There’s no denying it: Going on pilgrimage can be pricey.
With travel and accommodations, facilitator fees, and more, costs can quickly add up. I often hear from seekers who are longing to go on pilgrimage—whether it’s a trip I’m leading, a journey led by another, or a pilgrimage of their own design—and yet the reality of finances stands in the way of their desires.
I’m always excited to tell them, though, that their circumstance doesn’t equal the end of the road. Just like a pastor following a call to the pulpit or a missionary responding through a life of service, your “yes” to pilgrimage is a “yes” to the invitation of the Sacred Guide, and when you apply some intention and even invite others to join you in your calling and on your quest, you’ll be surprised by how quickly generous and enthusiastic support—financial and otherwise—falls into place.
Are you longing to go on pilgrimage but need some ideas to make it happen financially?
Whether you’ve already booked a pilgrimage, have a journey in mind, or are simply in the dreaming and scheming stages, here are 5 ways to creatively fund a pilgrimage:
1. Save money by fasting from something
Here’s a good place to start: What money are you spending on a regular basis that you could redirect toward your journey? These days there are many online subscriptions that quickly add up, and activities like eating out can have the same effect. Consider fasting from one or more of these and put the money toward your pilgrimage instead. It’s likely you’ll gain some extra time too, now that your evenings will be free of, say, Netflix, and you can use that time to prepare spiritually and emotionally for your journey as well.
2. Host a dinner oriented around your destination and theme
Does your pilgrimage take you to a location with a unique culture and cuisine? Host a themed dinner before your departure, charging a set fee for participation and allowing those invited to get a taste (quite literally) of what is to come. This would especially be a great idea to do with a church as a fellowship meal. You might even find support in fellow congregants whom you might never have met otherwise!
3. Invite friends and family to be Journey Companions
When I got married, we used a registry service called HoneyFund, which allowed my husband and me to raise money for specific aspects of our honeymoon and also provided an opportunity for our friends and family to become involved in our trip in a unique way. When it comes to pilgrimage, sites like GoFundMe or FundMyTravel are great resources for fundraising, and FundMyTravel even provides a “cost calculator” feature so your supporters can see a breakdown of costs. Both also have an “updates” feature, which you could use as a blog of sorts, offering updates before, during, and after your journey, allowing your supporters to be true Journey Companions along the way. (Note: Both services take a percentage of what you raise as a service fee, so be sure to factor that into your fundraising goal.)
4. Offer a workshop for pilgrimage sponsors upon your return
This idea goes hand-in-hand with using a service like GoFundMe or FundMyTravel, as each provides opportunities to offer unique gifts (or “rewards,” as they’re referred to on both sites) for varying donation levels, though you could do this without using a service, too. Start small, such as a postcard from your journey or perhaps even a stone collected from a Sacred site, and then go from there. You could also create something for donors while you’re on your pilgrimage, like a drawing, craft, or poem. For larger donations, you could offer a workshop or mini-retreat upon your return on your destination, theme, the spiritual practices that influenced you, and the insight you gained while on pilgrimage.
5. Ask for contributions during birthdays and Christmas
Sure, this one isn’t as creative, but if you regularly receive gifts from loved ones, it’s a surefire way to raise support, plus it’s another opportunity to share with others the importance of your journey.
And, finally, a bonus tip: If there’s a particular pilgrimage you have your heart set on but don’t have funds at the ready, ask the pilgrimage facilitator if you can arrange a custom payment plan to better suit your needs. I know I offer this option on my journeys, so if finances are ever holding you back I’d be happy to talk about alternative payment options to help make your dream a reality. Contact me here.
I’d love to have you join me next May on my Creation Pilgrimage in the Pacific Northwest. I planned a domestic journey this year specifically to make it more financially possible, and there are multiple accommodation options to fit your budget. Register early and SAVE $200, plus, when you register by November 30, 2017, you’ll also get to join my Pilgrim Principles Online Course for FREE in the new year (a $97 value). Prices for this pilgrimage increase on January 6, 2018, so register now to get the best deal! Learn more »