56 Ways to Identify an American Post-Camino Peregrino in Withdrawal
*note to visitors: This post is about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain and assumes a certain amount of knowledge in readers. If you’re curious, this article gives a brief overview: “Walking the Camino de Santiago: A Beginner’s Guide“
1. Goodwill will not accept your used hiking boots.
2. You carry toilet paper, extra-powered Ibuprofen, and Compeed with you at all times.
3. You wash your socks with shampoo.
4. You have a fantastic tan…but only on your left side.
5. You have seen Pablito‘s special rock.
6. You fear cyclists.
7. You routinely approach reception desks and ask if the hotel is “complete.”
8. You hear that Alanis Morissette song in your head when you take long walks.
9. You can say “hello” in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, English, Dutch, Korean, and Aussie.
10. You are secretly a little bit in love with the Singing Nun of Santiago.
11. You wash your underwear with shampoo.
12. You either have or are contemplating a scallop-shell tattoo.
13. You’ve engaged in hour-long poncho vs. rain suit debates.
14. Folgers just doesn’t cut it anymore.
15. You can pee anywhere, and you don’t really care who sees.
16. You can pack everything you need for a 6 week trip in 10 minutes or less.
17. Your most prized possessions are field-tested socks and underwear.
18. The yellow arrow is your GPS.
19. You wash your face with shampoo.
20. Whenever you go to a restaurant, you look for the Menu de Peregrino, and you can’t understand why the wine isn’t included.
22. You can take a shower in 4 minutes…using only shampoo.
23. You can dry yourself off completely using a tiny ShamWow towel.
24. You’ve whittled your wardrobe down to 2 of everything.
25. You know how to say “medicated wipes,” “blister,” and “hemorrhoid” in Spanish.
26. You know and understand the many varieties of jamón.
27. You measure distance in K.
28. You only own clothing that dries really fast.
29. You walk into bars and ask for a stamp.
30. You can’t decide whether your scallop-shell tattoo should be the modern blue-and-yellow signpost one, the arty Logroño one, or the cool Navarrete one with the cross in it.
32. You know to avoid the ensaladilla rusa.
33. You know to order the Ribera del Duero in Burgos, the Mencía in Villafranca del Bierzo, and the Albariño in Portomarín.
34. You wash your dishes with shampoo.
35. You do not bother to ask for tomato, mayonnaise, or lettuce on your sandwich.
36. You don’t care much about “things,” but if anything happened to your framed compostela, you’d freak out.
37. You’ve had the best conversations of your life with people who walked beside you for a single hour.
38. You love pulpo, but only a la gallega.
39. You feel like a winner when you find a free electrical outlet at bedtime.
40. After telling yourself you will never eat another tortilla española as long as you live, now it’s all you want…as long as it is recién hecho.
41. When you check into a hotel, you ask if there is “weefee.”
42. You do not underestimate elderly Aussies, ever.
44. The love you feel for your hiking boots is not natural.
45. You got a hug from The David. And then another one.
46. You think the Salvation Army bell guy is a donativo stand, but he doesn’t seem to be offering any snacks.
47. You are astonished when restaurants open for dinner at 5pm.
48. You know the difference between tapas and pintxos.
49. You’re never too hungover to walk.
50. When you rinse out your Pilgrimwear, the water turns black.
51. When you sit down to lunch, you immediately take off your shoes.
52. You keep turning up the “C” knob in your home shower, but the water does not seem to be getting any more caliente.
53. You can really hold your vino tinto.
54. You wave your hands around in dark bathrooms and wait for the lights to come on.
55. You’ve been to the “end of the world.”
56. You know that anywhere is within walking distance, as long as you have the time.
Peregrinos, what did I miss?
Please add your “you might be a pilgrim ifs” to this list in the comments section below!
You might also enjoy:
A Pilgrim’s Progress — On The Way, a 5’3″ woman’s gotta learn to be big sometimes, especially when her Big Strong Man feels small.
Camino by the Numbers — The stats: miles walked, toenails sacrificed, tears shed.
El Camino de Santiago: The Things We Carried: Pack list with photos
8 Ways to be a Kinder, Gentler Pilgrim — A few brief lessons in Camino etiquette