Holy Rover

 “Reading Holy Rover is like hitting the lotto of a road-trip with Anne Lamott, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Elizabeth Gilbert—one filled with intoxicating conversations, exciting discoveries, and plenty of spiritual rule-breaking.”

—River Jordan, author of Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit

“The writing is so good that you’ll speed through this book and wish it didn’t end. Add the perfect touch of humor, and you won’t realize how much serious ground historically and theologically you’ve covered. Read it with pleasure.”

—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Ageless Soul


From her childhood on an Iowa farm, Lori Erickson grew up to travel the world as a writer specializing in holy sites—journeys that led her on an ever-deepening spiritual quest. In Holy Rover (coming out in September from Fortress Press), she weaves her personal narrative with descriptions of a dozen pilgrimages.

Her trips give Erickson the chance to reflect on her Lutheran upbringing, her flirtation with Wicca, and her admiration for Tibetan Buddhism. A trip to the healing shrine of Lourdes is intertwined with the story of her son’s serious illness as a baby, while visiting Thoreau’s Walden Pond blends with ruminations on being a writer. Along the way, Erickson encounters spiritual leaders who include the chief priest of the Icelandic pagan religion of Ásatrú, a Trappist monk at Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani Abbey, and a Lakota retreat director at South Dakota’s Bear Butte.

Both irreverent and devout, Holy Rover includes images of holy sites around the world taken by several of the nation’s leading travel photographers.

Travel writer, Episcopal deacon, and author of the Holy Rover blog at Patheos, Erickson is an engaging guide for pilgrims eager to take a spiritual journey. Her book describes travels that changed her life—and can change yours, too.


The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the sacred sites featured in Lori Erickson’s Holy Rover. (photo by David Noyes)

Additional Praise For Holy Rover:

“Lori Erickson is just the sort of person you want to take with you to some of the most spiritual places on the planet. Whether on the scent of Luther in Germany, delving for elves in Iceland, or tracing the footsteps of St Columba on the island of Iona, Erickson enlightens and informs us as she connects each pilgrimage to her own personal story. Her honest, wise, and humorous prose makes her zigzagging journey, and its search for spiritual truth, our own.”—James Harpur, author of The Pilgrim Journey: A History of Pilgrimage in the Western World

“Lori Erickson’s sense of adventure and sense of the sacred —as well as her open spirit and love of life—made me grateful to follow her wherever she went (and she went to more holy sites than I could have imagined!). Along the way, I discovered religions and traditions I never heard of, gained a deeper understanding of those I knew, and learned, as she did, what it truly means to be on pilgrimage. Lively prose, rich descriptions, and anecdotes that are in turn poignant, funny, and mysterious all combine to make this a wondrous journey.”— Rivvy Neshama, author of Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles

“With grace and wit, Lori Erickson takes us on a pilgrimage to sacred sites around the world, from Martin Luther’s Wittenberg, Germany, to Lourdes in France, to the Lakota’s Mato Paha or Bear Mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In each of these locations, Erickson reveals a bit more of her own spiritual journey, of her own exploration of the deeper mystical meanings that underlie all faiths. Through her own quest, she becomes a healer and a wise woman. In a book filled with insight and deftly written prose, she invites us to follow her visionary path.”–Mary Swander, author of The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles

“Lori Erickson writes with refreshing honesty about the spiritual journey, free from judgment and dogma. I first discovered her on her Holy Rover blog when I was beginning to question my own spiritual life after the death of my mother; what I found was a fellow seeker and friend. With fluid and transparent prose, she leads you by the hand and you happily follow. I found myself gently challenged and much educated in religions and cultures from far-away places. Whether your wanderings take you around the world or into your backyard, far from the religion of your youth or just a few steps away, you will find a fascinating, wise and compassionate guide in Lori Erickson.”–Susan Bailey, author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times

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