Monday, June 15, 2009

Journey People and Destination People

I read somewhere that there are two kinds of travelers; journey people and destination people.

Journey people don't have a schedule, are perfectly OK with detours, consider getting sidetracked an adventure, and love exploring new paths even if it means they reach their destination late, or not at all.

Destination people are focused on the goal. They want to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible, would never consider deviating from the planned route, and can probably tell you how many miles per hour they averaged on the way.

My daughter Courtney and I are both journey people. A few years back, when she was 14 and I was 36, we took a cross-country road trip together (Huntington Beach, California to eastern Pennsylvania). Being more of a destination person, John was worried about us, and I do admit taking the trip was against his wishes. But it was one of those things I'd always wanted to do, and knew if I didn't, I'd always regret it. We drove a VW Jetta, had no cell phone, and made the entire journey on about $500.

One of the fondest memories was late afternoon the first day out, in Arizona, when Courtney spotted a sign for a Winslow exit....

"We HAVE to stop!" she said excitedly, and I had to agree. The entire purpose of the stop was to call her Dad from a phone booth and tell him she was "standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona". Completely unplanned, didn't cost a thing but time and about three dollars in quarters, but a great memory.

This is the corner today. There was no statue at the time, which actually made it a lot cooler. ;)

Other detours included old route 66, shopping in Albuquerque, and exploring the craftsmanship of basket weavers in the Ozark mountains. Courtney navigated, I drove, we listened to Jackson Browne, the Indigo Girls and Tori Amos at full volume, saw some friends along the way, and generally had a great time.

I'm thinking about this journey vs. destination thing as regards the artistic process too....

Do you think the same principle applies?

I get asked pretty frequently "what are you working on now?", and I almost always answer with the name of the piece: "a sign" or "a tea box"..."a table"..."a chair". Which is often followed by "yes, but what are you painting on it?"

Which I'm sure sounds like a perfectly reasonable question to most people - You have a plan before you jump into something, right? You have it mapped out. You know where you're going and you know exactly how you'll get there.

To me (and I suspect other journey people) it's an impossibly frustrating question, and one for which I have no answer. How can I know for sure the direction a piece will take, until I'm finished, or at least very near the end of it?

Every once in a while (commissions for instance) I have a plan. But for the most part, painting is an adventure that evolves as it will, the little detours adding interest, and I'm pretty much just along to enjoy the ride. ;)

Here's one I have in progress sight now - a large storage bench (you can see it blank in the post below). Cloudy skies, a full moon, and a field of pumpkins for a little color. But beyond that, who knows?

I was thinking maybe a spooky graveyard scene, but then Merlin jumped up this morning and I was struck by his beautiful black coat against the sky, so now I'm thinking black cats somewhere. I'm also listening to gypsy music this morning, which may find it's way in there too...

Stay tuned...

And I'm curious.....are you a journey or a destination person?

♥ Carolee


Sandi Van Winkle said...

Yay! for journey people. I am a journeyor. Maps-schmaps for the most part I say. When people I know are leaving for a vacation or even business travel I always wish them "Safe journey". Because it is that wonderful unexpected discovery that makes life vibrant. Everyday is a journey for us. Keep up the good work. I enjoyed this entry as well as all the others. Thanks.

Kathleen Coy said...

Hi Carolee,
I can honestly say that I'm a mixture - both in my traveling, and in my art.

I like to plan trips with certain landmarks in mind and get VERY upset if I don't get to see them, but I also love the unexpected side trips along the way. I can usually find a nice balance.

The same with my art - I have an idea in my head of how I want a painting to turn out, but am totally open to deviating from that path if, during the actual painting process I start to visualize it differently. And often the finished piece turns out so much better than what I had in mind in the first place. But I have to have a plan going in.

Balance, baby! :-)

Sonia ;) said...

Carolee....Im both...Projects I never know what they will be...general idea starts and then goes in total absolute direction. As far as being at work, appts, etc..Im anal about being ON TIME FOR EVERYTHING...LOL...So it really depends on whats going on..I have fond memories with my kids on road trips...glad y'all have those memories also.

Sonia ;)

Diane MacNaughtan said...

Hi Carolee,
I must say I'm a journey person as well..
I love your new piece you are working on..
I have an award for you. Stop by my blog to see the details:)


Leah's Art Magic said...

Ok... I'm a journey person, no doubt about it. But I'm a little bit of a planner too. I have a destination but... hey if I see something along the way that beckons to me, well.. there I go. When I was younger my husband and I would go on exploration drives. We had no idea where we would go and we just got in the car and drove. It was a lot of fun.

I have something strange that happens to me when I create art. Sometimes I have deja'vu. I feel I have created this piece before. It's weird, but kind of reassuring at the same time.
The bench looks great! Can't wait to see it done!

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

Love the picture of Merlin since I never get to see him in person when I come over:)
I'm a journey person most of the time...

fawndear said...

It all depends on who I'm traveling with. If it's a carload of all my kids then I'm definately a destination person. If it's my girlfriends -JOURNEY (all the way).
Can't wait to see where your next artistic journey takes you.

Cat (darklingwoods) said...

In my art I think I'm journey person, I also start pieces not knowing what character will appear (those are often my strongest ones) I dislike being locked in!

William Bezek said...

That is a fun journey, we have made it too. The little towns along 66 are still trying to hold on and just brimming with Americana!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I"m definitely a journey person - I rarely know where a piece is going until I start work on it...often not even knowing what it's going to be (functional, decorative, etc)!

Monkey-Cats Studio said...

Journey person here Carolee...and so is the hubby! We usually have a destination in mind, but we don't plan the route or time in between the two points. Some of our best memories are of some quircky place or person we discovered on our journeys. Keeps life interesting, don't you think?!!

Jenn said...

oh yes...journey! and I rarely have a plan in my paintings. When I do have a usually changes somewhere in the middle of execution:) xox...jenn

Prplcrab said...

haha... can you guess what kind of person I am?!?!? a bit of a destination person is what I am... well more than a bit :) Once I get there - THEN I'll relax and have a good time!

Janine said...

It depends,
sometimes I want to go to a special place and ber there, but I made journeys, just the way you descriped it.
Without goal, without map, without schedul.
It is the cooler way to travel.
It´s ful of surprises and it is the absolutly freedom.