We always look for company, a group to join. But, have you thought of walking the Way to Santiago alone? We all think about loneliness differently: there are people that love it and others that hate it. Nevertheless, doing the Way to Santiago alone can be an opportunity to confront it. If you decide to do it, it is going to be a different experience for sure.
At your own pace
If you choose to do the Way, you’re going to do it at your own pace. This has some advantages: you won’t have to wait for anyone and you can rest when you want. Not all the pilgrims rest for the same time; all of them have different necessities. If you walk the Way alone, you can stop when you prefer, visiting the villages and cities that you find along the Way, because not all pilgrims are willing to walk more.
Apart from following your steps, we recommend you to keep the “pilgrim timetable ”. It’s not something official, but the walkers should have some standards. They wake up early in the the morning, and after a big breakfast, they start to walk. They have lunch soon because they must arrive in the next hostel by midday. If you are alone, you are not going to have problems with space.
To make the most out of your time, we recommend you to prepare a nice guide of the Way before starting. This will keep you on the correct path, allowing you to know the route you’re about to walk.
Even though you are doing the Way alone, you have to keep in mind that you’re going to find other people along the journey. Groups are more frequent than solitary pilgrims. If you are willing to meet new walkers, don’t worry: you will come back home with many friends.
Also, this can be very beneficial to exchange advice, pose questions or talk about your experience, as you get to know people from different cultures and countries.
There are negative and positive points. If you do the Way to Santiago alone, you are not always going to find someone. It depends on your personality, which can help you or not! Not all of us need company, and sometimes we’re looking for space. So this is a good occasion to enjoy the silence. On the other hand, if you are feeling like socializing, it’s possible that you don’t find anyone, so you’ll have to be by yourself. Everything depends on what you are looking for and how you are.
This may be the matter you’re the most worried about when you think about doing the Way to Santiago alone. In the last few years, we’ve heard stories of incidents with pilgrims. However, worrying too much is not rational if we keep in mind that the incidents are few compared to the number of pilgrims that walk the Way. Even more: one of the elements that characterizes the Way is the hospitality of the walkers and the local people. They will help you with all the problems that you can have and provide you with information, Way signs and other issues. In spite of the people’s generosity, we recommend you to let someone of your family or friends know the route that you are going to do. And of course, it is fundamental to properly carry your ID and all the necessary paperwork.
Another important point is to avoid walking at night. You’ll be much more secure during the day that during the night. The pilgrims that decide to walk at night do it for the weather or for being alone, but you can solve both problems starting off in the morning, during the first hours of the day. Finally, don’t forget to charge your phone, something logical but important. If you are going to do the Way to Santiago alone, you should have a communication tool. With it, you can be located if you get lost.
If you want to live the Way differently, join it and discover yourself doing it alone.
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