Category Archives: Thinking on my feet

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?

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Boots outside an albergue

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