Here's What People Are Saying About Worldwide Journeys
I am, for all intents and purposes, hopelessly spoiled. I no longer peruse eagerly the slightly upscale travel brochures that make their way through my mail slot by virtue of a number of trips made what seems now a lifetime ago. For I have, twice, traveled on pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage, to the naked eye, resembles highly the nicer group tours: nice, well informed guides; nice bus drivers to whom one can leave the driving and, for the most part, the luggage; nice fellow travelers, some of whom have shared interests; nice accommodations; nice food; and the luxury of being, to a large extent, care free.
While traveling with a group of fellow pilgrims is much of the above, at its core it bears little resemblance. The first difference between pilgrimage and tour is purpose. Most folks go on tour to see famous places, to have a bit of adventure. For the tourist the places may be important because of their roles in history; because they are locations of great beauty; because they are well known, and well traveled folks need to check them off their “been there, done that” list. For the pilgrim a place is significant, usually, because a person—well known to the other pilgrims, but not necessarily to the general population—at one point trod there. To tread in that person’s footsteps is, for the pilgrim, a brief encounter with that person.
The pilgrim leaves home to experience a small part of that other’s home and returns to his/her own home soul-altered.