I visited Canada for 2 weeks earlier this summer, specifically visiting Toronto and areas within 2-4 hours drive of there. It was the first visit back (home?) in over two years. Of course I’ve missed family and friends in that time and I make every effort to keep in touch despite the distance.
It was great to connect in person with many people, finding out what was new and old, sharing their daily lives with them even for a short time, seeing how the kids have grown and getting a feel for what was still familiar and what wasn’t anymore.
What I didn’t miss was the driving!! The time spent in the car, the discomfort of sitting for long periods of time with little movement, the isolation of being in a traffic jam/queue beside other solitary people in their cars. And there was a need to be in a car almost every day whether it was mean travelling between visits or spending time with the people I was visiting as they went about their usual days. It gave me the feeling of focusing on the destination and hurrying through the journey. It was all about getting somewhere to do something (even if just visit) and less about enjoying the process on the way.
When I returned to the UK (home?) after my visit, I had a series of meetings/appointments in Central London. I left my flat and passed the gardener with whom I exchanged hellos, walked to the tube station passing people along the way, entering the tube and saying hi to the usual attendant, riding the tube talking to a couple of ladies back from a trip to Asia, arriving at a coffee shop and talking to the staff while waiting for my colleague. When my colleague arrived we even exchanged a bit about how our journeys had been that day on our way to meet up. It felt like my life in Europe was a bit more about enjoying the journey and not just focusing so much on the destination. It felt much more interactive and social, albeit with strangers, throughout the day rather than spending so much time so isolated in a car.
Granted there are some days in the UK where I want to be isolated during my journey – now as I write this thought I am sitting on a train not chatting to anyone. And it still feels more like enjoying the journey as I am able to work while commuting, look out over the countryside and not have to pay attention to the road ahead and I could change my mind and talk to the person sitting beside me if I want.
What aspects of your life do you want to focus on the journey or focus on the destination?