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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  632 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
For the intrepid traveler, there are more resources than ever before. But what about the traveler who is at a crossroads in life, longing for something else, neither diversion nor distraction, beyond escape and mere entertainment? What about those eager for a journey that is personally meaningful? For millennia this cry has been answered by pilgrimage, the transformative j ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published April 30th 2000 by Conari Press (first published 1998)
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Carmen like the opera
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book helped me prepare for the inner journey of the pilgrimage of the camino to Santiago de Compostela. If it weren't for this book, I may not have completed the camino. While I prepared myself physically (training/walking) and mentally (research), the pilgrimage is really about the inner journey. The physical landscape and lessons learned along the way became metaphors for life. I met a lot of people who were better fit or more knowledgable than I, but I found along the way, they quit beca ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
If I think about the criteria for a sacred journey as outlined in The Art of Pilgrimage, I have been applying Cousineau’s suggestions for the past decade or so. (1) Ask yourself what would constitute a sacred destination for you. (2) Read deeply on the desired goal. (3) When you get there try to absorb the mystery of the place and the spirits that have preceded you. As a travel writer that is what I do. What he does not emphasize is how important it is to go by yourself so that you may sink into ...more
Fiona Leonard
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
My husband bought this book last year on the recommendation of a friend and I came across it recently while sorting through our kindle account. In light of my (then upcoming) trip to Morocco I thought I would give it a read. I thoroughly enjoyed and was moved by this book. As I read through I highlighted thirty-nine passages, and each one, when I go back and read now, sets ablaze a host of ideas and reflections.

One of the highlights of travel is attaining those moments of travel nirvana. Turning
S. Donovan
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"Personal answers to ultimate questions. That is what we seek," said Alexander Eliot.

Sacred travel often starts with an itch. If you listen to the itch, or even begin to scratch it gently, it may lead you to the strangest places. Macchu Picchu. A cafe at the end of the world. Your heart. Home.

Our reasons vary; so do our destinations. But the process of journeying is universal. The man who survives the accident that kills his family wonders why he's left alive. The abuse victim struggles to unde
Rose Offner
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
"The art of Pilgrimage,"is not just for travelers but for seekers. As a life long traveler I would say that this book is a must read. It can be read and re-read because author Cousineau speaks about the adventure. When I travel I often leave before I leave because I begin my journey with the research and the stories and I hear from other travelers.Then when I am traveling I meet my kindred spirits, those who must travel, must see the world, climb to the top, lay on their belly to get that shot s ...more
Lucy Pollard-Gott
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites and a very useful framework for considering many sorts of pilgrimage, including literary ones. I wrote a post about this a while back: "The Literary Work as a Place of Pilgrimage."
Evvie Williams
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s official - mid May I’m walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago! This read was a great preparation for all pilgrimages be they somewhere near or far. A good reminder that the journey should include your interior as well as where your feet take you.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
"Imagine how you might walk your own path to the holy ground of your heart's desires," coaxes Cousineau in this thoughtful, beautifully written book about The Way.
Amy Moritz
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I suppose I was attracted to this book because I already attempt to be mindful when I travel. Even when I'm on the road for work, I try to find something unique, something local to do or experience -- even if it's just a run through a section of town which gives a completely different feel for the area than moving around via car. But I digress.

Phil Cousineau's book is woven with his own personal tales, anecdotes from others pilgrimages, retelling of heroic myths and prompts for the reader to exa
Chris Lemig
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who is planning on or wants to travel
What a compodium of knowledge and wisdom this book is! Phil Cousineau draws from so many sources: Joseph Campbell, Thoreau, Henry Miller, Basho, Thich Nat Hahn, Rumi, H.H. the Dalai Lama, Goethe and (really) countless others. I dogeared and underlined this book more than any other I've read this year.

The essential message of the book is that travel is a sacred inward journey into our soul and spirit as much (or more so than) a journey to the world outside. It has been a great inspiration as I pl
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Laura, and everyone who wants to travel
Shelves: cultures
I love travelling to places I have never been and to places I have before. There were many passages in this book where I felt like I had experienced the level of being in the mooment, the there and now of a place. And yet, I have learned there are other, time honoured ways I can follow to bring more to each place I go to.

This book is about taking time: time to slow down, time to really see with your inner vision and your soul, time to be there in the moment and place, time to really appreciate t
Keith Skinner
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cousineau gives us something to consider before we start packing and before we start jamming our travel days with popular sites and destinations. He gives us the question to ask ourselves - why - and challenges us to forego the quick answer and dig deeper. It's invaluable insight that I find myself using every time I step out my front door.
Dec 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Not much to say about this book. It started out well, with lots of dog-eared pages. Then went downhill with me just skimming to get it done.
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Very disappointed in this book. He never developed any of the themes. The entire book was a collection of quotes and anecdotes.
Todd Stockslager
Review title: Mindful traveling, or finding the quest in your question

Cousineau writes "inside every question is a quest trying to get out" (p. 88), and he has written this book to help travelers find their questions and their quests. It is short on practical advice, but fits neatly into the discipline of mindfulness so popular today as a technique for reducing stress and increasing mental and physical health.

