I choose to keep exploring the path less traveled both figuratively and literally. This is my rendition of the famous words Robert Frost once said, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Anything worth accomplishing takes time and isn’t going to be easy. If the task were easy there wouldn’t be any satisfaction in reaching it. If someone did all the work for you, there would be no self-reliance, or confidence instilled. The greater the struggle the more fulfilling of a triumph.
I find it is sometimes easy to fall into a comfortable routine at home and work. Although it’s important to have a secure homeostasis and home base, being too comfortable can lead to feelings of stagnation. This is why it’s so important to keep exploring and pushing oneself out of your “comfort zone”. It is not a passive decision. It is actively choosing to make this happen. This can be done on a small scale every day or weekly. For example, learning a new skill, finding a new park, taking a different route, or trying a new food. For maximum effectiveness it is helpful to go on a more grand adventure every few months. I call this the reset button. For some it might be a weekend away. For me it usually involves pushing my body to the limits while also enjoying nature and being outside.
The first time I went on a true independent adventure was my freshman year in high school. It was an early release day and some friends were talking about going to the beach. I had driven to the beach a thousand times. It didn’t really interest me. So I thought I’d see if I could ride my bike. I asked myself, “Could I do it? Could I remember how to get there? Would I get too tired?”
It was a perfect day in May. I was shaking with anticipation for the bell to ring. After we were dismissed I went home and gathered some items. I made a makeshift Camelbak by taking a gallon jug, and attaching a tube from my dad’s shop with duct tape. I put the water, an apple, a bar and five dollars in a small backpack. I left my phone at home and didn’t tell anyone where I was going.
Those first 20 miles to the ocean were different than any time prior. At a slower pace than a vehicle I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. The house with the bright colored shudders, the birds flying beside me, the old man sitting on his porch, the smells of the flowers, and the changing sounds as I rode by the various landscapes.
When I finally got to the ocean the hot sand stuck to my sweaty shins. The cold, salty water felt refreshing on my tired depleted muscles and sunburned skin. I reached the water. I had done it. So, I refilled my water jug, ate a slice of Christie’s Pizza and rode home.
After that ride I felt refreshed, alive, and invigorated. I had a new found confidence in myself. It wasn’t from reaching the destination I had gone to a thousand times before. It was the journey that changed me.
Through the years I have gone on many more adventures like this. Ones in which I have tested my mental and physical toughness. Where often the outdoor elements aren’t always ideal but make me appreciate my home base even greater.
My soul craves a long overdue big adventure and I am thrilled to share this week we fly to Arizona to begin the journey to Havasu Falls. Although this particular “path” might be traveled often because it is a popular destination in the Grand Canyon (it took us three years to get a reservation), I can’t wait to go exploring on this new journey!!!