Exploration or Destination?

In a few short weeks Amanda and I are going to go on a vacation with a couple of close friends, Barry Friesen and Andrew Kennedy. Its just going to be a week, but they are going to fly into Las Vegas (from Vancouver, BC and Denver, CO respectfully) and we are going to drive up to Yosemite National Park. This trip will take us through Death Valley National Park, along the Sierra Nevadas, over the Tioga pass and into Yosemite Valley.

After spending a few days in and around that area, we will then depart to the East, descending past Mono Lake and then across the Nevada desert landscape until arriving at Zion National Park in Utah. Then, after a couple of more days we will head past Bryce Canyon National Park, up into the Grand Junction, Colorado area, before finishing the trip in Denver after passing by the towering fourteen-thousand-foot tall mountains of the Rockies. We'll wrap it up by hiking with Amanda's Dad up Mt. Elbert, the highest point in Colorado.

I am excited for this trip. I am energized to plan and make sure we will have everything we need, emergencies planned for, and costs kept down. I am pumped to get away from the concrete jungle of Phoenix. 

But what exactly am I excited for? Is it just the spots where we will stop: Yosemite and Zion? Or is it the journey?

For me, while I will greatly enjoy Yosemite, marking this off my bucket-list (which includes visiting ALL the American National Parks) and will be amazed at the scenery, my true enjoyment will be at the experience of exploring. Amanda, Barry, and I got to do this last year in Mendocino county north of San Francisco. It is the ability to step outside of our normal schedules, to retreat and relax by exploring a region of this world and enjoying each others company. That really is what I love about vacation, to explore along the journey. 

In fact, I truly feel that it taps into a much deeper existential and spiritual need than my normal work week does. Its more primal, more truly who I am and what I feel we as humans are supposed to do. Life is meant to be lived. Not lived trying to earn enough money to have stuff at the point of being comfortable. But life is meant to be experienced, to walk alongside those around us, getting to know them and exploring this creation we live in.

I don't think most of us really want a domesticated world, or think that cities and skyscrapers have more grandeur than snow-capped mountains or the crashing surf. Yet even cities need to be explored, just as the countryside does. It doesn't matter where you are, life in its infinite strands can be explored.

Life is not about the destination, but the journey. Life is to experience the exploration of our own hearts, minds, and souls in the world that we live. When we that we are all journeying together, exploring life, we can start to put pieces together as to what we can hope for. Life to build up, to change, to encourage, and to be dynamic and not stagnant. Life lived together can provide us with just that experience, if we choose to filter our attitude in a way that opens ourselves up. Not letting fear or the "dark-side" keep us behind closed doors and afraid to start a conversation with a complete stranger but rather choosing to see the possibilities that exist all around us in the people we encounter, the sites we see, and those we ride on road trips with.

Yeah, I'm excited for this road trip. I'm excited to see Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. I'm excited to spend time exploring these regions.

I'm very excited to explore and get to know God, Amanda, Barry, Andrew, and myself more during this trip as well.