It’s the Journey Not the Destination

It was October of 1998 when the life I had been living was about to change forever.

Months earlier, my wife Alisa and I were sitting on a sofa at a good friend’s house, we were the Friday night crew.  We would get together after the long week and indulge in lavish dinners, beer, wine, and oh-so-tasty desserts.  We’d sit around and talk about work, life, and what our dreams were.

These were good times!

The problem was on the outside I was smiling and happy, but inside, deep inside, I was lost.  But before I tell you the rest of the story, let me backtrack a little.

I Discover Cycling

When I was 13 years old, I was fortunate to have been introduced to a wonderful group of cyclists where I grew up.  I had played other sports, football, soccer, swim team, but the bike got my attention.

I’m not sure what it was, but I do know that the wind in my face, the freedom, the speed, and the camaraderie kept me coming back for more each and every weekend until I left for college.  In those days, this was in the late 80’s mind you, I rode many centuries, raced a bit, and completed my first double century, 200 miles in one day.

I was a fit, lean, fighting machine!

I Matriculate

But then I left the state to go to college, and the guys who were there each and every weekend weren’t.  Instead, there was beer (lots of it), dorm food (good ole carb loading), and late night meals (pizza was my favorite).

My passion for cycling and exercise died.  There was too much to do on a college campus, and the thought of missing any of it kept me from riding.  My beautiful Pinarello Italian steel bike sat in my dorm room all year never to be ridden.

The sad thing is I needed that bike.  It was my lifeline to a healthy lifestyle, but I didn’t want it.  By the end of my freshman year, I was 30 lbs heavier than when I started.

During my sophomore and junior year, I wised up a bit.  I started to get to the gym every so often.  I did just enough to not get over 200 lbs, but that freshman 30 wasn’t going anywhere.

It didn’t come off for many years afterward.  This was my life!  The years of living an unhealthy lifestyle made me believe this.

So, it was that moment in October 1998 when it hit me.

I NEED TO CHANGE!

I didn’t know how or what to do, but life had more to offer than the life I was living.  So, with Alisa at my side, we started walking.

We walked and walked and walked.  You know what, it felt good.  My body was enjoying the activity as much as Alisa and I enjoyed spending hours talking.  For our young marriage, this was one of those times we still talk about today.

We were working together to reach a healthy lifestyle.  These were amazing times.

Our love for walking took us to the great outdoors.  We needed more of an adventure, so one day we went to REI and bought ourselves some hiking boots.   Now the many trails in our area became our playground.

We hiked and hiked and hiked.  By this time, we had a frequent buyers card at REI.  If it had to do with hiking we had it.  As our gear pile grew, we knew the next step, backpacking.  Yes, not just out and back day trips, but long backpacking loops, overnight camping, and with all those wild critters.

By this time, we had cleaned up our eating, lost some weight, and most of all we were having a fantastic time together.

I Realize

So, what’s this all have to do with fitness?

It has a lot to do about our physical fitness.  As humans, we are always going after the destination.

Let me tell you something, our physical fitness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.  We will climb peaks that will blow our minds, and then we’ll walk through a valley that slows us down.

I’ve been through both.  They’ve made me into the husband, father, brother, son, and athlete that I am today.  I’ve learned along the way, and I’m here to share those high’s and low’s so you don’t have to.

We’re on a journey together and I hope you’ll join me along the way.

The Journey is about the experience.
It’s not about achieving a summit,
but rather everything that goes on in your
heart, body, and mind.  The Journey
is about the whole experience.  The
Journey is the destination.  It teaches
us, makes us strong, lets us touch
enlightenment if even for a moment.
The Journey gives us experiences that
penetrate the heart.
-Author Unknown

I read this poem many, many times when I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Mexico to Canada to keep me focused on the Journey.  After 138 days and 2,650 miles, I stood at the Northern Terminus of the PCT, and even though I reached my destination the Journey had changed me forever.

What’s your physical fitness & healthy lifestyle journey?

(Photo Credits)

Comments

  1. Jack Lynady says:

    Great read. Really enjoyed this. Thx. Tony

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