The Pilgrimage Experience

"I am blown away by how incredibly awesome this series is! I haven’t finished watching them all, but I am deeply moved and touched by these discussions. So powerful! Amazing TV, please keep doing what you are doing!" ~ Katy Throop Montanez
"Insightful, inspiring. Perfect investment of time." ~ Anonymous
"Totally enthralling and captivating." ~ Flo
"This is a wonderful series. I have watched two episodes so far. Both were thought-provoking, interesting, and offer a satisfying mix of intimate conversation and video footage from around the world. The guest speakers bring humor and wisdom in good measure. It is hard to build a series that is both seriously informative and also entertaining. Global Spirit is doing it!" ~ Anonymous
"An excellent series of heartfelt spiritual explorations. Phil Cousineau is a thoughtful interviewer who brings the best out of some of the leading seekers of our time." ~ Anonymous

This program was supported by:

The Pilgrimage Experience

  • What can the ritual of Pilgrimage tell us about deepening the sacred dimension of life?
  • What spiritual state or benefit are pilgrims ultimately looking for?
  • How do they know and express it, if and when they find it?

Over a hundred years ago, Mark Twain wrote that “Travel is the death of prejudice,” But it’s not just any kind of travel because some forms of modern, mass tourism, can reinforce our prejudices. This program reveals the power of intentional travel, and how pilgrimage — a journey of spiritual transformation — has long proved to be one of the most genuine practices to help nourish the soul and help dispel the fear of the other. For this reason, famed mythologist Joseph Campbell pronounced that “enlightened travel” would be one of the ways human beings can stave off the catastrophe that comes from the fear or hatred of the other races or religions.

Where to Watch on PBS

Program Guests

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is one of the most revered and respected travel writers alive today. He was born in England, raised in California, and educated at Eton, Oxford, and Harvard. His essays, reviews, and other writings have appeared in Time, Conde Nast Traveler, Harper’s, the New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, and His books include Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, Cuba and the Night, Falling off the Map, Tropical Classical, and The Global Soul. They have been translated into several languages and published in Europe, Asia, South America, and North America.

Zoila Mendoza Ph.D., cultural anthropologist

Zoila Mendoza Ph.D.

Zoila Mendoza Ph.D. was born and raised in Peru where she obtained her B.A. and Licenciatura degrees in Anthropology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She then received her Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Anthropology Department and is currently a Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Mendoza’s work has focused on the study of festivals, music, and dance in the Peruvian highlands and among Andean migrants in the nation’s capital. A daughter of Andean migrants herself, she has dedicated her career to scrutinizing the complexities and relevance of such practices, crucial for understanding Andean society and Peru at large. Her work lies at the crossroads of anthropology, history, ethnomusicology, dance, performance, and Native American studies. Her current research concentrates on revealing core Andean forms of knowledge and memory through close analysis of the sensory experience of performers and festival participants.

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