Introduction to Journeys #


A journey embarked upon is often intertwined with numerous issues of self discovery such as the personal, inner and mental journeys of the mind.  This site will look at three kinds of journeys and literature that relates to these kinds: Physical, *Imaginative and Inner. * There are many novels, poems and other literature that uses the metaphor of the journey to illustrate development of awareness in the growth of individuals.  The side-bar menus analyse some excerpts.

Journeys as a Metaphor for Life


A journey embarked upon is often intertwined with numerous issues of self discovery such as the personal, inner and mental journeys of the mind. The notion of learning or being taught along the way is neither new nor alien to anyone who has experienced mainstream stories of a hero undergoing trials and hardships to come out the better for it in the end. The archetypal hero undergoes many ordeals and faces many obstacles before realising their destiny, defeating their enemy or, simply, becoming a better person. These exaggerated stories are magnified versions of the day to day choices we face as individuals in our lives and the considerations required in fulfilling our desires for our life quest/journey.


Journeys are a Quest for knowledge; to discover who we are.  Karl Jung, a student of Freud, examined the archetypal journey of the hero who proves his valour on a long journey performing impossible tasks, battling monsters, solving unanswerable riddles and overcoming insurmountable obstacles to save the kingdom and perhaps marry the princess.  The hero, in passing from innocence (ignorance) to adulthood  (maturity) goes through three stages, separation, transformation and return.  Journeys enlighten us. 




There are many reasons why we embark on travels and why they engender so much excitement, anticipation or apprehension.


To escape, rejuvenate, recreate, rehabilitate, to unwind, seek adventure…..

To broaden our horizons, expand our understanding.

To move from one place to another for better opportunities – new perspectives.

As a challenge to prove ourselves or overcome obstacles and test our limits.

Spiritual, communal or intellectual pilgrimages.

The syllabus lists three categories:


Physical - The movement from one place to another.

Inner – the introspective; coming to terms with who you are, self-discovery

Imaginary, dreams, illusions.  All fiction is to some extent the creation of an imaginary world.

The journey is an appropriate and apt metaphor for life’s voyage.  Throughout the ages thinkers and philosophers have come up with various sayings:


*The journey is the reward          *          Taoist saying

*A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step *    **Lao-tzu   **(604 – 531BC) The way of Lao-Tzu


Education is the best provision for the journey to old age.        ** Aristotle** (384 – 322 BC)

Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age, for it is more certain support than all other possessions. Dias                                                                                                                     

The avarice of the old;  it’s absurd to increase one’s luggage as one nears the journey’s end.  Cicero (106 – 43 BC)

*We don’t receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, during a journey which no one can take for us, or spare us from.                  *Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922)

*Life,  as the most ancient of all metaphors insists, is a journey; and the travel book, in its deceptive simulation of the journey’s fits and starts,  rehearses life’s own fragmentation.  *Jonathan Raban  1942 #

*It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end. * (The journey is more important than the destination.)        Ursula K. LeGuin.

Don Williams said “the road of life twists and turns, not two directions are ever the same, yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination”.

*In life there is nothing more unexpected and surprising than the arrivals and departures of pleasure. *           Alexander Smith

*Journey’s  end when lovers meet, every wise man’s son doth know.     *Shakespeare,  Twelfth  Night  II.3

*All journeys involve self – discovery; a quest for self-knowledge.


Call me an enemy of free speech if you will, but I propose a total and permanent ban on the use of the word “journey”. Except where it refers to the departure from one non-metaphorical place in order to travel until one arrives at another non-metaphorical place  **Pavlov’s Cat


Nomadic or itinerant people are always on the move, searching for adventure, novelty, chasing dreams and opportunities.