Why are we so quick to rush from A to B towards the finish line? In our careers, our well-being, our love lives, our conversations and our travels this is a constant and continuing pattern. But what's the rush? What if the best parts of the journey are actually happening right in front of us, right now? What if this is actually as good as it gets, and we're so busy focusing on the next big milestone we don't even realise it?
This life moves quickly, but the best parts of any trip and any experience surely are the moments between all the organisation. The getting there. The in transit moments. The times you don't even realise are passing you by before your very eyes. These are the moments to live for, and it's about time we started realising it...
You know what that journey from A to B feels like, right? You start planning out your travel itinerary, flights, accommodation, friends to go with, then before you know it you’re on a journey of self-discovery to another part of the world.
But how quickly does this pass? How quickly do you get to the end of your trip and realise just how much you’ve taken for granted? Those constant lols with friends about absolutely nothing. Your phone battery dying and the panic at having to explore a new city armed with just intuition and a few high school Spanish phrases. That beautiful Italian boy smiling at you from across the street. Think about it. The greatest moments in our lives are the bits in the middle. We’re so focused on the destination and getting from A to B that we often miss the in-between. And yet those unsuspecting and fleeting fragments of time are what makes the journey truly special. This is the journey that will go on to create memories for a lifetime. But instead we get too wrapped up in the details. How are we going to get there? What are we going to do? Where are we going to eat? And yet that’s where half the fun is – the getting there, the not knowing, the feeling out of your depth.
As a 25-year-old woman obsessed with travelling and experiencing the most out of this so-called path we call life, I know the feeling all too well. We plan, we book, we do, we arrive and then we forget. We carry on through life, sometimes not giving any thought to how fast we’re all going.
We obsess over perfection, ensuring every little detail is taken care of. We conjure a world of travel expectations born from others posting curated realities on social media. These perfectly back lit, perfectly filtered images create a false illusion of what the world is really like, so when it’s our turn we feel a pressure to do the same. To have the perfect travel experience, the perfect beach body, the perfect sunset dinner. We’re so busy trying to have the best time possible, that we forget to appreciate what is all around us. In the words of Sidonie Gabrielle Colette: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realised it sooner.”
We become so invested and focused on the destination that we often neglect the bits in the middle. The moments that really matter.
Watch the Contiki USA road trip below.
So why are we so quick to rush things?
In our jobs, our well-being, our love lives, our conversations, our travels. I see it everywhere. We sit there glued to our phones completely unaware of our surroundings. We sit on busy trains and buses in silence, as if there’s nothing to talk about. We walk past each other without hello’s or smiles. We’re consumed with the idea of ‘something else better out there’. Whether it’s that next Facebook status, Instagram pic or Snapchat story – whatever it is – the truth is that most of us are never fully present in the now. Most of us are running so fast to get somewhere, we miss half the fun of getting there.
So for a second, just imagine what would happen if we embraced present moments more? Take a step back from the pull and push of life and soon enough we’ll realise that this adventure is actually pretty extraordinary. Turn off technology and switch off social media for a day. Immerse yourself in new experiences. Focus on friendships. Observe a new way of culture. Find fascinating people and learn from them. There is so much to do in life and so much to take away from every single day, and you sure as hell won’t find it rushing to the next big thing.
At the end of the day, it should be about the experiences collected on your journey, not the destination.
So wherever you are, slow down. Soak up that once-in-a-lifetime sunset with your new-found mates and do something outside your comfort zone. Be in the present, have open conversations, let people in, form everlasting friendships. Try to remember the in-between moments that brought you here – wherever you are, wherever you’ve been.
Because if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the best bits in the middle of the journey.
And that’s what truly matters at the end: the journey.
Ready to collect the best travel moments with Contiki? Why not see what the rest of USA and Canada has to offer for you this year…