living life and sharing my journey

The road less traveled

Success

Most of us have plans for life. A road-map of sorts that we plan to travel to get to “where we want to be” or “the place of success” or whatever we want to call it – perhaps death if you will, as to be honest that is what is at the end of the life path. (Sorry for being so morbid, but there you go!)

When we imagine this path it is straight, long and direct. It’s an easy path with a few clear points along the way and we get the feeling that the journey will be a fun and enjoyable one. Even when we know this all to be a load of bullshit and when images like the ones above make us laugh because they are so true, we hold on tightly to the main and clear (and often trodden route) that we think we should do because everyone else is also doing it. We believe (sometimes we bloody well INSIST) that the well-trodden path must be the “right” one. The motorway to all things big and great. The super-highway to a life of rainbows and unicorns.

As someone who has questioned the super-highway for many years and is finding my own little path to wander down, the benefits of the road less traveled is very appealing.

But you see although I like to think I’m not, I am a planner. I like to have goals and know where I am heading. I may not want the super-highway but I do kind of want to know that the path with the brambles covering it is going to lead me somewhere. That the path is going to be worth it. That the destination of the road less traveled is still one I want to get to.

And so I think one of my life’s lessons is to focus on enjoying the journey and letting go of the plan and the destination.

 

But what’s interesting is that when I get into “travel mode” my need for planning starts to dissipate. My need for an exact route or even knowing where I will sleep tomorrow night is not important. I seem to go with the flow and enjoy the journey and the focus on the destination and route just relaxes.

So over the past month where me and my partner have been exploring North America in rental cars, ferries, buses and in a campervan with a rough route and friends to see but nothing more concrete beyond that, I have been learning some lessons about the wonders of the road less traveled. I have been learning to love the journey, to not focus on the destination and open my eyes to how life on the road can teach me much about life in general.

The motorways may seem to be the most direct route but they are often congested, slow moving, boring, covered in roadworks, breakdowns and crazy people weaving in and out with no care as to your safety.
The same can be true for life.

Although sometimes more challenging to navigate, the back roads are less monotonous and therefore more enjoyable to drive. There are delights around every corner – beautiful scenery, restaurants and villages.
The same can be true for life.

Sometimes you will spend your nights in places of pure natural beauty and other times you will be in a mobile trailer park. And yet they are each as good as the other as it marks a place to stop. A place to sleep and rest and each place will be as memorable as the other – just perhaps for different reasons.
The same can be true for life

The greatest delights are often small moments that you could never plan for. A deer frolicking as you walk along a trail. A bald eagle soaring above you. A fantastic meal at a small roadside stall.
The same can be true for life.

Sometimes you need to just stop and rest. Sure some of your plans will be affected as a result and you might not get to where you thought you would that day, but it isn’t the end of the world.
The same can be true for life.

Every plan can be changed and the world will not stop turning. You can stay an extra night or leave a day early. See friends on a different day than planned or drop in to see people at a few hours notice. And actually, every deviation from the initial plan is probably likely to be even more enjoyable than the original idea.
The same can be true for life.

That city that you really wanted to visit just isn’t possible in a huge campervan and so you have to leave it on your list of places to return to. Although it ruins the initial plan, the alternative destination turns out to be somewhere delightful that you may otherwise have never seen.
The same can be true for life.

And so as I continue my journey, this time to New Zealand for a month, I take with me the lessons from the road. I will try to focus less on the destination and more on the journey. I’ll delight in changes rather than fret about them. I’ll celebrate the freedom I have to be able to walk the road less traveled and the amazing opportunities, learning and growth that come from that journey.



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