“Worship The Journey” is the motto of a bike shop in Melbourne. I think that is the ultimate in aptness. You don’t ride a bike to get from A to B quickly because obviously there are faster ways. The bike has just the right pace for taking in the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of wherever you choose to take it. The ride is not about the destination, it’s about the experience in getting there.
I know an avid traveller who enjoys seeing sights, meeting the people, feeling, tasting and smelling the local environment in all the places she visits. After living in London for a few years she decided to go home to Christchurch, New Zealand, by herself, on a push-bike! She rode through Europe, Asia and Australia over twenty months. Check a world map. That, my friends, is Worshipping the Journey.
Just like a good book, her journey had a beginning, a very meaty middle and an end she was absolutely longing to reach.
Reading a story should be the same experience. A reader must start out somewhere, doesn’t matter where, and the destination must be established fairly early in the story. It’s very frustrating to read a book without having a clue where it’s going, what the character’s problem is, what they are trying to achieve. Unlike my friend who wasn’t aimlessly riding around a huge landmass for the hell of it; she was going home.
Think of any story you’ve read and you will have had a pretty good idea of the destination. You didn’t flip to the back page to find out how it ends. You didn’t teleport to the destination. Did you? No, You didn’t. You took that journey anyway and chances are you enjoyed it. There might have been pain and sadness, cheer and elation, just like life, but the satisfaction of going the hard yards with the writer beats the teleporter hands down.
Speaking of which, the writer has also gone on the journey while writing the story, they are inviting the reader to go along with them. If the reader starts out on that journey with the writer, the least they can do is respect the efforts of the writer in creating the journey and go along with them till the end. Turning to the last page is almost a sign of disrespect. It would be akin to heading out with my cycling friend from London before abandoning her in Italy and jumping on the first plane to Christchurch. You just wouldn’t do that.
But is that everything? Does worshipping the journey mean we’re committed to it 100% with no escape clause? What if we’re hating it so much we want to bail out? There were times when Young Cycling Friend wanted to get the first plane to Christchurch from wherever she might have been. From Iran when trying to avoid dodgy men, in India trying to find her stolen bike, or while spending five weeks sick in a Pakistani hospital, or dehydrating on the long hot, town-less highways of northern Australia. Then the biggest home-magnet just a few weeks from journey’s end when learning that Christchurch was almost levelled by an earthquake, knowing her mother was eagerly waiting for her. So near and yet so far. There were certainly some trying moments.
Whether or not she decided to pack it in is irrelevant. Worshipping the Journey means a recognition, an appreciation of the immensity of the journey, no matter how small it is, that as much as we might like to, we can’t teleport to the destination. It’s a hand-clap and a nod to the efforts put in by all those involved.
Whether your reading a book, or writing one, watching a movie or filming it, completing a course, building a house, climbing a mountain, fighting a disease, recovering from injury, raising a family, running for presidency… by all means, keep the destination in view, in fact, never lose sight of it. But above all else remember you can’t teleport to the end, so just take it all in and appreciate everything you see, hear and feel. As you trek to your destination: Worship the Journey.