The Journey is the Destination

This post was originally published on Beacon Reader, an experiment in crowdsourced publishing that has subsequently ceased to exist. RIP Beacon Reader. 

I spent the past 48 hours traveling 3,500 miles away from home. The trip wasn’t the straight line it was slated to be, but that’s OK. Whenever I set out, I remember that the journey is the destination.

I’m sitting in the JFK international terminal waiting to board after a 24 hour delay. The four Norwegian girls sitting across from me are giggling the way girls everywhere do. A lanky guy with a backwards hat and club kid vibe just exclaimed “Scheiße” upon finding all the outlets were full. All the loose ends have been tied. The bags have been packed, the records have been digitized, and the apartment has been sublet. All the goodbyes have been said, drunk and teary and screaming into the New York City night.

The journey has begun.

On the cab ride to the airport I felt lighter. There are so many things I’ve missed about traveling. I’ve missed living out of a suitcase and knowing that all the objects I posses I can carry. I’ve missed listening to foreign chatter and making up my own stories for what people are talking about. I’ve missed waking up energized for exploration, and falling asleep physically exhausted rather than dragging myself awake with coffee and forcing my noisy mind to sleep pharmaceutically. I’ve missed being “the foreigner” to everyone around me, and most of all, I’ve missed being always inspired to write because everything is so new and strange and wonderful.

Before I left on my first trip, a friend of mine showed me a travel journal of Dan Eldon, a Kenyan photojournalist who died too young. It was called The Journey is the Destination, and that’s what I tell myself every time I go anywhere. He’s the reason I started keeping travel journals and scrap books to document my adventures. Some people get frustrated when they encounter obstacles that force a curvy path rather than a straight line from point A to B. I try to see obstacles as part of the trip. Traveling is a lot more fun when your 24-hour flight delay turns into an excuse to rage with your best friends at Japanese speakeasies for one last night, a seven-hour flight with no WiFi or in-flight entertainment creates opportunities to break in the new notebooks, and an eight-hour layover becomes a challenge to conquer Oslo’s public transport system and make the most out of a totally perfect day.

After my 48 hour journey traveling 3,500 miles away from home, I’ve finally reached my destination. It’s 1:10am in Prague right now and I’ve just settled into my new home-away-from-home for the next month. It’s in the attic of a hotel where Einstein and Kafka have purportedly stayed, is filled with walnut furniture, and has a view of a castle. It’s nice to be back in the old country. Tomorrow I’ll go claim my new desk at a Czech co-working space, meet my new travel companions in the Remote Year crew, and find some locals to show me around town. But now, I sleep. It feels great to be exhausted again.

(Up next: A photo-essay about how I spent 8 my hours in Oslo.)

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