We decided to take a three week family road trip while we are in-between housesits. We are travelling from Clam lake, Wisconsin, heading west, with a destination of Breckenridge, Colorado.
Our journey takes us past the lakes of Minnesota, the flat farmlands of South Dakota and then up through her Black Hills, the Badlands, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore. Into Wyoming’s cowboy country, around Devils Tower, through the Bighorn Mountains, into the animal haven of Yellowstone, past the towering Teton Range, and into Jackson Hole. And finally we’ll wind our way through the Colorado Rockies.
When we set out on our little road trip we made the deliberate decision to not use highways (interstates) when possible and opt for the side roads. We also decided to use a borrowed 2014 atlas and not rely on GPS navigation. An atlas provides the full picture, all the available opportunities, not just the common or quickest route.
Highways are an interesting phenomenon. They seduce us with their speed, their directness and their perceived convenience.
We unconsciously hop on them easily and frequently, without much thought or consideration.
Highways suck the journey out of an experience as they are all about the destination, getting from here to there.
By taking the side roads we are focused on the journey. This enables us to be present with the here and not fixated on the there. Arriving becomes just another moment and not the main feature.
What we discover on the side roads isn’t included in brochures. It is the little towns, the realness of an area, the discovery of hidden gems. The side roads introduce us to the unexpected. Discovering something new is always exciting, but discovering it when you least expect it is even more so.
The side roads make us slow down so we see more, enjoy more and experience more.
We are on highways all the time without even knowing it. We walk the dog around the block in the same direction each day, we travel the same way to work, we shop at the same grocery store each week – whenever we unconsciously perform a task we are hopping on a highway.
Exiting life’s highways
To exit our personal highways we simply need to be more deliberate with our actions and act less out of habit. We need to inject curiosity back into our lives.
When we exit our highways we are more aware, we are conscious of our surroundings, we absorbed the journey, we are present.
Possibility resides within the fringes, between here and there.
Embrace the side roads of life. Be the journey: live immediately.