Finding Joy in the Journey

When I was growing up, my dad used to take 2 weeks of vacation each year and we would travel somewhere as a family. I remember a summer trip to Niagara Falls, an autumn excursion to Bangor Maine during pumpkin picking season, multiple trips to Disney World, West Virginia, and Huntsville, Alabama. In between these extended vacations, we took many day trips around New Jersey. I applaud my parents for setting aside the time and money to make these family memories. One thing I wish that we had done differently, is to find joy in the journey rather then rushing to get a lot done in a little bit of time.

The focus seemed to be packing as much as we could into the time to get our money’s worth out of the trip. As an example, I remember the long weekend we spent in Washington, DC. After Dad finished work, we got in the car and made the 5 or so hour trip to our nation’s capital, arriving late at night. There we were running down the streets sometime after dark to make sure that we got to see the Capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument under the lights. My youngest brother was asleep in the stroller, my other brother was in tow whining and I was silently miserable and aching to just go to bed. I remember seeing a lot of the city in three days, but the thing that stands out most is how tired I was the whole time.

So now fast forward 40 years to our adventures on Take Me There. When we started this journey three weeks ago, I was getting up between 5 and 6am to fix breakfast, then rush to clean up everything and stow the cabin securely so we could get underway by 7am, and then Steve was pushing us to get to the designated stop so we would not be anchoring or docking after dark. I have been preparing lunches and sometimes dinner while we were underway. It wasn’t too difficult to prepare meals while we were doing 4-5 knots, but it wasn’t my idea of an leisurely meal time together. I started having similar emotions I vividly remember from vacation times with my family- rushing to get there, hurrying through the sights to say we’d been there, but being too tired to fully enjoy the moments of spending time together. Those were not the most enjoyable nostalgic memories- and I didn’t want to associate our Take Me There adventures with those same negative emotions.

I was very thankful that Steve fully appreciated my request to leave at a more reasonable hour in the mornings, make shorter legs and fully appreciate the places we were stopping. So now instead of rushing through the morning routine, I am relishing the time to prepare for the day. When we arrived in this quaint little town of Oriental, NC, I was thrilled to hear Steve exclaim that we would leave when I was ready and felt that we had seen and done everything that we wanted. My heart is warmed by knowing that we are taking our time meandering through this amazing journey as we see sights, meet people, and experience places that we may not see again. There is something so peaceful about knowing that we will be in a place as long as our souls feel that this place has something for us- and more importantly as long as we have something to offer this place. And when we have sufficiently soaked up an experience and left a smile on this place, we will move to the next soul-nourishing place. Take Me There- but only when I’m ready!

I think it is important to anyone, but especially to those enjoying a cruising lifestyle to get right with your goals. Are you aiming to see as many places as possible within a set period of time, or are you looking to be fully present with the people that you are engaging with? Is it quantity of sights you want to experience, or quality time with your friends and family? This was an important time for Steve and I to get on the same page with our goals so we could relish the experience of taking each other to places we have only dreamed of. Take Me There- with presence of mind and soul so I can enjoy the memories!