woman wearing red sweatshirt looking at top between trees near grass during daytime

In today’s fast-paced culture, taking a step back to enjoy life every so often is unheard of, and now, more than ever, with the 2020 election before us, the world seems uptight, chaotic, and even a bit hostile. Seen almost everywhere, people are constantly on their phones, laptops, iPads, or whatever electronic device is at hand, reading headlines and new stories, filling their brains with constant news. Yes, it is important to remain up-to-date on these topics and stay as informed as much as humanly possible, but is there a line as to when the intake of news becomes unhealthy? A study revealed that the average young person, between the ages of 16-29, spends about 3 hours or more on social media daily, which means 21+ hours on their phone per week (“Demographics”). It is not a secret that social media tends to weaken one’s mental health, and this amount of media consummation has the potential to do more harm than good in a teen’s life. 

The word “pilgrimage,” although seemingly unrelated to this topic of business and everyday American life, is one that is universally recognized as some sort of sacred journey, or, defined as “a long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance” (“Pilgrimage”). However, does one truly need to embark on a 310 mile journey in Turkey, the trail that St. Paul, the Christian apostle of Jesus, followed to spread the news of the Christianity (“Top”)? The answer is no. 

Pilgrimage does not necessarily require one to be religious, because it can be differently interpreted by everyone. Although some religious people travel far to go on a long journey to a specific destination, a pilgrimage can be a personal experience that brings someone a sense of peace and spiritual renewal. In this world of social media and news at our own fingertips, perhaps we have forgotten what it’s like to be at peace, with a new sense of who we are. Oftentimes, taking a “pilgrimage” from time to time is essential for our wellbeing and happiness, because if one does not pause to recognize his or her life, growth will never be achieved. In this sense, a pilgrimage can take the appearance of a long walk or hike, time in prayer, journaling, or quiet time in self-reflection. Surely, we need spiritual and emotional nourishment, and in a world that is as fast-paced as ours, it is even more essential that we take the time to take part in such activities.

So, as our country nears Election Day and continues to consume news and the media, let us take a step back to ponder our lives, and recognize where in our lives we need to grow, whether spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally. If humans did this, truly society would become a much kinder and hospitable place to live. 

“Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 5 June 2020, www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/.

“Pilgrimage Definitions.” YourDictionary, www.yourdictionary.com/pilgrimage.

“Top 10 Historic Pilgrimages.” Travel – National Geographic, 21 Jan. 2010, www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/pilgrimages-sacred-journeys/.



1 Comment
  1. Fatima 5 months ago

    Dear Josie :
    I am emotional by your post, “The World’s need for Pilgrimage,” because you make the statement that we are forgetting about how to live to be there for one another. Also, you stated that when you said that the world is in need of pilgrimage is meaning that everyone needs to basically change their habits for the better.
    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “a pilgrimage can be a personal experience that brings someone a sense of peace and spiritual renewal” I think this is explicit because you are stating that we need to make changes to feel better with ourselves so that we are able to be a better person in the world.
    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I liked the way you expressed that pilgrimage is needed in the world for a change that might be very beneficial. Also, you made me understand that is not a bad thing but instead a good that can make a difference in our society.
    Fatima Esparza

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