“I believe each of us is a pilgrim in our own way; we are all lost souls, trying to find our way home.” Set Adam Smith, Rip van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern
I’ve been very lucky that three of my overseas trips have been ‘pilgimages’, travelling with intention. They were trips to Italy, Ireland and, Israel and Jordan. They were, in some ways like trips ‘to find my way home’. Ireland is the home of my ancestors – all four sets of my great-grandparents set out from Ireland between 1860 and 1885 to find a new home in a place very different from their home, with little in their pockets but their stories, and hopes of a promising future. And by and large they achieved that, though not without challenges and heartaches along the way.
Italy is a cultural home – a centre of Western civilisation, the centre of the religion that is my religious tradition. History, law, art and belief come together in this place.
Israel and Jordan are of course, the birthplace of the great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the centre of the ‘Jesus story’. This is my spiritual tradition.
There is so much to learn, and travelling teaches us much about the world, its people and ourselves. And coming home after travelling brings with it a comfort of ‘ordinary-ness’ though we still may be restless and searching.
Are we all really ‘lost souls’? I don’t know, but I do think in many of us there is an impulse to find out more about what constitutes who we are.