Posted by Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I love road trips! I love the idea of packing up the car and hitting the open road, not knowing what we’ll see or who we’ll meet along the way.

I plan what I need to take, packing up any essentials. I then plan my destination, but what happens in between departure and arrival has a sense of fluidity!

A Road Trip Down Memory Lane…

My last road trip had three generations, my mum who is very young, fit, and fun, myself, who I consider to be happy-go-lucky, and my loving, easy-going, kind daughter Isabella. LA to New York City. My mum, living in the UK, jumped at the chance to join the second I mentioned the idea.

She would land at LAX and then we would make our way across the states, ending in NYC, enabling her to then take a flight home. We always have fun when the three of us travel together. This was to be our biggest trip yet.

 

Make Your Entertainment Career About the Journey  Not the Destination

My mom, myself, and my daughter on our roadtrip

 

Traveling over a month during the summer meant that we wouldn’t really need a variety of clothes, because it would be generally hot all across the US. I explained this to my mum and that she shouldn’t bring a big suitcase because we would be in and out of the car every night.

Isabella and I packed a couple of small bags, only with minimal items we thought we might need. There is a luxury of traveling in a car, as opposed to by airplane, etc. You can take whatever you want! A kettle is always my go-to. (I mean, I am British!) No matter what happens in life, a cup of tea can fix anything!

Come time to pick her up at the airport from the UK, lo and behold, my mother arrived with a massive suitcase that took up the whole trunk! She had brought anything and everything she might need. To give her credit, she had thought of every eventuality and was covered. However, there is a time and a place for that amount of stuff. A road trip with multiple stops and limited packing space, not so much.

Throughout our travels, we would arrive at little motels late at night. I booked them on the spot rather than ahead of time because I never knew how far we would get each stretch or whether we might want to spend more time in certain places. Arriving late meant we needed to get in and out easily and quickly.

Every night my mum would take out the large suitcase from the trunk, remove just what she needed and then place the suitcase back in, leaving the rest of her items in the car. Isabella and I would simply take out our little bags at each resting place, containing exactly what we needed for each overnight. And the little bags were just as quick and easy in the morning to pack back up, whilst my mother would have to repack her massive suitcase and haul it back into the trunk.

 

Make Your Entertainment Career About the Journey  Not the Destination

Some snapshots from our Cross-Country Adventures

 

A week into the trip, my mum asked when we were going to be at our destination so that she could take out her whole suitcase and unpack. I explained this was a “road trip” and the destination was going to be where we finished. In our case, this would be New York City, where she would then get on her flight and head back to the UK.

By that point, the trip would be over. She looked at me in a strange way. She had never been on a road trip that was always on the move, making quick decisions about where we were staying and what we were going to see, keeping our trip as spontaneous as possible. I saw the realization cross over her face, as she put together the true definition of a “road trip”.

Traveling in this way meant that we were able to take any path we chose. There was a freedom of living in the moment. Only having a few choices of what to wear or how to do our hair, meant that we could spend more time out and about, taking in the things we had set out to see.

My mum had been physically part of the journey all along. She had been in the car, taken photos, seen the sights, joined in with the activities, but all the while stuck planning on what we were going to do when we got to NYC. Due to her being so focused on our destination, she had missed part of the journey. Counting down the miles and the number of days until we reached NYC, she was not able to 100% live in the journey. She moved through all the motions, but did not truly take them in. The journey itself was the trip.

Once my mum realized this, she began to take everything in much more consciously. Recognizing that the miles driven, the sites passed, the meals eaten, that was the holiday, spending time together and spontaneously exploring our surroundings. My mum’s preconceived ideas had left her with a sense of what a holiday/vacation “should be” or “should look like”. The point of a road trip is never knowing what is going to happen next, being open to all the possibilities. As soon as my mum understood the true meaning of a road trip, she became totally present and had the best time of her life.

 

Make Your Entertainment Career About the Journey  Not the Destination

 

How Often are we so Focused on the Destination?

A concept I believe in is that the most pleasurable time of any occasion is the anticipation leading up to the actual event. It is the place where we really grow and develop, learn and have fun.

As a filmmaker myself, is the best time in 1) the making of a movie or 2) when it’s out on a platform?

My happiest moments as a director when making a movie are at the beginning when I’m sitting on my boat and coming up with ideas. I write an idea down, pen to paper, and play with it for a while.

Then bit by bit I bring in all the elements to make the movie come to fruition. I bring in the right people, do the necessary phone calls and emails, and workshop the visuals. As everything comes together, the concept begins to become a tangible reality.

But the end result of a finished film would not have been possible without every aspect of the journey before. As creators, we all love the process, but we sometimes forget to remain present at all times, because we can be so focused on the outcome. It takes conscious energy to be aware of every stage of our process.

 

Make Your Entertainment Career About the Journey  Not the Destination

 

So Why is it Important to Remember the Journey?

  1. You will meet so many different people who can have a profound impact on your life - if you only take the time to meet them.
  2. You could learn a variety of ideas and concepts along the way -  if you stop and let them sink in.
  3. Life tends to be a domino chain. Situations lead to new experiences. These might cause you to pivot, putting you in a situation you never dreamed of.
  4. The improvisation of the journey teaches you how to let go of ideas when necessary to grow and move forward.
  5. You can play along the way when you are present in the time you have.
  6. You never know what you’re going to come across - The endless possibilities might surprise you.
  7. Be open to everything and anything.
  8. Stop, look around, and smile. Take inventory of your day to day and how you spend your time. It’s all about the process. That is where we truly live - The end result is literally just the icing on the cake. It’s the ingredients that matter.

We can all pack that suitcase, be ready for the destination with everything under the sun that we might need. But remember that along the way you might only need a few things at once, and those top things you need will change over time. But whatever you need, be present in the current moment and above all, remember it!

 

About Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Make Your Entertainment Career About the Journey  Not the Destination

ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS is a British award-winning storyteller and philanthropist based in Los Angeles, having recently directed her latest feature film during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will You Be My Quarantine? is a romcom starring Full House/Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin and is set to release in 2021. Elizabeth’s recent film Evie Rose, starring Oscar-nominated actress Terry Moore, premiered January 2021 on Amazon. Elizabeth is the founder and resident director of entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, whose motto is “Making Content That Matters”, putting focus on each project starting a conversation amongst viewers. An Official Ambassador of Awareness Ties for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth hopes to raise more awareness to the horrific nature of human trafficking and help put a stop to it. Her award-winning short film UNSEEN, which addresses the role technology plays in the facilitation of child trafficking, is being used to educate children on the dangers of lure tactics. Filmmaking Without Fear is a multi-medium resource by Elizabeth curated for indie filmmakers. Her FWF podcast is available on all streaming platforms, and the book of the same name is available on Amazon. A regular on panels at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, Elizabeth mentors wherever possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female storytellers.

Creator of the healing methodology Medicine with Words; learn to lead a more purposeful, peaceful life through guided studies of intention, reflection and deeper discoveries.

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