Finding More Happy

It’s The Journey Not The Destination (FMH: 6)

After a long day and night of entertaining with our games party I was happy to chill today, but the Other Half suggested going to see one of his friend’s who’d recently had a baby.

The sky was drab, grey and overcast, so when he suggested we take in the urban environment for the next 2.5 miles and walk it, I wasn’t exactly feeling it.

But then, I remembered my new motto: Finding More Happy and so I said yes.

So off we set for our jaunt – and I have to say when you decide to look all around you when you’re walking, you take in a whole new world. They may not be necessarily interesting things I can share with you in a photo – but trust me – I’ve realised the more I look, the more I see.

Having enjoyed a cup of tea with our friends, the three-month-old baby started getting a bit crotchety and needed a walk – so off we went for a bracing walk around the local park. It was simple and full of joy and we chatted about the somethings and nothings of life.

Enjoying being out and about I suggested to the Other Half to take a bus adventure to the dual carriage-way of Swiss Cottage and try the new Greek restaurant I’d spotted earlier in the week.

I’d love to say it was awesome, but it wasn’t. However, I reminded the Other Half while we were chowing down about the importance of Ithaca – a poem by C. P. Cavafy – and that is Ithaka is not the destination, but the journey.

Here’s the poem:

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992) 
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