a week after

So, I’ve been home for just over a week.

To be honest this last week has been harder than any part of the actual Camino. I’ve gone from days filled with new experiences, new friends, new achievements to being at home and trying to reintegrate into my pre-camino life.

I admit that due to having a serious dose of man-flu I havent been very sociable. I’ve been stuck indoors with my guide-book, my photos and my memories. It feels strange to lie in bed and not have a group of brazilian cyclists wandering around at 5am wearing head torches.. When I have talked to people, I’ve (unsuccessfully) tried not to succumb to being a camino bore but it’s near impossible. Literally any subject seems to prompt a story that involves my pilgrimage.. (It still feels strange saying pilgrimage, more about that later). Friends can be telling me about them having a new dog…(I have a story about a man with a dog on the Camino)… the weather..(Ooooh there was this one day when i was in a hail storm on the Camino..) or even offering something as mundane as a cheese sandwich… (bocadillo de queso…. do you know how many of those I ate in the last two months??).

During my time away I was shocked by how many people enjoyed my blog.. Initially it was going to serve as a diary just for me.. then maybe for select family and friends to keep up with my adventure.. While I was away I averaged well over a thousand views per day, (one day I had over three thousand! ).. the amount of comments and messages both amazed and encouraged me. Plans to incorporate the blog into a small book are still afoot although I can’t decide what approach to take. I’m sure that at some point I will have a flash of inspiration that will leave me with either the way forward or the realisation that it’s a bad idea. There are already plenty of guidebooks out there so I’m assuming mine would be less of a guide and more of a taster/travel companion.. time will tell I guess.

The main feeling since returning home is the one I find most surprising. I REALLY want to do another Camino.. I think I could possibly even do the same route again but that’s unlikely so I guess I need to look at other possibilities and see which path calls out to me. (If only some witty chap had written some taster/travel companion books that I could read.. I’d buy the lot)

Regarding being a pilgrim… I’m not sure that I could call myself one. I guess I was just a guy on a walk but it felt more than that. As to how it felt more I still can’t decide. I joked along the way that my destination was the burger king in Santiago rather than the cathedral and to be honest if I ever find myself in Santiago again and had to choose between the two then It’d be a bacon whopper without doubt. I got my Compostela and proudly show it to anyone who shows even a passing interest in my tale. (I havent started carrying it about with me yet but I’m not ruling it out as an option). At Saint Jean Pied de Port I filled in a form at the pilgrim’s office, one of the questions was what was the reason for my walk, Religious, Spiritual or ‘Other’. I ticked Other. I think the next time I’m confronted with the options I may tick spiritual…

Anyway, I’m hoping to get back on the Alderley training hill in four days. It depends on whether I manage to recover from my man-flu so fingers crossed. If i do then I’ll let you know how it went.. If i don’t make it then I may treat you all to another excerpt from ‘The tales of St.James… (I’m sure there’s an unfollow button located on this blog somewhere for those of you who just felt a strong urge to not be subjected to any more of my literary ramblings)


Buen Camino!



11 thoughts on “a week after

  1. Andy, when i find the “ unfollow” button, well, i plan to just delete it as an option. I will ever be a follower
    Buen next Camino, or appalachian trail, or the Great Wall of China, the Irish coast, Stone henge, temple walks in Asia. Go ahead, throw em at us!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ruth Thompson Jun 8, 2018 — 8:48 pm

    Dear Andy

    I’m glad you enjoyed your first camino. There are many more out there just waiting for you.

    I’m off on my 6th in September.

    And don’t forget about Italy too…Rome…Assisi…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Andy, I really enjoyed your blog. I haven’t completed my Camino yet as I am doing it in stages. We’ve been 3 times, and every time it’s the same on return, just as you have described; only its getting more pronounced each time! God knows what I’ll be like when I finally rock up in Santiago de Compostela! It is surprising just how life changing all this really is … and even more so that the people we think we are boring with our wistful tales are actually hanging on to the coat tails of our experience and really want to hear the next tale.
    Hope the walk up Alderley goes well. Good luck on deciding your next route. Once I’ve finished my Camino Frances I’m giving serious consideration to Via Francigena.
    Buen Camino compañero peregrino.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. kristytwisty82 Jun 8, 2018 — 11:19 pm

      Hey Andy,

      Reading this brings back memories of exactly how I felt returning home from my Camino. The amount of times I was talking to friends and then all of a sudden I would be throwing in a story relating back to my Camino. I got a lot of blank stares many times.
      I decided that only those who have walked the way can truly understand and appreciate it.

