Learning to appreciate the Journey, not the Destination

Travel means many different things to different people. Whether you enjoy luxury hotels or budget travelling in order to stretch your trip longer and your dollar further, you are nonetheless engaging in the art of travel – in whichever way you prefer to do so and wherever you have on your radar to visit.

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But if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that travel – be it in the researching phase, planning phase, or when we are on the road, tends to focus upon the destination and not the journey itself. A very small percentage of people are happy to go without plans – book a flight or train last minute and arrive to a destination with no idea how long they’ll stay or what they’ll do, but for the great majority some extent of planning comes into consideration.

You might see a photo that grabs your eye or hear a travel story from a friend or family member and before you know it you’re convinced…. You simply must go there.

But no matter where you go and what you plan to do when you get there, it’s important to keep this attitude in mind in order to make your trip more enjoyable, memorable, and meaningful:

It’s the journey that matters in the end.

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The truth is that things go wrong when you travel. Plans are disrupted, trains are missed, flights are delayed… and so on and so forth. But is it really that bad? You’ve got to remind yourself to always keep in mind that it could be worse. It could always be worse.

On a recent trip to Ireland I was fed up with ‘arriving’. I would arrive into a city, arrive to my hotel, arrive to the breakfast restaurant the next morning and arrive at a number of attractions that day to snap photos and spend a little time experiencing them. But was I really enjoying it? For a while there, no I wasn’t. I wasn’t entirely sure why I was starting to enjoy myself less – after all I was in Europe, on the other side of the world with the career I had always dreamed of. So instead of succumbing to the feeling of discontent and loneliness in big cities, I got off the grid.

I arrived into Dublin feeling a little apprehensive about my decision to try something new: I had planned not to make plans.

After a night in the city I made my way to a nearby car rental company and asked for a quote for the week. It was miserably expensive for a 22 year old to rent a car in Ireland, but I did it anyway. This would be the first time in 5 months that I had driven a car so I was slightly nervous getting out of the city, but once I hit the highway I knew I had made the right decision.

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I didn’t have any plan of where I would go precisely, or even where I would stay that evening. It was surprisingly refreshing.

That week in Ireland turned out to be one of the best trips I have taken this year. I didn’t have any plans, nor did I care where I ended up. I just drove with the intent to discover some of the natural beauty in Ireland — which indeed I did. But on days where things didn’t quite turn out (which happens a lot in Ireland thanks to mother nature), I would just pullover roadside and read a book or listen to the radio and write notes on foggy windows like I did when I was a kid.

I ended up visiting some wonderful places in Ireland, but it wasn’t the destinations that made the trip – it was the journey. I just needed to ‘get away for a bit’ and trust the universe.

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