Saturday, September 01, 2007

Paulo Coelho: The Value of Travel

In his international bestseller, The Pilgrimage, Paulo Coelho’s wise Italian guide on the road from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain says some remarkable words about travel.

Hinting at the importance of being a pilgrim rather than a tourist, Petrus describes why travel can be so transformational:

“When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life. At the same time, since all things are new, you see only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be alive. That’s why a religious pilgrimage has always been one of the most objective ways of achieving insight.” (p38)

A review of The Pilgrimage can be found at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Geoff Pound

Image: “So you are like a child just out of the womb.”