Evans Bowen is a self-described explorer, seeker, student, teacher, wife, and mom. She is also the creator of The Perpetual Pilgrim, a travel blog inspired by her life of sacred travel. But at the core of it all, she is someone who is always discovering, learning and growing. She’s also a world traveler who has been to all 50 states, Peru, Egypt, Jordan, Europe, Thailand, Taiwan, and Cambodia.
She’s also adding something new to her impressive resume; AUTHOR! Inspired by her 2014 500 mile walk on the Camino to Santiago, Spain with her 20-year-old daughter, Alexandra, Evans created an amazing spiritual guidebook for all those yearning to wander. Her 40-day pilgrimage inspired this book, Pilgrimage: a Modern Seeker’s Guide and Evans is also the first one note that a pilgrimage does not have to involve a trip across a sea or a journey to a faraway place. Pilgrimages are personal, profound, and spiritual and as simple or as complex as you’d like.
We were lucky enough to catch this lovely woman before she embarked on yet another adventure and got some deeper insight into the “how” and “why” of Pilgrimage: a Modern Seeker’s Guide.
- What was your “ah-ha” moment that inspired you to sit down and write Pilgrimage?
My friend Valarie gave me about 45 cards—one for each day on my walk on the Camino. Towards the end, I started thinking they would be a good starting point for a book. When we got in the car to leave Santiago, I told her that those cards would make a good book. A few weeks later I wrote them out on a poster board and saw there was a very distinct pattern that made them very special. As I researched pilgrimages, I started to develop the stages differently than other writers. I felt like there were 7 distinct parts to a pilgrimage instead of the usual 4-5 than most writers talk about. I had to put the book aside while I was taking care of my elderly father and mother but the next year I came back to it. The summer of 2016 I taught the 7 stages as part of a conference and then came home—went on a retreat to the beach and wrote.
- Who is your mentor or biggest influencer when it comes to your writing?
I’ve always been a big reader, it is my main hobby and joy. When my children where in school I would read and basically read hundreds of spiritually based books over the years. I had a mentor named Page Bryant, who passed away last year, she wrote around 12 books on spiritual subjects. Every time I would go to visit her she would tell me I was going to write a book and later she told me I would write many books—we will see about that. She taught me rituals, about earth energy and the sacredness of land. She loved England and Egypt and so do I. I developed my own ideas about sacred sites from her influence.
- If you were to let readers know ONE THING about Pilgrimage..what would that one thing be?
That pilgrimage is really a way of experiencing the world. It is the lens that I use to see the beauty and sacredness of life—not just a specific place but an attitude.
- You mentioned that pilgrimages can be as complex as a journey to see the pyramids or as simple as holding quiet space in your backyard. Do you have any personal examples of your “types” of pilgrimages?
I’ve taken just about every imaginable type of trip— group tour, hiking, road trip, cruise—each has advantages and disadvantages. I’ve taken long trips and very short trips. Just two weeks ago I went just 3 hours away to Nashville—a place I know very well. I went to several places that I go to often, and on that day, I had incredible experiences at these places—there is always something new to discover and see. I particularly like gardens and went to several when I was recently in California. I also am very happy at cathedrals and standing stones—there is no way to miss the power in those places.
- If you were to give any advice to the those who dream of writing and publishing a book, what advice would you give?
You must develop your own voice and style and above all be yourself. I first started writing a blog which helped me find my voice but also gave me discipline. I have not missed one month of blogging since I started in 2012. Blogging made me accountable to write regularly.
- What are you most grateful for?
That I live in a time where the whole world is available to me and I have the freedom to enjoy this beautiful world.
- What and where is your next personal pilgrimage?
In August I will be taking my mother to see her favorite musicals in NYC. It is a walk down memory lane for her and I will enjoy experiencing that with her. Next year I’m taking a pilgrimage to Japan. There is a sister pilgrimage to the Camino on the island of Shikoku called the 88 Temples. It is also a thousand years old just like the Camino. I will be walking parts of it and be visiting many of the temples.
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!
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