“A great traveler…is a kind of introspective; as she covers the ground outwardly, so she advances fresh interpretations of herself inwardly.” – Lawrence Durrell’s description of Freya Stark as cited by Mary Morris in her anthology Maiden Voyages and included in Phil Cousineau’s book The Art of Pilgrimage (page 12)
Until today, I had always perceived my occasional solitary trips as the answer to a whispering call for adventure, personal growth and discovery. Yet, my recent reading choices, Sonia Choquette’s memoir Walking Home and Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, have enlarged my view of this driving need within many of us.
Cousineau beautifully describes this state of being as follows; “Integral to the art of travel is the longing to break away for however long it takes to once again truly see the world around us. This is why “imagination is more important than knowledge”, as Albert Einstein noted, and why the art of pilgrimage is the art of re-imagining how we walk, talk, listen, see, hear, write, and draw as we ready for the journey of our soul’s deep desire.”
In essence, how and where we travel is not as important as the solitary and mindful aspects of the journey. The act of walking in silence and observation is the dominant method behind this manner of deep exploration. Bodily forward motion, one step at a time, pulls us out of our daily thoughts and into the depths of our soul’s freedom. We encounter new people and places with an open heart.
While walking in the east coast forests of Australia or hiking the Red Rocks around the small town of Sedona, Arizona, the process I experienced was the same. I fell into the state of allowing and connected with the awe inspiring beauty of the timeless heartbeat of this planet. Although, I can replicate this minutely with a walk in the woods back home, there is a magical component to the mix that is only present when purpose meets intention as you travel this way.
As a soul pilgrim, you must release the illusion of control and drop all expectations. You will be tested, but the insights gained during pure moments of alignment and oneness are worth the journey, one thousand fold. Lost luggage becomes a metaphor for shedding the past and remember to ask that the teachings be presented in a gentle manner. On one of my journeys, I left one continent with the declaration that the Universe should show me that I could handle anything and landed in the next continent with a local manhunt for a serial killer burying bodies a few kilometers from my destination. Needless to say, I changed my approach after I realized how powerfully we co-create our own experience.
Be aware that your sixth sense, intuition or inner voice will manifest itself more frequently. Messages on passing trucks or billboards will abound for those looking for the universal road signs. Finally, synchronicity will guide your path to the places and experiences which are meant solely as an answer to your questions.
“And it was then that in the depths of sleep
Someone breathed to me: “You alone can do it,
– from the poem The Call by Jules Supervielle