Doing the Camino de Santiago alone
Have you been wanting to do the Camino de Santiago alone? Not found anyone yet to go with? You have come to the right place; in this article we tell you everything you need to know about travelling on the Camino de Santiago alone.
It is normal that when deciding to do the Camino de Santiago alone you will have some doubts. Will I make friends or get very bored? Is it safe for me to go alone? What if I get lost? These are common questions for all pilgrims, but if you’re going to do the Camino de Santiago alone, these concerns will probably worry you even more.
The Camino de Santiago from Sarria is the most popular route to make a pilgrimage and an excellent option if you travel on your own, because you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Galicia, capture the essence of the Camino and get to know more pilgrims. Give us details of your dates and leave the organization in our hands.
When you travel with someone, the adventure is always undertaken with the desire to meet new people and make new friends. But you travel with the peace of mind that the travelling companion will always be there to share all your moments.
In addition, a travel companion always gives you a greater sense of security. Therefore, it is normal that if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago on your own and you have never travelled alone before, you will feel somewhat frightened.
The Camino de Santiago: an ideal destination to travel alone
When you make a trip alone, everything depends on you. The decisions you have to take by yourself, with all the good and all the bad that it implies, you have to deal with the contingencies of a solo trip, etc.
The good thing about the Camino de Santiago is that you will find many pilgrims to support you during the journey, making it an ideal destination if you want to travel alone for the first time in your life. In addition, its good infrastructure and the safety on the route make it one of the most advisable destinations to travel alone, whether you are a male or female.
Below we explain some of the advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago alone and we give you some tips to enjoy the experience in total safety. Travelling alone can be a great experience if you’re ready!
Advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago alone
There are many pilgrims who dare to make the road alone, you will see that a fascinating experience which will mark a turning point in your life. In fact, the pilgrim route will give you many moments of solitude, so that pilgrimage alone has many advantages. We’ll explain some of them!
Lose the fear of travelling on your own
The first of them, and as we commented in the first section of this article, the Camino de Santiago is one of the most recommended destinations if you plan to travel alone. If you have never travelled alone and decide to do the Camino de Santiago, on your return, you will find you are much more prepared to undertake other solo trips.
Although each trip is a different challenge, the simple fact of having travelled to Santiago de Compostela on foot or by bike and alone will provide you with enough security to consider other destinations that may be more complicated. You will never stay home again during your vacation because of not having a travelling companion!
Feel completely free
As we said before, having to make the decisions completely on your own has its pros and cons. The main advantage is that you will feel completely free to make decisions, which route of the Camino de Santiago to choose for yourself, how many days to spend on the Camino, how to organize the stages, what places to visit, etc.
If you travel alone on the Camino de Santiago, you will not need to agree with anyone about the route or the dates. Forget about taking days off your holiday because your travel partner has to go home first!
You will make many more friends
Yes, on the Camino de Santiago you always make friends, some of them for life, but if you go without company you will meet many more people. Why? Because everyone finds it easier to interact with a person who is alone than when they are in a group.
Also you will feel more open to engage in conversation with strangers. At the end of the day, those strangers are your fellow travellers, even if they haven’t started with you.
You will see that pilgrimage is a very social experience and that many pilgrims will come to you and ask you about your motivations to do the Camino de Santiago. It’s a classic, but it can be the beginning of a nice friendship or something else!
If you are single, you should know that if you go to the Camino de Santiago alone you will also more opportunities to flirt or to fall in love. You can see the article to find out why we tell you this.
You’ll rediscover yourself
Another advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago is that you rediscover yourself. Not only because you will spend time by yourself and that is always enriching, but also because you can behave without feeling judged.
Travelling on the Camino de Santiago without company implies that you will be chatting all the time to people who know nothing about you or your life. That will allow you to be yourself, without the burden of labels that sometimes cloud the atmosphere and without fear of being judged by your family, friends or partner.
This phenomenon is known as the rediscovery of “I-Pilgrim”. In this article on the lessons learned on the Camino we spoke about this phenomenon. Do not forget to read the experience one of the pilgrims who travelled with Santiago Ways and trusted us to organize their trip to Compostela.
Only you will set the pace
The pace on your pilgrimage will be set by you, and you alone, without any doubts in your mind. You can plan the stages to be as short or as long as you want. The number of kilometres you complete per day will depend exclusively on your physical fitness.
You won’t have to argue with anyone either if it’s good or not to stop. Some pilgrims are lovers of stopping everywhere and enjoying the route, and others prefer to make the whole stage in one go. Do as your body tells you!
And finally, you won’t have to adjust your walking pace for anyone either. You won’t feel guilty about leaving anyone behind and you won’t feel stressed about thinking that they’re waiting for you. Only you mark your own pace!
Forget your problems, if you have any
As we commented before, nobody knows anything about you. So, if you have problems in your personal life and want to forget about them, no one will remind you of them.
If on the contrary, you do the Camino de Santiago in search of a solution to these problems, you will find many occasions to share them with other pilgrims who will surely help you to give you another point of view of them.
Either way, home you’ll come back much more relaxed and with enough energy to cope with those problems. After walking or pedalling tens of kilometres, you’ll think more clearly.
You’ll surpass yourself
In addition to surpassing yourself by travelling a lot of kilometres, as all pilgrims do, as you go along on the Camino de Santiago, you will overcome yourself in many other aspects. Being forgetful, shyness, lack of guidance, and difficulty making decisions are some of the aspects that you will have occasion to work on if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago without any company.
