|Leaving my token at Mont St. Michel|
I was thrilled to find, in Rouen, a leather scallop shell pouch that clipped onto my belt to carry my tokens in. The scallop shell is the symbol of the pilgrim and those who walked the El Camino to Santiago in Spain tied a shell to their coat so that people knew they were on pilgrimage...they still do.
The one thing with which the pilgrim returns home
with is wisdom and the responsibility to share the
truth gleaned from the profound pilgrimage. The
story that we bring back from our journeys is the boon.
-Waymarkers, Mary DeJong, page 33
Souvenirs are whatever you bring back that will trigger a memory of your trip. I like to buy a small work of art by a local artist or, more frequently, I bring back a small, natural object to add to my continually growing collection of memories. Having a real and meaningful way to re-live your trip after you return is very important. You will never have the reaction my friend had to her Hawaiian trip, that it felt like it never happened at all. Traveling with the heart of a pilgrim is such an enriching experience and that's why I try to make every trip I take a kind of pilgrimage.
When I got back from my trip to Kentucky and was sharing the "boon" with friends, one commented, "You always have amazing encounters when you travel...you are a lucky traveler!" I wouldn't use the word "lucky". I would say "open". When you travel with the open heart of the pilgrim you to will have these wonderful encounters. I love this quote and it seems to explain these seemingly serendipitous engagements...
What you are seeking is also seeking you.- Rumi
Finally, here is a link to my favorite book on pilgrimage. It will inspire you in so many ways. For more inspiration, visit my Pinterest board. I'll be adding new links from time to time. I wish you safe and meaningful travels this summer, no matter where you go. Remember one half of the word "pilgrimage" is "image"! Keep your pilgrim's heart open and see what images you receive...