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The Destination or the Journey

May 2, 2015

Last month I embarked on an epic, spring break road trip with my husband and four teens: three of our own and one extra because we’re insane. After a staggering 1700 miles, the kids declared that we’d finally reached our destination—the Pacific Ocean.

I disagreed.

In my mind, we wouldn’t reach our destination until we pulled back into our driveway in Colorado. The road trip was just that: a trip on the road. There was no destination, I said. It was all a destination. No surprise; the kids rolled their eyes. For them, the beach was it. Sounding somewhat Taoist or like a guest on Oprah’s Soul Sunday show, I insisted that everything we’d done on the trip had been part of the journey and that we needed to live in the present to truly appreciate the adventure. Again, more eye-rolling.

Given we had another 1700 miles to go, I had lots of time to ponder this idea of mine, and eventually, I wound it back to my writing.

What is the destination for a writer? Is it to make money? To get published? Send a message? Leave a stamp on the world? Waste time? Perhaps it is all of the above, but I realize that like a road trip, every part of the writing process is part of the whole. To focus on one piece is to miss the rest.

I wouldn’t have skipped the Grand Canyon, where crazy tourists fed squirrels and told their kids that icebergs created the canyon. I wouldn’t have wanted my kids to forego the dinner at the Mormon diner in Utah or miss the opportunity to get lost in slot canyons. I wanted them to see the Mexican border, drink milkshakes while listening to Buddy Holly on Route 66, and witness the Vegas hoopla. If we’d jumped directly to the Pacific, they’d have missed rich and tacky parts of our country. They would have missed the details.

Epic road trips are exactly like the writing process, and as writers, we must experience every stop along the way.

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One comment

  1. What a beautiful way of looking at it!



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