Retirement is so much more than a bucket list. It’s a chance to live with renewed purpose — to find your vocation — and pilgrimage may be a bigger part of that than you’d expect.
A Catholic pilgrimage, whether to the Holy Land, Rome, or the Camino, can be a catalyst for discovering what God has in store for you during your retirement years. It’s a chance to experience God’s story in a new way and discern his call, all while experiencing the trip of a lifetime.
Finding Your Vocation in Retirement
The great simultaneous challenge and joy of retirement is finding a new purpose in life. This path has been dubbed “vocation” for a long time in the Catholic church, and its meaning runs deeper than simply a career. It’s about your calling, something many people are seeking as they transition into their post-career days.
Everyone’s experience of transition to retirement is different. You may find you are finally able to spend more time on things you’ve always wanted to invest in. Or, you might discover that without the structure you once had in your career you feel more adrift. Wherever you fall on the spectrum during your journey through retirement, this deeper calling acts as an anchor for how you spend your days.
Your vocation doesn’t have to follow a certain template. It could mean volunteering with a particular church or cause, investing in family, or even part-time work. But whatever it is, ideally it’s something that uses your talents, takes work, and offers just enough challenge that it requires growth and faith from you as you work towards that goal.
So how do you discover this vocation? That’s where pilgrimage offers a unique opportunity for just that.
Pilgrimage: An Opportunity for Discernment
A pilgrimage may be the perfect moment to discern God’s invitation in this unique phase of life, and for many reasons.
First, it removes you from your usual surroundings. Whether you’re busy visiting grandkids, reworking your landscaping, or simply watching T.V., it’s easy to continue to exist in those spaces without a second thought. It’s difficult to see outside of your daily routine. Just that simple action of leaving your home turf can break the monotony and spark something new.
But a pilgrimage doesn’t just remove you from your own surroundings, it connects you with God and the sacred in a unique, often life-changing way. Many people go on a pilgrimage with a specific goal in mind, and discerning your vocation in retirement is a great one. Through encounters with how God has worked through people throughout history, moments of reflection, and conversing with your fellow pilgrims, it’s an opportunity to gain clarity and perspective before returning home.
Finally, it brings you into contact with others who may be facing similar challenges. And international travel, especially to spiritual destinations, has a way of opening people up to change, new visions, and deeper conversations. You might find that the most significant moments of your pilgrimage are not at the sites you visit but the words you exchange with your fellow pilgrims.
Live Life to the Fullest
Pilgrimage is a great way to discern your vocation but an even better way to live it.
Over and over, at Verso we’ve seen how a pilgrimage brings together the many things we wish for in life, and especially in retirement. New sights, great food, close friends, sacred sites…the list goes on.
Here are just a few reasons we believe retirement is the perfect time to go on a pilgrimage:
Make a once-in-a-lifetime trip with family or friends
Whether it’s your entire extended family or a few friends, a pilgrimage is one of the most meaningful experiences you can do together. Traveling is fun, but pilgrimage will be a spiritual experience that invites your whole group into something bigger. And once you return home, you’ll be connected by memories that can’t be put into words.
Experience God’s World
It’s a common refrain for retirees, to go out and “see the world” with a newfound freedom. But there’s so much more out there than just seeing the sites. A pilgrimage is a chance to experience God’s hand at work throughout history and in the people and places here today. A pilgrimage with Verso is an opportunity to experience everything good about the life God has given us.
The Right Time to Spend
Many retirees report difficulty in spending the money they’ve accumulated over the course of an entire career. But one of the joys of retirement is using your hard-earned money to make thoughtful contributions and invest in people and experiences that celebrate a life well-lived. Pilgrimage can be one of those investments.
Learn and Grow
People have a way of surprising even themselves with the growth and transformation they can achieve in their post-career life. A pilgrimage may be the seed that starts something new, or is a fulfillment of a long-term goal. It’s a chance to learn history and grow personally. And each pilgrimage is a unique growth experience in its own way, from walking the Camino, to walking where Jesus walked.
Meet New People
People often leave for a pilgrimage talking about the sites they’ll see, and return home talking about the people they met. After all, the most special moments of life have revolved around the people we know, the conversations we had, and shared experiences.
Wondering what a pilgrimage might look like for you? Whether you’re just starting down the road of retirement, or living your vocation to the fullest, discover Verso’s destinations and reflect on what God might have in store for you.