“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” – Angela N. Blount
Have you ever been on a road trip so intent on arriving at your destination that you don’t bother to stop at any of the attractions along the way? I have done several road trips, both literal and figurative, where I glance at a sign to an interesting site and for the briefest of moments consider checking it out, only to refocus on the mission of arriving at my destination. I believe I don’t have time for distractions, for side trips, because my goal is to arrive at the place where I’m heading.
But what if I’m missing something by ignoring the opportunities that present themselves along my path because I’m too intent on that one goal? This is something I’ve been thinking about recently both on my journey to becoming a writer and my journey to achieve the next level professionally at work. I allow my thoughts to become overwhelmed with how to reach these destinations and I forget to take a breath and enjoy some of the side trips that present themselves.
I have come to the conclusion in the last few days that if I ignore these side trips, I bypass opportunities for creativity, for refueling, for inspiration.
My husband and I love to hike, and this past weekend we snowshoed in one of our favorite areas. I remember when we were younger how important the final destination was, to reach the end of the trail, the top of the mountain, the lake on the map. It was about getting there, and getting there faster than everyone else. Now, we stop frequently to admire the views along the way.
We’ve had so much snow this year, that mother nature has created the most amazing snow drift sculptures. Constantly changing as the wind whips across their surfaces and the sun touches them from varying angles. And I am in awe of these works of art, knowing they are transient and will disappear with summer. But my memory of them will linger and they fill my head with ideas and inspiration. Had I simply walked by in a hurry, I would have missed this wonderful opportunity.
As I continue my journey, I plan to pay more attention to the side attractions that present themselves on the road ahead. By allowing myself to check these out, I have come to realize that I am inspired and reenergized to continue toward my goal. The side trips do not distract me, they refuel my creativity and provide new sources of inspiration. We must stop wearing our blinders as we journey forward and give ourselves permission to take the side trips that will show us the beauty of the world that surrounds us and allow it to fuel our hearts, spirits, and creativity.