Bypass Suggests That the Journey Is More Important Than the Destination

“Bypass suggests that the journey is more important that the destination”

For Michael McGirr, his odyssey along the Hume Highway is evidently more important than the destination: Melbourne.
McGirr undertakes a journey which for him is both physical and personal. His departure from the Jesuit priesthood after 21 years left him comparing his withdrawal to a ‘divorce’. No longer being a father of the priesthood McGirr finds that he must now make his own way in life without the church. With this McGirr chooses to purchase a ‘cheap Chinese bike’ and slowly ride the length of the Hume highway from Sydney to Melbourne towards his partner Jenny. This journey allows Michael to explore the enriched history of the Hume and ponder his own predicaments as he struggles to reconcile his spiritual beliefs and to find a place in the wider community.

McGirr’s journey was one that started as a spiritual journey, where he Cliff Young’s heroic story of being an underdog who never really fit in in his community- being a potato farmer who still lives with his mother, provides as a catalyst for inspiration. Although he was doubted Cliff came out on top, winning the Sydney to Melbourne marathon along the Hume and winning the hearts of the nation. Young was a humble person who never wanted the glory or fame that came from winning the marathon as shown by his announcement “that he would split the prize money with others”. McGirr likened himself to Cliff Young as he could be seen as a younger version of Young, merely a ‘simple man’, therefore he drew motivation from this as Young proved that age and fitness (McGirr is extremely unfit) cannot dictate whether an individual can or cannot perform in an activity of such endurance.  
McGirr originates each of the six chapters in Bypass with an installment into Young’s journey along the Hume. In doing this is draws the story back to the basics; it reiterates the concept of the Hume as the physical structure on which both Young and...