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Making the Most of a Spiritual Vacation

Aug 31, 2023 06:30AM ● By Linda Sechrist
Making the Most of a Spiritual Vacation

The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred

Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seekers Guide to Making Travel Sacred, specializes in creating meaningful travel experiences and leading tours to sacred sites. “All pilgrimages are a search for meaning and purpose, which is why I prepare groups on how to travel deliberately, ways to experience it and how to integrate the experiences into daily life so they are not forgotten,” he says.

Cousineau recommends getting off the bus, putting away the video recorder and simply walking into the landscape. “Remind yourself why you traveled to there,” he says. “Take the deepest, most probing question in your life with you. Chronicle your answer for two to five minutes daily. At the site, look for one detail that represents your entire visit that day and take a photo. Use active imagination to open your heart, rather than waiting for something to happen. Don’t compare your travels. When you are comparing where you are with where you’ve been, there's no meaning—it becomes just one more purposeless tour.”

To share the experience with traveling companions, Cousineau says, “I begin mornings over breakfast with a long conversation that includes any stories about where we’re visiting. We’re reminding ourselves that we're forming a small community by traveling together and studying the same stories so that we can continue our long conversation over dinner. This is where the meaning starts to form and deepen.”

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