The Camino de Santiago can be done in sections
There are many pilgrims who do complete routes of the Camino de Santiago in sections. While this was not the norm back in the Middle Ages, today the fast pace of life and the few days of holiday available to most workers makes it difficult for people to have the 33 days needed to complete the Camino de Santiago Frances, for example.
That is why more and more people decide to do the Camino de Santiago in sections, starting some of the pilgrim routes from the beginning, but dividing the route into several trips. One of them is Isidre, a pilgrim who did with us the Camino de Santiago in sections. In this article we tell you his story.
Advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in sections
While it is true that being able to complete one of the long pilgrim routes, such as the Via de la Plata, the Camino del Norte or the popular Camino Frances is an experience, dividing the experience into sections also has its advantages. Here are some of them:
You won’t be short of getaway plans
Acquiring a commitment to oneself to do the Camino de Santiago in stretches is an excellent way to create a long-term leisure and free time project. Always have a goal in mind, the next destination to reach.
There’s nothing that gives people more energy and motivation than having a project in their lives, a goal to pursue. If you propose to do the Camino de Santiago in stretches, you will always be looking forward to having a couple of days off to be able to escape to do a few more kilometres.
In addition, it is not necessary to follow a specific order on the sections. We recommend starting on the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to get to know its charm. If you are interested, leave your details and we will contact you to organize your next adventure.
You’ll get more hooked on physical exercise
There are many people who in the months leading up to the completion of the pilgrim route completely transform their sedentary life. Some, after returning from their pilgrimage maintain the training routine for the Camino de Santiago or get hooked on walking or cycling.
However, others after the initial high, fall back into a sedentary life. Gradually, they stop walking or cycling and the excellent physical form they had achieved, disappears once again.
The advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago in sections is that it is more difficult for that to happen to you. If you make a strong commitment to yourself, you know that you will have to return to your pilgrimage and that, therefore, you do not want to abandon yourself to a sedentary lifestyle again.
Unlike pilgrims who live a more intense and express experience, you will have a much harder time giving up physical exercise. Probably, when you arrive at the Cathedral of Santiago, you have spent so much time going back and forth along the pilgrim route and interspersing those getaways with constant training, which will be an activity that you will have totally incorporated into your life.
You’ll meet a wider range of people
Relations between the pilgrims are established from coinciding in different places during the route. Approximately, all people who walk do about the same kilometres a day. A few days a few more, and a few days less.
This helps pilgrims coincide on different stages and therefore a kind of community is established. This fact is fantastic for building deep relationships and bonding.
If you do the Camino de Santiago, you can integrate into different communities of pilgrims, without this meaning that you will not establish deep links with the people you know on the tour. Rather, on the contrary, you will establish these strong bonds but with a much wider range of people. Since every time you visit the Camino de Santiago you will find a community of different pilgrims.
You’ll have a lot more time to investigate and find out
Once you are on the Camino, it is sometimes difficult to find time to look for information about pilgrim culture. The afternoons can keep you very busy, as we explain in this entrance of the multitude of activities of the Camino de Santiago.
This implies that many pilgrims spend all their initial efforts on obtaining information on how the Camino de Santiago works, what training to follow, etc. and is not really aware about the wealth of the heritage that they are going to visit. It is when they return home that they become aware of the importance of places they have visited or realize that they did not stop to visit a historical relic.
Of course, they also do not have time to find out about the multitude of details and richness within pilgrim culture, with their traditions and legends. However, if you do the Camino de Santiago in sections, that will not happen to you.
Maybe in the first section you’ll be a little lost, but once you experience for the first time what it’s like to make a pilgrimage and acquire pilgrim routines, everything will change. The time between your first and second visit can be used to find out for yourself on the section that you will do on the next trip, deepening on its heritage, legends, etc. You will be the pilgrim with which everyone wants to go! The one who has a thousand anecdotes.
Doing the Camino de Santiago in sections gives you more time to understand its lessons
In this article, we tell you that the Camino de Santiago has many lessons and teachings for pilgrims. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to experience them all and neither that the lesson is the same in all sections, but I’m sure you will have more time to internalize it.
Come home with a lesson. Seeing how this will mix with the day-to-day routine and return to the Camino, will refresh you, and end up making you understand much more that great life lesson that the pilgrim route transmits.
It’s easier for you to do alternative routes
When you decide to do the Camino de Santiago in sections, time is not a problem and the distances do not frighten you, because everything is done little by little. This will allow you to discover alternative routes such as the Camino del Salvador, which joins the Camino Primitivo with the Camino Frances, or the Camino Lebaniego, a detour to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, on the Camino del Norte.
