Have you ever been on a trip?
You get in the car. You set your GPS. Your destination is ahead of you, and you’re off. You begin the drive knowing the goal is your end destination.
If you’re anything like me, the tunnel vision turns on before you even start your engine. You race to get to your goal, not really paying much attention to the amazing stuff along the way. You miss little things, and sometimes big things, because your focus is otherwise directed and locked in, only thinking of the destination. You don’t take extra time for the things that you do notice, because you’ve got to get to where you’re going.
That’s the important thing right?
In the early eighties, Chevy Chase did the first of many “Vacation” movies. It was a movie about a family going on vacation. The dad decided it was a good idea to drive across the country in a station wagon instead of flying. He wanted to spend the time enjoying his family, and experiencing the journey along the way. However, most of the trip, he was so locked in that he couldn’t see anything but his end destination (Wally World). As a result, his family really didn’t get the chance to enjoy themselves. They finally got to where they were going, but had missed so much along the way.
(Now for those of you who saw “Vacation” you know there was way more to the story than that, but for the sake of this post, just bear with me).
Sometimes when traveling, whether on a short vacation or just traveling through life, we forget to enjoy the journey. We look at our long term goal, but forget that part of getting to the goal is the ride itself as well as the stops along the way.
Consider taking time to talk to the interesting lady at the roadside fruit stand or the old guy at the coffee shop. You just might find a kindred spirit. Take more than 5 minutes to look at the Grand Canyon, it’s not necessary to rush. Stop and feed marshmallows to the alligator behind the gas station on the way to Florida.
Take a chance.
You see, sometimes we ignore the things right in front of us, because we think they are not part of our end destination. We say or think things like, “I can’t get involved in this or that, because that’s not where I’m going.” “I can’t stop here or there, because there isn’t really time.” “I really shouldn’t spend time with them, because they don’t see things quite like I do.”
So, what have you missed on your journey? What adventures have you not experienced, because you were locked in on a destination and forgot to enjoy the ride?
I, for one, realize that I’ve missed a lot along the way. From here on out, I do not want to miss anything else, so I have decided to slow down, open my eyes wide, and pay better attention to what is around me. I hope you will do the same. You only get one trip on this ride, so make life fun and have no regrets.