1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

One Small Suggestion For Women Going Solo

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Crepes4Suzette, May 18, 2018.

  1. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    My goal here isn't to discuss how safe doing these routes as a solo female is, but I wanted to share something I decided to do recently that has been useful, as least in terms of feeling more confident, which is worth a great deal. I take a number of precautions after having had some rough spots walking alone on the first two Caminos (and I don't mean breaking a fingernail or being bothered by snoring in the albergues.....), and found that when I went with my sister the third time on the Portuguese, things went much better. I'm leaving again soon to do another route solo and I found myself becoming anxious about being made prey out of on this next hike, so after watching an accomplished trainer at the YMCA for the last 6 months, I approached him to ask if he could teach me anything about self-defense for women (I'd watched him teaching a Parkinson's patient to box, which sparked the idea to ask). It turns out, he not only knows a great deal, but fully grasps the issues.

    I worked in inpatient psychiatry for many years, and had training designed to SAFELY take down wildly agitated, psychotic, aggressive patients in an in-patient setting (where lots of help is available), but the training really had little to do with self-defense. I don't know why I didn't have much faith that actual self-defense training would help, but I was wrong. If you can get a few hours of time for an intensive session or more with someone who really gets it and will practice with you in a no-holds-barred way, doing this can give a sense of knowing exactly what to do so you're rehearsed and ready and willing to act on your own behalf instead of shrinking should a more threatening situation present itself. There was a ton of yelling and aggressiveness involved, so we used a room away from the main gym, which helped not be so self-conscious and to not alarm others.

    If you're concerned about going female and solo, getting some of this training in an intensive way is probably a great idea and will likely help to go forth with a better sense that in a bad situation, you'd know what to do. Best money I've likely ever spent.
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,096
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cumbria UK
    Home Page:
    I think that this advice is Excellent C4S, (especially after what happened to Denise Pikka Thiem https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...lty-murder-beating-us-pilgrim-death-chopping/ ) and anyone that is at all worried about solo Camino walking, particularly solo females, but this could also apply to solo males, getting so self-defense training has to be a good idea :)

    Apart from anything else, it will bolster confidence and here, I think that if someone appears to be nervous, then in some ways they might be identifying themselves as a potential target to “The Bad Guys”, therefore by appearing confident, there could well be a chance that this would actually lessen the chances of you having to put your new found self-defense skills to the test.

    I would also still advocate that Camino Walkers should, where possible, try to walk in sight of other pilgrims, be fully aware of their surroundings and also carry a personal alarm – The Louder the Better :)



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  3. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Just ordered some of those personal alarms, Rob, including one for my daughter. They're inexpensive. Thanks for the excellent suggestion!
     
    Greg Canning, RJS and Ginamarie like this.
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    772
    Likes Received:
    1,060
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    @Crepes4Suzette it might be handy for you to include the pointer to the female only hikers group here too.
     
    Greg Canning and Crepes4Suzette like this.
  5. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    930
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Excellent advice, C4S. I suppose another self protection measure is carrying trekking poles. I used mine a few times to scare off aggressive dogs, and believe the poles might be used against aggressive males as well. My wife and I both wore whistles around our necks to alert the other if there was an emergency.

    Another question ... I wonder if any of the shops in St Jean sell pepper spray? Our daughters clipped a mini-canister to their key chains when they were younger. It cannot be included in your carry on in the plane, but you might be able to carry it with you during your camino and leave it in Santiago. Bob
     
    UnkleHammy and Crepes4Suzette like this.
  6. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    My daughter carries it on her keychain too, Bob. I'd never go on Camino without hiking poles again. I'd always carried them before, but decided to go without them on the Portuguese last year and my sister had her bag bitten through by a dog. And I ALWAYS carry poles here in the mountains at home, and always carry pepper spray and a cell phone also because I've had trouble here hiking or running very occasionally since I was much younger. They send a message without having to use them. When overseas, I take the rubber tips off the poles to expose the carbide points underneath after I'm off the flight. I've never gone on Camino without pepper spray either - I've either checked my pack with the pepper spray inside, taken it onboard by mistake and TSA didn't catch it, or, this time, I'm checking it with my hiking poles. They sell it in the armory stores in Paris, so if it were to get confiscated, I can get another canister. They sell it in Pamplona at the armory stores also, but I don't know about SJPP.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    BROWNCOUNTYBOB and UnkleHammy like this.
  7. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,908
    Likes Received:
    3,841
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey C4S - I know you are an experienced peregrina and from experience have a good sense of what it takes to be safe whether on the trail or elsewhere. It’s most unfortunate that there are differences in the travel experience individuals have simply because of gender. That’s probably not going to change any time soon.

    As we have both learned, there are sections of any route that might be less comfortable than others as it pertains to what or who might be around particularly in the more isolated areas. As I’ve mentioned before, taking certain more isolated alternative routes has left me with uneasy feeling at times. Not exactly what I had planned for The Way. If my wife or either of my daughters were walking solo, there are certain sections where I’d encourage them to have a walking partner. It just seems like the safer Way. Kudos to you for learning some basic self-defense techniques. One can never be too prepared for events that we hope will not happen. Safety first so we can return and walk again. Buen Camino!
     
  8. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Oh, OK, I didn't understand at first. Good idea, Unkle Hammy! It's called CAMIGAS (on Facebook - "A buddy system for women on Camino"). It's a place for females from all over to connect for possible walking partners on their sign-up tool and to share experiences, tips, concerns, etc. They're a bunch of funny, bright, supportive women.
     
    Greg Canning and UnkleHammy like this.
  9. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    772
    Likes Received:
    1,060
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    @Crepes4Suzette Sorry, being in software almost everything is with pointers and I rarely think of any other way of saying how to provide where the information may be found elsewhere .
     
    Crepes4Suzette likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page