These routes are very interesting, and were much frequented during the Middle Ages. Today, there are far fewer pilgrims who travel along them. Some because they don’t have enough time and others because swapping 700 km for 1,000km, is a little intimidating. It’s easily said, but you have to do them!
The Compostela takes on another meaning
Getting to the majestic Cathedral in Santiago is always an emotional time for pilgrims. Regardless of whether they have done only the last 100 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago, or if they have spent a full month on the pilgrim route.
However, when you decide to do the Camino de Santiago in sections, the Compostela takes on a particular meaning. It’s the end of a stage in your life, which may have taken you 1, 5 or even 10 years. That depends on each person. It’s also a recognition of the strong commitment you have made to yourself.
Tips to do the Camino de Santiago in sections as your grand project
You may be wondering if all these advantages do not make them all small pilgrimages that have no connection to each other. The answer to that question is: ” it depends.”
It all depends on how you live the experience. Here are some tips for each of the trips to be part of the same experience.
Establish a true commitment to yourself
The main thing is to establish an initial commitment to oneself. I’m going to leave from Roncesvalles, for example, and I’m going to Santiago de Compostela. That’s the challenge.
Ideally, you plan a little bit on how many getaways you can have each year and how many days you can spend on each one. In this way, you can set yourself as a goal to finish the Camino de Santiago in sections before the end of 2025, for example.
During that time, make your getaways to the Camino de Santiago the priority in your free and leisure time. I’m sure it won’t cost you very much, because we advise you that, from now on, that the pilgrim route will certainly hook you.
Don’t spend too much time between journeys
In order not to lose that initial push, and that other projects come before the challenge you have set yourself, we advise you not to take too long between one trip and another. If you can get away several times a year it’s ideal, but if not, try at least to do a few kilometres each year. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fortnight on the Camino.
There are many pilgrims who start doing the Camino de Santiago in sections and who never complete it. Still, the experience is valuable, but when you hear them you realize that they have an outstanding debt. They always say: “I have to finish it, one day”
Set yourself small challenges to reach the main goal
Establish your motivation to do the Camino de Santiago. If you still don’t know what yours is, we recommend that you check out this blog post in which we explain some of the main ones. Maybe it will help you discover what drives you to do the Camino de Santiago in sections!
Once you are clear in your main motivation, keep it in mind throughout the experience. Keep on it! On each trip, you can explore small details or objectives in that motivation.
For example, if your motivation is to listen to yourself, dedicate the different trips to that goal, but using various meditation techniques. You can also analyze how it affects each of the discoveries you make on different trips.
Of course, over time, motivations can change and on each trip you can be a different person. Still, try not to forget the initial motivation that led you to take the decision and do the Camino de Santiago.
Open a personal diary just for the Camino
Both to maintain the commitment to yourself, and to give continuity to your motivations and analyse their evolution, we recommend that on the first section of the Camino de Santiago you start writing a diary. Use it only during your stay on the Camino de Santiago or when you want to write down something related to some experience or learnings on the pilgrim route.
Create your own rituals
It is true that on some trips to the Camino de Santiago you will not have the reward of reaching the Cathedral of Compostela or obtaining the Compostela. But you can create your own habits or set your own goals.
For example, obtain the Credential for the Camino del Salvador or that of the Monastery of Liébana. You can also create your own stage completion ritual, either in the local church where you conclude that journey or in the middle of surrounding nature.
Another option is to mark your visits to the Camino with the number of scallop shells that you hang in your backpack. Or, even, acquiring some of the elements of the typical clothing of the pilgrim in each section, as is done on the Japanese Camino de Santiago. This way, when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, you will be a true medieval pilgrim.
Use the same credential if you’re going to do the Camino de Santiago in sections
Finally, one of the most important tips. Take good care of your pilgrim credential and use it on all your travels. So then, when they grant you the Compostela, they will give it to you all the route, not only for the kilometres you have made on the final stretch.
Now you know all the advantages that the Camino de Santiago has to do it in sections. Do you still have doubts? Well, check out the post in which we talk about the 10 reasons why you should make a pilgrimage sometime in your life.
With the above we say goodbye, not without first reminding you that if you want an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago to help you organize your trips, do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us, leave us a comment right here or write to us on our Facebook page.
Our team will be happy to resolve all your doubts and help you do the Camino de Santiago in sections. In Santiago Ways, we work with all the pilgrim routes and we can help you, no matter what route you decide to take.