The changes from the Camino continue…

Six months on now from walking the Camino, there are various changes which have become permanent. Some small, some major.

Small ones:

  1. I still can’t handle the sound of my phone ringing. I kept it on silent all through the Camino, and I still keep it on silent.
  2. I don’t put the alarm on at night. If someone’s going to break into the house and steal something, then they probably need it. (I do however lock the doors – and I am yet to put up a neon sign out front saying Steal here! )
  3. I don’t buy things. Unnecessary things. I used to. The house is full of it.
  4. At the end of November Jennifer and I are having a huge garage sale – first time ever. We’re unburdening ourselves. We don’t need so much stuff. 
  5. I’m frugal.

Big ones:

  1. I have more patience.
  2. I’m more accepting.
  3. I’m more grateful – and thankful.
  4. My sister and I have become genuine friends. (This is MASSIVE)
  5. I’m gentler.

What made me think about this right now is: I’m making travel plans for this trip Jennifer and I will be doing in a few weeks. We’re going to London for business, then we’re flying down to Porto to do a full “scout” of the Portuguese Camino tour I’ll be leading next April.

We’ll follow the Camino all the way through to Santiago – by car, but with a bit of walking. I want to lock in hotels, find some nice restaurants, and familiarise myself with the route.

Just now I went to book accommodation in London. When I go to London on business I usually stay in a place in Soho called Hazlits. It’s a cool little boutique hotel, but it’s expensive. I didn’t want to stay there this time. So I’ve found a cute pub in Wandsworth, out of Central London, and it’s about a quarter the cost of Hazlits. It’s perfect.

I’ll get the train in for the business meetings – and Jennifer and I can have pub food of an evening. I would never have considered doing this prior to the Camino.

This Sunday we drive up to Queensland for a week. (over 1,000kms) I have work to do for my university. Overnight we’ll stay at the Wobbly Boot Hotel, Boggabilla.

In previous years when we’ve done this drive to Brisbane, we’ve stayed in decent motels in major towns, not pubs in tiny little places like Boggabilla. But post Camino, everything is different. My attitude to these things has completely changed.

These may not sound like monumental changes, but they are indicators of a major shift in my thinking. I look at the world differently now.


42 thoughts on “The changes from the Camino continue…

  1. I definitely ‘get’ staying away from the known and expensive hotels/motels. Apart from not having the money any more for upmarket and pricey accommodation, they’re so similar and mostly bland, that I much prefer to stay somewhere with a bit more character. At my recent visit to London, I got very lucky and stayed at the London School of Economics (LSE) Bankside ‘hotel’ – student accommodation made available to all and sundry during the university holidays. It was fun meeting people from all over the British Isles and other parts of the world. All ages, lots of languages. Very simple, but clean and great breakfasts!! and VERY cheap and of course very central (2 min walk to the Tate Modern no less). I don’t think I’ve been to the Boggabilla Pub, but love the sound of it and have often stayed at similar pubs on my travels around the country. Great way to meet the locals, but with your history, Bill, be careful which ‘shout’ you join!! 🙂


    • haha – thanks Britta.

      You’re right about the big fancy hotels. You don’t get to have a sense of the place because you are insulated from all that.

      It will be fun staying in this pub in London. A new experience. Just like staying in the pub in Boggabilla.

      When I was a student I travelled around SE Asia staying in chinese hotels – usually for about $5 a night. Good clean beds and sheeting. And they put you right in the heart of where you were staying.

      It is after all only a place where you sleep!!

      You have to be careful though – I was going to book a pub in Brick Lane, London, which looked great – then I checked some reviews online and review after review said BEG BUGS! INFESTATION! So I decided not to stay there!


  2. The Camino effects works on me too. adios expensive it bags, knick knack souvenirs, clothes .. this year I bought NOTHING.. until I will have worn up every items in my closets. To day in a few hours I am flying to Paris .my luggage is not ready yet and I am thinking of taking my bacpack …
    congratulations on your changes


    • Hi Marie,

      It’s interesting isn’t it how it affects these very real changes.

