Road Less Traveled

I’ll be visiting my sister and her family next week over our spring break. They live in Virginia, and we’ll be driving. It’s a bit over 1000 miles from my house to hers.

I’ve been fascinated this week by people’s responses when I say we’ll be driving. They range from pity to horror to plain old disbelief.

I often say that it’s easier to drive with kids, that we have more control over our trip. I think that those things are true. But that’s not really why we drive.

We drive because we like to drive. Because the experience of being on the road gives us a chance to explore, to see new things, to take back country “highways.” Because we can stop at whatever interesting thing we want. Driving leaves us the chance to have adventures.

And that has gotten me thinking. How often in your day to day lives do you miss the chance for adventure? How often do you continue through the steps of your routine, driving the same way you did yesterday, following the same rules, seeing the same sights?

It is easy to get into routines. In fact, our brains encourage it. Routines require less mental investment than new behaviors do. Routines allow you to check out, to multitask. And sometimes, routines are a life-saver. Routines for handling work, and school planning make mornings much more pleasant. Routines in hospitals help prevent errors.

I’m not knocking routines. I appreciate mine–they’ve taken a lot of time and effort to develop.

Even though your brain likes routines and habits, sometimes it needs the challenge of something new.

And, while routines can serve a valuable role in your daily tasks and responsibilities, they can also keep you stuck.

So, my question for you today is this: when was the last time you took a risk, stepped outside of your comfort zone and walked down that “less traveled road?” You don’t need to take on a 2000 mile road trip to do it. That’s how I roll, but it might be extreme for some folks.

Instead you could try shaking things up in small ways:

  • Drive a different path to work than normal.
  • Find a park or local attraction that you’ve never visited.
  • Play a game you’ve never tried.
  • Reach out to a new friend.
  • Try a new activity (art class, fitness class, cooking–you name it)
  • Eat food you’ve never tried before.

You don’t need to get extreme, but I challenge you to build some adventure into your week. And if you’d like to share it here–I’d love that!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on March 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Driving had never bothered me. In fact, I’ve often driven at least one hour to work. It provides a time for reflection, relaxation and necessary solitude & quietude. Of course, it’s not ~always~ that way, but most of the time, it is. Plus, I never tire of reviewing the scenery, the skies, the sunsets, sunrises, livestock dotting the hillsides, the lovely colors of each season’s change. It’s altogether beautiful.


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