      Yesterday it occurred to me that tomorrow 10/06 will be exactly 1 year since I walked into SDC and completed my Camino. Already a year!!

      Believe me adventure is in your blood now! It is thriving in me for sure! I’m getting back out there next year to do the Del Norte/Primitivo and have set myself the challenge to thru-hike the Appalachian trail in 2020 in the 6 months it should take.
      I don’t spend one day sitting at my desk at work where I’m not thinking about my next big adventure. I work to live not live to work!
      You will be back out there in no time at all.. it’s in you now.

      Hope you do go ahead with some sort of book. You’ve already got one reader right here!

      Buen Camino Andy.


      Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes, indeed, coming home and trying to get back into an Everyday Life is, for me, the hardest part of the Camino. It is very strange to wake up the first morning home and realize that I am totally alone—after more than a month of mornings that I shared waking up with many others. When I walked my first Camino from Leon to Santiago, I encountered someone who was walking their second Camino and I was amazed – why would you want to walk it a second time, after you have seen it once? I am now planning my 8th walk on the Camino Frances in the fall because I can’t stop walking on such a beautiful trail, knowing it is hard to get lost, there are some amazing people to meet along the way, and the light will always be different each time. As long as I am fit enough to walk the Camino, I will do it! It is unlike any other experience I have ever had. I am looking forward to reading more about your return home and your plans for your next walk. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! Mary Lynn

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “To be honest this last week has been harder than any part of the actual Camino.”
    Post-Camino blues… I think it more or less has to be like this if you had such a great time on your Camino. If you search for “Camino blues” in the forum, you can find many postings…

    I have not started my first one. But one of my concerns is… if I really like it… how can I plan a second Camino?
    It is not easy to have the long free time with a family and children… well… it is a great gift that I start my first on in July.

    Get well soon!
    And good luck with all of your plans… especially with the next Camino!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The call of the Camino is strong. When I finished my first Camino I thought, “who would ever want to do this again?”. I was tired, my feet were sore, all my clothes smelled like Galician manure. But call it did. I longed for the adventure of going into those small Spanish towns, meeting up with the same familiar pilgrims, the camino moments that bring tears to your eyes and our intentions for the Way are spiritual and religious. My husband and I made lifelong friends on our first Camino. I support your idea of doing a different route. We returned to do the Frances 6 years after our first and for me, though my intention was not to recreate my first Camino, I think that somewhere in my heart I was hoping for as good or better an experience. Anytime one tries to recreate, there is bound to be disappointment. So I say do another route. I’m happy your next Camino may take a more spiritual flare. Congratulations and I do hope you continue to write. Your style reminds me of Bill Bryson, a nice blend of humor along with facts and feelings. Well done.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. “Camino bore”…… the return home…. seems like many of us can relate to all these feelings. If the camino calls… go

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nathan Bissonette Jun 10, 2018 — 3:33 am

    It’s the weirdness of Trying to fit back into ordinary life. On the Camino, I’m up, on the road, meeting fellow pilgrims, seeing interesting sites, walking all day before I take a shower, grab dinner and fall into bed. Not once did I have to run to the dry cleaners, or deposit a check at the bank, or get my oil changed, or… after the complete liberation of walking in nature with like-minded travelers, I’m dumped back into the rat race, looking around be bewildered, saying what the hell am I doing here?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. mylifeonvacation Jun 11, 2018 — 11:44 am

    I would encourage you to pull this all together into a book form. A helpful guide of things you discovered along the way, yes, but perhaps more importantly as an entertaining tale of an Everyman leaving his comfort zone who is able to climb mountains in a single … couple of ? … cigarettes? Ok, not sure how it goes but you do have a wonderful voice that, clearly, people enjoy. Share your gift! I, for one, am not even going to look for the unsubscribe button!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. All of this rings true. We stayed in Spain a week after our camino, farting around on the coast, and in Barcelona with a friend, but that didn’t really change the fact that re-entry into daily life was just… awkward. We can’t shake the restlessness. The first morning home, we were up at 0500 (no, there were no Brazilians with head torches in the bedroom), and we decided to walk 3km to breakfast. Because getting up and walking is what we did. Even though i have access to my entire wardrobe, i am mostly wearing my “camino gear”, because it is comfortable. We have made a conscious effort to NOT talk about our camino, and only respond to questions – following the lead of the other person, but we’re failing. Saying “Hola, Perro!” whenever we see dogs out and about… There will be another walk in us, but we’re thinking of Hadrian’s Wall walk across England, or something similar… change it up.

    Thanks for making the effort to write about your journey, and for the post script. i’ve been wondering how you’ve handled re-entry!

    Liked by 3 people

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