Was Your Camino Life-changing?

Life-changing is how many Pilgrims describe their Camino experience.  We might spend months and sometimes years preparing for our journey. What happens when we complete our pilgrimage and come home to our everyday life,  our time of RE-ENTRY?


If you’ve already walked a Camino, whether short or long, please contribute to the discussion with comments at the end of this blog. If you are in the thinking or planning stage, or just curious, I hope you will find some helpful replies. Stay tuned and I will share responses on a future blog post.

You can check out my past posts on this blog, BEYOND BORDERS ON THE CAMINO, where I’ve described my feelings of change, transformation, gratitude and more. But now let’s hear from you!

For many pilgrims, and I include myself, we can’t stop walking and talking about our Camino. Sometimes the end is really the beginning.

I’m grateful for the support of Sacramento Pilgrims,  a chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, where you will meet other pilgrims who have walked or might walk someday, or are in different stages of planning. When I first began training and learning more about the Camino, I also joined the Camino de Santiago Forum, a supportive and fun online pilgrim community and Camigas, “a Buddy System for Women on the Camino” on Facebook. Before and after our walk there are lots of opportunities for support and learning. Wow! I was so excited to begin my Camino after all the stories, questions, replies and help shared. Now that I’ve returned twice, I find I need the support and connection more than ever.

Here’s your chance to connect, share and compare, so feel free to pick one or more or add to these starter questions.  I bet you could write a book!

  • What changes did you make to your post-Camino life?
  • What is different about you and your life now?
  • Do you plan to walk another Camino?
  • How will your next Camino be different from your first?

Readers who are thinking about or planning their first Camino will benefit from your replies. And so will you,  as you continue to be in the re-entry mode of a completed Camino.


Thank you for walking with me and sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings about the Camino de Santiago.

Buen Camino, Irene Lipshin



15 thoughts on “Was Your Camino Life-changing?

    1. Smile … we are actually looking into do exactly that! Providing a place for all of those in our group who have a blog and want to share. We have some really talented writers here locally!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Kerri. It’s amazing how many people in the pilgrim community, including Sacramento Pilgrims, have so much to share and really contribute to “planning” and enjoying the Camino.


  1. Yes. A good idea to connect with many Pilgrim groups. I’m linked with APOC and Sacramento, but there are others, so I hope some readers join the conversation! Pilgrims who have returned from a Camino have a lot to share. Thanks and Buen Camino, Irene


  2. The Camino has refocused my life. Leading walking groups and helping people prepare for the Camino has enriched my life here at home immeasurably. It has helped me in decision making also – what will make me happy and help me to help others are the factors that help me decide how to use my time. Now if only I could live out of my backpack and eliminate the chores of life here at home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Darlene. You describe a meaningful change, giving back to the Camino and your community in multiple ways, as well as making your life happier and more complete. When I begin to post the comments, I would love to add a link to your blog, so readers can see how you have continued the Camino at home. And I echo your last comment: I, too, would love to live out of my backpack, to live more simply. I’m working on that! Buen Camino.


  3. The Camino has continued to shape my life each and every day since my return. I am lucky enough to continue to be involved with the Camino through mentoring those who are thinking of doing a Camino for the first time, by continuing to volunteer as a Hospitalera (a way to experience the Camino in a completely different way – although this is not for everyone), and by doing what I can to provide events and gatherings of purpose for the local area pilgrims. Ha. All of it is volunteer and is a lot of work, but I believe the process of walking the Camino – however one chooses to do it – is so valuable that whatever I can to get someone to their starting line, that is what I do. I think walking the Camino makes better human beings out of each and every one of us (in our own special way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Kerri. It’s clear that many of us are still on the Camino, long after we return home. You contribute so much to the Sacramento Pilgrim community and the Camino in so many ways. What’s wonderful is how you illustrate that helping others is so fulfilling and contributes to your own happiness. Everyone benefits, including me. Thank you so much for your contributions. Buen Camino.


  4. Life Changing? First time–NO! Second time? You decide. Second Camino I walked from SJPDP to Finisterre. Shortly after leaving Santiago after 27 days walking in September 2014 , I saw a pilgrims shell lying on the left side of a dirt trail. Picking it up, I put it into my pants pocket. About an hour later, I passed a woman on the trail repacking her gear. Something made me stop and walk back to see if she needed any help.
    She did not need my help but started walking with me. I noticed she did not have a shell on her pack and ashed why.

    she said that she had a friend who was a mystic and who told her to not buy a shell as she would meet a man who would be important in her life and he would give her a shell.

    Pulled the shell out of my pocket and gave it to her. Walked to Finisterre together and then took the bus back to Santiago. She left for Portugal and I returned to Pennsylvania. On Easter Sunday 2017 we walked from Santiago to Finisterre together. We went to the eastern beach together where we followed the custom of kneeling in the water and letting 9 waves wash over us to erase our sins. We then walked up the hill to the End of the earth where I asked her to marry me.

    She has her Visa interview December 6 and if all goes well, we expect to be together in the US for Christmas….and forever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Xin Loi, for your beautiful story. Wow! After reading your last line, I felt a truly spiritual connection with you. And I would say, you have an amazing and LIFE-CHANGING story. Please let me know which site you read to connect to this blog and if it’s okay if I publish your story on a blog post at a future time. Wishing you both a Buen Camino and a great adventure. Ultreia, Irene


      1. One mistake–time of walk was September 2016, not 2014.

        also might add that upon return to Santiago after going to the End of the Earth at Easter 2017, we celebrated our engagement by staying in the Paradore in Santiago. While there we went out on to the Plaza in front of the Cathedral that evening , and slow danced in front of the church while a local band played in the darkness. Very romantic!


      2. Xin Loi, what a romantic story. The end is the beginning. I also walked in September 2016. Have you shared your story in any publications? APOC has a newsletter or maybe you two have a book to write. Thank you, Ultreia! Irene


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