Nine years after I started walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I arrived at my destination.
That event caused me to revisit the first-ever blog post I wrote regarding this journey. Although I knew it’s subject matter was important, having come out the other end I realise that it’s actually vital that you get this right if you want to enjoy the experience. That being walking with the right person.
In the past, I have holidayed with good friends only to find that being in their company 24 hours a day is not always joyous. I’m sure they felt the same way. Some of those friendships didn’t recover. That’s not what I wanted here.
I hope that these tips might help you ensure that those you choose to walk with, especially on treks or other longer distance adventures, are those that enhance the experience.
Have a history of travelling. When Teresa and I decided to do the trip, we had been away on three occasions, all walking and we had shared a room on two of those. The third occasion was camping on the Inca Trail. We had walked regularly and on one occasion had walked in weather so wet as to cause misery and still came out of it as friends, so things were looking good.
Be aware. I recall us acknowledging that this trip might not work and if it didn’t we wouldn’t let it ruin our friendship. As well as thinking through the practical planning, also give some consideration to what might be problematic. It’s also worth discussing what will happen if you do fail to get on.
Give each other some space. On holidays in the past, friends and I have decided to do different things at times and therefore have some space. This is harder on something like the Inca Trail or the Camino but what you can do is make it ok to listen to your music and get lost in your own world; walk alone for a while, even do different things when you arrive at your base at the end of the day. That little bit of space works wonders.
Allow each other to be quiet. It’s ok not to talk about everything and be aware that tiredness and things not going to plan can make people irritable.
Make some shorter trips together first and not only the comfortable weekends away when everything is perfect. Try some under conditions of hardship if this is what your trip might be like.
Teresa and I have been through long days with more miles than we expected, a few bookings going wrong, mud and rain and I’m sure both of us have been happy to get home after a week away but we’ve also been really excited to come back together for the next stage. And we relive the sections regularly, clearly not wanting to forget them.
For us, I would say it works because we walk at the same pace, we both love food, we like to put the world to rights, we like to walk in silence sometimes, we don’t like TV in hotel rooms and we love an after walk beer.
Do you have a walking buddy who complements and fits with you?
If you enjoy a walk why not come walking with me?
Walking buddies walking and talking on Trwyn Tal
In small groups, you have a mix of people to walk with and who knows you might also find your ideal walking buddy. Have a look at what we have to offer and check out our Women on Foot monthly walks by clicking the button below. If you are interested in becoming a walk leader for a One Million Women Walking group then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.