Monday, August 23, 2010

Discussion: Does the journey make the destination?


Half Dome from Olmstead Point at Sunset

This week I'd like to touch on something I think about a lot. The impact that the journey has on the destination. For example, the view from Olmstead Point in Yosemite is amazing, it's perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yet it does not rank among the top 20 places I've been in my life, and being there is not one of my most pleasant memories. I find myself reminiscing mostly about places that are difficult to get to instead.

I feel as though working hard to be someplace makes you enjoy it more. That's not to say that you have to hike someplace to enjoy it, a long drive can be just as memorable as a backpacking excursion. I'd like to know not only if you agree with me that the journey makes the destination, but why you think that is.

I'd also like to start test a new feature where I'll preview the upcoming weeks posts on Monday (starting today). So please, let me know if you like the preview or if you'd rather be surprised when you visit.

This week on the blog:

  • Tuesday: 10 Tips on Outdoor Photography
  • Wednesday: Ansel Adams Wilderness: Silver Lake to Clark Lakes
  • Thursday: Ansel Adams Wilderness: Angnew Pass & Gem Lake
  • 6 comments:

    1. I suppose that completing a carefully planned hike to a challenging destination just naturally carries with it an additional sense of satisfaction in the accomplishment. A good physical workout also tends to stimulate endorphins. This tends to play into the mental affinity of being captivated by some beautiful scenery. The people you see up a Glacier Point in flip-flops, sucking on an ice cream bar, are missing all that. They can gawk and take pictures, but never get the same experience. But I think that getting too caught up in being “goal oriented” will cause you to miss the real point of being out there. I think that to love hiking, is to love “the journey” as much as the destination. If you love the outdoors, being there is literally half the fun, and therefore, “the journey” provides an experience that cannot duplicated by mere sightseeing.

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    2. Sean is a big journey guy, but I have to admit that I spend more time being stressed out and annoyed that I'm 'not there already!' than enjoying the hiccups or perfect execution. For me, I spend so much time thinking about 'being' someplace, the stuff in between just isn't as important.

      Of course, I'm also the girl that takes short cuts and doesn't hike. So it may not be a valid opinion.

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    3. Randy - I'd like to think that many of the flip-flop wearing, ice scream sucking, glacier point gawkers must have come a great distance to stand there. By contrast my journey, by any route, is going to be a fraction of the trouble they went through to get there. Yet from the conversations I overhear, the body language I observe, and the behavior I see, I do feel like I am getting something a little extra out of it. It almost makes me feel just to "be a hiker" is enough to appreciate places in nature, even if you didn't hike there.

      Brie - I can be the same way, I'm always worrying about how late it is, if we will have to set up in the dark and thinking 10 steps ahead. I suppose that's part of why I have not had many mishaps on my adventures but at the same time, I can ruin "the journey" trying to make sure it's a safe one.

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    4. I completely agree with Randy and Brie both, actually...

      I do tend to be a bit more like what Brie described (at least when it comes to hiking/backpacking, road trips are a different story), and I often want to just get there - especially on a difficult hike. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself for not just enjoying it whole heartedly, despite my blisters and aching muscles and dusted nose. I try to maintain a good attitude, but nothing beats arriving at the destination, regardless of how long, how lost, or how hot the journey was.

      That being said, I think my drives up and down California when we were living in LA were some of my favorites. Yes, it was almost always REALLY late when we were on the road, and yes, we almost always had to be back for school or some event the next day, but the journey of getting there and just having time disconnected from the computer where you can talk and laugh and debate are always welcomed. I think I enjoy hiking and backpacking so much because it is not only a chance to enjoy nature and exercise, but an opportunity to use the journey to brainstorm, vent, think quietly to yourself, or just enjoy the company you're with without so many distractions.

      P.S. I also love journey-related quotes! "It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you don't stop" (Confucius)and "It is better to travel well than arrive" (Buddha) are a couple of my favorite quotes. So much so that I created hanging car pendants for both Chris and I that have the latter written on them! :)

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    5. Even in the worst scenario, when there is nothing redeeming about the journey I still feel like it has an impact on the destination. In truth I feel this is true about more than hiking. Graduating from college isn't exciting because we get a piece of paper that says we get to be adults now, its exciting because of all the hard work we poured into it.

      When we work hard for something we savor it, the view from the top is the same no matter how you reach the summit, by car of my foot, and yet it's not. When you really have to work for it, you take on a part of it.

      At least thats my feeling on the matter.

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    6. If you hike it, you take a part of it with you :-) but my wife is a lot more like Beylah.

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