On a metaphorical level, Buddha is not referring (in this quote) to travel in a physical sense; he is speaking of one’s path through life and reminding us that how we live our lives is key.
But there are certainly those who take this missive on a literal level too… those with the strongest wanderlust in their souls, always on the move, from one place to another to another. The length of time they pause in any given place might be longer or shorter, but there is the firm knowledge that eventually they will move on once again. For these nomadic travellers, there is no end destination, the travelling itself is the be all and end all. Sometimes I dream of joining them, but I know in my heart that I would miss the family and friends that anchor me to London.
For those of us who take trips that punctuate the daily life we live at home – trips with a distinct start and end – travel is altogether a different thing.
For me, the transfer from one place to the other is often the most tedious part of the trip – certainly for international trips involving the stress of getting to the airport, passing through security, killing time in departure (especially if there are delays), sitting through the discomfort of a long flight and all the rest of it. I don’t detest it as much as some do but if I had a Star Trek-style instant transporter device, I’d be the happiest girl ever!
Occasionally the travel itself is part of the joy.
The first time we visited Namibia I had been at work in an office all day, sped to the airport on the Tube in rush hour, taken an overnight flight to Cape Town, and then two connecting ones (via Botswana) to reach Windhoek and even the thought of getting on another plane was making me petulant.
But we climbed into the tiny four-seater Cessna and when it took flight above the incredible landscapes of Namibia, I can’t find words to tell you how my spirits soared with the plane and all the exhaustion of the long, long trip fell away. The sky was a glorious shade of blue and the ground below ranged from vivid yellows through oranges to deep red. Occasional clouds cast shadows onto the earth, that our shadow plane flew in and out of. As we approached the Namib desert, blonde grass covered red dunes freckled with tiny circles of red sand where the grass didn’t grow – Fairy Circles as we later learnt. And finally we came, elatedly, to land for our stay in Wolwedans.
In Japan, it’s the bullet trains that I get excited about though I enjoy taking any and all trains there, from short hops on local commuter routes to longer races across the country from one fabulous destination to another. It’s not only the sleek appearance of the bullet trains, or the wonderful efficiency and lack of delays (nothing short of a miracle to a Londoner!) but all the fascinating differences to using trains at home – the quirky design details within the trains (such as the foot levers that allow each pairs of seats to be swung around to face in the opposite direction), the often incomprehensible Japanese advertising posters, the fact that each station has a unique musical jingle that is played as the train comes in to that station, and even the way conductors bow to the passengers as they enter each carriage and again as they leave it.
On our last trip to Japan, we started our month with a two night stay in Yokohama from where we took a day trip to Kamakura to see the giant Buddha statue. It was a lovely day, not only for the sights we saw and the delicious food we enjoyed, but because we spent it with a friend I had made online many years before, and who we had met with on each of our previous trips to Japan. Oh, and the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom too!
More Kavey Eats Travel Quotes.
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Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!26 Comments to "Travel Quote Tuesday | Buddha"
I think maybe you and I are similar. I find the travel often just gets in the way of the end destination. Adventures can be had both during the journey and once you’re there. For me I can only properly relax once I’ve arrived and that’s when the adventure begins. (Both literally and metaphorically!)
I have thought we are too! It’s not that I inherently don’t like travel – where travel is part of the experience such as clickety-clack sleeper trains in India or super sleek bullet trains in Japan, or the little 4 seater Cessna planes we often took for transfers between camps in Botswana, Namibia and Kenya… but the basic international flight side of things, just doesn’t hold much appeal for me at all!
Interesting angle. It made me think about how much I do/don’t enjoy the journey. I used to love airports but I don’t as much now that I have small kids. I love the idea of making the journey part of the travel.
Yes, I’m with you on the airports!
Admittedly I’m not much of a traveller, and I really do not like the actual travelling part.
Then again I have only ever experienced packed motorways and tiny airplanes. Maybe I should try something new!
I love your style of writing x
Thank you, that’s very kind.
Yes, I enjoy some travel, but the mass transit options are so often less pleasant!
Very true. Sometimes it’s a bit of an anticlimax to reach the “destination” because the actual process was where all the fun was at!
Yes, for the right journeys, that’s so true!
I love the journey as much as the destination. The way you described seeing the landscape of Namibia in the small plane is the essence of travel and anyone who has traveled or taken trips can relate. That moment when all the hassles and worries of daily life go away and you’re reminded of how small your individual self actually is in comparison to the wider world.
Thanks Jackie, I’m so glad you identify with that moment, that special feeling…
Interesting take on this. It is a quote I love, but never analysed in any way. Now that I am thinking about it, I see that you are correct, it was metaphorical. Thanks for giving me something to ponder. Also, we took the bullet trains in China.
Thanks Rhonda, I find many of Buddha’s quotes like that – they have an obvious meaning and then deeper meanings or more metaphorical meanings as well. I love this about the quotes.
I can see the meaning of Buddha’s quote and in fact can relate it well to travel in the physical sense too. While we are travelling and experiencing our travels, life appears perfect, not when we have actually completed the trip. 🙂
Yes, there is great joy in the trip as we are experiencing it. But for me, the memories afterwards are almost as important, this is when I savour the trip in a different way.
What a lovely quote! 🙂 We are in the same boat, would love to have a nomadic lifestyle. I’m working on it. I think the stressful part for me is the pre-departure bit. I have to make sure everything is in order etc. I must admit, I’m not a fan of waiting in the airport for long stopovers but I guess that makes our travelling experience more memorable. It’s part of the whole experience.
For me, I don’t think the nomadic lifestyle would work unless we could be returning home every couple of months to see my family and friends. That’s the main sticking point I think!
Yes, its true. I agree with Buddha, our whole life is a journey. Especially mine, because i lived in so.many countries around the World.
How amazing, what a life to have lead!
I love this quote – I love it on both a literal level, though also as a metaphor for life in general. Life isn’t about arriving, it’s about the inbetween 🙂
Absolutely agree, Megan, lovely way of expressing it!
That is a thought-provoking take on Buddhas quote. I am not much of a philosopher but I somehow agree with this quote at its literal level. For me the journey is as enjoyable as the destination and I get an Adrenalin rush whenever I take a cab home to the airport. I have never flown in a small airplane and would love to do that sometime.
I know some people find those small planes scary but really the experience is just beautiful. On a later holiday in Botswana, the pilot set me up as his copilot and let me fly the plane, he did the take off and landing of course, but for the actual journey, he let me do it, the change of directions and the height, was amazing!
I too love the journey part. In fact I sit wide eyed looking out of window afraid I might miss an interesting sight. 🙂 Love the descriptive way you have done this post.
I’m not so keen on the journey part most of the time, or at least, not the main long haul international flight bit of it. The rest I love!
I would certainly take this quote from the “wanderlust” point of view and I agree totally with it. In the past it happened to me never arrive to my final destination but it does not mean I did not have fun with what I did. It is good to have plans, goals but also good to leave your defined path if good things come to you.
Yes, being able to adapt to what you encounter is such an important trait to have when travelling.