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Does the Journey Matter More than the Destination? by Karen Urquhart

By Karen Urquhart


If you google ‘travel quotes’ or ‘life quotes’ you’ll find a whole host of wise words that pretty much say the same thing – that the journey matters more than the destination.

“There ain’t no journey what don’t change you some.” — David Mitchell

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye

“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” — Emma Chase

But what does that mean? Is it true? And why doesn’t it always feel that way?

I’ve been fortunate to have been on a reasonable number of physical journeys (I’ve even got a website dedicated to them). But like everyone else, I’ve also had my fair share of emotional journeys too.

Wherever you’re going or whatever you’re trying to achieve, sometimes the journey feels long, difficult, stressful and quite frankly, sh*t.

But the journey matters – it changes you, it inspires you, it motivates you and it shapes the person you become along the way.

I used to be that tenacious, stubborn person (ok I’m still a little stubborn) that would stop at nothing to reach my destination, be it a place, a goal, a job, whatever. Head down, eyes on the prize, stop at nothing. That was my motto.

Perhaps it’s ironic that while I was focussing on a specific goal (to travel solo to the other side of the world) I discovered that actually, I was doing it all wrong.

Why? I fell in love.

I fell in love with people, places and experiences. And none of that would have happened if I hadn’t opened my eyes, looked up and seen what was going on around me.

The Journey

The journey allows you to learn. You gain new skills, you discover your preferences and you learn who you are and what you want.

The journey opens your mind and teaches you tolerance.

The journey is when you learn to accept, appreciate, and be grateful.

The journey is where you test your boundaries, challenge your limits and discover your strength.

The journey is when you find out what you’re capable off, which is probably more than you think.

The journey offers solace, breathing space, thinking time. It offers you a period of adjustment and gives you an opportunity to consider where you’re going, what you’re doing and where you’ve been.

The journey gives you time to reflect, be present, just be.

It’s during the journey that life happens.

The Destination

Now, I’m not saying that arriving at a destination, achieving a goal or fulfilling a dream isn’t fantastic. It is. It really is.

Why then, when we reach the destination or achieve the goal, are we not satisfied? I don’t mean not happy. I mean not satisfied. If the destination is a place, once you’ve been you want to go somewhere else. If the destination is about success, the more success you have the more you want. If the destination is about a specific goal, you probably have another new goal waiting in the wings. If the destination is about love, once you find it you never stop loving – you want to nurture that love, make it stronger and deeper.

If you focus only on the destination or end goal you miss out on everything that happens along the way. You miss out on life. And life is great. It’s hard, it’s frustrating and it’s confusing. But it’s also wonderful, full of opportunities and experiences, and it makes you who and what you are.

Life is one awesome continuous journey.

Does the journey matter more than the destination?

Yes, I think it does. Because in the end, it’s the successes and failures, adventures and challenges, and highs and lows you experience on the road to get you there that makes the destination that little bit more special.




Our speaker Stuart wrote a great blog post on what makes life fun. Stuart’s blog focuses on those who recently received their exam results this Summer, but the message behind is inspirational. You can read about it here:

Life is Unpredictable – That’s What Makes it Fun