The art of Pilgrimage

Is travel a guilty pleasure, Instagram-filled journey or a yearly escape? How about simply the instinct to travel? Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage sets out to show readers that meaningful, purpose-filled travel is an often overlooked approach in our busy, modern world. With the pandemic giving us extra itchy feet this past year and a half, we’re all hankering to get out on the road, however once we are out there, what is it that we expect to find or feel?

The Art of Pilgrimage

If one’s home can be considered the “best of countries”, then why is it that millions of us are swayed to travel to faraway lands and often at great risk? Cousineau is definitely no stranger to travel, for he has been on the road most of his life. His father was convinced that travel was good for the mind, while his mother believed it fed the soul.

traveler en route to Patcham
[Traveller en route to Patcham]

Once out of university in the mid 1970’s, he embarked on a trip to Europe for six months which lit the travel bug deep inside. He wound up spending time in Northern London doing odd jobs until he’d saved enough to start all over.

To set out on a pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life.

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Inspired by a travel poster of Egypt, he began to fantasize about a trip to the land of the Pharaohs — a true pilgrimage of his own. The ancient and holy surroundings led him to experience a deeper connection, an encounter that helped to form the footprint of this book.

A simple afternoon spent with a group of Bedouins, as they marvelled the setting sun on the horizon together, transcended language barriers and made him realize that this was the happiness that he longed to repeat on his journeys.

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The Art of Pilgrimage is designed for those who intend to embark on a journey with deep purpose but are unsure of how to prepare for it or endure it. To properly experience any destination, one must slow down and linger, savour, and absorb every aspect of the trip.

While many travellers visit the rich ancient worlds and cities of our planet, the majority will traipse through, take photos and leave with a sense of completion, but not purpose. The Art of Pilgrimage offers a “template” for garnering more meaning and purpose, love and beauty of our journeys.

Scaean Gates of Troy
[Scaean Gates of Troy]

Throughout the seven chapters are stories from the road as well as anecdotes, quotes and practical suggestions. Seeing a place with the “eyes of the heart” allows for an opportunity to learn something about yourself and the world around you. And while some may take a trip to a grand destination because it’s on their bucket list, others will travel in honour of a lost family member, partner or friend. A spiritual traveller will want to feel the presence of place — and honour that place in their own way.

About the Author

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer, storyteller and TV host. With more than 35 books translated into more than 10 languages and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, Cousineau has also appeared on CNN, the Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian Channel, and has been interviewed for stories in TimeNewsweek, and The New York Times. Cousineau lives with his family in North Beach in San Francisco, California.

The Art of Pilgrimage is available online via Mango Publishing in the US (USD $19.95) and at Chapters Indigo online in Canada (CAD $27.95).

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