LAKE CITY, CO – I know I’ve written this before but a trip is all about getting to the destination. But a journey is about the magic that happens between the start and the finish. And even though it’s a fairly easy concept to understand intellectually it’s quite another thing to understand the reality that it’s not about “getting there.” Rather, it’s about the things you discover along the way.
It’s been almost a month now since Lainey and I left the Helm, our home in the beautiful Hudson Valley of upstate New York, to begin our journey.
I can say now that the first couple of weeks were like one of those great vacations; long enough to linger…to soak up each and every day. Nothing rushed.
But we’ve found that soon you enter into the next phase; into the zone of the unknown. You’ve never been away this long before. Questions begin to bombard your mind. “When are we going home? When can we stop and settle and unpack?” Then the reality begins to sink in that you are not going back. You are on a journey that does not include a return ticket. Your destination is unknown.
In fact, for the time being, your destination is unimportant.
Over the last week or so I’ve wrestled with this notion. But as much as I’ve thought and journaled, words to describe what’s going on inside me have escaped me. I knew I was feeling and experiencing significant things. Lainey and I have been diligent to recognize important “coincidences.” We have been collecting markers along the way without understanding how or why they are important.
It’s like a scavenger hunt to collect puzzle pieces without knowing what the finished puzzle will look like. You’re not sure where the pieces will fit but you know they’re important.
Back in the day when cartographers drew the edges of what they knew onto the maps of the day, they would inscribe the words, “Beyond this point there be dragons” to describe the dangers of venturing too deeply into the unknown.
As of now, we are at least a couple of weeks into the unknown and no dragons yet. But we have noticed some pretty interesting changes taking place in the way we think and process our journey.
It occurs to me that my worldview-my reality and the reality of practically everyone I know has at least two great anchors around which everything else revolves; Home and Work. In fact, it can be argued that for many people work is all about providing for the home and everything that home contains.
We may venture away from home for a time but we always return because that’s our anchor. Home defines us. Of course this has become brutally obvious with every new person we meet on this journey. How do you answer the question, “Where are you from?” when you’ve completely redefined the concept of “home?”
To redefine home is to redefine who you are, what you do, and where you live.
Lainey and I have found that as the journey lengthens “when are we going back” (looking back) shifts to “what’s next?” (looking forward). This shift, when you think about it, is significant.
For now, one month in, we’ve worked through Phase One, “the Honeymoon Stage” where everything is new and fun and adventurous.
And we’ve worked through Phase Two, “the Weird Unknown Stage” where the reality sets in that you’re not returning to the familiar anytime soon. That realization can rattle you.
Now we’re into Phase Three, the Traveling Stage, where the concepts of time; months and weeks and days begin to fade and the ebb and flow of the journey takes over. It’s not about tomorrow. It’s about the here and now.
Personally, it’s easy to lose patience waiting for Phase Four; “The Discovery Phase” where things really begin to fall in place and understanding for all these mysterious but significant markers come rushing in.
But for some reason there is a troublesome thought that tickles the edges of my consciousness in the early mornings between sleep and wakefulness.
And that is that “The Discovery Phase” may not be Phase Four but rather Phase Eight or Twenty-Four or 100.