Beach; Pond; Paradise

After being locked down in our cities, or ever-more crowded countryside, the timing of these isolation-paradise movies is impeccable. But what hooks us into these escapist dreams, these illusions, is no different today than it was in the 19th century. Like pilgrimage itself, it taps into an eternal impulse within us all.

Home is where the heart is

For much of the last four decades I have lived within walking distance of the Thames in London. This weekend I ventured out to explore a stretch of the river’s meandering upper reaches. Setting out from Lechlade in the very early morning mist only larks and reed warblers broke the silence.

The Oldest City

This week I spent a glorious hour in conversation with Karwan Jamal Tahir on the topic of female Peshmerga soldiers - research for my book - 'Women Warriors'

‘When in April, sweet showers fall

Stanford is a Catholic and the content of his book is heavily weighted towards Christian routes and shrines such as Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes, and Rome. Nevertheless, he treads a balanced and respectful line across the wider religious terrain.

Books are a key to the Future

Books are a key to the future - time to get back to the library to look for clues about tomorrow..

As Autumn Leaves Are Falling

Trees and pilgrimage have been linked since ancient times, not least in the autumn

A Life of Pilgrimage

During the research for my book We are Pilgrims I encountered many pilgrim travellers but none quite like Martin Gray. Over the course of 38 years, this photographer and anthropologist has visited thousands of pilgrim sites and sacred places in 160 countries across the globe. His web-site World Pilgrimage Guide is an essential source of information for anyone contemplating … Continue reading A Life of Pilgrimage

Lockdown Loopholes

Where shall we go this weekend? Where shall we go this summer? Until recently the answer depended on how itchy your feet, how expansive your wallet, how much time you could take away from work, school or family. It has been something of a shock to lose the liberty we once took so much for … Continue reading Lockdown Loopholes

Tuesday’s Toledo Travelogue

On Tuesday I travelled to Toledo, that city which lies at the heart of La Mancha, Spain. Home to Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and Judah Halevi, the medieval scholar. Both accompanied me and my friend George on our way through the city on this week’s virtual pilgrimage. Through these characters, George illuminated the current … Continue reading Tuesday’s Toledo Travelogue