Just live life, viewing it as a long journey #journeys


A post from our Community Correspondent Marilena Balagianni

It is better to be on a journey than to arrive sometimes. It is better to contemplate less about how the future might be or worse how the future has to be.  People spend their life obsessing over goals and forget how to live life itself. It might be better to just live life, viewing it as a long journey that will provide us with experience and knowledge even if it is not always a pleasant adventure.

What I like about this poem is that it focuses on the responsibility of the person and interprets external obstacles as manifestations of an internal reality. It shows to the reader that it is all about the mind-set each and every one of us has about life.

‘Rare excitement’, viewing the world with curiosity, and  ‘high-raised thoughts’, connecting with our higher sense of self, can shield us from any negativity and move us forward . Sensual pleasures and intellectual experiences many give our life some extra ‘ spice’ when needed. This poem is didactic. It can be used as a malevolent advice to live in the moment but in a thoughtful, responsible way.

To me, it is a very inspirational poem as it encourages me to go on in life and focus on what it truly matters.



As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

C.P. Cavafy


, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply