When we think of travelling, we almost only ever think of the destination. We think of the end goal, the destined place and we see ourselves there, wherever that may be. Very rarely do we think of the actual time planning, packing and transporting ourselves there. It slips our mind as if it’s so far removed from the entire experience. But all these components make up the journey, and the journey is important.
What if I told you, the journey is as important as the destination? What if I told you, the journey determines the level of satisfaction you feel about the destination? We tend to forget that they are all one of the same thing. Travelling encompasses both the journey and the destination and both aspects determine the end result. The idea holds true for many interesting reasons and it largely has to do with the psychology of it.
Each step of the process is mentally preparing us for the destination. If one were to be picked up and placed in another country, it would feel strange, and you’d possibly feel a little out of sorts. You haven’t planned, you haven’t packed, you not sure what you want to do there - everything about it would feel odd. However, planning, packing and travelling to your destination does something for your mind and emotions and plays a part in the overall outcome of the trip. You may never have consciously picked up that every task is helping you in one way or another, but we have the facts, and they make a lot of sense! So here it goes, every aspect of the journey helps you to;
1. Adjust to the change
Whether it’s a short trip or you’re moving elsewhere, the journey prepares you mentally for the reality of being and staying in a foreign place. It helps you to get in tune with the fact that you are embarking on a new venture that will require you to self-rely. It kicks in your senses that you need to be more aware of your surroundings and more observant, too. I have to say, this is an important one because at the end of the day - there’s no one there to help you, but yourself!
2. Increases levels of excitement and decreases stress
Of course, the journey increases your level of excitement tremendously, because you know what’s to come! A study shows that levels of excitement help you to be more aware of great opportunities, makes one take action, allowing you to be more open to new experiences. This means being able to push your boundaries and move out of your comfort zone.
3. Helps one to reflect and prepare for what’s to come
The journey is a special time, for many reasons. It’s a time to reflect and ask ourselves what we truly want out of our trip. Whether this is planning the activities that you really want to do, the sights you can’t miss for the world, or the mental goals you want to achieve while there. It allows us that time to step back and set in place, what the main goal of the trip is. For example, Bird watching is big business when travelling to remote areas in Africa and this may be your goal for your trip - but whatever it is, the journey is the time to reflect and decide. Sometimes these questions and decisions happen unconsciously, but it all forms part of the journey as a whole.
Who would’ve thought that a bit of planning, packing a few things and transporting yourself across the world, would determine the time that you had, once there? We can all agree that it’s vital that we are observant, aware and can successfully rely on ourselves while trotting about on foreign soil. Even more so, it’s important to move away from your comforts and venture out into new experiences, in order to achieve what you are there to do. So, in order to get this right, I think we have to agree that the journey is a very important aspect of the travel experience and that the destination is only one side of the coin.
I guess we need to start enjoying the journey a little more, no matter how tedious the packing side of it is - and let’s not start on the hours sitting on a plane! Just remember adjust, reflect and get excited!!