You’ll have time for your hobbies
As we commented in our article on what to take on the Camino de Santiago, some pilgrims take the opportunity to enjoy their hobbies. If you do the Camino de Santiago alone you will have plenty of time to take pictures, draw or read. No one will be proposing alternative plans, or rushing you to finish at once what you’re doing.
You’ll awaken admiration
In fact, there are many people who dream of travelling alone but few who dare to make their dream come true. Dealing with the fears of travelling alone is not always easy and, unfortunately, many people are blocked by it.
You probably hear that going alone on the Camino de Santiago is crazy. But that will be only at the beginning, you will see that when you return, they will tell you that they also would have loved to do the same thing.
Advice on doing the Camino de Santiago alone
In this section of the article, we want to give you some tips for you to attempt the Camino de Santiago alone. So we want to talk to you about how to cope with the fear of travelling alone, and the measures you must take to make your stay alone on the Camino de Santiago as satisfactory and safe as possible.
Fear of travelling alone: how to confront it
We told you before, all people feel scared when they face a solo trip. Even those who have already travelled alone before, because each trip is a new challenge.
In this section, we want to give you some tips on how to fight the paralyzing fears and that you dare to complete the Camino de Santiago without company. You’ll see it’s not that hard!
Don’t try to escape fear, recognize it
The first step in dealing with fear is to recognize it. Recognize it in both yourself and other people. “I’m afraid to go alone on the Camino de Santiago, but I will do it” will help you reduce emotion and be able to mention it as if it were flu that you were talking about.
Define your fears
Once you accept that you are afraid, the next step is to define your fears. What exactly are you afraid of? Getting bored? Getting lost? Not being able to cope with the physical challenge? What if I get attacked?
The list can be endless, from the couch at home. Fear of the unknown generates a multitude of imaginary threats. As soon as you spend a couple of days on the Camino de Santiago you will realize that most of them do not make any sense.
Combat it by making plans
Once you have made a list of things that worry you about doing the Camino de Santiago alone, develop a plan for each of your fears. Here are some examples:
- Fear of boredom. Think about it, what is the alternative to not going on the Camino de Santiago if you have no company for this holiday? Stay at home? Well, if so, come to the Camino de Santiago and if you find it as boring as you think, you can go home. No one’s going to force you to be there any more than you want!
- Fear of getting lost. Most of the routes of the Camino de Santiago are quite well signposted and you will always find people who orient you. If you feel very insecure at this point, just walk behind another pilgrim. Fear solved!
- Fear of not being in a good physical condition. That is the fear of all pilgrims, regardless of whether they go alone or in company. To cope with this fear, the best is to train beforehand and if you see that you cannot, do fewer kilometres per day. Also, if you injure yourself or the inconvenience will not let you continue, you can always leave your pilgrimage, you will not be the first or the last person that it happens to!
- Fear of attack. Unfortunately, the possibility that someone can rob or attack you exists, but there is both on the Camino de Santiago and in where you live. No place is 100% safe. In the next section, we suggest some security measures that you should take if you do the Camino de Santiago alone.
Recommendations to make a pilgrimage alone
Here are some recommendations if you decide to travel alone on the Camino de Santiago. Doing the Camino de Santiago alone is not dangerous but you should take some precautions!
Choose a busy route
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago alone, we recommend you to choose sections of the two busiest routes: the Camino Frances and the Camino Portugues. In these, you will find more services as well as more pilgrims.
Avoid walking in the dark
Try to walk during the times when the rest of the pilgrims walk. This way you will avoid being alone on the routes and you will have more chances of sharing time with other travellers.
The most important thing is to avoid walking alone in the dark. Forget about starting your walk before sunrise and plan the tour well so that you get to the end of your stage before sunset. In this sense, if you are pilgrims during the summer season, you will have more hours of light and reduce the risk of walking at night on the road.
Don’t accept invitations from strangers
Avoid straying towards distant places with strangers. While it is wonderful to be able to interact with locals on the Camino de Santiago, you do not need to enjoy it by accepting invitations to eat at home or getting in their car. We believe that most people are good, but you never know!
Share phone numbers
From your earliest stages, you will meet other pilgrims who also travel alone. Exchange your phone number with them, even if you don’t do the whole tour together, you can take care of each other.
I don’t want to do the Camino de Santiago alone!
If after all we’ve told you, you still think you don’t want to do the Camino de Santiago alone, don’t worry. We have the perfect solution for you! If you want to do the Camino de Santiago but have no company and do not want to miss the opportunity to have that experience, you should know that there is a great alternative: guided groups.
In this article on scheduled trips to the Camino de Santiago, we tell you that joining a guided group is an excellent alternative for people who do not have travel companions, but who do not want to wander alone. If it is your case, we recommend that you read it, you will find there a lot of useful information.
Another option if you do not want to join a guided group, is to contact a Camino de Santiago travel agency that will help you organize the route. You will also have to travel alone, but you will reduce the number of contingencies that may arise on the Camino de Santiago and you will always have a phone contact, among other advantages.
In Santiago Ways we offer both services, so if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago alone and you think we can help you don’t forget to contact us! We have accompanied many men and women who launched themselves completely into the adventure of doing the Camino de Santiago on their own!