‘Having no direction is better than having someone else’s.’ –Xenon Reade
The road is everywhere. It long ago became one of our society’s arch-metaphors. Travel and the extended road trip is part of coming of age, and has become something of a world-wide phenomenon.
But where is everyone going?
North Americans have been doing Europe for several hundred years, though common folk couldn’t afford it until the opening decades of the twentieth century.
Nowadays the world lies at our feet. Asia, Australia and New Zealand, The Middle East and Africa, Central and South America, what is closed to us if only we save a little, economize here and there?
I write this sitting in a truck stop south of Calgary. The wind pushed in hard before I stopped, and since I’ve been here the blackened skies opened up. Rain is coming down in torrents and people are sprinting from their cars holding anything they can find over their heads for cover. A half dozen motorcyclists, mostly retired looking leather clad grey-haired men, wait out the deluge sipping coffee.
Who was it said ‘Traveling is a fool’s paradise?’ Can’t recall where I read that one. Guessing I’d say Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was driving at the idea that wherever you go you end up finding…precisely yourself. Few people succeed in getting outside themselves. It doesn’t stop us from making the attempt though, as I suppose it shouldn’t.
The road we travel, at least in the metaphorical sense, always has as its destination the self. And there are so many guide books available to us. It’s a billion dollar business. I’m afraid I haven’t stayed up to date on the latest, but no matter, because in the end they are all the same, more or less.
At first, the road traveled is an escape, a getting away from who we are and the world we inhabit. Destination unknown. Just as long as it’s away. But stick to it and a goal begins to take shape. Distant, yes, but there nonetheless. The Self, self-realization, self-actualization, meaning and purpose in Life!
Happy travels, and a rich, adventurous journey.
However, let me ask one more question. Why?
Why all this traveling back to the self? When did we collectively get rerouted, or detoured away from who we were? If we aren’t just putting a patch on a bad job, and perhaps leaving the hard questions for the next generation to grapple with, where is the root of the problem?
Time for me to move along. The rain has let up and I’ve more road to cover.
Thanks for stopping by the Omphalos Cafe. In living your life to the fullest you celebrate all Life. It has need of each one of us.