the journey or the destination?

the question of what defines success

Below is one of the most inspiring Greek poems written by C.P.Cavafy. It talks about the obstacles and adventures Odysseus went through on the long journey to Ithaca. But what does Ithaca really mean?

Is Ithaca a destination or a journey?

Is success the achievement of ones goal/destination, or is the journey itself the true definition of success?

Ithaca is wisdom, is enlightenment and is growth. The only thing we have to do to get there is start living our dreams, our passions and decide to see the blessings on the way.

My Ithaca is YOGA. A spiritual journey to self healing without an end goal in sight.

Yoga is a journey of mind, body and soul. One that could pose many challenges, both spiritual and physical. 

Every moment, every breath, every pose offers unique experiences, obstacles, and adventures which opens our hearts, clears our thoughts, and tests our limits.

Yoga is a journey of patients, tolerance, and faith which takes years of practice and offers limitless  learning. Its a journey of give and take. 

Yoga is my Ithaca.

Ithaca means something different for every person but once you embark on this voyage you will never be the same again.


– As you set out on the way to Ithaca

hope that the road is a long one,

filled with adventures, filled with understanding.

The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,

Poseidon in his anger: do not fear them,

you’ll never come across them on your way

as long as your mind stays aloft, and a choice

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,

savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them

unless you carry them within your soul,

unless your soul sets them up before you.


Hope that the road is a long one.

Many may the summer mornings be

when””with what pleasure, with what joy””

you first put in to harbors new to your eyes;

may you stop at Phoenician trading posts

and there acquire fine goods:

mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and heady perfumes of every kind:

as many heady perfumes as you can.

To many Egyptian cities may you go

so you may learn, and go on learning, from their sages.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind;

to reach her is your destiny.

But do not rush your journey in the least.

Better that it last for many years;

that you drop anchor at the island an old man,

rich with all you’ve gotten on the way,

not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave to you the beautiful journey;

without her you’d not have set upon the road.

But she has nothing left to give you any more.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca did not deceive you.

As wise as you’ll have become, with so much experience,

you’ll have understood, by then, what these Ithacas mean.


– By C.P.CAVAFY (Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn)

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