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Evans Bowen is someone I’ve known for 21 years.
She’s a fellow book lover, scholar, and world traveler. She loves adventure as well, yet another reason we get along so well 🙂
Then in 2014, she announced she was committed to going on a pilgrimage to Spain and walking the El Camino de Santiago (a.k.a. the Way of St. James)…all 500 miles of it! She was excited. I was excited. Everyone was excited!
So I set to work coming up with something that could help inspired her and her daughter, Alexandra, on this long and challenging journey. It needed to be small and light since the pair would be carrying everything on their backs for over a month.
So I went to Office Depot, bought beautiful business card stock and hand wrote a message, focus, and mantra for each of the 40+ days.
Then the day for her and Alexandra to fly out and start their adventure came. Before I knew it, the 4o was up and I was flying over to Spain to walk the final few miles with her. During our time together, Evans shared that she thought my cards, paired with her observations and journal entries from the Camino, would be a good starting point for a book.
Once home, Evans waited a few weeks and then began to write them all our on poster board. It was in that moment she saw a very distinct pattern emerging that made them very special. For Evans, there were 7 distinct parts to a pilgrimage instead of the usual 4-5 than most writers talk about. Unfortunately, she had to put the book project aside while she cared for her elderly father and mother, but came back to her pilgrimage book project in 2016.
During the summer of 2016, she taught the 7 stages as part of a conference, came home, and went on a retreat to the beach to write the book inspired by my 45 cards and her 40+ days on the Camino in Spain; Pilgrimage: a Modern Seeker’s Guide.
I know this book doesn’t fit in with my usual theme of children’s books here on JIAB, but I am incredibly proud of my friend and I want to support her in any way I can. That’s what friends do 🙂
The first part of Evans’ book was created to be a guide for the physical journey, either around the world or close to home. Evans answers the questions of why taking a pilgrimage is so meaningful and what “is” a sacred site. Included is a step by step guide to help readers take a pilgrimage from the first whisperings of a Call, preparing, the journey and integration of an experience into a life.
The second half of the book is 40 days of reflections to help readers and travelers find meaning in their journey and discovering their authentic self. Each day is written to take the reader into their heart, unfold new experiences and recognize the knowledge that brings new understanding of their life and their world.
One of the many gems I personally took away from Pilgrimage: a Modern Seeker’s Guide is the fact that a pilgrimage doesn’t need to involve airfare or exotic locations. Pilgrimages are very personal and very unique to each person.
“You get to discover and decide which places are sacred in your life. You may feel called to a site such as the Pyramids or a great cathedral, but you can just as easily find what you are looking for in your own backyard. The main component of any place that you find sacred is the awe, wonder, peace, and healing that you experience there.” (page 16) ~ Evans Bowen
I am thrilled to be part of Evans’ Blog Tour as well! For more information and perspectives on Pilgrimage: a Modern Seeker’s Guide check out these fine reviewers. Oh, and be sure and check out the simply delightful review from my friend Mia Wenjen created about our own very special Pilgrimage (that included my Head Elf, Becky) to Boston MA and Portland ME. Such a magical trip!
Book Tour Line-Up
More to be announced soon!