People say “its about the journey, not the destination”.
Why is a pot of gold said to be placed at the end of each rainbow? Are the rainbow’s qualities, something already so remarkable and so beautiful in itself, not enough reason to venture along its path? Why is the addition of treasure at its end required? An end which is said to be un-reachable anyway!
Is the moral of the rainbow story therefore not about reaching the end at all, but instead about the following of its brightly coloured path? Was ‘The End of the Rainbow’ fable written to illuminate the victor in the battle between journey and destination? Was it written to highlight what matters most… the journey?
Was the gold added to the rainbows end, rather than the end of the rabbit’s infamous race against the tortuous, because a rainbow is the only thing capable of standing alongside something as attractive, as compelling and as valuable as a pot of gold? I believe these two perfectly chosen characters are metaphors, playing the role of two gigantic slaps across the face, in a story about the importance of the journey over the destination.
For almost the last three months I was chasing my rainbow. I was following its path in the hope a “pot of gold” laid at its end. But sadly when I thought I had reached its end I was told there was no gold… not even a pot. I discovered “it” was not the end after all. I suppose in many ways I should simply be grateful for attempting to find the end because many people never do. Most hesitate to even try because they would rather forever hold the hope the treasure exists, rather than be faced with the disappointment if there is none to be found. But my version, like any journey, is not about whether there is something you see as “precious” at the end or not. My interpretation believes there is no end. My translation is instead about my realisation that the beauty is within the rainbow.
The rainbow is so remarkable it shouldn’t matter what’s at its end. Like any rainbow, it should be the bright coloured path that draws your attention first. It shouldn’t be about the pot of gold at all. It shouldn’t be about the end or the destination. Its about the chase, the pursuit… the path taken.
For the last few days I have been struggling a lot with this lack of “gold”. To strive for something… to drive towards something for almost 3 months yet to be told at the apparent end the “promise” of treasure is not real was heart breaking. But as I was going through my photos today. The photos I took as I drove from Port Augusta to Port Lincoln in South Australia, just a couple weeks ago, I found some photos I took of the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen. Apart from its bright colours it was its joining with the ocean which made me slam on the brakes, before reaching across to the passenger seat where my camera sat – a suitable place for it really – as I hurried out my car desperate to capture it before it began to fade.
I had never seen a rainbows end yet there it was in full view. It seemed so close… so real. It seemed in reach for the first time in my life. I could see the rain – one of its makers along with the sun – falling softly at its base. I could see the sea breeze lift it back towards the sky. I could see its bright colours touching the dark blue ocean. But I could see no gold… no treasure. Was it even the end or did the rainbow disappear below the waters surface like an iceberg floating freely? Why did seeing a rainbows end make me believe it was the best rainbow I had ever seen? Even then I was unclear about what was important.
It was finding those photos today which made me realise I got all caught up with the treasure and forgot how spectacular the rainbow was. This version of a rainbows story made me finally appreciate the journey so much I was able to put the lack of treasure to rest. My translation made me realise that even though I now know there is no treasure nor an end to THIS rainbow, I would happily repeat the journey again in a heart beat. Because as people say “its about the journey, not the destination”.
If we believe this was the stories purpose, if we intrust our ventures upon this age old tale, then have we found the path to “travel nirvana”? If we truly change the way we see the journey, if we follow this fable wholly, then there never really is an end… a destination. The destination is not reachable because it doesn’t exist! Have I discovered travel “enlightenment”?
I challenge you to plan your next trip without thinking about the destination. I challenge you to only think about the journey. Don’t plan a trip to Paris, New York, London or Tokyo… a place… a destination. Think instead about what you want in and what you want from your journey. I challenge you to get out your pen & paper and start writing things like: immersed in culture, fresh air, starry nights, refreshing mornings, trains, walking, working in a small community, helping others help themselves, white water rapids, path less traveled, real smiles, gravel roads, sandy beaches, sleeping outside, learn their language, understand why they…, make something, find happiness and photograph it, hail a taxi and ask the taxi driver to just drive, work somewhere not for money but to understand that culture more, hammock, climb a tree, swim with the locals, gather food, make light, kiss a foreigner, stop and breathe, learn, live, teach. The list could go on and on and on and on… because your journey never ends if you have no destination.
My rainbow story is mine, but just like any rainbow, its path is different from each persons perspective. It depends on your angle, your location and your outlook. But whatever your perspective I hope my version helps you to remember to focus on the journey whenever you see a rainbow colouring your sky.
I say its about the rainbow, not the pot of gold.
THE END? NO! This is just the start.