A while back I was traveling to my sister’s home in Virginia and had to pull off to get gas. When I went to get back on the road, I noticed that Waze was taking me away from the interstate. “Well, that’s strange.” But who am I to question Waze, so off I went. I thought it might be taking me to the interstate down the road, but it seemed I was getting deeper into the country and away from my perceived security of the highway. Twenty minutes in and no interstate signs in sight, I realized this was now my new path. So, I settled in and started looking at my surroundings. When I arrived at my sister’s place — an hour later than expected but with the top off my jeep, my radio blaring and a smile on my face — she asked me what happened. I told her I took the road less traveled, and the joke that I was convinced Waze was playing on me changed how I like to get from point A to point B, even in my daily travels.
My advice: Take the back roads (as in the Rodney Atkins hit) and escape the doldrums of your everyday travel. For sure, when on a road trip, back roads are the only way to go. This isn’t about Waze taking you on an alternate route to avoid a traffic jam. This is about slowing down, having fun and enjoying the ride. I have made it my weekly “thing” to go down a side street at least once. I’ve noticed but never took the time to traverse. I’m always amazed at the things I find. “Wow, I never knew that was there!” A cute house, a little store tucked away, even something as simple as a kid’s lemonade stand that makes me smile. You will be surprised how good you feel. I was.
Every day people leave home for work, and every day people leave work for home with their main goal of getting there as fast as possible. Meanwhile, they are in six-lane traffic and frustrated, getting home frazzled and in a bad mood. What would happen if you gave yourself a few extra minutes and went “exploring” on your way home? It takes shifting your mindset, but I will tell you from experience, it’s worth it. Now, of course, this isn’t something you can do when you must pick up the kids and get to soccer or when you are completely spent from a long day at work; but on those days when you have nothing pressing, try it.
And what about your upcoming road trip? Veer right or left off the highway, crank up your favorite music and take the path less traveled. Enjoy the more scenic route, stop at those quirky roadside attractions, explore the abandoned house down the dirt road and have lunch at a quaint diner. Remember the saying, “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.”