Journeys and Discovery

A few years ago, I realized that many of the books to which I gravitated were about journeys. I read about Shackleton’s adventures, and about a group of prison camp escapees.

I read Searching for Tamsen Donner, written by a writer-researcher who followed the path of the infamous Donner Party, trying to understand the woman who followed her husband to her own demise.

Of course, like everyone else, I read Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert.

I listened to a John Steinbeck book read by Gary Sinise, and read about Gloria Steinem’s travels.

I read Paulo Coelho’s mystical realism story of his walk on the Camino de Santiago.

I’ve even gravitated toward movies about journeys. One of my favorite films is a comedy based on The Odyssey. Another movie I loved was also about the Camino de Santiago.

The common thread of all these journeys is the sense of escape, exploration or discovery.




One of my favorite spots in Lisbon is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument along the Tejo river dedicated to the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Aside from it generating a sense of pride of my people’s history — so much accomplished by such a small country — is the beauty and movement of the sculpture looking out across the water to the horizon.

The word “discovery” comes originally from Middle English and inferred a literal “removal” (such as removing your hat). Eventually the meaning became more specific to suggest the uncovering of what already exists, though to us is unknown.

In so many ways this is representative of where I am right now, in my own personal “Age of Discovery” to uncover what already exists, yet may be unknown to me.

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