Simplicity . Generosity . Gratitude

¿What makes a pilgrimage a pilgrimage?

¿What qualities inform and form the pilgrim?

I´m exploring simplicity, generosity and gratitude as ways of being that are appropriate for doing a pilgrimage and which mutually inform and enrich each other. ¿How will they play out? ¿How will I attend to them in my body, my speech and my mind?

At a conference last year on philosophies of travel, I was confronted with the (well-informed) opinion of the conference organiser that there was no distinction between the pilgrim and the tourist. His justification: If you are privileged enough to have the leisure to travel you´re a tourist. Basta. It just doesn´t cut it for me, though. Or at least, it doesn´t accord with my experience of consciously stepping into the shoes and the attitude of pilgrimage. Perhaps it´s because for me, the distinction between pilgrim and tourist has been such an important one for me deciding who I want to be. What do you think? There´s something powerful about doing a long journey on foot, especially when undertaken with a heart-orientation towards the sacred, towards God. And here on the Camino, one is literally walking in the footsteps of a thousand years of pilgrims (give or take the more sparse patches in the Camino history). Do places and trails become strong in their own right, through all that intention, all that prayer, all those plodding and skipping human steps?


Boots outside an albergue


3 thoughts on “Simplicity . Generosity . Gratitude

  1. Catie Morrison

    Definitely a difference beween pilgrim and tourist! It’s all about intention, which is why the gentleman you mention did not make the distinction: it’s not merely what you’re doing, but why you are doing it. (Actually, consider those papers which were accepted/rejected for the subsequent publication …! A prevailing philosophy.)

  2. Dina

    For sure, places much prayed in, or ways much prayed on, are the real holy sites.
    Lechi le-shalom, chavera.
    Yalla, I’m anxious to start my vicarious pilgrimage with you.

  3. Radu

    Do not agree with the gentleman from the conference. I think he is trying to make everything very simple. A tourist, by definition, goes to a place for leisure, for recreational purposes. A pilgrim has a different reason, from my point of view, to enhance his or hers spiritual being to increase his or hers awareness.

    I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for on this road!


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