We’ve been foreigners before, but not like this. People look at us like we’re some thing from a foreign place. There’s no doubt about that. We are from another place. Some have figured out why we are here, and wish us “buen camino”. Others barely glance our way as t…
I’ve been a foreign as a tourist in other countries and I’ve lived and worked for several years in two foreign countries, with different language and different cultures (Italy and Ireland)
The «foreign-ness» is within.
As you describe in your story, you start thinking that people look at you as if you came from another planet, like if they were afraid… but children teach you that all you have to do is make an effort to eliminate barriers and communicate with others without fear, enjoying the experience.
Apart from that:
Speaking (or making an effort to) the language of the country you are visiting helps.
Being aware and respecful of social conventions also helps.
Thousands of people from all countries experience the Camino every year and they usually refer to it as somewhere where you «connect» with people in a special way and some individuals actually prefer to go on their own for a deeper self-exploring experience and to avoid limiting interactions with new people because of being with the same group/companions for the whole length of the trip.
These people usually don’t talk about that experience in terms of «foreign-ness», but about how it had enriched them personally once they were open and prepared to receive.