Anar Journeys

How are Anar Journeys different from other tours?


“If we truly want to know the secret of soulful travel, we need to believe that there is something sacred waiting to be discovered in virtually every journey.”

Phil Coisineau – The Art of Pilgrimage

Being a pilgrim

Pilgrimage is the art of traveling with intention and attention. As pilgrims we open our senses to the sacred around us, be it in shrines, temples or in the lap of Mother Nature. Being a pilgrim also means learning to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Ultimately we discover that all we see is a reflection of the sacred essence inside of us. For this we need to learn to listen deeply. We become the “child of the moment” – as the Sufis say – fully present in the here and now.

Unlike traditional pilgrimages, Anar Journeys are not about walking long distances and exerting ourselves. But they invite us to leave behind our familiar surroundings and surrender ourselves to the learnings of the pilgrimage. At Anar Journeys we travel with an awareness of the traditional stages a pilgrim has to pass through: separation from home, entering the journey with an intention, cracking open and being transformed, and returning home with the gifts from the journey.

An emergent journey

Anar Journeys are neither educational trips nor all-inclusive package tours. No journey is like the other. Each new constellation of pilgrims makes for a unique experience. As hosts we also consider ourselves pilgrims. Every journey brings fresh opportunities for us to grow.

Our experience has shown that there is a fine dance between structure and flow, between schedule and spontaneity. Based on our expertise we craft a unique programme for each pilgrimage. As we listen deeply to the journey’s unfolding and the groups’ needs along the way, the programme may shape-shift. The real magic cannot be planned or structured. We can only invite it by creating the container in which it may emerge.

Community, co-creation and circle

As a pilgrim you are invited to offer your unique gifts and talents in the spirit of co-creation. Anar Journeys is all about what you bring to it. During our pilgrimage we experience what it means to live in a ‘pop-up community’ with all the learnings this entails. In that way, Anar Journeys is also a training ground for the sacred practice of living together as one humanity.

On our journeys we practice sharing our experiences with each other. We learn to listen attentively to what is going on inside of us and then share it in the safe space of the pilgrims’ circle. Most importantly, we learn to listen to each other from the heart. Sufis call this way of communication “sohbat” or spiritual conversation.

Dialogue with an elder from an Alevi community in Istanbul

Inclusion of “outsiders”

We believe that our presence in the spaces we visit changes something in the wider energetic field. Anar Journeys are committed to building a deeper cross-cultural understanding. That’s why we seek real dialogue and heart-to-heart exchange with people we encounter along the way. No encounter is coincidental. All beings we interact with are part of our pilgrimage, including our drivers, waiters or hotel staff. How can we include them into our circle? How can we make them part of our experience? How do we make them feel valued and seen? This shift in relating marks the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim: A tourist takes (photos, a rest), but a pilgrim gives (of himself).

Read this story about an experience of heartful inclusion on our first Anar Journey.


Is an Anar Journey for me?

“Whoever becomes distanced from his roots, seeks to return to the days when he was united with it.”

Jalaluddin Rumi

Come as an empty vessel

The most important requirement for taking an Anar Journey is your desire to learn and to grow – an inner calling to connect to the essence of who you are. Your “seeking” to return to a state of unity within yourself and with the world will guide you on this journey.

We all come to the journey as apprentices. Sufism often speaks of a state of nothingness, being like an empty vessel to receive divine wisdom. Open yourself to the inner learning processes that might be unleashed in you as the pilgrimage unfolds.

Come with curiosity

At Anar Journeys, we connect the gifts from the past with the possibilities of the future. As we explore the sacred traditions of Turkey, Iran and India, we ask you to come with curiosity for cultural diversity. Our journeys – especially the ones in Turkey and Iran – focus on Sufism, the spiritual heart of Islam.

As Huston Smith put it religion is nothing but “the search for the Real, and the effort to approximate one’s life to it.” You will become acquainted with the essential teachings of Sufism, appreciate how they manifest in music, art and poetry, and experience its practices. Come with a “beginner’s mind”, as free from pre-judgements as possible.

Come with a clear intent

In order to get the most out of your journey, we ask you to come with a clear intent. Intention is what turns an ordinary journey into a pilgrimage. Where do I stand in my life? What calls me onto this journey? What is this pilgrimage about for me? What do I need to leave behind in order to step into this experience fully? Hold those questions in your awareness. The clearer your intention, the more you will receive from the pilgrimage.

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