The Joy of the Journey

20161121_162017A few days ago, I started my day in a park close to where I’m living. I brought along a notebook and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, planning to pass some time writing and reading under a tree while the sun was shining hot and bright. I had no other plans for the day – but that changed pretty quickly.

I had texted my Tio Carlos asking him to call me so I could clarify something about my phone plan. He called while I sat there reading, answered my question, then said adios. He called back a few minutes later: he seemed surprised I was spending the day alone, so invited me to lunch at his place. I said sure, and he picked me up about an hour later.

After a yummy lunch and a quick siesta, we hopped back into his car as he had the idea to take me to visit a nearby ‘pueblo’ – a small town or village. He wasn’t sure where exactly, so we drove without a clear destination. We continued to pass possible candidates, but he dismissed them as uninteresting so on and on we went.

We ended up driving about an hour and half away to a town called La Vega – far enough to have a noticeably warmer climate than Bogotá. To get there, we had to pass through an area called “Bosque de Niebla” – Forest of Fog. It involves driving up to a point densely covered in clouds and fog. Upon descending, as the clouds clear again, the Cordillera Central – the central mountain range of the country, becomes visible in all its splendour, seemingly going on forever. Of course there was also a rainbow to make everything seem more magical.

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After many “oohs and ahs” on my part, we got to La Vega. We didn’t stay long, however. In fact, we just drove around a bit in the town, got out at a store to buy some goodies, then headed right on back the way we came. Driving back into Bogotá (and into all its rush hour traffic glory), there was even a really pretty sunset – the perfect end to our last-minute roadtrip.

It was a mini-adventure that truly matches the phrase “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Between chatting and admiring the beautiful views, it was one of those moments that are so special for their simplicity: just a man and his niece driving through the countryside.

Experiences like these, so simple and spontaneous, make me reflect on the importance of taking time to do more things like these, to just go for a drive, to just spend time chatting. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work and school and commitments in the fast-paced life that so many of us live these days. I’m definitely guilty myself of overloading my schedule, having to make appointments just to spend time with my family and friends. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated – just drop by to say hi, just give someone a call; it doesn’t take long. We’re all on this journey together, let’s not rush through it; let’s take some time to get to know each other better. Let’s take some time out of our busy schedules to show kindness, love, compassion. Let’s take some time off to just live. I know I’ll be trying harder to do so from now on. 🙂

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Thanks for reading!

L