      I’m thinking I can do a three week business trip with just carry on!



  3. By the way Bill when you will be in SANTIAGO check the HOTEL MOURE, for me the best in town : and they have a room with a fantastic bathtub on a terrace, in the fresh air , and an other one with a fantastic wiew on the Santiago roofs from the bath tub ( ok not very private but for a pilgrim..not a problem ) and a kitchen avalaible at all times with free hot and fresh beverages.. nice people and very fair prices.


  4. I always felt staying in a 5 star hotel was a waste of my money, unless you go to a Spa…then the sky is the limit! Otherwise, I only sleep in the hotel, I don’t ‘après-ski’, which is an old terminology of wanting to be seen and meeting people who want to be seen. 2011, I spend 1 month in Europe (Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Paris, London) with a small carry on. In Austria and Slovenia I stayed with family (except one night in my own birth town… I always had wanted to stay in that particular hotel growing up, one of the ‘après ski’-type – just fulfilling a childhood fantasy – which re-affirmed why I don’t spend a lot of money on hotel accommodation – it was dismal),.
    In Switzerland I stayed in small pensions, In Paris in a little flat in Montmartre and in London I couch-served in Camden. I did everything by train and walking. A sort of trial run for the Camino, but at that point I had no plans on walking the Camino in 2012, but was scheduled to go to the tea harvest in Fujian and Yunnan with some fellow tea sommeliers- a private expedition. The day I found out I was not going, I changed my tickets for Spain.

    So not that much of a change here BUT… now I find my house overcrowded with STUFF… and that garage sale has to wait till Spring. However, I have been purging, seriously, the 3 pile theory… toss, donate or sell and keep. It is a long haul yet, but already, I can feel the house breathing easier. Only bought 1 outfit for a function, no shoes ( I had a shoe fetish), the only vice I have kept is my hairdresser. My windswept Camino look, just doesn’t do it for me in everyday life 😉

    I plan on ditching my data plan on my cell phone as soon as I can do it without penalty and like Bill my phone is on silent but on alert for calls coming in from emergency calls. Oh, and as much as I can loose my temper again… I much more quickly regain my serenity… and I live in gratitude each day (somehow). I love my Camino Gifts!

    Light and Love Ingrid


    • Wow Ingrid,

      It sounds like the Camino has impacted you in a very similar way.

      I’ll remember your “après-ski” term – perfect – and also your three pile system for sorting through stuff.

      With accommodation while I’m traveling for my work, when you go to a meeting one of the first questions you’re asked is: Where are you staying? And you’re then immediately judged by that.

      In the film industry, these things are important – especially in Hollywood. The other thing you’re judged on in Hollywood is the type of rental you drive. If you’ve just been to lunch and you and a studio honcho are waiting by the Valet, and your car arrives first and it’s a Taurus, then it’s a huge indictment on your taste etc.

      Similarly if it’s discovered you’re staying at a Holiday Inn, or some out of the way junk box joint – it very much goes against you. In the film industry appearance is as important as substance. How you dress, how old you are, where you have lunch, etc.

      I’m tired of all that.

      Judge me by my work, and who I am – not what I look like, or where I stay.


  5. You should pass through Oia,lovely monastery there and a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea opposite the tourist office. We spent a few hours there earlier this year over a great lunch.


  6. Bill,
    While in Santiago de Compostela, our Galecian friend, Octavio, brought us to some local places he likes which were very good. First of all, there was a very local and rustic restaurant at 16 Rua San Pedro, just outside the old town called O Dezaseis. Delicious Galecian home cooking… The best grilled octopus I’ve ever eaten! Delicious rustic bread, everything good!
    Hotel Costa Vela has a beautiful and serene flower garden with a fountain and a lovely grape arbor with tables and umbrellas for drinks and pintxos… Very private and away from the hustle and bustle and gaita wailing… The hotel was full so we didn’t get to stay, but it looked nice… We did stay at the Altair, a modern hotel just up the street a ways. It was small and elegant.
    We also stayed at the hotel monestario de San Francisco a four star hotel behind the more expensive Hotel Dos Reis Catolicos, which we also stayed in… But I prefered San Francisco… Less expensive… Better accommodations, better restaurant, a swimming pool, and is connected to a beautiful old chapel…


      • Ditto for Hotel Costa Vella, SdC. Leaving there this morning after two days. Great location, best staff ever, and they recommend a restaurant a few metres down the road with a restaurant like their garden cafe, outside under a 300 year old tree. Check the Costa Vella in tripadvisor. Peter Fanning


        • Cool Peter – I think I’ve walked past that place and always marvelled at how beautiful it looks.

