Sacred Places, Sacred Stories: Bicycle Pilgrimage, 2015

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“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and descecrated places.” – Wendell Berry

In summer 2015, Kairos Earth undertook a pilgrimage – a journey to sacred places with the intention of learning, seeking, and gaining insight from the places themselves and the people who inhabit them. This pilgrimage was a six-week bike ride across large swaths of the country, undertaken by Kairos employee Chelsea Scudder, and guided by the following questions:

What is sacred about this place?

What does it mean to treat this place as sacred?

Within many people is an innate knowledge and intuition that land is sacred. However, this knowledge can go a lifetime and remain unrealized, unspoken, unheard. The pilgrimage created opportunities and spaces for people to talk openly about their genuine connection to the land, free from political agendas or judgments – the opportunity for people to simply say, “This land is sacred. Here is what that means to me.” 

Covering more than 2,500 miles on a bicycle, the Pilgrimage took Chelsea to landscapes across the country to meet with religious leaders, conservationists, and dedicated community members in order to interview them, ask to hear their stories and reflections on how they are connected to the surrounding landscape.

Our “MiniBook” details the first week of the Pilgrimage from Harpswell, ME, to Burlington, VT, in the first week of June. In the coming year, we will publish a longer book of interviews, stories, and photographs which will include the following five weeks of cycling from Minneapolis to Seattle. 


In short, this pilgrimage served as an opportunity and invitation for individual people to share their personal stories, connected to specific, places and landscapes. This was a Pilgrimage of asking questions and of learning about the ways in which people understand and connect to the land surrounding them the land under their feet, their ancestor’s feet, and their children’s feet.