Wherever “there” is. I secretly hope that I never find out.
I had hoped that my kids would be the only two in the universe that somehow managed to avoid that infernal inquisition of family travel. It doesn’t matter where we’re going or how long it takes to get there. The only difference is in how long the torture continues.
I tell them what my parents told us. “Look out your window, see if you can make a game out of something.” At which point they each try as hard as they can to invent a license-plate game, some version of “I Spy” or some other visual scavenger hunt that the other sibling WILL lose. “No, really, I saw a snail on that tree we just drove past.” “I Spy…something green.” And once we referee that nonsense, the dreaded question isn’t far behind.
We travel several times a year from our home (30 minutes NW of New York City) to the Pocono Mts of Eastern PA and the two-and-a-half hour drive is beautiful. Like my father, I occasionally find myself looking out my window long enough to make my wife nervous. Not my kids, though. “Ugh, Dad, the drive to Camp Ladore is SOOOOO boring. Why can’t you drive faster?” You can guess how the annual trip to Michigan goes.
I don’t really blame them. They want to hang out with Grandpa and Grandma. They like camp. They love the pool. If we would let them, they would sleep next to the pool and roll into the water first thing every morning. Their dream day would be to play in the water until we force-fed them lunch while they barely survive the 20-minute eternity that was their lunch break before we let them get back in. Soaking until dinner would finish out the day with the best ending being an ice cream cone in their raisin-wrinkled fingers. They want to get to camp and do that.
I’ve been like that. I’ve been destination-minded. “Let’s just get there.” Sometimes it’s with a project. “Just get it done, Chris, just get it done.” Partially, it’s human nature. Some situations are more like 20 consecutive U-turns then they are a Sunday drive through the countryside. We enjoy the journey for a while but come on, now it’s editing time. If I look out that window again, I’m going to throw up.
Everything’s a journey. Even getting lost. Everything is a step towards something else, even when it’s a step away from where I think I’m going. Along those journey’s there are times to stop and take stock of where you are. There are times to look around and remember the moment, the place in time where you are and how you got there.
That alone may be the key in going on from there.