Destination Addiction

Destination Addiction

Well, here we are. One month to go.

I shouldn’t be surprised it came this fast, but I find that I am surprised all the same.

Jeremy’s classes are ending and the final stresses of college life are coming to a close. He’ll be graduating in a few weeks now. From there, we’ll have another couple weeks before we head to the airport and take flight toward our three month adventure.

But today, it is exactly one month.

it's just may
Source: Huffington Post, Canada

We’ve both been reflecting on the journey ahead. The other day, he asked me if I was nervous or scared at all. I think the trip felt too far away in that moment and I said, “No, not really,” without a second thought.

However, a couple nights ago before lights out, I looked at him and asked, “Are you scared?”

And he said, “A little, but that’s what makes it fun.”

We’ve been talking about the trip and planning for the trip so much that it almost doesn’t feel real. I remember feeling that way about graduating college. It felt like as soon as it started, it was over. While I am grateful for that time of self-discovery, I remember getting antsy even at the beginning. I wanted to move on to the next stage of my life in a flash.

That’s the train of thought I am trying to avoid: destination addiction.

destination addiction

It’s exactly what is sounds like. Destination addiction, according to Dr. Robert Holden, is the idea that success and happiness lies in the destination, not the journey. That, in a sense, we will find fulfillment and happiness at the end of the journey in the future, rather than the present. 

It is good to be prepared. I am a planner and I get anxious if I don’t know certain details. I want us to be able to save money and spend wisely while we’re away for the three month period, but chances are I’ll have to give in a little.

That’s where the adventure lies: in the unknown.

It’s like this adventure in particular is forcing me to grow out of how I want to be, which is prepared. I am starting to think there is a thin line between preparation and not being able to enjoy preparing for the trip.

The apartment is taken care of, most of our stuff is out, the rest of our stuff will be gone in the next couple weeks, the cats have a home this summer, we have all our gear…

What am I worrying about?

To be honest, I’m not sure. The psychologist in me says that my fear of the unknown is producing in me a bit of destination addiction. Because once the journey is complete, there won’t be anything to worry about.

This is a lie. And I know it is a lie.

There will always be something we can worry about. It doesn’t have to be a big trip, it can be the welfare of loved ones or paying rent next month.

I am actively reminding myself of all the other transitionary periods of my life and what it felt like in those moments. The crazy thing about those times is that I am now in a new one. It was once real and then it wasn’t. It was something that happened; not something that is happening.

So, I tell myself the same thing about our hike. Right now, preparing for it is real but that will soon pass. Then, we’ll be there starting at the Old Nags Head. But after a few months, we’ll be back home and we will begin an entirely new chapter all together.

In church last week, a guest pastor spoke about how sometimes we get caught up in what God has promised that we forget all that He has already done for us, much like the Israelites in the desert. He also said, when that happens, it is important to remember God’s grace and lean into the process of what He has planned.

I loved that. Grace, promise, process… they all work together. Much like the plans we have for ourselves. We should simply count ourselves blessed. Who cares if we spend more than we want to on train tickets? If we’ve been given an opportunity like we have, I should not be counting cents for train fare. I should lean into the process of the journey and remind myself of God’s amazing grace as we intimately experience more of the earth He created for us to explore.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been wrapped up in “doing” you forget to experience what is going on around you? What advice would you give to those who are about to start a new journey?