I find that the experience is somewhat surreal. Many of my friends followed my blog and have been interested in the details of the trip. Others who did not often can't imagine the idea of walking across a country the size of Spain. One of the blessings after I arrived home was a beautiful book designed by my daughter Michelle using my blog and photos. Looking at it in printed form has helped me visualize the walk and meditate on the journey.
I can't say that it has been a life changer, nor did I expect it to be. It was at best a wonderful lifetime experience to be added to many other fabulous adventures. It was a physically taxing journey, and a long time to be away from family and friends. That needs to be considered by anyone who might undertake this trip. However, the Camino is unique for its infrastructure, its camaraderie among strangers and its changing scenic beauty through woodlands and fields and quaint villages. For that it is well worth the investment of time and energy.
I found some interesting statistics on the Camino, as reported by the credentialing office. In 2012 there were 192,488 people who completed 100K or more of the Camino. Of those, 56% were men and 44% were women.
Their ages were as follows:
30 - 60 - 57%
Younger than 30 - 28%
Older than 60 - 15%
70% of the pilgrims took the Camino Frances, which we did.
85% of the pilgrims walked, 15% biked, and .15% rode a horse. 22 people did it in a wheelchair.
About 50% of the pilgrims are from Spain. The next largest groups are from Germany, Italy, Portugal and France. Only 3% are from the United States and 1.5% are from Canada, Michele and I are in a somewhat exclusive group.
20% start in Sarria, the closest location for receiving a credential.
12% start in St. Jean, the beginning of the Camino Frances. After that there are 2-5% starting in the different cities along the way. Only 2% begin in Pamplona like us.
41% walk it for religious reasons, and 52% do it for both religious and other reasons. The other 6% are just doing it.