The Road Less Travelled

This relentlessly smooth always-headed-somewhere-safe freeway has been my companion for years. Its wide, black surface first captured my attention when I decided one day that I needed an adventure.

“I’m a safe bet!” It had said. “You’ll always know where you’re going. You’ll never get lost!”

My hand had held the wheel complacently—I didn’t need to pay much attention to where I was going. Everything was easy on the fast, black tarred road.

“Drive this way for five hours and you will reach your destination,” the freeway had said.

But then, my gut had disagreed. “Go and buy a map,” it had whispered.

“You don’t need a road map. Follow the signs I have employed to stand alongside me. They will tell you where you should go,” said the freeway. “It’s easier to travel my way!”

“Go and buy a map,” said my gut again. “Adventure is at your door.”

“Wait!” said the freeway. “What is so good about the challenges that come with driving back roads? They are rocky, and pot-holed, and kick dust up over your nice clean car. They are inconsiderate! I have made it easy for you to drive! I am thoughtful and predictable. You don’t have to think, or create, or solve puzzles; you just have to drive!”

“Go and buy a map,” said my gut.

“I’m gonna go buy a map!” I said.

“You can’t!” said the Freeway. “You’ll get lost! You’re not smart enough to create your own adventure!”

“Then I shall enjoy the journey of losing my way for a short time in order to find my way to adventure in the long-run.”

“No, wait—!”

“Bye freeway! Take care!” I swerved onto an exit ramp that led to a dirt road and slowed down for the first time in hours. There was a tiny sign with the name of a tiny town that stood in the middle of a tiny intersection. Above the tiny sign was a power line. Slung over the power line were pairs and pairs of shoes in different sizes and different makes. I stoped to take it all in — to take a photo.

“That’s so weird,” I pondered. “I’ve traveled down this freeway hundreds of times, but I have never seen this road. How many times have I missed quirky things like this because I have only had the destination in mind?”

Photo by Ricardo Frantz