Applied to traveling, this means for Cousineau turning every journey into a pilgrimage
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an inspirational book which I read in conjunction with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to get a deeper sense of what pilgrimage is and how it is reflected in the novel. Little did I know that both books would prompt me to reflect on my upcoming travels, and life, to make them more intentional and sacred.
Philip Stearns
His is the best book on Pilgrimage I have read. I read it before and after my own recent pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. This book helped me realize that I have been a pilgrim all my life. I highly recommend it to all those how love travel and exploring and to those seeking understanding.
Heather Harding
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book about taking a sacred journey. "We live but a fraction of our life. Why do we not let on the flood, raise the gates, and set our wheels in motion?"
Dan Brunner
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just the right book to read before and during my pilgrimage to Oxford. It really put me in a reflective and intentional space. I finished it on my last day there, and was filled with gratitude.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A reminder how to make travel and make life itself a pilgrimage and more meaningful
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, travel
This book makes a lot of sense to me. Travel should be so much more than just sightseeing and crossing off places on our bucket lists of sites to see before we die. To me, it is instinctive to learn more about the places I travel in an attempt to connect with the “soul†of the land and the people. In this book, Cousineau draws upon a wealth of pilgrimage literature as he encourages his readers to be attentive in their travels. Cousineau’s book is seasoned with stories and quotes that come f ...more
Jason King
Aug 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is probably the worst book I've read in modern memory. Every page of it smacks of listening to "that guy" - that guy who wants to sound worldly because they've been on tours of Europe for their "gap year" - and preaches wisdom while only learning about selfishness.

I'm pretty sure this guy's idea of a pilgrimage is getting on a plane, carrying around a backpack, eating at restaurants, and sleeping at hotels. My reasoning for this is that the advice he gives about foot travel is awful, if no
Tandava Brahmachari
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
[from my blog: ]

Cousineau has a lot of good thoughts about travel, and how to really make it meaningful and get the most out of it. I like this because I do think that travel is as important for the change and effect it has on me as for the simple enjoyment of seeing new and interesting things.

One chapter I particularly liked was about seeing, and how it is affected by photography. Lots of tourists these days let their cameras do their seeing for them. Yo
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: growth
1. Beauty is a by-product of ordinary things.
2. To hear the pounding on the door, we have to remember to pay attention to what we have lost and to what is calling for us. Not a day goes by when the world doesn’t cry out for us, signal us with signs an sounds, calling us home Listening closely is nearly a lost art, but a retrievable one. The soul thrives on it. Words heard by chance have been known to change lives.
3. (Peace Pilgrim): “I had been on the giving side for many years and I
Tamara Suttle
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred has been a lovely companion on my journey.

Cousineau has offered spiritual guidance and shared subtle nuances about his own travels and that of others that have, in turn, informed my own travels.

I had never thought much about "pilgrimage" being a more intentional and more conscious way of trave . . . until I began reading this book.

Cousineau says "The wandering French essayist Jacques Reda reminds himself before he leaves his Pari
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reading this book was a pilgrimage in its own rite. While it was a difficult book to move through quickly, it is certainly one of my all-time favorite books. The thoughtfulness in which Cousineau invites readers to prepare for and carry out pilgrimages has inspired me to think deeply about my own journeys in life. I drew heavily on this book for a message I offered to my church congregation about the journey of our lives.

By taking time to journal along the way inspired by the questions Cousinea
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was a pleasant surprise. It provided a way of looking at travel from the longing to experience something that will change or inspire you, through the act of leaving, the journey to the destination, and the return home, not only from an historical perspective, but within a modern context as well. These topics are covered in an abundance of quotes, anecdotes and musings on the meaning, relevance and ultimate benefit of soulful travel, whether it be to the other side of the globe or to yo ...more
Beverley Kaye
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a “how to book” on making a trip, you are planning, into a pilgrimage. It suggests that any trip can be a pilgrimage but most of the examples reference places of spiritual significance, like Santiago de Compostela or Angkor Wat, but he also mentions secular places like Walden’s pond.

It makes me want to redo my travels in a more soulful way. It also reminded me of moments where I became aware of the sublime, or where, by doing something he suggested, I made a particular visit more meaning
Apr 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: liked
I enjoyed this book full of inspirations toward traveling. The book takes the word "pilgrimmage" a little too literally for me - I believe it's possible to have a "sacred" experience in a broader sense, without as much focus on actual religion. Cousinseau mentions that he also believes this, but such an experience is outside the scope of this book. Many of the stories are of pilgrims in history, thus lending the overall story toward heavily religious content. The work is inspiring nonetheless, a ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Literally, this is a book about how to make a trip to a foreign location more meaningful and rewarding.
Metaphorically, this is a book about how to live your life everyday - in mindful engagement with your surroundings.
Cousineau's work is heavily influenced by Joespeh Campbell, but it is original in that it takes the ideas in Campbell's books and applies them very concretely.
This book is a good meditation on living and the advice is relevant to the everyday, not just the special-5000-mile-away,
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Phil Cousineau is a writer, teacher, editor, independent scholar, documentary filmmaker, travel leader, and storyteller. The author of more than 30 nonfiction books, Cousineau has more than 15 documentary screenwriting credits to his name, including the 1991 Academy Award-nominated Forever Activists. His life-long fascination with art, literature, and the history of culture has taken him on many j ...more
More about Phil Cousineau...
“The time has come to set out for sacred ground...that will stir our sense of wonder. It is down the path to the deeply real where time stops and we are seized by the mysteries. This is the journey that we cannot Not take.

The old hermit along the side of the road whispers, Stranger, Pass bythat which you donot love.”
“Uncover what you long for and you will discover who you are.” 1 likes
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