Not a Destination
I own a refrigerator magnet with the simple expression that reads, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” but that is not the only place I have seen this cliché. Not that I would have any first-hand experience (wink, wink), but it often appears on online dating sites as a mantra for the “Live, Love, Laugh” singles. It accompanies a lone hiker on the peak of a breath-taking mountain view on a t-shirt in a gift shop. Sometimes, it is just mass-marketed on refrigerator magnets. Nonetheless, for as overused as the thought is, it is also entirely accurate, and a truth I believe.
As children, or for some of us as late-in-life college students, we spend time contemplating what we want to be when we grow us as if once we actually perform that task or occupy that profession, we can put a check in a box that we have achieved what we set out to do. I like to think that the end goal is always in flux and it morphs based on our changing perspective of our life story. The more we write into our narrative, the longer and more exciting our journey, and our story, becomes.
Despite what another tired expression tells us, “You can never go back,” I want my journey to include encore performances of several states. Often as part of a longer road trip, places like South Carolina and New Hampshire were part of the journey, but never the destination. I would like to return to Oklahoma and have the experience be more than highway along my relocation from Arizona to the Midwest. I would like to visit Chattanooga or Nashville or Memphis and see the details and learn the history of the Volunteer State. I’d like Kentucky to mean more to me than the airport gateway to Cincinnati.
When I neared my goal of seeing all fifty states (see “Forty-Nine” from August 2012), I may have been just passing through Connecticut, but places along the road stuck with me, despite it being just a spot between New York and Rhode Island. I recall the myriad of pumpkin patches and the autumn leaves dancing in the road (see “Ad Placement” from November 2011). I noted the yard signs of importance to the residents of this in-between point in my travels (see “Breathing Windmills” from December 2011) and remembered more than my itinerary referenced. I believe I owe the same consideration and insight to the five other states that were less of a destination and more of a blur in my journeys. I’ll be back.