An anxiety disorder, depression or PTSD does not rule out the Camino de Santiago any more than many physical illnesses.

It may take a little more planning and supervision, but there are ways to do it!

Pilgrimage despite psychological difficulties

If you have landed on this page, you are probably either affected yourself or know someone who is affected and is contemplating embarking on the Camino de Santiago.

That’s why I don’t want to delay sharing the good news: Yes, it’s possible.
And yes, this may be one of the best ideas you’ve ever had.

A pilgrimage can help you grow beyond yourself, revealing entirely new facets and strengths within you. It can lead to a rediscovery of your self-efficacy and your ability to take action, helping you overcome social fears and return as a transformed version of yourself.

And yes, I would be delighted to accompany you!
(Feel free to contact me directly at:

What does it mean to embark on the Way of St. James in the face of fear, depression, or PTSD?

First and foremost, it means that some conventional advice from more or less experienced pilgrims may not be suitable for you. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t come equally easily to everyone.

For those who peruse Facebook groups and encounter statements like “don’t overthink it, just walk!" or “sleepless nights in dormitories are all part of the pilgrimage!" the immediate reaction might be, “this isn’t for me."

However, it’s not that simple. The saying goes, “it’s your camino," emphasizing that everyone must determine what their journey should entail. Yours may involve more planning and security than others’.

If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping in the same room as strangers, then don’t do it. If you’re anxious about finding accommodations, consider pre-booking them. If you worry about completing an entire stage on a difficult day, walk with the assurance of bus schedules and taxi numbers. If you’re uneasy about the unknown, ease that fear by traveling with a meticulously detailed pilgrimage guidebook.

And if you lack confidence in walking alone, consider having me accompany you—whether digitally or in person; both options are available!

What is important if you wish to embark on the Camino de Santiago while dealing with anxiety, depression, or PTSD?

If you have concerns and your intuition suggests that a pilgrimage could be beneficial for you, here’s some advice:

1. Seek Evaluation from a Specialist

If you’ve developed a good understanding of your condition over time, possess effective coping mechanisms, and have therapeutic support, then a Camino de Santiago could indeed be a great idea for you. However, if you’re fresh from a burnout clinic or are in a fragile state, it becomes even more crucial to ensure you have a stable foundation and access to help if needed. Only a healthcare professional can make this assessment, so it’s advisable to consult with a doctor or therapist.

Be honest with yourself, as well. Sometimes, you might discover that you’re concealing the extent of your struggles, or perhaps you’re already prepared to take action but lack the courage and motivation.

2. Don't Be Influenced by Others

People often offer well-intentioned advice, but the Camino experiences of individuals are not universally comparable, especially when starting with such diverse mental conditions.

Depression might make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, and being forced out at eight o’clock by a pilgrim hostel after a night of turmoil can lead to feeling lost among cheerful crowds of pilgrims.

Similarly, generalized anxiety disorder doesn’t allow for the confidence that everything will work out for your evening accommodation.

If you have PTSD and lack a secure home base to retreat to, the uncertainty of it all can become overwhelming and cause you to give up. So, don’t let others unsettle you with notions of how the Way of St. James should be.

Your journey can be entirely different and equally valid!

3. Prioritize Self-Care

The Camino de Santiago pushes almost everyone to their limits and beyond. While this can be beneficial for personal growth, it can also have adverse effects for individuals with preexisting conditions, potentially leading to panic attacks or flashbacks.

It’s crucial to listen to yourself and take good care. This is easier during a solitary trek through nature than in the hectic pace of everyday life.

Budget for the possibility of needing a taxi or alternative accommodations if necessary.

There’s no shame in it; just as you’d take a taxi for a foot injury, allowing the adventure to include moments of self-care and finding solace quickly in a quiet place with walls and a bed is legitimate if you’re emotionally struggling.

4. Be Prepared to Boost Your Confidence

In your everyday life, you may not be the type who simply lets life happen in a carefree manner. Why should it be any different when walking alone in a foreign country with a backpack? (Spoiler: the chances of becoming more relaxed over time and trusting that the path will provide what you need are pretty good!)

