The best books on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning

Brandon Wilson Author Of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace
By Brandon Wilson

Who am I?

Brandon Wilson is an author, photographer, explorer, and pilgrim. He is a voracious explorer of nearly one hundred countries, he has trekked many pilgrimage trails, including: the Camino de Santiago, Camino Catalan, Camino Aragonés and Via de la Plata across Spain, and twice the St. Olav’s Way across Norway and Sweden. Brandon and his wife Cheryl were the first Western couple to complete the 1100-kilometer pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, and he was the first American to traverse the 1850-kilometer Via Francigena from England to Rome. In 2006, he and his French friend re-blazed the 4500-kilometer route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem, naming it the Templar Trail, to establish it as a path of peace.


I wrote...

Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

By Brandon Wilson,

Book cover of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

What is my book about?

It was an idea born while hiking the famed Camino de Santiago across Spain. Two men shared a dream of trekking from Europe to the Middle East on the ultimate road trip. It just happened to also be a path walked by thousands of Crusaders, pilgrims, and merchants during the Middle Ages, a time when wars, unforgiving weather, wild dogs, and an ever-changing cast of weird characters tested even the toughest traveler.

As they say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Travel along with them as two modern-day travelers discover the truth when they take on that same ultimate challenge--to hike the Templar Trail across 11 countries and 2,600 miles to Jerusalem. Throwing themselves out into the universe with bad maps, blisters, but plenty of optimism, they face identical challenges in search of adventure, life's meaning, and lasting peace. Proving that even today, there's nothing like a little war to shake up your strongest resolve.

The books I picked & why

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Siddhartha

By Hermann Hesse,

Book cover of Siddhartha

Why this book?

I first read Siddhartha as a teenager when beginning to search for meaning in my own life. It resonated deeply, as Siddhartha left a life of luxury and began his difficult journey of self-discovery and enlightenment amid an unknown world. It’s an excellent first exposure to the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, and pilgrimage and how they may be applied to coping in today’s world.

Siddhartha

By Hermann Hesse,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Siddhartha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination.

Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt-a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love…


Walden: or, Life in the Woods

By Henry David Thoreau,

Book cover of Walden: or, Life in the Woods

Why this book?

Walden is the story of one man’s return to simplicity and connectedness with nature when he leaves the trappings of 1845 civilization behind to build a cabin and live beside a lake in the woods of Massachusetts. In doing so, he discovers the beauty of quiet contemplation and true necessities of life. It has been called, “one of the most influential books in American literary history".

Walden: or, Life in the Woods

By Henry David Thoreau,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Walden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry David Thoreau is considered one of the leading figures in early American literature, and Walden is without doubt his most influential book.

Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.

It recounts the author's experiences living in a small house in the woods around Walden Pond near Concord in Massachusetts. Thoreau constructed the house himself, with the help of a few friends, to see if he could live 'deliberately' - independently and apart from society. The…


Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

By Peace Pilgrim,

Book cover of Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

Why this book?

Peace Pilgrim was a true modern pioneer. For nearly thirty years, starting in 1953, she devoted her life to international peace, as she crisscrossed America on foot with her few belongings on her back, "Walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.” At a time when American school kids were hiding under their desks in fear of a nuclear attack, Peace Pilgrim bravely “walked the talk” about unabashedly spoke about the necessity of peace, a message which inspired generations.

Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

By Peace Pilgrim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peace Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peace Pilgrim walked and spoke continuously across America from 1953 until her death in 1981. "Walking until given shelter and fasting until given food," she carried a simple yet powerfully enduring message of peace. A few of her friends later gathered her writings and talks into this first-person account of her experiences and beliefs. Peace Pilgrim has become a spiritual classic, with over half a million copies in print in nine languages. Includes news clippings, questions and answers, photographs, index.


The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

By Phil Cousineau,

Book cover of The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

Why this book?

For many, travel reaches a point where it becomes something more than a moveable buffet and checks off a bucket-list. The Art of Pilgrimage helps you make this transition and realize you’re not alone. It traces the history of pilgrimage or mindful journeys with stories and anecdotes from past sojourners to a wide variety of locations for equally diverse reasons.

The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

By Phil Cousineau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Pilgrimage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Spiritual Traveler's Travel Guide

"A must read before a trip." Escape

"One of the greatest travel books I have ever read." Peter Feibleman, author of Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman

#1 Bestseller in Atlases & Maps

The classic guide to making travel meaningful. The Art of Pilgrimage is a travel guide full of inspiration for the spiritual traveler.

Not just for pilgrims. We are descendants of nomads. And although we no longer partake in this nomadic life, the instinct to travel remains. Whether we're planning a trip or buying a secondhand copy of Siddhartha, we're always searching for a…


The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest

By Tor and Siffy Torkildson,

Book cover of The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest

Why this book?

One method of discovery throughout millenniums and across cultures has been the act of pilgrimage. The act of traveling simply, reducing life to its essentials, and relying on the kindness of the Universe has a way of clarifying your thoughts and purpose. This anthology, of which I had the honor to contribute, brings together the experiences of 33 international walkers, pilgrims, scientists, writers, and explorers. Each walk a different path; each travel for different reasons on their quests. This inspired collection is bound to get you thinking about your own future walkabout.

The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest

By Tor and Siffy Torkildson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pilgrimage Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is your Quest in life? "The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest," created and edited by Tor and Siffy Torkildson, leads us on a series of pilgrimages and explorations to the far reaches of the planet in search of and to celebrate the meaning of life in 33 essays. "The Pilgrimage Chronicles" is a unique travel book; it is a journey into the hidden territories of the human spirit and heart. This is a book of quests, transformation, life lessons, spiritual awakening, and deep contemplative travel both physically and metaphysically. This spirited collection, from an array of accomplished writers, pilgrims…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in pilgrimages, pacifism, and Buddhism?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about pilgrimages, pacifism, and Buddhism.

Pilgrimages Explore 23 books about pilgrimages
Pacifism Explore 16 books about pacifism
Buddhism Explore 190 books about Buddhism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like As a Man Thinketh, The Gospel Of Sri Ramakrishna, and Into the Wild if you like this list.