even for people who are usually more extroverted but who would like to have some space and time to themselves while on Camino. It was a big concern of mine on my first 2 also.

    My experience is that people USUALLY take their cues from you about the level of involvement you want (even at communal dinners), and are good at reading each others' nonverbals. There are all sorts out there, and although the initial part until perhaps around Estella seems more hyper-social, there are ALWAYS others sending out an "I'm quiet and prefer to just be to myself" vibe. As the journey goes on...it seemed to me, at least....the tone becomes more reflective and solitary until Sarria (and by then, it's kind of fun to see the hoards joining all excited and happy). I am introverted and not very comfortable socially, and I found most (not all) people very easy to talk with when I felt like being more social. There are some very kind people doing it who are genuinely interested in those they run across, but if you just nod and say "buen camino" and don't attempt to engage them or encourage them in any way, it's likely that people will leave you alone. Most, especially those doing it solo, seem to need each other in a way for a good word now and again, and so friendly acquaintances form, and it can be rewarding to run across people you've met earlier on Camino, even very superficially.

    And remember, many won't be English speakers, so that limits the range of socializing also.

    In the albergues, people seem often to take little notice of each other in any way that's intrusive. People are busy washing clothes, getting showered, finding a store, seeing the town, writing to people at home, etc. It seemed that there was usually respect for others' space. Another thing you might try is staying at LARGER albergues where there is more chance of anonymity. l didn't stay in albergues every single night on any Camino because I hardly sleep at all in them. If it is at all possible, if you find the albergues a strain, you could every so often find a pension/habitacion for a very reasonable price just for a break. I've gotten them for 23-34 Euro before, and they provided some much appreciated solitude intermittently.

    You'll definitely not be alone as an introvert out there!
     
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  3. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Christopher - Welcome to the Forum. The Camino is a most interesting place in part due to the fact that there are so many different types from so many different parts of the world. One can easily walk their own Camino without feeling that there is a prescribed way to walk or enteract with others. The level of interaction or exchange with others is really up to you. For those wanting to find a Camino family to be part of, it's readily available. For those who prefer their privacy, it, too, is easily found. From a psychological point of view, so much of the individual experience on the Camino is driven by one's personality and needs. As almost any combination of interacting with people is possible, you will determine what is most comfortable for you. You decide how you want to walk the Camino.

    The single trait that I would ascribe to the pilgrim is that of kindness. Most people clearly see what others need and want and will respect that. Tolerance is also a characteristic I'd suggest applies to most pilgrims. You're not going to be judged, other than by a very small number of people who don't get it in the first place, for being similar to or different from others. Therefore, forgiveness isn't something that even enters the formula. You walk the Camino for yourself, no one else. No apologies or explanations need be offered as most of us are little different from you as we each walk for our own reasons and in a way that is most comfortable for us. Surprises may await you along the Way, but you'll be just fine walking your walk. Buen Camino!
     
  4. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Christopher and welcome to the Forum

    I have little to add to the excellent replies from C4S and Wily other than to say that the Camino is wonderful. It really is life in microcosm. It provides many many different experiences which are as varied as the terrain you walk over. As the others have said how you walk the Camino and with whom is entirely a matter for yourself and your own choice. You will meet all kinds of people and face all kinds of challenges and achieve all kinds of triumphs.

    The simplicity of the Camino is that you progress by putting one foot in front of the other. That really is it. You walk, you eat, you sleep, you get up and you walk again. What you do in between, i.e. to interact with others and to what extent, is your choice. I've come to see the Camino as one long meditation. The simple act of walking, eating and sleeping with really little other choices to make leaves your mind free to think or to quieten and therein lies the beauty of the Camino.

    You can of course choose to meet others from all around the world and exchange your views on footwear, blisters, the quality of the food or even world events! It really is your choice.

    Go with an open heart and no expectations and you will find the most wonderful experience awaits.

    Meanwhile you will find many good friends with great advice here on this forum. Don't be afraid to ask any questions, we all started as newbies to the Camino at some point.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  5. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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    Dear "Crepes4Suzette", "Wily" and "Greg Canning",

    your messages have touched my soul. Thank you. I am going to write them into my personal journal so that each time the 'demons of self-doubt' come calling during my preparations for the pilgrimage - and they will - I can draw strength and comfort from what you each have said.

    And here is an interesting fact. Within a days hike from where I live in the North East of the UK, there is a mini-pilgrimage walk linking the site of the ruined Finchale Priory to Durham Cathedral and this walk is now officially recognised as part of the Way of St. James pilgrimage. In the Middle Ages pilgrims from northern Europe and Scandinavia would meet near Durham and consult with St Goodrich of Finchale before embarking on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain to reach the tomb of St James. Now the authorities of the St James' Way, the Galician Xacobeo, have officially recognised the distance between Finchale Priory and Durham Cathedral as being eligible to count towards the required 100km.

