A journey not a destination
I don’t know what it is about Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I seem to be encountering his quotes everywhere I go lately. His words are inspirational (so much so that I have several of them stuck to my fridge) but I’ve realised this week that while I admire Emerson’s philosophical musings, I haven’t always been very good at following them.
Emerson once famously wrote that life is a journey, not a destination, and of course I agree. But last week, after some epic packing, as we began our drive towards the coast for a long weekend in the Freycinet National Park, the prevailing voice in my head (and my car) was firmly along the ‘are we there yet?’ theme.
A necessary inconvenience?
Too often we regard the journey to our holidays as a necessary inconvenience—a chore we have to do before the fun can really begin. But I wonder how many irreplaceable experiences we deny ourselves by thinking this way?
This year, a road trip along Tasmania’s east coast was ranked number two on Australian Traveller Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Australian holidays. Why on earth would I choose to miss out on that?
During our journey last weekend between Hobart and Coles Bay, we found so many reasons to stop, get out of the car, and change the act of getting from A to B to a highlight of our holiday experience.
Pausing to stretch our legs in east coast towns like Orford, Triabunna and Swansea led to lengthy plays in parks for our children, walks along foreshore tracks and clifftops, and long, blissful interludes of coffee-drinking and shop-browsing. Innumerable, gorgeous beaches scooped out of the coastline alongside the road tempted us out of the car to take just one more photo, or unstrap the surfboard to catch just one more wave.
Cellar doors, fringed by vines carrying the last of their autumn colours, offered us a fine collection of east coast wines to share with friends over the weekend. We pondered whether to choose the freshly caught Tasmanian oysters or the plump, juicy mussels from the Freycinet Marine Farm, and we lingered over the luscious offerings in the cafe at Kate’s Berry Farm. On the way home, a quick lunch stop stretched to a couple of hours as we sat on lichen-crusted rocks and watched a pod of dolphins draw towards us, coming so close we could hear them breathing.
By the time we arrived in Coles Bay on that first afternoon, our holiday had well and truly begun. It had taken the whole day to arrive, and we treasured every minute of it.
A path of fantastic experiences
It doesn’t matter where you begin your journey to the east coast, or which corner of this amazing part of Tasmania is your destination, your path will be strewn with fantastic places, people and experiences that just shouldn’t be missed.
Last weekend, we had a choice. We could have made a beeline for Coles Bay and driven there in as little time as legally possible, or we could take time to appreciate the journey and let those places and experiences reveal themselves to us.
I’m so very glad that the journey won.
PS. You can find out about Anja Boot’s journey to Tasmania’s east coast in our latest video here, and discover why she recreates her childhood journey here, every year. You can also watch our other video stories while you are there, and check out our new Just Stop television campaign as well.