Getting there

If you want to get to your destination, focus on the journey.

It is one of the most common advices for anyone who wants to achieve something. In sports, business, music, health, whatever. Some very useful words of wisdom. Why?

The journey is more important than the destination.

But if that is so, why do I bother to get to a destination at all?

When planning a cycling holiday, the beginning and end points of each stage usually become very prominent in my mind. “What are you doing today?” “I am cycling from A to B.” “Nice! I would love to go to B sometime.”

This summer, while cycling from A to B, I figured what I actually wanted to find at B, my daily destination. The answer: a roof, a bed, a shower, good food. That’s all. And, since it is not such a problem to find these things in Western Europe, it does not really matter where the destination is. As long as it is somewhere along a nice cycle route.

Another example. I know two people who (independently from each other) have done the pilgrimage on foot from The Netherlands to Santiago de Compostela. It takes months to get there. So what do you expect they did when they arrived? Sit back, relax, take a couple of weeks or at least some days off at this milepost? No, they both went home as fast as they could. Which they hadn’t expected to do beforehand.

It is not just some good advice from books to focus on the journey. It is what happens. We are always thinking in destinations, and their attractive names. We even build nice buildings at typical destinations – train stations for example. But everything in the view of the arriving traveller blurs except for signs leading to the nearest exit. It is only when the station is your point of departure that you are confronted with the architecture and might save some time to look at it.

Of course, I could give you the advice to look up or behind you when you arrive at your destination. But I won’t. It is just not nature’s way.

Centraal Station Amsterdam

Picture: Amsterdam Central Station.

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