Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. Jack KerouacLong ago a traveller set out from his homeland to discover the New World. By night and day he sailed and sailed travelling further and further from his common ground where he knew the people who loved him and they knew him. He had no maps. No charts. No pre-set plan on where he was going, only his sextant and the stars above to guide him.
He travelled and travelled until one day, just over the horizon, he spied landfall. He was excited. Exuberant. He had been travelling a long time and was tired of the constant swell of the ocean. Tired of the constant drone of the wind whistling through the sails and the flap of canvas above his head. He was looking forward to stepping onto solid ground.
Over-excited, he added more sail hoping to reach land by nightfall, but as he got closer, the winds died down and his sails fell flat. He stood on his ship and watched the land just out of his reach and cursed the winds that had carried him so far. He cursed the craft that had been his home for all those months as he travelled safely across the seas. He cursed the sails that would not fluff and the tide that kept pulling him out to sea. He cursed and he swore and he cried and still no wind blew in from behind him. No breeze wafted into the sails.
Finally, he could stand it no more. Throwing aside all caution, he dropped anchor. He didn't know how deep the water. Didn't know if the anchor would catch. But he had to do something and he had decided he would swim to shore. It was far. Very far. But he could not stand seeing land and not touching it any longer.
The anchor caught and the traveller stripped off his clothes and slipped over the side of his craft into the chilly waters. He started out strong. Each stroke bringing him one arm-length closer to the shore. He started out strong but with every stroke against the current, he began to fail. To weaken. To tire. But still he persisted until, tired, spent, exhausted, he heaved one last stroke from his leaden arms and landed on the shore.
He was too tired to be happy. Too spent to give out a cry of joy. He lay spread eagle on the beach, feeling the warm sun-kissed sand beneath him, the water lapping at his feet.
He was content. He had reached his destination. He fell asleep.
It was the quiet that awoke him. Quiet and the coolness of sea-drenched air against his skin. While he slept fog had rolled in. It surrounded him. Enveloped him. He was immersed in it. There was no left or right. No up or down. Just the thick grey matter of a fog bank all around.
"Where am I?" he asked.
And no one answered.
No one could. Not even him.
Sometimes, we are like that traveller. We set off for places unknown, convinced that there will be better than here, not knowing where there is. And then, we see it. On the horizon. Just over the next hill or around the next corner. That place. Yes. That place where we know we want to be. It's different than where we were. Different than where we're at. And really, what could be better than different? And so, we jettison everything to reach some far off destination we cannot name. We throw ourselves into the final strokes to get us to where we want to go and wake up on the other side of nowhere. Where once we had a voyage, a journey to sustain us, we now have nowhere, nothing to aim for, nothing to attain because, in our constant struggle to get to where we're going, we lost sight of where we were in the journey. We lost sight of who we were on the voyage of our lifetimes.
We are lost.
And even when we find ourselves on distant shores, we fall deeper into not knowing where we are because, we never knew where we were going.
Life is in the voyage.
The path becomes the map. The map becomes the journey. The journey is the road and the Road is life.
Today, I do not seek to 'go anywhere'. I seek to explore where I am at, confident that where I am at is exactly where I am meant to be. And when I travel in love with each step upon my path, when I travel with a heart of compassion, it doesn't matter where I am, I am always at home in me.