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The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred Paperback – April 30, 2000
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About the Author
Phil Cousineau is a bestselling author, editor, photographer, award-winning documentary filmmaker, adventure travel leader, and independant scholar who lectures around the world on a wide range of topics from mythology, mentorship, and soul. His books include The Art of Pilgrimage, Soul Moments, Riddle Me This, and The Soul Aflame. A protege of the late Joseph Campbell, Cousineau is also the author of The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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One of the highlights of travel is attaining those moments of travel nirvana. Turning a corner and seeing the Eiffel Tower was one such moment for me. It's the times when you suddenly realise you've arrived somewhere that you've always dreamed of. It's a strange sense of achievement and pride and excitement and awe. It's stepping into one of your fantasies, all the while feeling the ground hard beneath your feet.
But all too often that rush of emotion is reserved for the big ticket items: Woohoo! Eiffel Tower/Grand Canyon/Big Ben/Robben Island/Victoria Falls. And yet even for the regular traveler, in practise those moments are few and far between. They're two hours in two weeks. And in between?
I suspect that "in between" there is a choice.
There's routine and familiarity (possible even in the most remote of places) and frustration, maybe a general level of interest with what is passing us by. It's enough to fill a day and feel rewarding but doesn't necessarily speak to your soul, or kindle that fire in the pit of your stomach.
Or there's, what shall we call it? Mindfulness? Awareness? Presence? It's the art of seeing what you're not conditioned to see. It's looking up and down, and in gutters, and on rooftops. And all around.
It's watching the orange fall off a cart and roll down a street, dodging between feet, chased by a stranger and then thrown through the sky, back to its rightful owner. It's a cat in a thunderstorm hiding from the rain under a brown plastic stool. Or it's a man running from his building on his way to work, kicking a coke bottle top with the energy of early morning and then almost dying of embarrassment when it collides with a passerby.
But perhaps most importantly it's finding a way to not only to remember to notice, but to stop and enjoy and capture those moments, and bring them inside, preferably with a sense of wonder and pleasure, and holding them there forever.
And it all takes practise. Reading this book is one of those practises.