The means is the end

shoot-274I post a lot of photos of trails. On one level, I do it solely because I like that view more than any other. The view of a trail stretching on out of sight is a siren song to me. It’s a temptation and a promise. A means, but in this case the means is the end.

When people ask me about my goals, I never have the sort of answer they want to hear. I’m not doing this or that to be famous, or make money, or become a rock star. I’m not setting out with a goal like that. I want the experience.

I take trains. I ride bicycles. Not just because they are the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Not just so I can see parts of America I’d miss otherwise. Not just to meet the people I always seem to meet on those rides. I ride steel for the experience. I actually enjoy the trip when I do it that way. Travel becomes more about just traveling than getting there. Every time the train stops at a station, or Stephanie and I stop on a tour for lunch or to stay the night, I’m always happy to be there. There are new things to see. It’s a new place.

Reaching the destination is what most people want to do. They stand up and scramble for their bags the second the fasten seatbelt sign is off. They hustle down the jet-way, relieved the travel is over and they can start whatever it is they came to that place to do. I prefer the sort of trip that you greet the end of it with a kind of wistfulness.  You are where you set out to go, and you’ve accomplished the goal, but you kind of feel like you’d be happier if you could just keep on going. You never want the experience to end.

I like trips that are the goal. I like means that are the end.

shoot-275The trail is the same. I like being on the trail. I’m occasionally happy to come off of it. You do get  hungry, and sleeping in a bed after a hot shower is something you don’t think about or miss until you don’t do it for a while. But, after a few days of it, you’re ready to go back out.

I take a lot of pictures of trails. It’s because that’s the view I want to see every day, for as long as I live. I prefer to be out there where the means is the end.


  1. January 10, 2015

    I think I get this…and I think it explains why I have so many photos of my bike leaning against barbed wire fences.

    • Andrew
      January 17, 2015

      I think you get this, too.

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