This post is also available in: Español
Here are the results of the Pilgrims’ survey. First of all, I would like to thank the more than 305 pilgrims from 24 countrieswho, as of today (07/02/2021), have wanted to share a small part of their experience. I really didn’t think I was going to gather that number. Thanks especially to the users of the Gronze.net and caminodesantiago.me forums.
And thanks to your answers and comments to improve the survey. The impact from Twitter has been less than I thought. First lesson learned.
Stay tuned for updates. I will keep it active to collect your responses over time.
Motivation for the survey
I have almost always gone out on the Camino in winter. The truth is that I do not like crowds and I tend to think that this point of “difficulty” or at least “lack of comfort” due to the possible bad weather, makes the small groups that are formed to be more aware of each other to be sure that no one has problems. This inevitably means that the pilgrims you meet are not many.
Besides, I have always been of a curious nature and have read everything I could about pilgrims’ experiences, watched videos, … between one Camino and the next one. In view of the above, like many of those who have responded.
These two reasons coupled with my recent interest in #nocode or #visualprogramming tools to automate information access and analysis processes have led me to that “what if” danger of asking other pilgrims about those little things we always talk about in the forums. Not just reading or listening. Asking.
You can explore the results in full screen mode and play with filters.
Some interesting results
Did you know that almost 80% of the pilgrims who responded did not avoid La Meseta? That percentage rises to almost 90% if we only look at those who have done it more than 10 times. I still find it curious that someone skips that stretch when it is one of the most important in this inner journey.
- Most of the respondents are experienced pilgrims: more than 65% started their first Camino 5 years ago or more (more than half of them Spanish). And above all, they are repeat pilgrims: almost 45% have repeated it more than 5 times.
- What is clear is that there is a desire to return to the Camino: only 22% are not sure when they will repeat, while the rest are divided between the next 3 months and next year 2022.
- In terms of backpack size, the top choice is between 30 and 40 liters with almost 50%. What is clear to all of us is that we have to think a lot about going to a higher weight (25%).
- In terms of preparation, almost half of the pilgrims surveyed love to plan their next Camino while a not inconsiderable 23% simply worry about how to get to the starting point.
- Regarding the preferred time of the year, and taking into account that several options were available, only 14% preferred summer and 9% winter. Good weather is preferred by 77% of respondents.
- It is true that the survey has been published in active Camino forums but it is curious how more than 52% of pilgrims actively promote the Camino but are not very active in sharing content on social networks or those same forums (40%). Of those who like to share, the preferred option is social networks (32%).
- Where do we stay? For the majority, the first choice is public hostels (43%) while 25% prefer private hostels or hotels / cottages. We also have almost 30% who do not have a clear preference.
- How do we start the Camino? in view of the results, always alone (more than 53%). About 25% prefer to hang out with someone else, and of the rest, there is a lot of variation in the “alone” concept.
- Why repeat? 35% for simplicity with respect to daily life and another 33% to connect with the people and spirit of the Camino. For me, both answers are very “addictive” considering our pace of life. Another 9% return to reconnect with themselves, although I believe that in one way or another, this objective is implicit in all of us who repeat.
- Related to the previous point are the motivations for doing so. The main one, spiritual or philosophical (30%) while the purely religious one does not exceed 12%. Getting to know Spain or Tourism better (the sum is 25%) or meeting new people (just over 12%), are ahead.
Interesting and curious answers appear when the “Other” option is allowed and it is a free text field. I invite you to read them at your leisure because in these answers you can sense the experiences of each one of us:
- More than 22% choose Saint Jean Pied de Port as their preferred place to start the Camino but if we add “From anywhere”, “from my home” or “as far away as possible”, they exceed this percentage.
- Among the participants are several who have written travel guides or documentaries on one or more of the trails.
- Among Spaniards, the preferred Camino is not the French but the Primitive. For less than 1% but interesting. Of the other nationalities, it does not have a very comfortable lead either. The Portuguese, Via de la Plata, Primitivo and del Norte continue to gain followers.
- The highest number of responses after Spanish pilgrims (47%) came from the United States (14%) and Canada (8%). New Zealanders, Koreans and Belizeans have also responded.
As promised to all those who filled out the survey, you will be able to download the answers under a Creative Commons license (see the information below) simply by indicating the origin of the answers. If you have not been able to fill it out, here is the link (Spanish / English).
If you would like to explore the complete statistics since 2004 based on the Pilgrim’s Office figures, you can do so here.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.