Where Can I Get Advice on Walking the Camino de Santiago?

Camino de Santiago Milepost 105 Kilometers
Camino de Santiago Milepost 105 Kilometers near Sarria. Wendy Bumgardner ©

It's easy to get inspired to walk the Camino de Santiago watching movies and video. In today's connected world, you can also get inspiration from people who have walked (or are currently walking) the Camino.

American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC)

This non-profit organization has 30 local chapters in the USA. They provide the pilgrim credencial to anyone who requests it, via an online form with an optional donation.

The organization and its members have a wealth of information on walking the Camino de Santiago. Yearly membership is $50.

My local chapter in Portland, Oregon hosts monthly walks followed by a get-together at a local pub. They also host a holiday party and other gatherings. At the monthly walk, pilgrims departing in the next month can join in a shell ceremony that includes a pilgrim blessing with a scallop shell.

These live meetings are a great way to meet experienced pilgrims and ask them nitty-gritty questions. I quickly discovered the spirit of the Camino by listening to and speaking with these other peregrinos. It was reassuring that many were older than me and many didn't have the appearance of being athletic. Yet they had walked the distance, endured, and were changed by the experience.

Facebook Group: American Pilgrims on the Camino

This group had over 8700 members as of June 2015. It is a great source of answers to your every Camino question by peregrinos, including many posting from the Camino.

It is a very positive and supportive discussion group.

Beware! Joining this group will supercharge your desire to be walking the Camino. My Facebook feed is filled each morning with photos and observations from those about to start the Camino, walking the Camino, finishing the Camino and musing over the lessons they learned and how it changed them.

The group also has a Files section with helpful documents.

Facebook Group: Buddy System for Women on the Camino

This group can help solo travelers find a walking companion on the Camino. It is a closed group, you must ask for admission. While I walked the Camino solo, many women feel uneasy about doing so.

Camino de Santiago Forum

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/

This forum has resources and FAQs that can guide you through planning and walking the Camino. It is also a great place to ask questions and get answers from other peregrinos. It has a lot of information on traveling to/from the Camino and on equipment. You can even try to arrange to share a taxi.

The books section was useful in finding Camino guidebooks that were peregrino-tested. I added another one to my Kindle within a minute of opening that section.

Movies and Video

The Way: This movie debuted in 2011 and is responsible for igniting the desire to walk the Camino in many people. Martin Sheen stars, directed by his son Emilio Estevez, who also wrote the screenplay.

It is a must-watch.

Walking the Camino - 6 Ways to Santiago: This documentary follows the Camino experiences of six different pilgrims. It was coincidentally filmed at the same time as The Way. It is excellent and shows a more realistic view of walking the Camino.

Apps for the Camino

These apps and downloads were recommended by peregrinos. My love of maps and data dictates I will probably load most of them onto my iPhone before my walk:

  • eCamino app: This app based on John Brierley's guide received mixed reviews compared to the print book. It is best used if you are walking during the high season rather than the off-season.
  • Camino Guide by Jack Fellows. The features of this app are available offline, so you don't need a WiFi connection for maps, etc.
  • Wise Pilgrim: both iOS and Android versions. This app is available for several Camino routes, at a small fee.
  • CaminoGuide.net PDF books: Available for a small cost, these can be used offline.
  • Ulmon CityMaps2Go Buy the "Way of St. James" map for offline use

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