” It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway.
Quotes like this ring with undeniable truth, though we often find ourselves doing just the opposite in life. We get impatient, desperate and frustrated during the journey, because we think the finish line is too far away. We think that every hurdle is there to stop us living our dreams. We get tired of climbing the mountain because we’re thinking of the billion steps we have to take to get to the top, rather than what each step up feels like.
I don’t always remember to live by this wisdom, but, when I travel, I absolutely embody it without trying to. I tick countries off my bucket list and the minute I’ve discovered a new place, a desire arises to explore another one. I’ve come to love travel so much, that even when I walk into an airport, I’m immediately soaked in complete fulfilment.
I love checking in, I love going through security, I love finding a comfy chair to wait on and I even love the crappy food choices I get to make. I love hearing the boarding call, I love lining up to get on the plane, I love saying ‘Hi’ to my seat when I find it and I love checking out the menu, the movies and the other people on the plane.
Before I even get to experience the thrill of take-off, let alone the arrival, I’m loving the journey so much that the outcome is irrelevant. Therefore, if my flight gets delayed, if I miss it completely, or if things don’t go to plan – I’m still really loving it.
Choose how you want to perceive a delay
When we observe people in the grip of travel rage, we see them making choices that propel irritating situations into disasters. You know the scene. Red-faced travellers raging at the check-in crew because they won’t make their destination on time – even though all the yelling in the world is not going to get the plane off the ground. It’s just not.
I’ve seen people huff, puff, whinge, squirm, sigh and argue with their companions until they’ve worked themselves into a state of total meltdown. Choosing this attitude is also not going to get the plane off the ground. It is, however, a great way to make yourself feel a whole lot worse.
The point is, the plane will eventually take off. You’ll get going again – even if it means you have to ‘get going’ back home to start the journey again. With that knowledge and the acceptance of ‘what is’, rather than become impatient, we can get excited to go to the book shop and choose our next favourite read. Rather than blaming the staff, we can start figuring out how to rearrange our lives to fit in with the new schedule. Rather than channelling energy into feeding useless frustration, we can look around for new opportunities. You never know who you might meet at an airport.
Plus, the longer you’re delayed, the sweeter the arrival will actually be.
This is what enjoying the journey means. Not just the good parts of the journey – all the parts. Obviously, we’re not going to be jumping for joy during the ‘delays’ in life, but, if we take the time to notice, there’s an odd sort of quiet joy within delays, setbacks and challenges. The quiet joy only makes itself known to us, when we’re fully immersed in the present moment, rather than fighting it.
This shiny gem is always hiding in the noise, confusion and drama. If you’re present with the journey, at every step of the way, you’ll find it. When you do get to the finish line, you may even realise that finding that gem was the most inspiring part of the journey – and all you had to do is notice it.