The Camino is one of the best experiences to confront loneliness and spend time with oneself. For many people pilgrimage has been the opportunity they have to test and overcome their fear of loneliness, because all who have this adventure say they have been victorious. On the other hand, there are many experiences of pilgrimages with others – in a group, with friends, family or partner – resulting in an improvement or deepening of affective bonds.
Undertaking the road alone or accompanied has advantages, as well as certain drawbacks. In this post we will try to delve a little into the advantages and disadvantages of undertaking the path in company, although, from the knowledge that it is always a very personal decision and, sometimes, imposed by circumstances.
To begin with, deciding to start the Camino with friends, family or as a couple is for many a way to have fun and enjoy companionship on the Camino. Being in the company of people you know and appreciate ensures the communication and the Camino is without doubt, a good place to strengthen and deepen ties, while sharing and adventures together.
In addition, from a more practical point of view, the fear of suffering an unexpected set back such as getting lost or falling or developing foot problems – will be greatly reduced if you feel you can count on someone. Indeed, one of the reasons why many people organize and undertake the pilgrimage with others is because their need to feel protected.
However, just as for those who choose to undertake the Camino alone, travelling with others carrys with it some inconveniences.
To begin with, this alternative does not allow you to follow your own initiative and adapt your Way in accordance with your personal preferences and physical rhythm. When walking with others, the daily goals must be fixed by the group: when to set off each morning, what ground should be covered between each stage and the places and times to eat or sleep. In this sense it is important to know that consensus is not always so easy to reach and that, in the case of the Way, the physical condition of the members of a group can be different and impose different limits.
Once the advantages and disadvantages are assessed, the fundamental thing is, certainly, to take into account the personal situation, the reality of each one at that moment. It is therefore for this reason that we can only point out what we perceive to be the advantages and drawbacks of being accompanied or unaccompanied. In the last analysis only the pilgrim will know what is best for him or her.
If deepening your relationship, strengthening the bond with your children or spending a lot of time with your friends are your priorities, certainly undertaking the Camino together with others will be the obvious option.