Is happiness about the journey or the destination?
I think it all depends on whether you read the map.
People who read maps know where they’re going and arrive at their destination in a timely fashion. People who don’t — well, they have tales to tell.
I have a tale to tell.
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A couple of Saturdays ago, I participated in the Sacajawea Heritage Trail Adventure Challenge. Husband Bill feigned illness so he could sit in the cool shade with a good book rather than the hot sun with a map.
The goal was to walk, run, rollerblade or bicycle the 23-mile loop along the Columbia River. Since it would have taken me weeks to run that distance — and Bill would be done with his book long before then — I chose to ride my bicycle.
At the first checkpoint, a map was taped to the table. I took no notice.
With a wave to Bill and my Trek pointed east, I took off on the trail.
But a few miles down the road, the path seemed to disappear. Another woman wandering by the roadside, her children pedaling behind, was equally as confused. She hadn’t read the map either.
Suddenly, a bicyclist raced down the hill toward me. I shouted. He stopped. By the time he left, I had his map tucked into my back pocket and his directions tucked into my memory bank, or so I thought.
Had he said turn left after you cross the bridge or turn right?
The sun rose high in the sky. The folded map chafed my backside.
“Nope,” the checkpoint attendant informed me. “If you wanted to go to Sacajawea Park, you should ‘a turned right. You can see the trail right here on this map taped on the table.”
I squinted at the directions. Upside down, it looked like a left turn to me.
Too late to make the complete loop, I pushed forward heading west. If I pedaled quickly, I could get back to where Bill waited at the last checkpoint — my final destination. But then a familiar building came into view.
Wasn’t that Rosy’s Ice Cream & Diner just ahead?
Moments later, a mile-high sundae in front of me, I knew that happiness was about the journey — one that takes you to impromptu places.
I also noted that not a single map-reader was in sight.