Thou Shall Not Kill

Stacked high like cords of wood

Stacked high like cords of wood

Pilgrim Etiquette ( how to keep yourself and others from killing each other)

June 10, 2014

First off, recognize that you, yourself have habits that others will find disgusting, weird, bizarre, sick, twisted, horrifying…and you think your behavior is perfectly normal. You aren’t normal. You are a pilgrim on a 500 mile journey, living out of a backpack.

And let us begin with a few things I have observed and you should avoid doing ( right now…it is all about me and my comfort zone).

*You might think that your sh*# doesn’t stink but it does and everyone else’s does too. You fart, I fart, we all fart. And we poop too. And it stinks. Try not to let one rip while you are the occupant of a top bunk. That smell just permeates through the mattress and I swear I can see that stink cloud hovering over me. Aim your butt sideways. And yes…EVERYONE can hear EVERYTHING that is going on in your bunk and in the bathroom. It is life. We are packed into small rooms. Sounds travel.
Please don’t stay in the toilet until the smell disappears. Those of us standing in line outside the door really need to use the bathroom in the morning. You don’t have the luxury of waiting till the smell leaves. We are pilgrims. We will deal with it.

*The WC ( water closet, toilet) is not your personal changing room with a locked door. People have to pee in the morning while you are inside taking your sweet time being modest. We are pilgrims. We will deal with seeing you in your undies. In fact, I say flaunt it. Go buy some wild and crazy knickers so we all can laugh and you can make friends. We are pilgrims. We can deal with it.

*Taking a shower is a necessity, it is not the steam room. You get 5 minutes of warm water. Spending 25 minutes filling the bathroom and the adjoining bedrooms with steam will cause you to lose face with the rest of us pilgrims because of your thoughtless actions you have bogarted ALL the hot/warm/lukewarm water for EVERYONE else and have left us literally in the freezing cold. We don’t like this. We are pilgrims and we will deal with it, but we might not treat you nicely anymore.

*Snoring, like farting, comes with the pilgrim territory. Just a fact of life. Hot air will escape from either the pie hole or the butt hole ( if it comes out your ear or nose holes, you will look like a cartoon character). We are pilgrims. We can deal with it.

*No one wants to hear you yelling, talking loudly or fighting with your spouse, friend, kid, the temp fling that you picked up while on the trail, while you are both at opposite ends of the hostel. Or better yet, one of you is at the farthest end of the hostel while you are in the shower with the hot water on and you are ripping each other a new one. We are pilgrims out here on a journey that involves self reflection…quietly…and a lot of us left this kind of drama at home. Don’t share your quarrel with the rest of us ( especially when it is in a language I can’t understand). We are pilgrims, not your therapist. And because we are pilgrims, a great many will deal with it instead of yelling, “SHUT-UP!” Unless you are in the same hostel as me. And then, I’m going to give you the disapproving, shame-on-you teacher look that EVERYONE can understand in any language.

*Do NOT sit on someone else’s bunkbed, especially on their pillow, with your sweaty, stinky, smelly backside! (This just happened to me. Stupid boys, with crap for brains and porno vocabulary)
Pilgrims are supposed to be considerate and this type of misbehavior is disgusting. Where is common sense?
I am a pilgrim and am supposed to be thinking kindly towards my fellow beings…I am a work in progress.

For me…my bad habits include, cutting my toe and fingernails wherever…kitchen table, bedside, living room, outside, in the bathroom…same goes with flossing my teeth. Anywhere, anytime. I’m refraining from doing these two things in public. So if I can make an v effort, others can too. Just have to put your mind to it.

There are more etiquette scenarios to cover. Stay tune as I eek them out over time.


7 thoughts on “Thou Shall Not Kill

  1. Matua_Mayo

    Shawna and Abby =] saludos a las damas. Buen Viaje. Thanks for the great narrative and off the beaten path. A la próxima vez Las Damas. Caminando ,,,,Cioa

  2. susanawee

    Shawna……hugs and CONGRATULATIONS on such a ‘down to earth’ and absolutely great post. I for one, totally and uncategorically, agree 100% with every word you have written here. Good on You. Smiles….Sue. ps. I am sharing this on Australian Pilgrims on the Camino as I really feel that it should be directed to a very wide cross-section of Pilgrims, travellers, hikers, trekkers or whatever it is that we all call ourselves.

  3. aliciameldrum

    I’m with Mormon Soprano. I think I’ve seen this picture in a magazine in the do’s and don’t section it was clearly in the “don’t” column. But as you where . . . carry on and vaya con dios.

  4. Bob

    Agree on the thought of NOT sitting on anyone’s bed or mattress. I paid my 10 euro for a bed and I didn’t plan on sharing it with you or anyone else!! One kid did it sat on my bed last year! “Sorry bud, I don’t know where you have been or what is attached to your A%%; I do mind, so get off my bed; sit on the floor or somewhere else!”

  5. Mormon Soprano

    Ugh. I must not be a “true pilgrim”, because I really don’t think I could deal with [any of] it! I’d start screaming like a French Banshee woman – [in English of course]
    OK. I seriously thought those were flat screen TV’s on the left side! Haha! I just realized they are windows left open that have been papered over or something.
    But seriously, I know I would have a major panic attack trying to sleep in a room that crowded. For one thing, it’s a nightmare fire trap. For another thing, it’s just too many sweaty stinky weird strangers all crammed together. You and Abby are brave women. You can now check off “communal experience” from your Camino, and hopefully never have to repeat….

  6. stephanie


    unately with the good comes the bad…but you will see so much more of the good and gradually forget the bad….


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