The journey is what makes the trip. My husband and I recently took a trip to Peru and Ecuador and on that trip we were fortunate enough to do the 4 day hike along the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Many people choose to take the train and get there in a few hours, however, we chose to go the long route, which the ancient Incan people walked daily, in hopes of experiencing how they lived. After 4 days and 3 nights of hiking and camping, we crossed through the long awaited Sun Gate. Upon finally arriving at our destination, we stopped, took a look around, and realized... Machu Picchu wasn’t that great. Granted, it was stunning and powerful and visually extraordinary, but it didn’t compare to the 3 days of getting there.
So, yes, the destination (Machu Picchu) was great, but what we enjoyed and will remember the most was the journey that took us there. The challenges, struggles, smiles, laughter and peaceful moments were what made the entire experience so special and memorable.
As a photographer and business owner, I’m constantly striving to make it to my next major goal. There is always the pressure of not knowing where your next paycheck will come from or if you’ll accomplish the shoot at the high standards you set for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in stressful moments and zipping from one job to another, never taking a break or time out from work. But instead of rushing to get to that next milestone and expand business, I think it’s especially important to take note of and appreciate all of the incredible moments and events along the way. This may sound simple, but that's not always the case.
Just a few other things I learned on this particular journey...
Endurance. Push yourself and you’ll be astonished at what you can do. The most amazing results can come from the most uncomfortable situations, when you are not sure of the outcome.
Laugh. In times that are difficult a good laugh will ease all pain.
Hard is good. This may have come out wrong (eeek!) but what I mean is our work is not always easy, in fact, it’s rarely easy. But if it were easy, not only would it be less satisfying, but everyone would do it. The challenge is what makes it so great.
So take my advise and don’t take the train!
I’ve attached a collage of a few candid photos from the journey, not the destination. They may not be photos you love or of people you know, but for me they represent a learning experience and an adventure.
To read the entire 2012 'What I Learned' series, click this.