travelling well is better than to arrive // hitchhiking in Spain


Join me on my first 'vlog' 

Since moving to Spain I dreamt of going to Granada, I had one week off work to make it happen. I couldn't afford the plane tickets so I decided i'd try hitchhiking down from Barcelona to Granada. It was my first time hitchhiking alone and in Spain.

In this video I practice what I preach about adventure. It's not just about the destination and a new facebook profile pic, but about the journey. I summarise this in the opening sequence by quoting The Way of Zen (Alan W. Watts, 1999). Here is the full excerpt:

“Artists and craftsmen of the Far East have, indeed, measured, analyzed, and classified the techniques of the masters to such a degree that by deliberate imitation they can come close to “deceiving, if it were possible, even the elect.” By all quantitative standards the work so contrived is indistinguishable from its models, just as bowmen and swordsmen trained by quite other methods can equal the feats of Zen-inspired samurai. But, so far as Zen is concerned, the end results have nothing to do with it. For, as we have seen all along, Zen has no goal; it is a traveling without point, with nowhere to go. To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, “To travel well is better than to arrive.”

A world which increasingly consists of destinations without journeys between them, a world which values only “getting somewhere” as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance. One can get anywhere and everywhere, and yet the more this is possible, the less is anywhere and everywhere worth getting to. For points of arrival are too abstract, too Euclidean to be enjoyed, and it is “without getting what lies in between. The point, therefore, of these arts is the doing of them rather than the accomplishments. But, more than this, the real joy of them lies in what turns up unintentionally in the course of practice, just as the joy of travel is not nearly so much in getting where one wants to go as in the unsought surprises which occur on the journey.

Planned surprises are as much of a contradiction as intentional satori, and whoever aims at satori is after all like a person who sends himself Christmas presents for fear that others will forget him. One must simply face the fact that Zen is all that side of life which is completely beyond our control, and which will not come to us by any amount of forcing or wangling or cunning–stratagems which produce only fakes of the real thing. But the last word of Zen is not an absolute dualism–the rather barren world of controlled action on the one side, and the spontaneous world of uncontrolled surprise on the other. For who controls the controller? Because Zen does not involve an ultimate dualism between the controller and the controlled, the mind and the body, the spiritual and the material, there is always a certain “physiological” aspect to its techniques.”