In a world pervaded by profanity, books on finding the sacred in everyday life have a growing readership. Phil Cousineau's The Art of Pilgrimage is a brilliant exercise in reimagining the meaning of travel. An intrepid traveler and travel guide himself, the author is a poet, teacher, and gifted visual artist, as seen in the drawings and photographs that grace these pages. The Art of Pilgrimage is also a touching memorial to the author's father, who inspired his son with a love of books and the passion to peregrinate. Tourism today may be a thriving industry, but have we forgotten the soul of travel? This book invites us to recapture a lost art, not the exercise of "getting away" but of "getting into" our lives--into their sacred core. He invites us to see travel--the trips we take to parts unknown or the small journeys of daily life--through the metaphor of pilgrimage. We are all pilgrims, Cousineau reminds us, all traveling in time toward the mecca of life's meaning, the great source of saving imagination. Recounting his own travels and testimony of the world's great travelers--my favorites were Peace Pilgrim and Basho--Cousineau shows us how to transform a disappointing vacation into a life-changing adventure. You begin by honoring the longing to travel. How many of us like to dream of travel, of voyages of discovery, but never quite take to the road? "Uncover what you long for and you will discover who you are," writes Cousineau, who invokes the prophet Jeremiah who talked of traveling "to find rest for your souls." What of departure? We're told of the ceremonial side of sacred travel, a side we neglect nowadays. We may not feel the need to hear Mass or have our satchels and drinking gourds blessed, as was common in the Middle Ages, but the soul-savvy traveler today can try to slow up, become more mindful, commemorate the moment of departure--do whatever it takes to feel the solemnity of leaving, the bittersweet risk of getting lost on the way, the possibility of never coming back. The important thing is to see a piece of life with fresh eyes: bring a notebook, a sketchbook, and go easy on your camera and camcorder. Remember that to sketch something you have to see it intimately, with your whole body, through responsive fingers. By contrast, the camera is a shallow and promiscuous tool for capturing images. Sacred travel, says Cousineau, is about self-discovery; it is not a frivolous escape but a focused form of life. Moreover, the rough spots we run into while traveling are not "in the way"--they are the way. Now suppose you arrive at your destination, off the beaten track or crowded with profane tourists. Cousineau is full of hints on how to gain a soulful purview of the scene, which may be no more than discovering the right bench in the right part of town, reading a sentence of poetry or leafing through your guidebook. Preparation, which doesn't interfere with serendipity, is essential to sacred travel. Like the hero's, the pilgrim's journey ends with bringing a boon back home: "The measure of our pilgrimage is the story, gift of wisdom, we can share with the folks back home." Reading this book brought back memories of my first and happiest travel adventures, and left me sniffing the air and glancing about, eager for my next voyage. I am especially grateful for the fertility of the main metaphor: pilgrimage. Clearly, for Cousineau, life itself is the great pilgrimage; he has given us a guidebook for reimagining the art of living. Not many books qualify as good friends, as companions for the road; this one does, and I heartily recommend it.