Packing For The Journey
At the end of this week I will head out to Cape Cod for a week with my family. A journey of sorts. I seem to be surrounded by journeys lately, not just my own, but that of family and friends as well. It’s not a theme I mind, especially since I find just the idea of taking a journey exciting. Not all the journeys we take are by choice, but as I packed the books I want to read, my favorite t-shirts, shorts and sandals, I thought about the choices every journey, chosen or not, does give you. What do you bring with you, and what do you leave behind? Just like you choose books or clothes for each journey, you also choose the friendships, the lessons learned, the attitude and the gratitude you take with you. With every worn, comfortable t-shirt I packed I thought about the must-haves I try to bring on every journey: A positive attitude, the courage not to turn back just because I may not know where I am going (yet) or how I’m even going to get there, attentiveness to the details around me along the way, a willingness to learn and give, and an appreciation for every person along the way who imparts something valuable into my life. I thought too about the fact that journeys aren’t always about physically going somewhere, but rather experiencing a change, reacting to, or making your own shift to the norm in your life.
Eight months ago I embarked on the job search journey, as have a number of my friends and relatives, some by choice, some not. During that time, my son also graduated from high school and is readying for his journey to college, and a few of my good friends have moved away , one to pursue her dream of becoming a novelist. All journeys. In fact, I’ll bet that when you ask most people what have been the big journeys in their lives, they’ll tell you about things that don’t involve physically traveling: Getting married, raising children, trying out a new career, getting through heartbreak or falling in love. All journeys.
I think my love of journeys is why I am so drawn to writing. Stories (fiction and non-fiction) all take you on a journey, whether it be to another time, another person’s life or another place. And when you’re the writer, you get to choose the destination. I think it’s also why I am drawn to photographing paths. It looks like a journey waiting to be taken. So, as I journey out to Cape Cod and watch the sand begin to make its appearance along the side of the road as we near the shore (the sign I always excitedly watched for as a kid in the backseat of my parents’ car), I will think of journeys that are yet to be taken….the going, the coming and everywhere in between, and what I pack to accompany me – the comforting favorites with room left for exciting new things in my life!