Walk the Camino: alone or with others?

The Way has become one of the best ways of facing up to loneliness, of daring to be with oneself. Many people who have always lived with others and feared loneliness, find that this is a place to test their fears: and the truth is that everyone says they have been victorious! But there are also many people who have undertaken it as part of a group and who claim to have improved or even deepened the bonds of friendship or attachment within the family or between couples, by doing the Way with them.

Doing the Way alone or accompanied is therefore a very personal decision, or sometimes one that is simply dictated by circumstances. So, far from giving advice as to what to do, we want to simply analyze some rather practical advantages and disadvantages of the two situations.

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PROS AND CONS OF WALKING THE CAMINO ALONE

Walking the Way alone has the advantage of independence. You can do whatever you want, make your own decisions about when or how to leave at the beginning and then each day of the Camino, according to your own physical conditions, how you spent the night ... You also decide on the various types of accommodation available, where to eat etc ... In addition, if what has led you to the Path is the need for reflection, you can no doubt reflect and meditate better by undertaking it alone.

But, of course, one of the great advantages of starting out alone is that, as most pilgrims say, it opens up the possibility of chance encounters with others, of making new friends and of meeting many different kinds of people. Some pilgrims with much experience, affirm that whoever goes on the Road only ever finds who they are looking for: friends, a partner ...These are the pros.

As far as the cons. are concerned : more than real inconveniences or difficulties, these are usually based on aspects and resistances in our own characters, such as fear. In the Camino you are never alone, there will always be people willing to chat or help you, whether it be among other pilgrims or among the inhabitants of the places through which you pass. Of course, this demands a little trust in the others. Have you got it? Many pilgrims claim to have done the Camino alone precisely to regain their trust in others, and in this respect too it would seem that the Camino is a good experience.

In short, there are those who think of dangers and emergencies, or the possibility of getting lost in spite of abundant signposting, but, as we have said, it would be extremely rare for anyone who does the Camino not to be able to count on the help of other pilgrims. In addition, with today’s technology, help when it is needed is immediately available. It could be said that the use of the technology on the Way is there to assuage the fears and lend support to the pilgrims’ needs.

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PROS AND CONS OF WALKING THE CAMINO WITH OTHERS

Starting the Road with your friends, partner or family can be a way to ensure enjoyment and to feel protected right from the start. It guarantees the possibility of conversing with others, of deepening the bonds with them, the joy of being together. And, certainly, the fears of losing oneself or suffering a setback - which, as we have already said, are often more imaginary than real - disappear.

But walking with others can also have drawbacks, for it does not allow a pilgrim to follow his own initiative or his own physical rhythm. Daily goals must be established by the group: when to leave, how far to walk, where and at what time to eat or sleep. Consensus is difficult and, moreover, on the Way the physical state of each pilgrim may be different and require a different set distance each day. And of course, in trying to reach general agreement, it is also possible for the joy of the Way to turn into heated arguments ...

A REFLECTION

Thus, choosing to do the Path alone or in company requires the pilgrim to weigh up all the pros and cons, but, certainly, the fundamental thing is to take into account the personal situation, the reality of each one at that time. Only the pilgrim who organizes his Way knows what he wants and desires at the moment: tranquility, the solitude to reflect, the possibility of meeting strangers, or deepening his/her relationship with a son or daughter or other family member, or cementing relationships with friends ... In addition, each one must evaluate his strengths and weaknesses, his forces and fears in the case of choosing to go alone. Or if he is to do it accompanied by others, he must evaluate the character and the relationship that he/she maintains with them.

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