The Art of the Journey

The difference between journeying and travel is carried in the root definitions of the two words. Journey comes from the French ‘jorneè’ meaning ‘of a day’s travel’, or work; the root of the word ‘travel’ being from the French: ‘travail’, to work. To journey means then, if not to work, then to certainly give up things to which one has become accustomed and experience each day not merely as an attainment of a given destination but as a constant transformation of the self.

In this sense, a journeyman in a trade or art in days gone by was not going anyplace location-wise but was putting in days of work on the journey to becoming a master, a journey of internal awareness that had nothing to do with travel as we think of it. As matter of fact, for most of us today, travel is anything but work, and is usually a vacation or retirement from work. But, to journey with the intention of mastering internal awareness like the pilgrim or the monk, is a different and difficult matter.

Traveling around, one might find oneself on a journey at that point when the plans begins to disappear and with them the expectations that come, not from any place of reality, but from us not wanting to encounter the one thing we fear the most: change. Despite the fact we are doing it every second, we are deeply apprehensive of change and recognize it as the bringer of all things that come under the category of bad news. The journeyer is the person who embraces change, seeks it out by instinct, as others might seek out comfort and stability.

To openself to change is have the capacity to take the world on it own terms for large chunks of time; to not filter out the things we often use to provide us with a safe place of operation for our homes and our efforts to make a living; to move out in the world with our instinctual judgmental-ism as much on hold as humanly possible. To desire this as a state of being and to embrace the things that come with it are the part of a kind of path following that is consistent with the form of Tendai Buddhism that I practice. To engage the path activity is to try to do what the Buddha said, which is to make of your life a patchwork of kindness.

In journeying, it is important, no matter where you show up, that your showing up is to make the lives of the people or person there happier or better in some way and then to move on. That may take a day or a year. Your showing up for your own fulfillment will lead to nothing good. This journey isn’t checking off a bucket list, it is bailing out old water with the bucket for as long as possible before it gets kicked. The journey is about lightning the load and getting rid of the things that have nothing to do with you because you can’t afford to carry around the extra weight.

This is not something I recommend you try in your own home.


About Eric Hill

A director, actor and writer with fifty years of professional theater experience and a love of nature, I am creating a blog for people who love the outdoors and finding great cultural sites and adventures across America. I have a Arrow Wood Starcraft AR ONE camper and Canon70 D that goes with me everywhere. It's capable of highest DSLR functions including still photography and 4G videos. Oh, yes, I've also got my black lab Gaia who also goes everywhere with me. We'll be traveling across America and brining our adventures in incredible places, meeting amazing people home to you right here at Hill On Wheels!
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