Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
(Walt Whitman)

JOURNEYS ARE ENJOYABLE. They take us away from the ordinary and the familiar into strange territory that stirs up our imagination. Journeys plow up the dormant fields of our minds, making them ready to receive new thoughts and resolutions. They broaden our perspective and deepen our intelligence. Journeys are good for us!

If we want to improve ourselves for the purpose of having something more valuable to offer others, then journeys are things we need to be interested in. There is certainly a lot to be said for the comforts of home, but if all we ever do is sit by our fireside, our characters won’t be as richly textured as they could be. Stay-at-home characters tend to be somewhat flat in comparison to the more deeply dimensioned characters of those who journey. So at least once in a while, we need to get out of our houses and hit the road. When we get back home, our friends will appreciate the new persons we’ve become.

And speaking of home, one of the best things about journeys is that they teach us to appreciate our homes more fully. Thoreau went so far as to say, “Only that traveling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.”

The homes we return to are the very things that make our journeys so meaningful. If there was no place where we belonged, no place where we were rooted, journeying would offer us no contrast and no interest. It’s the healthy, balanced alternation between homesteading and journeying that adds value to our lives.

Journeys, of course, don’t always involve physical travel. Indeed, the best journeys are not physical but spiritual. The persons we truly are, or at least the persons we were truly meant to be, are deep inside of us, and very few of us have done any more than just begin the journey that would take us to that place. Those who’ve been there say that this journey can be frightening, but they also tell us the discoveries are well worth the courage it takes to find them out!

The longest journey
Is the one inward.
(Dag Hammarskjöld)

Gary Henry — +

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