Busted Halo

Rebecca Gallo is trying to put into practice the lessons she learned while walking The Camino. Follow along as she continues her spiritual journey — whatever that might mean.

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March 7th, 2013

Finding Time to Walk The Camino


making-time-for-camino-large-image“How were you able to take so much time off from work to hike the Camino?” a reader asked a few weeks ago.

The short answer is this: I resigned. However, you don’t have to leave your job behind in order to walk the Camino. If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take the journey to Spain to walk The Way, but are not sure you can take six weeks off, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask. I met a young Canadian woman who decided to walk the Camino after watching the movie “The Way.” She was a hairdresser and wondered how she could get the time off, but she was determined she was going. She first told her employer about the movie, saying, “I’d really love to do it.” To her surprise, her employer said, “Oh, you must go!” Then the hairdresser started telling her clients, all of whom loved the idea. She received tips and gifts and prayers of support — and assurance that her job would be ready to take her back upon her return. 
  2. Do a shorter Camino. The last 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Camino can be walked in less than a week. It is the minimum mileage required to receive a compostela (a certificate of completion). However, there are no other rules for where a pilgrim must start or how long they must walk. Many people do the last 100 kilometers just for a “taste” of the Camino, only to come back years later and walk the entire way.
  3. Start small. I met Remy on the second day of my Camino. He’s a Frenchman who walks for three weeks each year. Many Europeans start their Camino 800 kilometers from Santiago in St. Jean Pied-de-Port. They walk one, two, or three weeks their first year, then return the following year to where they left off. They continue in this way — some taking seven years to complete the route.
  4. Resign. I know it’s a bit drastic, but some people are just ready for a change. You might be one of them. Many people walk the Camino at a time of transition in their lives. My Australian friend Julie had just resigned from her nursing job. My South African walking companion Mona had just retired. I met at least a half-dozen people walking after they left a relationship or lost a loved one.
  5. Wait. I first heard of the Camino 12 years before I actually walked it. When the time was right, things started falling into place. If it’s too difficult to walk the Camino now, maybe the time just isn’t right. Listen to what your heart, your intuition, your gut, your faith are telling you. 

Walking the Camino can bring great insights no matter when you walk it, no matter how you walk it.

Do you have other questions about how you can plan your own Camino? Let me know and I’d be happy to answer them. 

The Author : Rebecca Gallo
Since 2012, Rebecca Gallo has walked the Camino de Santiago three times -- twice on a strict budget, and a third time traveling a little more luxuriously (private rooms with sheets instead of hostels with a sleeping bag). She enjoyed sharing her first journey and subsequent reflections with Busted Halo readers. Other tales of her adventures can be found at RenaissanceRebecca.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • http://www.facebook.com/danirka Dani Knight

    I so wanna do this.

  • Rosemary Lane

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks so much for your article. I know a lot of people would want to make this walk, so your tips were very informative. I just shared it with our company’s Facebook audience, and one of commenters asked if there are any resources for people who are disabled to make the Camino. Have you by chance come across any?


    • Rebecca

      Hi Rosemary –
      Your question reminds me of one person I met on the Camino who was walking the entire way with forearm crutches. I spent some time talking to him about his experiences and perhaps will write about that. I’ll look into resources as well and post those for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikehayesjr Mike Hayes

    Inspiring, I really want to do this and would love to do it with my college students. Somehow God will find a way.

    • Rebecca

      Indeed. Keep your eyes open and watch what presents itself to you.

  • http://renegadepilgrim.com/ RenegadePilgrim

    I learned of the Camino in 1994-95…and didn’t walk until 2010. The first time. I walked again in 2012. I’ve also served as a hospitalera. If you can afford it, do it. Quit your job. Life is too short. Do it when you think it’s right for you. There will always be another job and often when people complete the Camino, they return home with different priorities.

    • Rebecca

      I couldn’t have said it better. I completely agree. Thank you.

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