“The journey is more important than the destination.”
Not really. Please tell me how wonderful it is to sit in an aircraft for nine hours at a stretch, then get off, rush to the transit lounge, stuff yourself with duty-free thingies, then rush again to another aircraft, spend another few hours to reach a place where you wait for baggage, lug it onto a trolley, find a taxi (or you have someone to fetch you), reach your hotel or whatever and then ache for the time in the plane, the duty free stuff, the walking long distances at airports? You feel wonderful?
I don’t. I wish I could just reach where I have to without having to go groggy-eyed watching some stupid films, smiling at flight stewardesses whose job it is to smile and you end up doing their job. Huh? Then, because it is stylish to say, “No sugar, please”, you have bitter tea or coffee after you have pigged on a dark truffle pastry with whipped cream.
Of course, this journey business I am quoting is all metaphorical. It means many things. That life is more important than death, which is the ultimate destination. But I don’t see it as a destination. I see it as a continuum…and what really is a destination? Isn’t it somewhere you wish to be? Then isn’t the journey merely an anticipation of that? Therefore, what you really enjoy is the thought of the destination. Like foreplay.
Journeys can be bumpy and uncertain. I admit to have romanticised the sitting under the shade of a tree, picking up fallen leaves and all that, but that is a luxury one allows oneself because the shade is to make me less sweaty when I reach the destination; the fallen leaves are mementoes I might keep between the pages of a book. One does not spend one’s life, time and resources to enjoy the journey, but to get to someplace.
You might turn around and ask, “Isn’t writing a journey you enjoy, whether or not it will be published?” My answer is clear: I write because I often publish it or at least complete it. The process of writing is not a journey; although I do travel with the words, it is a destination. Every pause, comma, semi-colon is a gate I stop at; it isn’t a mere milestone to tell me how far I have got. That one gate leads to several gates, just as a house leads to several rooms, rooms lead to furniture, furniture to upholstery, upholstery to yarn, and back to some seed somewhere. Each is a destination. A whole.
A journey is a circle, not a linear path; it circumambulates the centre, the core, the essence. It is time we realise the value of commitment towards that goal and the beauty of belonging.