Cassino - Jerusalem
1826 Miles on foot
Peregrini enim sumus coram Te, et advenæ, sicut omnes patres nostri
For we are pilgrims and strangers before You, as were all our ancestors
(1Chronicle 29, 15)
This is how the Bible in Latin defines the brief passage of humanity on earth, everyone born pilgrim on the earth and a foreigner before GOD. From the rich to the poor and from the foolish to the wise, there is no distinction at all, each one appears on this earth but then not much longer as mist disappears. The existential dilemma is not to comprehend where we will end up after death, but to be able to truly feel alive before that inevitably happens. Life is undoubtedly a gift because no one can secure it on their own, but what will depend on ourselves is the will to seek and pursue each one’s own purpose, trying to penetrate the meaning of our existence. My journey was one of the most rational parts of my digging and investigating inside and outside of myself, I didn’t want to let my past contaminate my thoughts, nor did I want the present concerns affect my future dreams. Walking as a stranger and pilgrim on the earth teaches us exactly that, know how to live and fully enjoying the only time that truly matters for us, the present. The pilgrimage by definition is the journey that is taken out of devotion to holy places for one’s faith, in which the destination is never more important than the journey itself. My faith brought me more than once to Jerusalem, first as an ordinary visitor, and then as a pilgrim, this time I decided to get there leaving behind my comfort zone with the conviction that through this particular condition of travelling I would really find myself at one thing with the journey itself and with the lands I crossed, and so it was. Only after walking step by step through the immensity of the earth do you understand what tiny place your mortal ego occupies within the eternal creation of GOD.
The term “self discovery” can refer to a series of experiences in which a person tries to determine for himself how he feels interiorly about spiritual matters. But this inner journey can also turn into an actual pilgrimage, in which crossing the surrounding lands is often less tiring than walking on the path of one’s own soul. This inner quest is often associated with oriental meditation, but is instead an integral part of almost all religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have most of their traditions in common, starting with their first patriarch, Abraham, whom the LORD foretold a lineage as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand grains of the sea. He was therefore the first believer in the narrative of Genesis who leaves his homeland to go as a stranger to the place that GOD promises to show him (Genesis 12, 1). The word “hebrew” etymologically comes from the word ivri (עברי from the root avar “to passover”) which means “to cross” so with this word it is identified “he who passes by”, “who wanders” going from country to country, and from nation to nation. Crossing a land means learning to overcome trials, I believe that every tribulation enters the life of a man or a woman exclusively to allow a growth to take place. Those who are being tested will also be the same ones who will be able to bear witness to those who will have the pleasure of embracing it, and this narration has been written as a testimony of the events and precious teachings learned during my 101 days on the road to Jerusalem.
My pilgrimage was mainly driven by faith, but throughout my journey I have maintained an interest in accumulating as much experience as possible in solidarity, interreligious dialogue, and social progress. The experiences lived and the discussions I had in this journey of almost three thousand kilometers at zero impact on the environment I will try to tell in this account, in an alternation of topics of religious, social, historical and philosophical nature. A journey that changes deeply and forever, that dissolves those earthly bonds that too often condition thoughts and reasoning, resetting the individual to his original state of peace. The progress we make during our lives cannot be measured exclusively with a material meter, because this makes us forget how important it is to be able to balance the growth of what we possess outside with what happens inside us. This is what writing, books, stories, documentaries, and all other possible forms of testimony are for, to leave a positive and proactive message in the spirit of those who embrace that narrative.
Gpx file of the entire pilgrimage’s map
Max elevation: 5555 ft
Min elevation: -32 ft
Total climbing: 154072 ft
Total descent: -151752 ft
Average speed: 1.56 m/s
Total time: 08:36:43