Tuesday, January 8, 2008


GPS- Global Positioning System
I just got back from a holiday in Massachusetts, United States. We drove from New York to Boston to Cape Cod to Marshfield and back via the same route to New York. Not once did we lose our way or take a wrong turn to reach our destination. We used a GPS- the Global Positioning System to guide us on our chosen destination. All we had to do was punch in the destination and viola, a lovely voice guided us through all the right and left turns along with the estimated miles and minutes.
Wow! How easy it has become to drive in foreign places. As long as you know the destination, you will be guided through the journey.
This got me thinking, isn’t life the same? If we know the destination the path will be shown to us, we just have to be tuned in to the various signs on the way. There is unfortunately no GPS for the journey of life, but that is exactly what makes life so interesting and exciting.
I remembered my holiday to Italy last year, when we decided to drive from Rome to Viareggio via Tuscany and then back to Rome. This time we had no GPS and no particular destination. So we just started driving with a map and an, English to Italian translation book. As soon as we started driving we took a wrong turn and ended up exactly where we started. We laughed, cursed and started yet again. This time we drove for about 2- 3 hours following the signs to Tuscany. As we were driving we saw signs to a beautiful Agriturismo. (Agriturismo - a combination of the words for "agriculture" and "tourism" . These are generally old farm houses with lots of farm land and farm animals that are let out to tourists). We decided to follow the sign and drove through the most beautiful scenery and eventually ended up in the lovely old farm house.
We decided to spend a night there before heading on our journey. It was the best decision ever; we were like guests in the house. Special food and wine was prepared for us and we were given a guided farm tour. My daughter was in animal heaven. She made friends with the horse, the cows, the ducks, the pigs , the chicken…. You name it they had it.
Instead of staying one night, we stayed two nights and continued our journey. Having had such a wonderful experience we decided to look for another Agriturismo in Siena. This time however we were awfully disappointed. This was not really an Agriturismo, but some place trying to sell itself as one. The counter was manned by a surly old man who was probably having a bad day and did not hide the fact. We could have driven off to another place, but we were too tired, so decided to spend the night as it was already too late. Next day we were in a surprise of a life time. We did not know that Siena was hosting the Palio ( a horse race which attracts thousands of spectators from around the world). It was the most riveting thing I had ever seen. Now I understood why the man at the counter was so unhappy. He probably had worked a double shift.
From there on we continued our journey, stopping on the way at places we knew and some that we had no clue about. We saw lovely sights on the way and sometimes got thoroughly lost. All this added to the excitement and the adventure. We had a holiday of a life time.
The American holiday had its own charm. Here we were at ease. We spoke the language, had a GPS and had family and a home to go to. Yet another lovely holiday, but entirely different.
Coming back to life; Life is what we choose to make of it. We can choose to take the safe route , punch in the destination and let the journey begin or we can start on the journey and navigate the twists and turns on the way and wait for the surprises. Sometimes they may be pleasant and sometimes they may be unpleasant, but the overall experience will definitely be enriching. Just imagine if you had a plan for everything and knew exactly where you wanted to go and somehow there was a mal function in your GPS of life would you still be able to cope? The ideal way would be to have a destination in mind and let life offer the various paths, sometimes they may be better than what you had thought of.
There is no wrong or right way, it is your way. Whatever you choose will have its pros and cons and will eventually take you where you want to go, and even if you don’t reach the destination at least enjoy the journey. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down by the details or the exactness of the situation, let life bring forward the surprises.
GPS or no GPS, life is a journey, not a destination so let’s enjoy the ride.

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