What is pilgrimage?

If there has been one question that we have repeatedly asked ourselves during the 87 days of this trip so far, it has been, what is pilgrimage?

Our inquiry and our answers have never quite satisfied our asking of the question. This week we have applied a lot of time to delving deeper and would like to share our thoughts with you.

We know our journey is not designed to be only a trip from country to country taking selfies and going to exotic locations. Yet we have seen wonderful places and shared many photos with you.

We think our journey in order to be a pilgrimage needs to be a journey of transformation where through our travel we become more than wewere at the start. We may become wiser, calmer, kinder, happier. We also think that the journey requires a sense of purpose and meaning. We enjoy being in Luang Prabang and while we have found it relaxing after travelling so many miles, we have found ourselves adrift, wondering why are we here?

This has made us explore many things within us. One being motivation, what things are meaningful to us and give us purpose? We both have busy and energetic careers where we produce high quality work for our employers. When we are not working there is a void to be filled.

By pilgrimage we planned to fill that void with a journey that gives spiritual fulfillment and the opportunity to perform service and kindness to other people. That has not always been possible as we had intended in some of the countries we have been. Sometimes because of language difficulty and sometimes because of the pace at which we have travelled. The moving from place to place has caused tiredness or made the journey feel heavy or difficult.

We have both agreed that travel on the Camino to Santiago has definite pilgrimage characteristics, some places do not have this quite as clearly signposted. However something we have both learned is there are joys to be found around every corner. So each day we plan to find great pleasure in small things. Tonight that will be sharing prayer time with monks at the local Wat.

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