Nicholas Shrady, an American writer who lives in Spain and identifies himself as a skeptical Catholic, defines pilgrimage as "an interior journey, a spiritual exercise, and a physical journey toward an actual site imbued with a divine character." The Latin phrase ambulare pro Deo, "to walk for God," has great meaning for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and others.
In this fascinating and often insightful work, Shrady describes six different journeys on the pilgrimage trail. He ponders the appearances and visitations of the Virgin Mary since 1981 in Medjugorje, Bosnia. He travels from the source of the Ganges to the Holy City of Varanasi 500 miles away examining the rites and rituals of Hinduism, the world's oldest religion. He follows in the footsteps of the Buddha and then walks 500 miles on the ancient Christian pilgrimage route that leads to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where the remains of St. James the Apostle are said to rest in the cathedral crypt. His most satisfying experience is in Konya, Turkey, where he visits Rumi's tomb. Shrady identifies with this Sufi poet's "message of tolerance and his ecumenical spirit in matters of faith."