Walking the Camino de Santiago may be one of the greatest challenges and adventures that you undertake. I know my first Camino de Santiago was. But, when it ends you might experience mixed emotions. Some people will dread the end, I did. Others will be excited to arrive in Santiago de Compostela and celebrate. Whilst many talk about feeling that they never “arrived” and want to continue, perhaps on to Finisterre. As soon as you do finish and return home, there can be a creeping feeling when it hits you that it’s really over. You may feel such sadness that the adventure is over that you even miss having blisters or the constant feeling of hunger. We call this the “post Camino blues.” But, how can you get over this feeling?
Here are 10 ways to beat the post Camino blues:
- Don’t rush to return to normal
- Recruit more people for the Camino
- Look back at your experience and laugh
- Continue to find peace and joy in your surroundings
- Reflect on what you learnt
- Do another Camino
- Pick another long-distance hike
- Volunteer with the Camino
- Join a local hiking group
- Keep adventuring
Don’t rush to return to normal
Almost as soon as you step off the airplane from Santiago de Compostela, it can feel as though you are required to suddenly fit back into “normal society.” But, the reality is, you will have changed in some way when walking the Camino. Long-distance hikes are always transformational.
Whether the changes are big or small, career related, specific to your personal life, or even your health and fitness, don’t be in too much of a rush to bounce back to your pre-Camino self and your pre-Camino routine!
Recruit more people for the Camino
One of the things we love about the Camino, is that it is an experience you can share with other people.
We went on our very first Camino adventure because we had heard about it through close family who had walked it previously. We have since told others about it, and shared stories on our website, and we know that some people have now walked the Camino because we told them about it.
What could be a better way to beat the post Camino blues than sharing your experience with others and recruiting them to tackle their own Camino de Santiago!
Look back at your experience and laugh
Even the prospect of “pilgrimage” sounds serious, but it doesn’t have to be. I bet a million things made you laugh along the way. One of the best ways to beat the post-Camino blues is to reminisce about the funny and happy times you had.
If you met others on the Camino and have stayed in touch with them, you could call or arrange to meet up somewhere to celebrate the good times.
In the spirit of reminiscing and laughing about the fun side of the Camino, we’ve written a book “50 Types of People You’ll Meet on the Camino.” It’s a satirical take on all the characters you meet on the way, and a good chance to have a laugh (or so we like to think.)
Continue to find peace and joy in your surroundings
Something I notice when we are walking a long-distance hike like the Camino, is that I have so much more time to notice the small things. When you notice more in your surroundings, it’s quite incredible how much joy and peace you can find. Slowing down and observing on the Camino is a wonderful feeling.
Perhaps one way to beat the post-Camino blues is to bring this practise home with you. Try to slow your life down a little, notice the world around you. Whether it is the joy of autumn leaves, the warmth of the sun, the cosiness of a cup of tea or the contagious feeling of a smile.
The author Hannah Jane Parkinson has written a great book on this called “The Joy of Small Things,” an excellent read and much recommended if this interests you.
Reflect on what you learnt
One of the reasons that I (Emma) always love to keep a journal is that it helps me to consolidate my thoughts. Particularly as a writer, this is really the best way for me to think and process.
I kept a journal on my first Camino de Santiago and am so pleased that I did. Not only did my diary entries help me to create blog posts afterwards, such as the Camino del Norte daily stages. But, the journal is full of memories and funny stories that I would have otherwise forgotten.
The best thing about keeping a journal however, is the opportunity it provides for self-reflection. Each day on any long-distance hike I do, I keep track of what I have learnt that day and what has challenged me. This means that afterwards, when I am experiencing the post Camino blues, I can recall what I have learnt, the positive changes and keep hold of them to make lasting transformation.
If anyone is looking for a bespoke Camino de Santiago journal, we’ve created one that can be found on Amazon here. There are many available, but the journal that we have made is a little different. It has two sections for each day on the Camino, the first helps with self-reflection and the second is space to record information about your walk.
Do another Camino
This has to be the number one way to get over the post Camino blues! Get straight back on the horse. If you’ve done one of the longer routes, like the Frances or Norte, why not try a shorter one like the Portuguese?
Explore the different Camino de Santiago routes here.
Pick another long-distance hike
There is a risk that you do another Camino and it isn’t quite the same as the first. If you’re worried about this, or just after a new experience, why not pick a totally different long-distance hike?
We recently walked from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena. This was a wonderful walk through Tuscany, with some similarities to the Camino but it still felt totally new too.
If you need more inspiration, you can find our guide to the best long-distance hikes in Europe here. Otherwise know as our “to do list” for the next few years! Or, if you want to head out of Europe, what about walking the best part of the Jordan Trail from Dana to Petra.
Here are some ideas:
Volunteer with the Camino
A great way to get over the post Camino blues may be to volunteer to support aspects of the Camino. Whether this is indirectly through your local church or more directly with The Confraternity of St James, or a similar organisation. Many albergues will also take volunteers over the summer, if you want to be even closer to the trails!
Join a local hiking group
One of the best ways to beat the post Camino blues is to start hiking in your local area. But, if you’re missing the collegiate atmosphere of the Camino, you could try a local hiking group. A local group is sure to give you a much needed boost.
If you can’t find one – why not set up your own? It’s amazing how quickly you can meet like minded people if you try!
Maybe the Camino de Santiago has ignited (or re-ignited) a passion for adventure. But, perhaps you’re keen to avoid hiking. Never fear, the world of adventure is endless! You could try sailing, cycling, yoga or paddle boarding. Or, you could keep travelling to new countries looking for experiences around the world.
If you need some inspiration, check out our post on travel trends of 2023. We also love the website Viator, which shows you the most popular tours around the world right now!
John and Emma’s hiking gear. These are items we love to use when we go hiking, find them here on Amazon.
Osprey 40L, Multi, O/S
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Speedgoat 4 Textile Synthetic Trainers
HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Clifton 8
CWVLC Unisex Cushioned Compression Athletic Ankle Socks Multipack
Compeed Callouses 6 Medium Plasters
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking, Walking, and Hiking Poles – One Pair (2 Poles)
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Most of our planning is done using other blogs, but you can’t beat a guide book at the bottom of your case.
Find them here on Amazon.
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