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Journeys vs. Destinations (and 2 Years of Uncontained Life!)

journeys, destinations, Croatia, Uncontained Life

At some point in your life, you have probably heard someone say something along the lines of “the journey matters more than the destination.” Not to throw stones at pretty cliches, but I think whoever came up with this sweeping philosophy should have to wait overnight in an airport or three.

journeys, destinations, Bosnia, Uncontained Life

Look, I realize the whole journey vs. destination thing is, generally, not taken literally. And for good reason, right? Show of hands: Who likes hauling bags through customs? Being crammed for hours on end in a flying tin can with hundreds of other people? Sweating on busses or freezing in overly air-conditioned trains? Yeah. I thought not.

journeys, destinations, luggage, England, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, airplane, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Indonesia, Uncontained Life

In fact, Justin and I have this thing we say whenever we’re asked if we “still enjoy traveling” after 2 years (yay!!!) on the road: “We hate most traveling, actually. What we enjoy is being in new places.”

journeys, destinations, Brazil, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, China, Uncontained Life

I know, shocking. But you can’t deny…many aspects of being “in transit” kind of suck. And when you’re full time digital nomads like us, moving at least every 1-3 months, it’s easy to get sick of the on-the-road aspect of being “on the road.” (Especially when that road is making you bounce around in your seat like a kernel in the process of becoming popcorn…yeah, I’m looking at you, Colombia backroads.)

journeys, destinations, Philippines, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Uncontained Life

Once we arrive at our destination though…all the pain of getting there fades. We go shopping and discover new foods; we get to visit That One Thing many people have only seen on Instagram or in movies; we meet someone who wants to sell us hats, but is also excited to share his city’s history; we get lost and find a unique coffee shop.

journeys, destinations, Philippines, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Croatia, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Germany, Uncontained Life

But what about the philosophical idea of journeys? We can get on board with that, right?

journeys, destinations, New York, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Spain, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Yes.

But it’s complicated.

journeys, destinations, Indonesia, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Austria, Uncontained Life

The whole valuing-of-the-journey ideal comes from the belief that the experiences you have, the challenges you pursue, etc. are not simply, a means to an end. I get that. I support that. It’s the whole pitting of “the journey” against “the destination” — this notion that the one “matters more” than the other — that bugs me.

journeys, destinations, South Korea, Uncontained Life

Hiking Mostnica Gorge, Slovenia, Uncontained Life, journeys, destinations

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand, journeys, destinations, Uncontained Life

Sure, “not all who wander are lost.” But even Aragorn had #goals: woo Elvin princess; mend broken sword; reclaim lost kingdom; help the Hobbits survive; maintain a perfect beard without ever (seemingly) needing to shave.

journeys, destinations, Montenegro, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Journeys begin with goals, I.E. “a destination” in mind. And those journeys continue being meaningful because you’re on your way to that “place.”

journeys, destinations, South Korea, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Montenegro, Uncontained Life

Yes, our destinations may change along the way as circumstances, desires, etc. change. But the point is still to try to get somewhere. (Even if that “where” is just a more enlightened state of mind.)

journeys, destinations, Italy, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Indonesia, Uncontained Life

Indeed, in my experience, it’s when you divorce journey and destination that things start to get dicy. When I was in grad school, for example, I lost almost all sight of what I was working toward. I was just on the journey, come hell or high water. And while that experience certainly taught me some things, ironically, one of those things was that continuing to work toward an end you no longer want is no way to live.

journeys, destinations, Germany, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Better to stop journeying, pull up a chair, drink a glass of wine, and figure out a new destination than keep on for the sake of keeping on.

Blooming Lotus Rocks South Korea, journeys, destinations, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Two years into being on the road, and Justin and I are still learning what it means to embrace the journey without losing sight of our desired destinations.

journeys, destinations, California, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Philippines, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Slovenia, Uncontained Life

Often the balancing act is easy. We’ve learned, for example, that we should always say “yes” to our Airbnb hosts’ offers to show us something cool/take us to their favorite places/share a meal. Sure, the adventures aren’t always comfortable (see me attempting to learn Forró dancing in Rio de Janeiro—awkward), and they may take us away from work or other planned activities…but they give us an unlooked-for chance to get a deeper understanding, not just of those individuals, but of their culture.

journeys, destinations, Germany, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Indonesia, Uncontained Life

Other times, keeping both journey and destination in perspective gets harder. When your life is one of perpetual change it’s easy to let bigger goals slide — after all, you won’t be here next month, so better enjoy it while you can! Yes, it’s important to seize the day, but it’s also an excellent excuse not to deal with the bigger goals which can sometimes make us feel overwhelmed and under-qualified. Stuff like writing an ebook. Finding new freelancing clients. Developing a product. Or even just keeping up with blogging.

journeys, destinations, Brazil, Uncontained Life

journeys, destinations, Cuba, Uncontained Life

In those moments, when the next destination seems impossibly far away, it’s important, I’ve found, to remember milestones past, and the journeys which took me there. And that’s why we want to say thanks to you, dear reader, for helping us celebrate two years of Uncontained Life. Here’s to year #3, and to the goals (new and old), destinations, and journeys which come with it!

journeys, destinations, Peru, Uncontained Life

🙂 Hillary & Justin 

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One Response to Journeys vs. Destinations (and 2 Years of Uncontained Life!)

  1. kab May 16, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    Loved this post! Great thoughts and a great set of pics to highlight the last few years. Looking forward to what the next year brings!

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