Over the years, I have become aware that each of my journeys, short or long, consists of three major elements. These three now have formed a conscious and foundational philosophy for every journey I make. The percentage of each will vary with each journey, but here are those three parts, which I call Journey Ratio:
- The Quest
With some journeys, all parts are equal, while with others, one part might easily dominate the others.
The Quest is the ultimate goal, whether it is a place (destination) or an achievement. For example, if the journey is simply to travel directly from one location to another, The Quest might constitute 99% of the journey, with little room for Exploration and almost no Adventure.
Exploration is that part of a journey that beckons and entertains the unknown. As mentioned above, taking a new route or a side road or a back road can reveal sights, sounds, and people unknown or not previously considered.
Sometimes The Quest is almost or completely negligible. An example might be a journey to a general location, such as a ride along the river road, a trip to the nearby foothills, or simply a casually planned visit to a small town or the suburbs. In this case, The Quest is a vague direction or geographical area and Exploration becomes the dominant part. Not unexpectedly, Adventure is typically an equal partner to Exploration.
Adventure is what we might all like to have on any journey. A sure way to increase the percentage is to loosen the focus on The Quest and think more in terms of Exploration to allow more opportunities for Adventure into the unknown.
With Adventure, our hearts are open to explore within and participate without. Perhaps one can differentiate Adventure by the level of excitement, mystery, or even danger. Think of exploring a river bank known for its homeless residency. To be sure, as an unknown area Exploration would embrace every step, but the Adventure level would likely be spiked to a much higher level.
Typically for me, though, regardless of how narrowly I plan The Quest, I can almost always expect unexpected Exploration and more Adventure that I had anticipated or could have even imagined.
Here’s an example. Say I decide to cover a specific event in Old Sacramento—the historic district of the State Capitol. This area has lots to offer, including the fantastic California Railroad Museum, the History Museum, old train rides, the Sacramento Delta King, the old town itself… Let’s pick Gold Rush Days, an annual event at which the participants dress in authentic costumes and assume (and maintain) authentic character personae. Now, The Quest might be the overall event or a specific aspect of it like the Pony Express reenactment. It only takes me a few minutes to drive there, so seemingly the Exploration aspect might be small. Then again, I likely will start poking around and find all matter of stories to tell, new people to enjoy, and new places to discover. Almost for sure, there will be lots of Adventure. Who knows, I might even get caught up in an Old West shootout, take a train ride, or buy an old fashioned hat!
When I have a deadline and a very specific assignment, The Quest predominates. Whenever possible, I like to plan a general goal, such as traveling to a broad area, leaving open room for as much Exploration and Adventure as possible. The more specific and planned The Quest, the less the opportunity for Exploration. It’s a good idea to keep a little wiggle room, if time permits.
Whatever I do and wherever I go, I look forward and treasure meeting new people and places, and discovering more about this truly amazing in which we live and all share.
How about you?