In my work as a trainer I have the privilege of travelling – a lot. This year I’ve already been to Egypt and Malawi and expect to visit Jordan, Ghana, Ethiopia, Hungary and back to Egypt before the end of the year. Travelling can be fun and I have often agreed with the idea that the journey is more important than the destination.
As the years have gone along my delight in the journey has paled. The inside of one aircraft is much like another. Spending 8 hours alongside a stranger with little room to stretch out really isn’t that great. The arrival and visit to a new place actually is better than the journey.
Arriving in a new place, or even somewhere I’ve been before, is always fun. New smells, the sights and sounds all heighten senses. I’m just alive a little more.
But there is one aspect in which the journey is more valuable than the destination. Throughout every trip I am learning. Learning from colleagues, training participants and my own reactions.
The truth is that I rarely gain a great deal at the end of these trips, the learning is what has gone on throughout the process. I have discovered that I need to notice what is going on. As a colleague of mine used to say, we need to give attention to “what is going on, when what is going on, is going on.”
The journey can be such fun that we miss the incidents that come along. Far away places offer so much to experience that we miss the small and hidden things that we don’t make time to take note of.
So I’ve taken to noting things in my journal. Smells and flavours that jump out. Memories that are triggered. Wisdom offered. Kindness received. Occasionally I am inspired to write poetry or prayers. Each small thing is worth capturing so that I learn the lessons for the future.