    So that's what I plan to do, arriving in St Jean PdP with 8km of the Camino already walked!!

    Tomorrow I begin my search for some 'industrial grade' ear plugs.

    Thank you all again
    Christopher
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Christopher - Your words are most kind! I can't really express how pleased I am that we have offered you a few thoughts that will help you on your Way to Santiago. It's a journey that we must each figure out for ourselves. Believe me when I sincerely say that we all carry these demons of self-doubt. Some of us have just become better than others at masking them. You have my utmost respect for looking yours in the face knowing that it's no easy struggle to overcome them, but you will. It seems that you're already of a new road to self discovery that will yield great treasures along the Way. Please don't hesitate to reach out for any further information or ideas that may help you plan your pilgrimage my friend. Buen Camino!

    PS, Do get those earplugs. They'll come in most handy probably every night.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  7. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    That looks like a beautiful place for a walk, Christopher, and thanks for the history of it. I'm so glad to be able to help. You will thank yourself for finding some "industrial grade" ear plugs:))).
     
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  8. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Glad we could be of some little help Christopher.

    I know when I first started to plan walking the Camino I had lots of questions about both my physical and spiritual/emotional preparedness to walk the Camino. As I said you will find heaps of all kinds of help and advice and lots and lots of enthusiasm and encouragement on this forum. As someone on here has already said, in preparing for your Camino you have already taken your first steps.

    There are also lots of good movies, documentaries, podcasts etc which deal with the Camino. Two of my favourites are the Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie "The Way" and the documentary "Walking the Camino - Six Ways to Santiago". Both give a flavour of the Camino but in different ways.

    I visited Yorkshire earlier this year and did some hill walking around Malham Cove and Howarth and I have to say I fell in love with the countryside. Durham is on my list of places to visit and the pilgrimage walk from the Priory to Durham Cathedral will be a major bonus. Thank you so much for the info.

    In the meantime good luck with your planning and preparation, it is a big part of the adventure.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  9. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know if it is"industrial grade", but my favorite are 3M ear plugs. Very simple packed in foil. Their attenuation is 34dB if I remember correctly. Far best of all I tried. :)
     
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  10. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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  11. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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    Hello Greg, videos I've found helpful so far are the series on the BeYourPotential YouTube channel whose daily accounts were candid, inspirational and relevant (they started their Camino on 1st January 2013). Then there were video series (one by a Dutch man and another by a young Japanese) detailing their different experiences of walking the Shikoku pilgrimage. And as for Martin Sheen, I remember a number of his films for their intelligent portrayal of the complexity of spiritual/religious matters, especially "Enigma" and "The Conflict".
    Christopher
     
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  12. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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  13. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion. Many people comment on the 'snoring factor' and as someone who has lived alone for many years, I am hyper-sensitive to nocturnal noise, and even more the grumpy-old-man if my sleep gets interrupted. So I'll search Amazon tomorrow for some. Christopher
     
  14. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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  15. Valerie

    Valerie New Member

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    Hi guys. I'm on the Camino right now, in Leõn. I started in St Jean Pied de Port about 2 and a half Fridays ago. With regard to earplugs, I suggest getting ones where one-size-fits-all-nostrils!!! Haven't tried it yet, but thought plugging up each snorer might be thoughrful for almost everyone!! Get to the source of the problem! Actually, I've been so tired that snorers haven't really worried me. I choose the attitude that that's them on their Camino & it's not going to bother me.
    Don't worry about interaction levels. People don't even have to know what language you speak. A simple Buen Camino is an acceptable complete communication & recognition of comaraderie & commonality .
    Thanks everyone for forum participation & support.
     
  16. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the laugh, Valerie!! I hope you are enjoying your Camino. Leave word about how you're getting along if you think of it. Some of us enjoy doing Caminos vicariously:0)).
     
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  17. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey All - As a clay target shooter, I've worn various earplugs for years on the trap and skeet fields. A pretty simple earplug that works there also does the job in the albergues blocking out the snorers. Before investing a lot of money, just visit a sporting goods store or go online and look for something like the Mack's. There are several models of Mack's, but these happen to come in a convenient 10-pack and cost only $6. I always carry several pair with me as they weigh next to nothing and I tend to loose them fairly frequently. ¡Que duerma bien!

    IMG_0643.JPG
     

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