Secret Destinations

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”~ Martin Buber

A friend of mine on Facebook posted that quote this morning and it has been rattling around in my head all morning. I love to travel. I don’t even care where I am traveling, the next town over, the next state over, halfway across the country, or overseas. I just like to go. To see. To be somewhere else.

For me the getting there is as big a part of the journey as the destination. I drove down to Virginia for a three day whirlwind of a trip to see my sisters and my daughter. I loved the visiting with them, but I loved the 11 hour drive each way at least as much.

I love traveling. Planes, trains and automobiles. I love watching the world or the clouds pass by the windows. If I am fortunate to have the top down on the convertible, or to walk, I love the sounds, the smells, the air. I lose myself in it all. And that for me, that is part of that “secret destination” Buber writes about.

So is the change. Because every journey is a change. At least for me it is. Last Friday I made the trip to nearby Fort Edward, to a transmission shop for my old Isuzu Trooper. The GPS led me a merry chase through roads and alleyways I had never seen before. And while there at the shop I learned things about transmissions I never knew before. And I had my faith restored that honest, knowledgeable mechanics live. I had to face the possibility of loss of a thing, the Trooper, that I have come to love.

The trip to Virginia changed me too. Each visit, my daughter and my sisters are in a different place in their life. I learn to see them anew. I spent time in a waffle house, another place of memories, seeing it differently than the way I saw back when the kids and I used to go every Saturday morning. One of the waitresses there spoke to me of feeling my presence. She had said the same thing to me five years before when I had visited. A long conversation ensued and I left changed. Thinking new thoughts.

Change. That is the secret destination Buber writes of. Something we can’t plan. God’s secret, not ours. All we can do is choose to open ourselves to it, or choose to stay where we are, who we are.

Today my wife and I travel to nearby Rutland, where she will get her first vaccine shot. She will be changed by it. I think all of us are changed when that moment comes or when that moment will come. A new sense of safety and hope fills us. We grow lighter.

For me there will be change too. The woman I love will be safer. She came to me later in my life and the miracle of her makes her that much more precious to me. She is not the only one who will feel lighter.

From Rutland, we go back to Fort Edward and pick up the old Isuzu Trooper. I will drive it home knowing it is on borrowed time. I won’t be taking it for granted, as we tend to do with our cars. I will be changed again, enjoying the journey in a different way. Dr. Seuss is in my head with Martin Buber. “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

And all of them surprises.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

PS – The picture was taken in Chatham, a town on Cape Cod.

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