Throughout our married life, we have always lived far from our extended families. As a result, road trips have been a big part of our family’s life. We have had trips that were smooth sailing,
trips that were solely for recreation and discover,
trips that have resulted in delays and detours,
and trips that have come to a complete and dead stop!
When the kids were little, we would often choose to drive through the night to avoid all the potty and eating breaks that were required during the day. Hubby and I would power through the night, no thought or care as to the landscape and beauty that surrounded us. Currently, we have several children who attend college in Utah. At the end of every summer and spring, we drive back and forth to either drop of or bring them home. It is a LONG drive, and one we don’t necessarily look forward to. This year we decided to treat the trip like it was a family vacation. I had heard about the Garden of the Gods in Colorado and had realized that it was directly on our path. We made arrangements to make this our stopping point and allotted time in our itinerary for a day of hiking and pleasure.
It wasn’t a big effort and had no ramifications on our time commitments, but the joy and the memories we created in that side trip proved to be a much needed respite from a chaotic spring and summer. We had taken a similar detour a year earlier when we stopped at Arches National Park, so we knew we were in for a joyful experience. Both trips extended our travel time to and from Utah, both required a little extra planning and commitment. The trip to Garden of the Gods required no mapping alterations, but the trip to Arches required we travel the unbeaten path home. However, the detours provided rest from long travel days, physical movement for muscles stiff from sitting for so long, opportunity to enjoy beautiful country we would not otherwise see, and precious time spent as a family. To say the benefits outweighed the costs is a monumental understatement. A few years ago, I decided the timing was right for my return to school in pursuit of a long held desire to earn a masters degree. It had always been on my radar and something that both my husband and I had discussed many times. I was SOOO EXCITED and had expectations of enrichment and personal fulfillment… … but I got into the first semester and didn’t LOVE it! As a FIRM advocate that we should never extend valuable and limited resources to something we don’t LOVE or that doesn’t feed us in some way, this un-love really stressed me out. I pity the people who were in my close personal circle who had to be part of the endless back and forth of what to do. I registered for the second semester, but could not take the plunge to pay and begin classes. So I rationalized that I needed to keep the summer months free and I would go back in the fall. The day before classes were to begin for fall semester came and I still had NO peace or direction! Asking for a little guidance or a little nudge from divine intervention, I checked my email and almost jumped for joy when I saw an email from a yoga studio where I practiced introducing their new teacher training program. A little hope (and trepidation) that this might be my ‘nudge’ led me to make some phone calls. Although the program I first saw was not a good fit for me, I knew I was onto something and within 5 days of this desperate plea for guidance, I found my gal and started an intense yoga teacher training the following weekend!
In a rather juvenile manner, I tucked away the master’s degree and refused to make any decisions about it until I was done with my 200 hour commitment. The only thing I cared about was being immersed in something I already loved and trying my hardest to focus on nothing more then the next four months. Honestly, had my college kids behaved the way I was, I would have been worried for their futures! Every once in awhile I would be filled with guilt or fear over my detour. However, the more I delved into the program, the more I was so grateful that this is where my path had taken me. There is absolutely NO WAY I would have believed someone had they told me 5 years ago that I would be teaching yoga at local gyms and to my friends and family. I could not have known at the time what a gift it would be and one I would be thankful for each and every day! The interesting twist to this particular journey is that I ended up going back to grad school. My original goal to ‘get in and get out’ has been completely and totally altered and my approach is much different. I have redefined my purpose and have accepted that I am still not sure I understand what I will do with the degree when I am finished. I don’t understand why, but the yoga teacher training helped me put the degree into a completely different perspective, creating a paradigm shift in my approach to both school and my life at home. Somehow the pressure is off which is resulting in a whole lot more joy than I before. There is something to be said for taking the back roads or side trips through the journey of life. The paved and oft traveled freeways are intended to get us to our destination as quickly as possible. We can travel through the night to avoid distraction and interactions, using creative ways to keep ourselves mildly entertained along the way. I do believe there is a time and a place for this type of travel… sometimes, the destination is THE most important thing… But the joy…
the taste, the smell, the touch, the EXPERIENCE of life occurs on those side trips-
whether planned or spontaneous, these side trips are where we slow down and simply enjoy what life has to offer. We will get to where we are going or we might change our minds and decide this is simply the road we want to travel- changing course and destination to something we had never previously imagined might be on our paths. It is in the detours that we enjoy the current moment, relishing in where we are and who we are with. It is possible that we will enjoy smooth sailing on our journeys, they might be for pleasure and discovery; we might experience delays and breakdowns, and sometimes our travels might come to a complete and dead stop. No matter what it looks like, remember that sometimes we have to leave the planned course of travel to get to where we are really intended to be. Daily Mantra: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Daily Journal Challenge: This is a listography challenge: Pick any three topics of your choice and begin a list of all the possibilities that lie before you, whether you’ve considered it previously or not. Listography is the art of simple rambling, in written form rather than spoken This is not an exhaustive activity, so do it in a notebook or journal with room to add to periodically! Possible topics might be hobbies, talents, travels, books… anything that means something to you. If you find yourself caught between bored and lost… consider the items on your lists. It is a good possibility that without even knowing it, you’ve got a few side trips on your lists.