The term “pilgrim” has a different meaning for each of us. The dictionary defines a pilgrim as a person who travels foreign lands, and in religious terms a pilgrim is a person who takes a holy journey to a sanctuary or other spiritually significant place.
Nowadays, being a pilgrim goes beyond spirituality. Increasing numbers of pilgrims are travelling to holy places in search of the experiences that the pilgrimage brings them along the way, such as overcoming their own limits and enjoying historical and artistic heritage. Thus, the motivations of modern pilgrims are becoming more and more popular.
Why become a Pilgrim?
Nowadays, many people choose to become pilgrims either to experience something completely brand-new, or to take some time for themselves to disconnect from the world and the people around them. Among the wonderful experiences that you can enjoy as a pilgrim are the following:
- Discover a unique adventure: One of the special characteristics of a pilgrimage is that it follows technology-free paths where walkers can be totally immersed in nature, meaning that the pilgrim experience is truly unique and special.
- Immerse yourself in nature and brand-new cultures: As previously mentioned, nature is an important factor in pilgrimage routes. In addition to natural beauty, visitors can also enjoy monuments, churches and ancient bridges, which are carefully preserved to maintain the route’s ancient character.
- Share unique stories: Modern pilgrims are far more likely to decide to walk with others, since the pilgrimage experience is a wonderful opportunity to make unforgettable memories and strengthen relationships. However, even if you decide to walk as a solo pilgrim, you are never alone on the Camino; you will always find other pilgrims with whom to swap stories and share experiences.
What places can I visit?
There are many different pilgrimage routes around the world, which over the years have become in themselves reasons to become a pilgrim:
- The Camino de Santiago de Compostela: The Camino is considered to be one of Christianity’s most important pilgrimage routes, besides the pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem. The Camino has several different branches, all of which conclude at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
- Kumano Kodo Road: This route is located in Japan and is considered to be the most important pilgrimage route in that country.
Remember: there are many other routes you can explore, as well as countless reasons to become a pilgrim, all of which you should keep in mind if you are considering making your own pilgrimage.