During a recent dinner at Hayes Bar and Grill, our favorite restaurant to go to before concerts across the street at Davies Symphony Hall, I overheard one of the waiters nearby commenting to his colleague, “It is the journey, not the destination”. I think he was paraphrasing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination”, also famous for many other aphorisms.
This little encounter reminded me about some thoughts I had while driving from Santa Fe to Phoenix via Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon National Park a few weeks ago. I remembered the quote, “The road is always better than the inn”, coined by Miguel de Cervantes in about 1605 in his novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.
The book describes the stories of a retired gentleman Alonso Quixano, who changed his name into Don Quixote, and together with his friend Sancho Panza, traveled in Spain and got himself into trouble. I read the book many years ago and the only things I remembered were Don Quixote fighting with the windmills, but the image stuck in my mind.
Upon returning from our trip, I thought I’d borrow the book from the public library, but when I saw 550 pages of the small print, I realized that I will never have time to finish it. Luckily, there was also an audio book version. It will take me awhile to listen to the whole book, but what can be better than a good story? Cervantes started writing this book in 1560, while in prison. One of his occupations was a tax collector. He got into trouble when the banker, whom he gave money for safe-keeping, went bankrupt. This landed Cervantes in jail for 3 months, and gave him the opportunity to start his masterpiece, which is still in circulation over 400 years later. If you are interested in the short plot of the story, you can read it here. It is courtesy of my friend, Melissa Riley, a librarian at the West Portal branch.
The beauty we encountered while traveling to and from the Grand Canyon was what reminded me of the quote about the road and the inn. It brought me to a new realization. In my life, the road and “the Inn” are a continuation of the same journey. Like nature, one beautiful scene is followed by another—it just keeps going.
Though the Grand Canyon is a must-see visit at least once in a lifetime, we very much enjoyed staying at a small bed and breakfast in Flagstaff. We had plenty of opportunities to record the beauty on the road. Enjoy.
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