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Spinning Globes

Phil Cousineau - Art of Pilgrimage - Spinning Globes -

Reading old travel books or novels set in faraway places, spinning globes, unfolding maps, playing world music, eating in ethnic restaurants, meeting friends in cafes … all these things are part of never-ending travel practice, not unlike doing scales on a piano, shooting free-throws, or meditating.



In a simple home in a village so small that it’s little more than a scattering of houses, I sat in a straight-backed, wood classroom chair beside the home’s owner and pored over an area map. I was on a horseback-riding journey in County Donegal, Ireland, and I ached to learn everything I could about where exactly my friends and I were and where we might end up going. The map was so detailed that I could follow property lines, fields and forests, and bogs and bridleways.

The man let me borrow the map for the night with the promise that I would return it the next morning. The map worn and torn at the folds. The man knew its every inch but couldn’t part with it. I get it. And respect it.

Every time I go to London, I kick off international dining week — a different cultural cuisine every night — and hit every historic pub I can locate.

In France, I salsa dance on the Seine. In Morocco, I dine on tajines and ride camels. In India, I visit women’s cooperatives and health clinics and centers for peace. In Guatemala, I teach at the local school in San Pedro la Laguna, Lago de Atitlan. I climb mountains in Switzerland, drink beer and tour castles in Germany, follow the route of Hemingway in Havana, stay up all night with parade crowds in Barcelona, and hike to Machu Picchu in Peru.

Are you, too, spinning globes? Cherry blossoms in Japan, a bicycle ride in Holland, a Wild walk along the Pacific Crest Trail?

What’s on your horizon?

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