          Hope you and Maggie are having a lovely relax after your journey!



      • We visit this hotel every time we are in Santiago for lunchtime drinks, they don’t serve food other than breakfast. The staff are really nice and the setting is tranquil and beautiful. Last time, a few weeks ago, we asked about rates, a single was €55 and a double was €88, a bit too rich for my pension but still a lovely place to visit.


        • hi Pat –

          I’ve just checked, and they regard Sept as high season – through to October in fact!

          They are not cheap – but I might stay there and check them out when I go in Nov.

          best Bill


      • Thanks Bill, either way its a lovely place, we refer to it as the secret garden, Jane found it by accident while she waited in SdC last year for us to finish.


        • Yes, I’ve walked past it many times and always marvelled at how beautiful it was – with the lovely view from the garden too.

          I will definitely check it out – and have contacted the hotel to see if they have a room available on the dates I’m in SdC in Nov. it would be good to stay there.

          Any great restaurants you know of, let me know too!



        • Hi Pat –

          I’ve just booked into the hotel –

          had a lovely series of email exchanges with them. They should like wonderful hosts.

          Javier emailed only about an hour ago to say that there was someone, or some people, currently at the hotel talking about me to him – so, that’s scary!!



      • This is just down the street from the hotel, its michelin reccomended and the food is traditional and very good. I would reccomend it.

        Bierzo Enxebre
        Rúa da Troia, 10
        15782 Santiago de Compostela
        A Coruña, Spain
        +34 981 58 19 09


      • Hi Pat, I suspect it might be something that this particular hotel stipulates.

        I checked their room rates on their website, and that’s how they charge – high season up to Oct. But the hotel doesn’t seem affiliated with any booking agency – from what I can see you have to book directly through them – so as I say, it might be a peculiarity of that hotel only.



  7. Bill and Jennifer, your trip sounds so good. Do you need someone to carry your bags? I love pub food and I am a three star type of person!


    • HI Fran –

      I’ve just confirmed the bookings.

      London for 2 nights – then a week traveling from Porto through to Santiago – then across to Frankfurt for 4 nights, driving around Bavaria. Then back home.

      I want to see if I can do the whole trip with just carry-on luggage!

      And yes, I’ve discovered this place in London is a “gastro-pub,” so I’m not sure if that means that if you eat there, you get gastroenteritis!!



  8. Oh well, no harm in asking. I would be interested in what you pack if you intend
    just carry-on luggage. I struggle keeping the weight of my bag down when going on holidays. I hope you don’t get “gastro” in the gastro pub, but take some Hydralyte effervescent Electrolyte tablets with you just in case. Have a lovely trip and stay safe.


    • Thanks Fran!

      It’s going to be interesting, this packing – because in past trips for business I’ve taken a suitcase, with a separate carry-on case – total weight being about 24-26kgs.

      This time I want to take just a single carry-on case, and keep the weight to about 8kgs. So I’m going to apply Camino discipline to it.

      Here’s what I’m thinking –


      track pants t-shirt merino l-sleeve top weather jacket boots Bonds Comfy Undies socks


      1pr jeans 2x t-shirts 1 merino l-sleeve top 2x Bonds Comfy Undies 2x socks scarf dress jacket (for meetings)

      And then laptop, iPad, iPhone, chargers, camera, toiletries, books.

      I think that will all fit in my Samsonite carry-on…



  9. Hi Bill – Goodness that IS travelling light, but a good guide for the future, so thank you. Laundromats will have to be your friends though.


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