Guest Posts · Life is a Highway

“If you’re afraid of a journey, don’t buy shoes”

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

Thank you Michelle for inviting Words for the Weekend to join in your “Life is a Highway” series! We’re honored to be featured with so many talented writers and friends. We hope you enjoy the personal journey selections we curated for you and your readers. May you all find what you seek in your journeys ahead, and may the road rise up to meet you all. Love, Christy and Jennie



I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road . . .

“My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit from Stay Gold


“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass


"Open Road" by MissDuck08 via DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
“Open Road” by MissDuck08 via DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)


“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
― Joseph Campbell


“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
― Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth


I know there’s California, Oklahoma
And all of the places I ain’t ever been to but
Down in the valley with
Whiskey rivers
These are the places you will find me hidin’
These are the places I will always go
These are the places I will always go

I am on my way back to where I started . . .

“Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart from The Head and the Heart


“Whether we like it or not, we all come from someplace. And at some point in our lives, we have to make peace with that place.”
― Jeffrey StepakoffThe Orchard


“All journeys eventually end in the same place, home.”
― Chris Geiger


“Untitled” [A journey continues…]

by Mark Strand

A journey continues until it stops

A journey that stops is no longer a journey

A journey loses things on its way

A journey passes through things, things pass through it

When a journey is over, it loses itself to a place

When a journey remembers, it begins a journal

Which is a new journey about an old journey

A journey over time is different from a journey into time

An actual journey is into the future

A reflective journey is into the past



A journey always begins in a place called Here

Pack your bags and imagine your journey

Unpack your bags and imagine your journey is done



If you’re afraid of a journey, don’t buy shoes


“Untitled” [A journey continues…] by Mark Strand from Chicken, Shadow, Moon & More. © Turtle Point Press, 2000.


"Open Road" by Richard Webb via WikiCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
“Open Road” by Richard Webb via WikiCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)


“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”
― Maya AngelouWouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now


“No single decision you ever made has led in a straight line to where you find yourself now. You peeked down some roads and took a few steps before turning back. You followed some roads that came to a dead end and others that got lost at too many intersections. Ultimately, all roads are connected to all other roads.”
― Deepak ChopraThe Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life


“You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.”
― Joss Whedon


“Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either.”
— Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect


“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.”
― Wendell BerryRemembering


"The Road Ahead" by SnapThat via DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
“The Road Ahead” by SnapThat via DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)


The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

“The Journey” by Mary Oliver, from Dream Work (The Atlantic Monthly Press)


David Whyte recites Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey”:


and David Whyte recites his own poem “The Journey”:


The Journey

by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

from ‘House of Belonging’ by David Whyte


“They spoke less and less between them until at last they were silent altogether as is often the way with travelers approaching the end of a journey.”
― Cormac McCarthyBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West


“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”
 J.R.R. Tolkien


“When you have completed 95 percent of your journey, you are only halfway there.”
— Japanese Proverb


This week’s playlist features music from Janis Joplin, The Beatles, The Eagles, Jimmy Cliff, and more:

Thank you again Michelle for hosting us! xoxo



34 thoughts on ““If you’re afraid of a journey, don’t buy shoes”

  1. Dear Christy and Jennie,
    What a wonderful and perfect way to “end” the Life is a Highway series. I’m eager to get to your playlists and poetry reading (ahhh…Mary Oliver!). And, as I often do with your posts, I looked for a favorite in this set and found it impossible to pick one. I keep going back to the title of this post. Apparently I’m not scared at all of the journey….I have a whole row of shoes just begging to get started with that next leg of the trip.
    It was truly an honor to have your words grace these pages and add to the journey. You girls are truly my soul sisters and am so happy that our paths crossed and will continue to do so for years to come.


    1. You and I could journey on foot together quite nicely with all the shoes between us, huh? And hey, we can always journey to DSW if we run out. 🙂

      I love each selection too, but am probably partial to Mary Oliver and David Whyte (listen to him read Mary’s piece– WOW.) And First Aid Kit–such gorgeous harmonies. Just tapping my toes until they breakout and make it big. Those ladies have mad talent! And Tolkein–pair up his quote with the Annie Lennox song “Into the West” toward the end of the playlist–and did you hear that? That was the sound of my soul sighing. 🙂

      Loved taking part in your series—-thank you so much for having us!!!


