There is something compelling about a journey. This month on the ChristianWriters.com blog chain, our topic is ‘The Journey’, inspired by the epic journey of the American explorers Lewis and Clarke, which began in the month of May. These guys crossed the landmass that is the United States, from one side to the other – an impressive feat by anyone’s reckoning. But did you know that this year is the 150th anniversary of the end of another epic journey – one that took place much closer to home from my perspective. This is, of course, the journey of Burk and Wills.
The group of explorers led by Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills set out from Melbourne in 1860 and headed northward toward the Gulf of Carpentaria. The sole survivor of the expedition, John King, made it back in 1861. The team gathered valuable information on parts of Australia that no European settler had seen. Their pre-conceptions of the Aboriginal people were challenged as they traded with them for much needed supplies. On the 9th of February 1861, they reached their destination – about 3250 Kilometres (2000 Miles) from where they started. It was on the return trip that many of the team, including Burk and Wills themselves, lost their lives. Sadly, much of the information that the team gathered was not preserved – but what was kept can be found at the Burk & Wills Web Online Digital Archive.
Few of us will ever take part in a journey as significant as that of Burk and Wills, but journey is a vital part of the human experience, both in reality and also in fiction. As I started to think recently, I realised that a large number of stories involve journeys. Imagine The Lord of The Rings if Mordor had been a ten minute stroll from The Shire. Without Frodo and Sam’s long journey there would be no story. The journey is the story. In my own writing I see this as well. In my (yet to be published) novel Hybrid Force, three young people take a journey from Sydney, deep into the outback, while pursued by somebody who wants them dead. In my online serial fiction The Colonists, the survivors of humanity have left Earth (which is soon to be un-inhabitable) and arrived at a new planet – an un-spoiled world on which to build a new life.
Even those stories that don’t have a physical journey still feature a metaphorical journey. We call this a character arc. In Hybrid Force, the metaphorical journey matches the physical journey. The characters while running for their lives, are also yearning for an understanding of who and what they are – and why their lives are in danger. The safe haven to which they run is the place that they hope will hold the answers they need on their journey of self-discovery. We see this melding of physical journey with character arc in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well. While travelling on a grand adventure, Eustace Scrubb goes on a personal journey which makes him a very different person. Journeys have a tendency to impact people. They change us.
Epic journeys are not unique just to the novel. A few days ago I completed the computer game King’s Quest III Redux (a VGA remake by AGD Interactive of the classic 1980s game by Sierra). In this story, Gwydion, a slave boy, escapes the home of his imprisonment and makes the long journey across land and sea to Daventry, the homeland he doesn’t remember, where he is a long-lost prince.
Finally, there is our spiritual journey. I believe that all of us, regardless of what we believe, are on a spiritual journey. We are either moving toward God or away from Him. There are important milestones on this journey. The most important milestone for me was when I became a follower of Jesus Christ. My sins were forgiven and I gained a spiritual inheritance of eternal life, but this wasn’t the end of my journey. If I had stopped there and assumed that I had “arrived” I would never enter into the fullness of all that God has for me. I think it is important to always ask ourselves, which direction are we travelling on the spiritual journey, and do we need to change compass bearing? Like John King, returning to Melbourne, I want to finish my journey well, and hear Jesus say “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Follow the chain
- 1st May: Keith Wallis, wordsculptures
- 4th May: Chris Vonada, I’m Just Thinkin’
- 5th May: Jan Christiansen, Refreshed By the Word
- 6th May: Scott Fields, Dead Man Writing
- 7th May: Cindee Snider Re, Breathe Deeply
- 8th May: Traci Bonney, Tracings
- 10th May: Janna Dyck, Writing for Life
- 13th May: Chris Henderson, TheWriteChris
- 14th May: Nona King, Word Obsession
- 16th May: Liberty Speidel, Word Wanderings
- 18th May: Victor Travison, Lightwalker’s View
- 19th May: Tracy Krauss, Expression Express
- 20th May: Carol Peterson, From Carol’s Quill
- 21st May: Edward Lewis, Sowing the Seeds
- 23rd May: Debra Ann Elliott, Writing with Debra
- 24th May: Lynn Mosher, Heading Home
- 25th May: Chris Perdue: The Bible Stop
- 26h May: Sarah Grace Write-Minded
- 27th May: Adam Collings: The Collings Zone YOU ARE HERE
- 28th May: Marti Smith,Telling Secrets
- 29th May: Chris Depew,The Beulah Land Blog
- 30th May: Sheila Hollinghead,A Spring of Living Water