A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
The above is one of the most used, and perhaps most overused, quotations out there, but it’s also true. You will never set out on a journey, much less complete a journey, if you don’t take that first step. When I first created this site, I thought about all the different definitions and connotations the word journey can have.
The ones below are only a few of the examples of a journey I thought of. As time goes by, links will be added to this article connecting to the various journey-related topics on this site.
(Sorry, there will be no discussion of the band Journey as there are many other people more qualified than I am to discuss them. I couldn’t even name one Journey song off the top of my head, to tell you the truth.)
When most people hear the word journey, they tend to think of long distance travel. I’m no different. I think of a journey as being a long, arduous trip to some magnificent destination. And the world is full of magnificent destinations.
I tend to hang out near the Pacific on my journeys around the world: Hawaii, Seattle, California, Japan, but there are many destinations I haven’t made it to yet. The world is full of places that I’ll never get to—I know that. However, I’ve got a long list of places I’m aiming to go—a list too long to put here. I hope that some of my journeys around the world will inspire you to set out on a journey to the place that you’ve always wanted to go.
Sometimes, a simple trip to the grocery store or somewhere else around the block or cross town can become a journey. Most people hope it doesn’t. Most people hope that their errands are relatively uneventful, but sometimes they aren’t.
And sometimes, we can make our errands into a journey—an adventure if you will. We can try a new place. We can go a new way. We can look at something from a different angle or point of view.
And by that, we can discover something new in our tired old town or have a new thought about some worn out site.
When we get to the store—especially if it’s a grocery store—we can travel the world through the products on the shelves. Are we going to Italy or Mexico or China with the food we buy?
Vicarious Journeys in Books and Games
A hero’s journey, whether it be in a book or movie or video game, can become our own journey. Yes, it’s a vicarious one, but when we relate to what the character is going through, even at a metaphorical level, it can even affect our own personal journeys.
My favorite of these is books. When I take a real, actual trip, I almost always look for the perfect book or books to accompany me. Maybe the book takes place in the same destination as I’m headed. Maybe the book has a certain theme that relates to why I’m taking my own journey.
And then there is exploring worlds in video games. Some of them are vast. How that world looks, the characters, the events can all deeply affect us as we play.
And to remember these vicarious journeys, I often look at the book covers on my shelves or hang art on my walls of these fantastic places or even look at books of maps and drawings of the fictional places and characters I’ve visited.
Journey through Daydreaming
Sometimes, we can’t go to all the places we want to. Sometimes, we want to dream of a place before we go there. And even at other times, we dream of a place that we’ve already been.
Maps and globes are tools for these types of journeys, and so are videos, photos, and books.
I could never get tired of looking at a globe or a really big, detailed map—thinking what it’s like there, what kind of people might be there, what I would do and whom I would meet if I went. Or if I had been to that place, I’ll remember the experiences and often yearn to return.
I don’t know how many people still daydream, but it’s a worthwhile journey in itself.
I would argue that we’re all on a spiritual journey whether most of us know it or not. The spiritual journey is known as life. Some are moving closer to God and others further away. We don’t really get into the spiritual so much here, but please know that all the journeys we take cumulate into a spiritual one.
Another label I might use here is our life journey which is an accumulation of our entire experiences and journeys through life.
Journey through Time
Time travel can be fun, and it can be painful depending on where the journey takes you. There are many ways to journey through time, some already mentioned above.
Some of the secrets of time travel are discussed on this site. You can journey through time through media and music, sights and sounds, smells and tastes. No, it’s not through a machine that physically transports us through time, but rather through our senses.
Some sites around the world are so preserved that it’s like you’re stepping back in time.
As long as your imagination is not limited, time travel is a real possibility.
Personal Journey to Your Goal
A personal journey touches on many of these other categories, but the ones I’m thinking of here are the journeys that take us to our personal goals. You might be journeying towards writing your first novel or losing weight or living a healthier life or kicking a harmful habit or even overcoming an addiction.
Another personal journey might be learning a language. Knowing another language can open up so many other doors to other worlds. Just the journey of learning a new language is exciting and also full of obstacles. But if you reach the peak of that language mountain, it is oh-so satisfying.
Journey of a Baseball Season
Finally, and one of my personal favorites, is the journey of a baseball season. One hundred sixty-two games in the regular season alone. Day by day, game after game, inning upon inning, there’s nothing else like it in sports, and sports are a great metaphor for life.
Unexpected injuries. Unexpected stars. Expectations met. Expectations exceeded. And often expectations unfulfilled. Perseverance. Lack of effort. Bad luck. Unexpected fortune. Sounds a lot like the journey we call life, doesn’t it?
No matter what kind of journey you’re on, that first step to me always seems to be the most exciting.
I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. – Ellis Boy “Red” Redding (The Shawshank Redemption)