    2. Picking a favorite is almost impossible, almost 😉 I’d have to say it’s Mary Oliver’s piece, that one particularly fits for me right about now. And of course we all know I adore Tolkien! The playlist though… forget it, I’m not even going to try to pick a favorite!

      And shoes… apparently I’m not afraid of travel either! Packing things up I counted seven pairs of boots alone (one must have a boot for every possibility- hiking, barn chores, rain, cowboy boots just ’cause…) and we won’t get into numbers on the dress shoes, sneakers, flipflops, and slippers!

      Thank you so much for having us as part of your series, Michelle! 🙂 xo


      1. You’re killing me! You know I love “Going through hell” and 7 Bridges is just an all time favorite, 10,000 miles ❤ and Into the West-amazing… but the one that wins most favorite for me is First Aid Kit's.

        There, now I went and made the other songs feel bad 😉


      2. Pick a favorite song from the list?!?!? Um, no thank you!
        That’d be like trying to choose between black strappy sandals and thigh high boots. I’ll have both please!
        (Thank you Diddy Daisy! Loved the compilation)


      3. Okay, Okay.
        Seven Bridges Road for the complete beautiful harmony and the memory of me and my best friend from junior high who could never quite get it right. We could shore sing it loud though 😉


      4. That is a great song, isn’t it? I think I listened to Silver Lining the most, followed by Miles Away and Down in the Valley and the Avett Bros. But gawd… hard to pick a favorite (so I resort to play count). That’s why there were 20 on the list!

        I do love my boots, but give me a pair of comfy flip flops (yellow box, love!) or running shoes any day of the week, any time of the year. 🙂 I’m the weird rancher out there wearing flip flops in the snow.

        Sent from my iPhone



  2. Reblogged this on Words for the Weekend and commented:

    Good morning! Remember how I said I wanted each volume of Words to be a little surprise in your in-box? SURPRISE! It’s Words for the Weekend–on a Monday!
    Join us over at Michelle’s for a special volume of Words as we close out her special series “Life is a Highway.”
    This week is all about journeys . . . specifically that little journey called “life.” We hope you enjoy! Thank you Michelle for hosting us, Christy and Jennie


  3. Okay…..LOVE the playlist and I’m only halfway through. I’m working at my desk with the ear phones. There’s nothing I love more than having a playlist with sweet surprises and songs I haven’t heard in ages. Songs that mark specific stops or starts in a journey. Seven Bridges Road and Southern Cross…yep. Floods of good memories and reminders.


    1. Oh goodie! I was especially pleased with this week’s playlist! Some oldies and some newies (is that a word? it is now. I guess it’s newbies? Well, I digress…)
      But speaking of digressing, isn’t that one of the joys of a spontaneous journey? Going someplace you never planned on going and realizing it was just where you needed to be? Funny how life works like that.
      Love ya, enjoy the tunes!


  4. Love all the journey quotes, especially about the reflective journey being looking at the past. Those are nice journeys to go on every once in a while.


  5. I keep hearing the name Mary Oliver as Maria in my head…
    Tony singing” Maria, i just met a girl named Maria”…
    I don’t know why i am even saying that out loud 🙂 !!!

    anyway…i also don’t know why i am just reading this today…the 24th, i must go check my inbox and see if i got it or if i set it aside to read later and then forgot….
    anyway,a treat today!
    thank you two….


  6. I waded through quite comfortably and then came to Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” where I splashed around insanely, yes! yes! as the wiry ginger-haired terrier looked wildly into my eyes. Perfection. Thanks for the introduction to David Whyte.


    1. Hi Angie,
      You are sooo kind to spend time in my spaces today. Wishing I wasn’t stuck at a healthcare conference so I could do the same. I’ve been thinking of your march to India all morning.
      I’m so glad you found this little gem. It was actually a guest post written and compiled by my two closest blogger buddies–Jennie and Christy. Christy introduced me to Mary Oliver and to Bukowski from Jennie 🙂


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