Past experience may help, that’s why we have collected some suggestions from people who have already been to a WYD – and added ours. Here is a list of the best tips to help you not miss out on anything.
- Make sure you know when and where you are meant to be: have a look at the WYD programme and check with your group what is scheduled. Remember to allow loads of time to get to the Papal events: thousands of people will converge in the same place, so always plan to leave earlier than when you would normally leave.
- Double check that you have everything you need in your backpack before leaving each morning. Here is a list of the essentials: 10 must-haves for WYD. Most importantly, do not forget water: stay hydrated, stay well.
- Don’t just stick with your group of friends. This is an experience to live with your Parish group, but also a wonderful and unique chance to meet people from all around the world, who you would never meet in normal circumstances! And don’t forget to exchange pins, bracelets, flags with your Spanish, American, Indian, Polish etc new friends: they will be good memories of your friendship!
- Be open to learn: about food (try out different delicacies); about other nationalities; about the Church in other cultures; and about yourself in a rather unexpected way
- Go to confession, go to daily Mass, or spend some time every day in Adoration. WYD’s atmosphere is special for its being a non-stop feast of the Spirit, and you may find the answer or the peace you have been looking for in the quiet of the sacraments.
- Make provision for your own requirements, for example food you cannot eat or your personal walking pace. But make sure you don’t complain all the time: expect some moments to be quite uncomfortable. Remember, with the right preparation and good company, those small difficulties will be easier to overcome
- Keep a journal and be ready to tell your experience later: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation’ (Mk 16:15)!
- Keep up your sense of humour! Especially when you are all worn and tired and the complaint start rolling in, some light frivolity is always useful to bringing back the spirit of the pilgrimage and a renewed sense of energy + communion among your fellow pilgrims.