Pilgrim For A Day

A. J. Jacobs, a New York Times bestselling author, is known for his unconventional experiments. In the early 2000s, he spent 18 months learning as much as he could and even read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica, with the intention to retain as much as he could. This would lead him to author his first book, The Know-It-All. He would later write a book entitled The Year of Living Biblically, and it chronicled his journey to attempt to live every commandment given in the Bible for an entire year. In a third experiment, Jacobs desired to celebrate Thanksgiving the way the original Pilgrims had done so long ago. He asked the historian Richard Pickering to guide him and his family through this process. They played games, told riddles, ate food that was as authentic as possible, invited guests, and gave thanks the way the Pilgrims did. At the end of his brief experiment, he learned that the Pilgrims had this moment of thanksgiving shortly after losing half of their population due to scurvy, and the Native Americans losing 90 percent of their population due to a plague. Jacobs says, “If they [the Pilgrims] could appreciate life amid such chaos, pain, and uncertainty, I could give thanks for all the good things in my relatively cushy life” (A. J. Jacobs, “Be a Pilgrim for a Day,” Parade, November 15, 2009, https://parade.com/46722/ajjacobs/15-pilgrim-for-a-day/).