10 lessons for pilgrimage

Pilgrimage is a physical journey. It takes effort. From stage to stage, from kilometer to kilometer. And sometimes (and unfortunately!) from blister to blister. But above all, a pilgrimage is also a spiritual journey, full of teachings and lessons. But what distinguishes ‘pilgrim’ from a ‘normal walk’? What makes pilgrimage special? In this blog we answer the question: why pilgrimage?
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‘The goal is not the final destination, but the journey’

Have you ever heard of this expression? ‘The goal is not the final destination, but the journey’. No other book emphasizes the importance of the journey as much as The Alchemist. After its publication in 1988, The Alchemist, written by the Portuguese Paul Coelho, was translated into 67 languages ​​– a great success! The book tells you about the sheep farmer Santiago who is told about a treasure in a repeating dream. Santiago begins a search for the treasure: a journey that takes him from Andalusia to Egypt. Along the way he meets many different people who teach him wise lessons about why pilgrimage.

The book not only tells you a story but describes important life lessons. One of them is: It’s good to have goals, but you always learn the most on the way to get there.
Book The Alchemist Book

Why pilgrimage?

Everyone experiences pilgrimage in a different way. But there are lessons that are the same in every pilgrimage. We asked several pilgrims what the most important lessons were during their pilgrimage. We have collected them and are happy to share them with you. This allows you to answer the question for yourself: why pilgrimage?

Lesson 1: You learn that you need very little

An important answer to the question ‘why pilgrimage‘ is that you learn that you actually need very little. It is one of the most important lessons for every pilgrim. You start your pilgrimage with a backpack full of things you think you can’t live without. And the longer you travel, you notice that you actually need very little. And that you can do just fine without those things. It is not without reason that many pilgrims choose to send items back home halfway through their pilgrimage. It is an important life lesson.

Besides learning that you don’t need much, you also learn to appreciate even more the things that you do have and that you take for granted. Think of clean clothes, the wonderful smelling towel, your coffee moment on your balcony, etc.
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Lesson 2: Everyone is equal

During a pilgrimage everyone is equal. If there is anything that pilgrimage teaches us, it is that we are all equal. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what religion you follow. Whether you are richer or poorer. Whether you are old or young. Everyone covers the same kilometers, sleeps in the same places and everyone has the same goal, for example reaching Santiago de Compostela or Rome. The feeling of togetherness is very strong during pilgrimage. An important reason why pilgrimage is attractive for many pilgrims.

Lesson 3: You are never walk alone

In line with this, there is another reason why pilgrimage attracts more and more walkers every year. You are never alone. It does not matter whether you have decided to walk a pilgrimage alone, as a couple or in a group. You never walk alone! It really is. Friendship, solidarity, hospitality and brotherhood are important values ​​in a pilgrimage. There will always be someone to give you a helping hand when you are having a hard time, to encourage you on the worst days or someone to have a special conversation with.

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Lesson 4: You can do more than you think

Why pilgrimage? A pilgrimage teaches you that there are no boundaries. That you can always do a little more than you think. It teaches you how strong you can be, both physically and mentally. When you think you can’t take another step, when you have no energy left and are dying of thirst, when you are soaked or cold and still have a few kilometers to go… A pilgrimage teaches you that, whatever the challenge , you can do it. You will find that this life lesson also helps you in your daily life. For example, if you have to give an exciting presentation. It will give you confidence that things will work out…

Lesson 5: You gain discipline

Many pilgrims answer the question why they pilgrimage. You develop perseverance and gain discipline. Discipline and perseverance to plan a pilgrimage. To face the day as it comes. To overcome the challenges. To reach the goal you are on your way to.

Lesson 6: You will learn about having patience

During a pilgrimage you will have to be patient. Waiting to see if a bed is available, queuing for a coffee. Or perhaps you have to walk another 5 km, because the coffee bar is further away than expected. A pilgrimage gives you what you need, not what you want at that moment. And so your patience is sometimes tested. An important lesson why pilgrimage is so valuable.

Lesson 7: You get a different rhythm

Why pilgrimage? Because a pilgrimage teaches you that a different way of life is possible. We live stressful lives, with just enough time for everything. Running and flying every day, all kinds of obligations we impose on ourselves, a battle against the clock. During a pilgrimage you have a different rhythm. Walking, eating, sleeping. No more and no less. Step-by-step. One day at a time. fighting against the clock. And along the way you will see what the day has in store for you. It helps you to determine what you really find important in your life, you really have time to think.

Lesson 8: You have fewer stimuli

There are continuous stimuli during your daily life. Your mobile phone, WhatsApp and social media. All those things we lived without a few years ago but now take up a large percentage of our lives. Many pilgrims indicate that they physically disconnect from all these stimuli during a pilgrimage. Even the daily news is no longer followed. You’re in your own bubble.

Lesson 9: You connect with nature

Connection with nature: this is also an answer for pilgrims to the question of why they do a pilgrimage. Disconnecting from everyday life allows you to connect with other things we have forgotten. Like nature. A pilgrimage is the perfect excuse to enjoy beautiful nature. On the way to the famous cathedral in Santiago you pass an incredible variety of landscapes. From rugged mountain ridges and rugged rocky coasts, to pleasant meadows and white sandy beaches.

Lesson 10: You find yourself again

Whether you make a pilgrimage for religious reasons or not, there is no doubt that pilgrimage has a spiritual character. Of all the lessons a pilgrimage gives you, one of the most important is connecting with yourself. Because you have time to think about where you are going, what you want, what you really need and who you want to share it with. At times it will be disappointing, at other times you will just feel lonely. The great thing is: this will increase your self-confidence.