"It's the Trip of a Lifetime."
As I travel on the train from the Netherlands to Paris, I hear the echoes of a friend's comment before I left, “it’s the trip of a lifetime.”
I look out the window, trying to convince myself of this.
I can’t help but compare this trip to the days before I left. I witnessed people going on a trip of their lifetime; internally. I can’t pretend anymore that the external trips have the same depth, intensity, profoundness. How can you compare the two?
So how about doing something different. Instead of comparing, combine the two. Use the space, time and freedom of this overseas trip to do my own internal and external journey, at the same time.
I nod in agreement with myself, opening The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
There’s not much of a plot but I’m interested in what’s going to unfold.
It seems to fit both types of journeys I’m on. It’s random. Unexpected. Familiar but at the same time new and different. Sometimes I skim over bits. Sometimes I take the time to ponder ideas. There's enough abstract material to give my mind a chance to wander elsewhere.
As Arthur Dent travels through the universe, he can never seem to understand what is happening around him. He feels a bit disconnected. He can’t keep up with the people around him. He feels slow on the uptake. Trying to hide it by pretending and bluffing his way through situations but not able to pull it off. Instead, usually resorting to his familiar line of “er...um...” Being helplessly launched from crisis to crisis as he tries to sort out his life. He doesn’t really understand how he ended up in a situation or where he’s going. If only the Earth hadn’t been destroyed and wiped out from under his feet and he was in those familiar surroundings, or at least had a cup of tea, he’d be able to figure everything out.
Somewhere during the five Hitchhiker’s books, Arthur was the Sandwich Maker. He finally felt happy and content. He had a purpose. He makes good sandwiches. People appreciate him and what he does.
Maybe it’s that simple. We all need a purpose.
Here’s the thing though. Even though he's happiest when he’s the Sandwich Maker, when he describes out loud to his friends for the first time what he does, it seems lame and hollow. Without being in the familiar territory of Earth or having his cup of tea, he realises within himself he actually needs to be doing something more; saving the galaxy. Making sandwiches falls short of this. It’s not his true purpose.
This holiday has been a chance to make sandwiches. Do something interesting for a bit. Have a change of scenery. Catch up with my brother in Scotland, other relatives and friends. Be happy and content. But also realise it’s a chance to get back to my real purpose of saving the galaxy.
What makes you feel like you’re saving the galaxy? What’s your true purpose? And one step you can take now to get closer to that?
We can all go on the trip of a lifetime, wherever we are.
Something to think about...
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson