JOURNEY: a word for all seasons?

Been on any good journeys lately? I have.

I went on a journey down to South Australia’s wine regions with some friends last month and had a blast! The week before, I’d been on a journey to Melbourne for a couple of days which was also a good laugh. I’d already journeyed to Melbourne for a couple of days earlier this year, when I took in a show or two, had a few drinks – as you do. Back in 2010 I went on my first journey to the USA, where one of the SUVs we trundled about in was a Dodge Journey – so many journeys, so little time! Last year I took my Mum on a journey to Europe to visit my brother for her 70th birthday and at the end of this year I’ll be visiting my one-time childhood home for the first time in twenty-five years, when I embark upon a pre-Christmas journey to Perth. While I’m there, I plan to make several somewhat shorter journeys to explore Perth, south-west WA and the Margaret River region. Our airborne journey back to Sydney’s gonna be on Christmas Day too – what a hoot of a journey that’ll be!

I do road-based journeys too. Not many, granted, and they rarely take me far from home, but it’s not all about keeping our airlines afloat: in August last year I took my first road-based journey down to Kangaroo Valley, which was really nice. I also make frequent road journeys between Sydney and my old hometown of Newcastle to visit Mum and friends and what-not.

So all told, that’s quite a few journeys.

Now I think about it, my life is a non-stop cavalcade of journeys! Only yesterday, I journeyed from home to the supermarket and back – sadly my stinking hangover made it known, loud and clear, that this was to be the absolute limit of the day’s journeying. Today I made the journey from home to the gym and back again; while I was at the gym, I even managed a 7.4km journey without going any further than the two metres separating the cross-trainer and the treadmill! Tomorrow, as with most weekdays, I’ll journey from home to the railway station by foot, then I’ll journey into the CBD by rail, then I’ll journey from the station to the office on foot again and, once inside the building, I’ll probably get through the lion’s share of the journey from the lobby to Level 1, where my desk is, by taking the stairs – or maybe the lift, if I’m feeling that special brand of laziness that’s peculiar to Monday mornings. Needless to say there’ll also be a very small journey from the stairwell or lift to actually get me to the desk itself and, once I’m firmly ensconced in the day’s workload, there are sure to be countless other micro-journeys by foot between my desk and the kitchen, my desk and the bathroom, my desk and someone else’s desk, my desk and meeting rooms on other floors of the building – the latter of which, I’ve just realised, I’ll obviously also have to get to by taking the stairs or using a lift – a journey within a journey! O. M. G.! How exciting tomorrow’s going to be!

With so many actual journeys already crammed into my life on a daily basis, how do I find room for all the others? Coz I don’t know about you, but journeys are freakin’ everywhere! I hear and see the word so many times every day that I’m about ready to tell the next person who says it exactly what journey I’d like them to go on – preferably a very long one that takes them somewhere far, far away from me!

Not that I have anything against the word itself – I really don’t, it’s a very nice word. I generally enjoy the way ‘j’ words roll off the tongue and ‘journey’ is certainly no exception. Although it’s still in reasonably frequent use in the UK, where it describes everything from a bus ride along the High Street to a holiday abroad, it’s always had a touch of Ye Olde Worlde formality about it in Australia; in fact, I doubt it’s been in broad circulation as a day-to-day word of choice for the average Australian since my dear old Grandma was about 12 – and she’d be 99 this month if she was still with us! But what a resurgence it’s had in the 21st century! It mightn’t be so bad, if only it wasn’t so rarely used to describe an actual journey. Frankly, I blame the “Big Brother” and “Idol” franchises – I don’t recall there being an overabundance of journeys before Gretel Killeen started consoling evicted Big Brother housemates by reminding them of the highlights and (mostly) lowlights of their “Big Brother journey”; shortly afterwards, wannabe-starlets who’d been prematurely ejaculated from the “Australian Idol” competition were exiting stage left in a blubbering heap, while the audience was reminded of their “Australian Idol journey”.

Ten years on and it seems the word is now used to describe practically everything, good or bad. I swear I heard ‘journey’ used at least three times in 30 seconds during a work presentation last week, with each instance describing something entirely different. And that’s really the crux of the problem: the sheer volume and endless variety of journeys one can take on any given day – sometimes without even knowing it – is bewildering! Let’s try translating some of them, starting with all the variations of ‘journey’ in its most basic form, before progressing to some of the more complex variants:

  • ‘journey’ (1) – a process someone or something has to go through to reach some kind of outcome;
  • ‘journey’ (2) – the execution of a company’s plan for how to keep their business prosperous over time;
  • ‘journey’ (3) – navigating some make-believe pathway between two points in time, one or either of which could be either known or unknown;
  • ‘journey’ (4) – what happens between episode 1 and the point at which your sorry ass is kicked off a reality television program – along with your wok, microphone, renovation materials, catwalk, rucksack, magic tricks, dancing shoes or whatever else you’ve used to complete the ‘journey’ thus far;
  • ‘journey’ (5) – getting yourself through ‘life issues’;

Yep, apparently all of those things are a journey. Confused yet? If you allow yourself to go on the journey, I’m sure it’ll all fall into place. And if not, I’m almost certain there’s someone who can help you out:

  • ‘journeywork’ – how you get yourself through a ‘life issue’;
  • ‘journey practitioner’ – apparently, someone who can help with your ‘journeywork’;
  • ‘journey therapist’ – a variety of ‘journey practitioner’;
  • ‘customer journey’ – everything that happens between the moment you decide you want something and the moment you actually get it;
  • ‘life journey’ – everything that happens between the moment you’re born and the moment you die;
  • ‘journey of discovery’ – learning something; analysis or research undertaken to derive some level of understanding of a particular set of circumstances;

Looks like ‘journey’ really has become a word for all seasons.

Just don’t use it when you’re actually going somewhere – you’ll only confuse people.

4 thoughts on “JOURNEY: a word for all seasons?

    • Thanks Nikki!That session on Friday really opened my eyes to a whole new way of life – finally I can embrace my frustrated inner Journalist 🙂
      Seriously, I can’t thank you enough and I was going to get in touch this week to say so and to see if I can’t learn more!
      I’ll shoot you an email at some stage soon.
      Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  1. How refreshing to see another old man who likes a good rant. Well done Matt. Really enjoyed that.
    The words ‘Individual’ and ‘Right Now’ and ‘Awesome’ also are fodder for the old man I find.
    Where is ‘Bonza’ when we need it?

    • And ‘shiela’, Ron? Also a good word, particularly when combined with ‘bonza’.

      Thanks for the encouraging feedback. It’s funny… I know another Ron P, also born in 1970 if memory serves me and he’s also a fan of the old man rant and the word ‘bonza’.

      Truly uncanny 🙂

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