If immersing yourself in the details of your chosen Way of St. James helps you prepare emotionally, then do so. If you only feel secure after reading numerous books, that’s your path, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

If you fear being unable to complete pre-designed stages, consider having someone like me tailor the stages to your needs.

If you want precise information about what lies ahead and when, including the duration of a forest section or the distance to the next bar, let me create a highly detailed pilgrimage guide for you.

5. Travel with a Toolbox

Carry whatever tools you find helpful.

Ensure you have an ample supply of any necessary medications. If you’re prone to panic attacks and haven’t yet taken medication for them, consider bringing some for emergencies, even if just for peace of mind.

If you’re in therapy, seek advice on handling specific challenging situations that may arise.

Create a list of people you can rely on in various situations – who can provide the best support when your self-belief wavers? Who can you call, even in the middle of the night? Who knows how to halt panic attacks and what to do if a trigger unexpectedly transports you out of the present moment?

If you choose to have me as your digital or “real" companion, consider me on your list. This is my full-time role, so you don’t need to wonder if it’s okay to reach out when you need assistance. I don’t have set office hours; I aim to be available whenever you require support.

What can you gain from this experience?

For one person, it might be the physical exercise, while for another, it’s the daily hours immersed in nature. For yet another, it’s the sense of community and the opportunity to engage in conversations with people from all corners of the world.

But for most, it’s primarily about the sense of achievement. It’s about taking pride in every single stage successfully completed. It’s about encountering something new each day and developing more confidence in oneself and the world with each passing day.

Furthermore, there’s the aspect of distancing yourself from everyday life, completely breaking away from your usual routines, stepping away from your usual companions, and temporarily leaving behind your everyday activities.

A Camino de Santiago journey has the potential to be truly transformative! It offers the opportunity for clarity, personal growth, profound insights, and meaningful change.

Dare to embark on this journey!

My Offer to You

I am trained as a psychological counselor and have attended a seminar on “Mental Health First Aid." I have also worked on a helpline for years, receiving specialized training, and possess extensive knowledge in the areas of anxiety, panic, depression, and (c)PTSD.

I understand what to do if you experience a panic attack or a flashback, and you can trust that I can empathize with and relate to your fears and concerns regarding the Camino de Santiago.

My offer encompasses more than just planning and organizational assistance; it primarily involves accompanying you on both your metaphorical and physical journey.

Planning, Guidance, Personal Guidebook, and Digital Support

If you feel stable enough to take on the adventure of the Way of St. James but would like the reassurance of having someone behind you to ensure thorough planning, I can provide:

A highly detailed pilgrimage guide so you always know your location and what lies ahead.
– A customized packing list.
– Assistance in finding suitable accommodations.
– Prompt answers to all your questions.
– Constant availability for communication during your journey.

My standard offer is reasonably priced, typically ranging from €10-15 per day when booked in advance. In comparison, travel agencies and other services often charge more for generic solutions.

Walking Together on the Camino

I’m ready to walk by your side!

Whether it’s for the entire journey, just the first day, or a few days, I am here to support you. Since I reside in Porto, accompanying you on the Camino Portuguese is more cost-effective, but I’m also willing to venture along the Camino Frances.

If we commence our journey together, I can pick you up from the airport and provide the level of care necessary for your comfort and security.

What has proven particularly beneficial is having me there at the outset and gradually allowing you to become more independent. You can start by walking alone for an hour in a designated area where getting lost is unlikely. Then, progress to covering half a stage and eventually a full one, knowing that I’m always just 15 minutes behind you. This way, you can stop for a coffee or a break at any time, with the assurance that I’ll be nearby.

Once you’ve gained the confidence that you won’t get lost, that you can confidently engage with fellow pilgrims, and that tasks like hotel check-ins and ordering coffee are second nature, you can send me on my way. Revel in the sensation of growing beyond yourself each day, discovering your strengths, and placing trust in your path and life!