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There and back ... to see how far it is - Penny Snowden


As a small child, in answer to the question ‘where are we going?’ my Granny would

invariably respond with ‘there and back to see how far it is.’

The anticipation on a car journey as a child. Are we nearly there yet? The first one to see

.. a cow, ...a man on a bike, ... the sea. I spy with my little eye.




And what about now? On our outward journey our thoughts go before us. What will it be

like when we arrive? I trust it will live up to its expectations. Hopefully, we’ll get there in

time. Have I remembered to pack my pants? So is it true that to travel hopefully is a

better thing than to arrive (Robert Louis Stevenson). Is the hope and anticipation often

better than reality?


"We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time."


TS Eliot ‘Little Gidding’


There’s another strange phenomenon- why does the return journey always seem to be

easier and the time shorter? I once exercised a horse for a friend whose name was Bill,

the horse not the friend! He didn’t like the rain and would travel along more and more

slowly until I gave up the struggle. When turned back towards home his ears pricked and

his pace quickened and his mood lifted.



"I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."


Robert Frost. ‘The Road Less travelled’




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