Journey by Navina Anand

Let’s go on the 17-mile drive my husband chirped with enthusiasm on a Saturday morning. We were in our twenties at that time. The 17-mile drive is an unbelievably scenic drive in the Bay Area, California through pristine beaches, majestic cliffs, spectacular mansions, picture perfect surreal golf courses and greenery. It has all the elements that delight man’s eyes. But I groaned when I heard this suggestion. We were new to the Bay Area  and every time someone visited us, the 17-mile drive was an item on the check list of touristy things to do. For my husband, it was an opportunity to drive his new car through smooth roads and organized traffic at a refreshing speed… things which were still new to us. The 17-mile drive was of course spectacular… but even spectacular gets old… and Its winding route sometimes made me a bit car sick. Can we do anything else I moaned, as my husband looked at me incredulously like I had declined to accept the Grammy award.

All my life I have never been much of a journey person-, but more of a destination person. This has been a bit of an issue in our marriage as I would veto every idea to “just go for a drive”- To where?, would always be the question. I am not a big fan of road trips. What is the big romance in it that people make a big deal out of it? Cranky kids in the back seat, me always rummaging in the food hamper for things to eat every 30 minutes, everyone forced to listen to each other’s music or wear headphones in sullen silence; cannot read a book because you could get a headache…,.. like what is the big deal people? Yep. Sorry, not much of a road trip person.

And then I took to trekking. And that is what made me realize that the fleeting destination can never hold a candle to the arduous, spectacular, brutal, cruel, enchanting journey. Every trek… the destination was spectacular, but not any more than the days that we took to get to that point. And as we reach for those destinations at every phase of life – a respectable college degree, a worthy job, a beautiful house, some DNA succession, the next pinnacle of corporate success, suddenly it hits you one day… damn.. there is really nothing in the destination.

I was watching the musical “Hamilton” with my family and one of the songs is “who lives … who dies .. and who tells your story”. But after you are dead… who cares who tells your story? Who cares about your legacy? Who cares if you went down in history?  Can you hear it? See it? What’s the big deal with the legacy we seek to leave behind? Why is it glorified?

So then what kind of a journey do we want to be on ?… we consider our mortality… we consider our choices… and usually at about middle age (if we are lucky) we consider an audit of our lives. We take a look ahead about how we want to live every day that is marching towards that inexorable grave. So how is your journey coming along? Are your dreams still about the next destination?

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