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Is the journey as important as the destination?

My apologies if the title has lured you in expecting some sort of deep or existential analysis of the journey of life and where we try to steer ourselves through the course of our existence on this planet. It's actually more literal..

The question I pose was prompted by a day out I had recently. It involved a drive through stunning countryside for around an hour, a few hours spent in a picturesque area and then another hour or so back.

The time spent at the destination was excellent. Climbing up steep hills to enjoy spectacular views, donning wellingtons to wade through crystal clear streams, home made ice creams and a drink next to a log fire in a traditional pub in the middle of nowhere. Our group ranged from 11 years old to us older folk in our 50s but the experiences were enjoyed equally by us all and, I suspect, created memories that will last a lifetime.


For the the majority of the time spent driving there and then back, the younger members of our team were in the back seats, head down, staring at a screen of some description. Video games or mindless Youtube videos on the mobile were preferred to the view outside which has literally been labelled on maps as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB).

This usually would not cause me to think twice as it's pretty much the norm on any journey, but this one was different.

One of the places we were heading was something that held particularly happy memories as it was somewhere that was visited 40 years earlier with a beloved parent. We were not certain exactly where the site was or whether it would even still be there but as we got closer, memories started to flood back about remembering certain landmarks. Fuel stations on corners, tight turns and steep hills on the road. These memories will have been instilled as a child when you spent car journeys looking out of the window, chatting to the other inhabitants of the vehicle about what you're seeing and how it looks. Sharing the excitement with your siblings or parents that you can't wait to get there and then being told to look at something because it signifies that you're nearly there.

Fast forward 40 years and the excitement and memories come flooding back as the landmarks hove into view and the road does that familiar twist and turn before steeply rising.

The anticipation builds and emotions come to the surface about those amazing times you had when you were a child and that final joy when you see that the place you remember is still there and hasn't changed a bit. It's like you've been transported back in time, just briefly, as you recall the feelings of 4 decades ago.

This gradual build up and anticipation can only be possible if you have memories of the journey as well as the destination. Turning to the passengers on the back seat and seeing the excitement in their faces because they can see where they are and can't wait to get out there has to surely be far better than parking the car and announcing "screens off, we're here".

It feels to me that the newer generation are missing out in some way. Yes, of course they still have the ability to enjoy themselves the same as ever, but that additional dimension that enhances the experience could be lost. I wonder if they will ever realise, or even care, that when they are older, their memories and recollections could be richer or more fulfilling if they could just take the time to look out of the window on the journey.

Maybe it is a metaphor for life after all.............

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