Life is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride

For obvious reasons, I love Cape Town. My career began there in 1988 and l never looked back. Travelling to the Cape of Good Hope has become a pilgrimage. The National road (N1) between Johannesburg and Cape Town is a journey less travelled. Flying has become a norm. I don’t have a problem with flying, but road travel can influence and shape a person’s life.

Many of my friends and colleagues turn red when they discover that I prefer a road trip to Cape Town instead of flying. My usual philosophical excuse and the adage that ‘Life is a Journey’ is usually shunned for two reasons. First, the cost element and the time it takes to get there. This is travel economics. Second, long distance versus safety considerations. Granted, these are valid reasons to dissuade me to drive to the Cape. On average, I drive three times a year, from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I normally rest half-way. A single distance is around 1,450 kilometers. Let’s say on average I do 5,000 km X 3 trips, which equals 15,000 km per annum. Over the past twenty five years I have driven 15,000 X 25, which equals 375, 000 km. Crazy, isn’t it?

Crazy thoughts indeed. But I look at this differently. For me, 375, 000 km represent the number of experiences and moments in my journey. These can range from driver experiences, close calls, our awesome road infrastructure, to the natural and scenic Cape mountain range. Road travel is the best time to catch up with oneself, to reflect. To marvel at the moon, the stars. I like the nothingness of the Karoo. This entire phenomenon is closer to what you’d call ADVENTURE. It doesn’t matter if you have company or not. After all, passengers fall asleep most of the time.

My destination is never a focal point. Once I pass Bloemfontein, the sign ‘Cape Town 1,020 km’ appears on the road side. I become more excited because I know that there are 1,020 experiences ahead of me. Every 200 km I take a rest. Often, I obey the rules of the road. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Hence it’s very important that we all obey the rules to stay alive. The current road accident statistics are a sign of something gone wrong on our national roads. Something to do with our lack of safety consciousness and our general bad attitudes.

My point is not to lecture you on road safety. But bring your attention to the duality between a journey and a destination. In life, we tend to look at things in a linear fashion. To book a flight ticket to Cape Town and arrive there in two hours. We are obsessed with destination. We have been designed to think that way. To arrive and chill. This fits the realm of what is called ‘normal’. We have been socialized and taught that time is money and money is time. To become one-dimensional, economical, materialistic and competitive. To become less conscious of others, our environment and too conscious about things which bring HAPPINESS in our lives. Our mental health and material health have become so intertwined that we tend to lose ourselves. Material wealth is about what most of us strive for. That is ‘happiness’, whilst mental health has become a by-product.

Economics and our mental health have become the core of what we are, who we are and where we are likely to be in the future. Mental health economics reflects the very feature of how economics influences our lives, the way we approach life, live, play, work and relate to others. It is at the core our personality, behaviors and attitudes.

Many of us expect things to always be the same and when things do not correspond to what we wish, we cannot adjust ourselves to what life brings. On a daily basis, we travel to various destinations, over-looking the entire journey. We miss out on many life experiences. Our inability to know of both sides of the pendulum, makes us too one-sided, inflexible and more prone to physical and mental health woes. These woes could be prevented, had we known our pivotal points upfront. First our journey, then destination. Knowing who we are and what is our purpose in life.

Travelling is a journey towards self-discovery. It forces us to step outside our comfort zones. We need to change our attitudes about travel destinations. We need to focus on our life journeys. Our personal development and intellectual growth. Change is indispensable. If we don’t see this balance manifesting itself in our daily living, then we’re losing one of the finest gifts ever conferred by God to human beings. Travel magic. Once we become conscious of this gift, we’re destined to prosperity.

Life is too short. Take your time to appreciate smaller things in life.