Surviving the Camino With Your Spouse

The idea of walking the Camino as a couple could be enchanting to some people, but daunting to others. Whatever the case, this topic is something to contemplate for all couples who are thinking about walking a Camino.  The following post was adapted from a chapter in Andy Cohn’s e-book, The Camino de Santiago – An Introduction to the Ways of the Way, where, in his words, “I try to answer the questions I had myself—or should have had—had it ever occurred to me to think about what we were getting into.”

Surviving the Camino With Your Spouse
by Andy Cohn

I do love my wife, but 24/7 for a month? Could be a stretch (especially for her) . . . 

So, if you’re setting off with your spouse, and hope to return together—in one piece, no less—you might want to avail yourself of these crucial coping strategies: 

1. Walk at different speeds. This, of course, is the best way to not be together 24/7. But there’s a technique to it. One spouse can’t be faster all the time. Otherwise, you start playing psychological one-up games, and we know where that leads . . .

Nor can you just pretend to be slower or faster. Then you’re patronizing your spouse. So you have to find the organic way of separating yourselves. In our case, this was easy, since Kate is descended from mythological Greek creatures who were half mountain goat. Thus, she dominated on the hills with ease, but with her short mountain goat legs, she ceded control to me on the flats.

So—we start out together:

Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart on the Chemin de Le Puy

But in the middle, there goes Kate…

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On the Camino, you will find your own way.

2. Have lots of Facebook friends with whom you must keep in touch. That was Kate’s strategy for ignoring me. Mine was to disappear into the hotel or albergue lobby and write long emails to my buddies back home on a rent-a-computer.

3. Buy into your spouse’s plans. That way, no one needs to feel guilty when the “delightful, waterside inn” one of you has reserved turns out to be a mold-infested dump by the effluent pipe of the sewage plant.

4. Find some amazing characteristic of your spouse so you can brag about him or her to all the new people you meet. For me, this was easy, since Kate is a champion marathon runner. Kate, however, faced insurmountable obstacles.

And finally, we finish together.   (Lots of wine helps, too)

Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart enjoying a pilgrim meal with great wine Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart celebrating the completion of another Camino

Employing their well-honed survival strategies, Kate Stewart and Andy Cohn have remained married for 39 years, 6 months and 8 days (but who’s counting?), and returned intact from the following Spanish Caminos and other long-distance walks:

  • The Francés
  • Finisterre & Muxia
  • The Norte
  • The Portuguese
  • The Primitivo
  • The Inglés (part)
  • Coast to Coast in England
  • Cotswold Way in England
  • West Highland Way in Scotland (part)
  • Via Francigena in Italy (part)
  • Chemin de Le Puy in France

In late spring, they plan to return to Italy to finish the Italian part of the Via Francigena.

Save the date: On March 19, 2020, Andy and Kate will give a presentation about walking the Chemin du Puy in France at the Berkeley South Branch Library.

RSVP required by Wed. Mar. 18 at:

Andy graciously offers his updated e-book for free as a PDF download:
The Camino de Santiago – An Introduction to the Ways of the Way

I am featuring Camino love stories on this blog.  Why? Because love is in the air! I certainly respect the premise of what happens on the Camino stays on the Camino.  However, love is a splendid thing that should be celebrated. Has the Camino provided you with more than just a long walk? If you have a Camino love story to share,  email me or use the form below. Photos and video links welcome.

Share the Camino love! ♥

Love is in the air

2 thoughts on “Surviving the Camino With Your Spouse

  1. Yes, you definitely need some (or maybe it’s a lot) of humor to walk the Camino as a couple. After we’ve done 2 Camino’s (Frances and Portuguese), me and my husband are still married (and talking to each other) 😉.

    I think it’s such a privilege that we could have done these journeys together and we will always cherish the amazing times on the road … and when looking at our photo’s, there is no doubt that my husband is the stronger one – all the photo’s of him walking in front of me, is a clear indicator 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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