As a woman I should add… it probably does make a huge difference if you are walking the camino alone as a woman or as a man, plus, I wouldn’t be qualified to report about experiencing the latter😂.
I didn’t think I would mention anything about it, especially not since I’ve been travelling solo for many years and through quite a few countries, Israel for instance, which is a country where I would clearly not recommend to go on your own as a woman!
Spain and this kind of journey at this time of year – not sure either.
There are not too many people walking. Most of them are men, either in groups or by themselves.
And there is the Spanish macho attitude, which makes things a lot harder! From my experience they either feel called to protect a woman alone, which is nice in a way and can lead to helpful acts of kindness they will offer and/or perform – or they believe that this woman travelling alone definitely needs a man – and they also have a clear idea who that man should be.
I am not wearing any makeup at all these days and all pilgrims tend to walk around with muddy trousers and boots – this is actually part of what I recommend: do not doll yourself up at all, do not look them in the eye, do not go to bars alone at night and when you go there during the day, do not look around or appear friendly or approachable, because if you do, they definitely will!
Spanish men seem to be brought up believing they are the most charming, attractive and good looking men in the world and regardless if you agree they are or are not and regardless if this particular piece of Spanish art meets your taste or not or is your age or not, they will not hesitate to make a pass at you if you don’t totally discourage and ignore them.
That said, another option would be, if you feel like it, join a group or partner up with a guy traveling solo whom you consider safe – they’ll think he is your husband anyway.
When outside in a village or town: keep moving! Don’t sit in the same spot for too long, that will assure “them” that you are alone.
If you don’t feel safe at all, wear a wedding ring.
I found I can sometimes enter a stage and emanate an aura of nun-like invisibility and have the expression that I am weird and an aged virgin – not always though.
My most uncomfortable moments are when sleeping with strange men in one dormitory, especially when there’s hardly any other women around and when they looked at me a little too long. More often than not though, the macho mentality results in the hospitaleros giving you or you and the other “chicas” a female only room – I don’t want to ponder any further on their deeper motives, I simply enjoy it!
Just an anecdote – really happened last night!!- so last night, I was the only woman, so I got a dorm to myself, this Spanish guy knocked at the door at around 8pm, I opened and he mumbled something about my partner and if I was Spanish and then he offered me an orange. He even blushed, it was the most embarassing scene I’ve ever been a part of – I mean, the door was closed, would any of you knock to ask stupid, random questions or would you only knock in an emergency…?
So what it comes down to, is, I myself am having many moments when I am fully aware of how vulnerable I am, specially with all these aches and sore muscles, I would probably not be able to fight or run, let alone with my heavy load on my back.
BUT, I do feel that I am safe in HIM. And I came here in obedience, not for fun!
I am offering this walk to HIM.
From my experience and knowledge, that’s the greatest security there IS and sometimes, I have to remind myself who it really IS who has my back and that it is the invincible KING OF KINGS himself. Like it is so wisely stated by Paul in
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Also, there is this special and unique respect for and this admirable attitude towards pilgrims here, so I don’t think they would seriously harm one.
So what I believe is that it is safe to come here when you come for THE LORD. And I believe HIM to keep me, even though I may still have my moments when I doubt this…if you’d like to support me, prayers will always be greatly appreciated, my friend, and if you are a Christian, then you know that prayer works!!!
As usual, I hope and pray that some of this could inspire, heal or amuse you, and that THE LORD may bless you richly in every area if your life, that HE may keep you and that HE may shine HIS face upon you. In JESUS’ name I pray. Amen.