Returning from Camino

By Dr Alexander John Shaia.

This is the original guidebook for pilgrims returning home from the Camino or any pilgrimage. We usually spend weeks deciding on footwear, clothes, gear, blister prevention, travel details, and maps. Preparing oneself to return home is just as crucial. The return is not 'post-Camino' or pilgrimage. Like a sign in Spain, "Our steps end. The Way goes on."

Table of Contents

I. Gifts and Challenges

II. Before You Leave

III. As You Walk

IV. Arriving at The Cathedral - Shrine

V. Once Walking Has Ended

VI. Traveling Toward Home

VII. Homecoming

VIII. Living Your Own Story

IX. Aiding Integration

X. Closure: Fire, Gathering, Service

XI. A Classic Rite of Passage Resources

The front cover is the work of Marc Heffner, artist and pilgrim. For more see his website,

Alexander leads an intimate band of pilgrims each year on a 55 day Camino as an intentional rite of passage. He is an author, speaker, and ritualist with a background in cultural anthropology, Jungian psychology, and Christian/mystical spirituality. The book is dedicated to all returning from pilgrimage and to Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist, who taught Alexander in college and who significantly influenced his life and work.

My only regret when I made the film - "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago" - was that I hadn't found a way to address what happens when pilgrims finish walking.  Thank goodness Alexander is addressing this very needed and vitally important topic.  This book will bring much peace, comfort and reassurance to many a pilgrim upon returning home.  I wish this book had existed when I walked my first Camino in 2008! - Lydia Smith, Producer/Director of "Walking the Camino"

I tend to focus on the preparations for the journey, or the journey itself and forget that I have to return home and re-assimilate.  I'm still struggling with the return to 'normal'.  Thank you Alexander.  This is a valuable book. - David Littleton, Camino Pilgrim

Pilgrimage often leave you sitting back at home wondering what happened. This book is for anyone returning from pilgrimage, not simply Spain's Camino.  Alexander ably guides the pilgrim through the confusions experienced on the journey, as well as returning home.  When my pilgrim foot hits the road, this book will be in my bag. - Andrea Lingle, Author and Iona Pilgrimage Leader

With purity of heart and spirit, Alexander John Shaia is the perfect compañero, accompanying pilgrims as they integrate the Camino into their lives and prepare for the new beginnings that await. - Liz Helmore, Director, Nativa Travel, Spain,

The most powerful moment of pilgrimage, the time of return, has oddly been ignored in Camino literature until now.  Alexander's compelling guide answers this need of returning pilgrims.  He offers gentle guidance as well as potent tools and rituals that help harness a pilgrim's life changing transformation. - Beebe Bahrami, Anthropologist and Writer including her "Camino de Santiago" guide to sacred sites, historic villages, local food and wine, published by Moon, 2019.

Alexander John Shaia is an author, speaker, and pilgrim mentor sought internationally for retreats and seminars.  Each year he leads an intimate band of pilgrims for 55 days on the Camino as an intentional rite of passage. He frequently appears as a guest on various podcasts including Robcast with Rob Bell, and You Made It Weird, with comedian Pete Holmes.  For more, see Alexander John's website: