Road Trip

Road Trip

When I was younger, my family would go on road trips to our family reunions. one year, we had a reunion in Houston Texas which was a 24 hour drive. We would bring snacks and video games, and pack everything (and everyone) into minivans to travel caravan style. Usually I would be one the passenger but this particular year, I was given the opportunity to drive.

Photo by Nicolas Moscarda / Unsplash

The trip would require me to contribute 15 or 16 hours of the 24 hour drive. Wanting to get there as fast as possible, I brought up the idea to my grandfather to forgo as many stops as possible. I thought we could just stop to fill up the gas tank and to grab a quick bite to eat when needed. We normally took longer stops to restaurants like denny's and rest areas to relax and use the restroom. My grandfather sort of smirked and said, "boy don't rush the trip. Enjoy the ride and take your time."

Photo by Natalie Rhea / Unsplash

I was salty that my grandfather did not want to follow my suggestion of getting to Texas as fast as possible. Looking back however, I didn't realize the wisdom he was imparting on me.His words stuck with me because although I was eager to get to Houston and enjoy time with my distant cousins, aunts, uncles etc. I never realized that the road trip to our family reunion was an experience in and of itself. We would play games like I-spy, try to get as many trucks to sound their horns, we listened to music and had our own karaoke sessions and we had a blast at different restaurants. Plus, this trip wasn't to be taken lightly. The most I drove before this was maybe an hour at max. This trip was 24 hours, and certainly not to be taken lightly! However, the ignorance of my youth convinced me otherwise. My grandfather realized that and planned out these trips with stops along the way to rejuvenate and refuel. His experience on the road taught him to look at these trip like a marathon, and he paced himself as such. Plus, each pitstop was not a burden, preventing us from getting to our destination, but it was its own experience to be enjoyed with the passengers.  Also, my grandfather knew that if we pushed ourselves to hard, we would exhaust ourselves before arrival, preventing us from enjoying the presence of the people we traveled to spend time with. Looking back on this experience, I realized how similar my experience was on my journey to becoming a doctor.

It took a long time to get to this point; four years of college, another five years of medical school since I took time off, and another three years of residency to be exact. Although that seems to be a long time, which it is, each pit stop, experience and moment served as a building block to get to this point. As with anything, the outcome or destination cannot be ones sole desire. Building an affinity or love for the process is the single most important aspect of success. How do you expect to have longevity or battle burnout if you look at every pit stop, or set back as a hinderance? How can one truly appreciate the end product without the process lead up to it?

Each of us has a journey, a road to travel as we discover ourselves, remember to enjoy the trip.