During my recent drive from Wyoming to move to Washington I unexpectedly found myself on a back road on the last day of my travels. It had already been a tiring drive with road closures and strong winds. With only a few hours left I was stopped in a small town along I-84 because the interstate had been shut down due to flooding (what were the chances!).
Determined, I found a back road that would only add a couple hours. I didn’t know anything about the drive; I just knew it would take me to my destination. Feeling somewhat frustrated and rushed, I hopped back on the road and made my way onto a scenic bypass that took me through rural Oregon.
Just after driving out of town, the road climbed into beautiful mountain scenery. Tall pine trees sprinkled with light snow lined the highway and periodically opened up to views of open country and distant mountains. I passed through small towns where, just on the outskirts, farmers were beginning to till the land. Alongside them, cows roamed freely and horses reached their long necks into piles of hay.
Without a doubt, it was the most beautiful stretch of my three day drive. With the windows rolled down, the sun against my cheeks, and the wind dancing through my hair, I realized that sometimes the best routes are the reroutes.
In our efforts toget somewherewe often get so fixated on the road we believe will lead us there as quickly as possible that we don’t leave room for unanticipated paths. The back roads are usually the trails we never realized existed when we originally planned our journey, and that’s why the journey itself is just as (if not more) important than the destination. When we pay attention, the journey itself can lead us to unforeseen opportunities that often prove to be better than the ones we originally set our sights on.
When we don’t allow a certain degree of flexibility in our lives, we overlook the beautiful back roads that still lead to the destination but add so much more adventure and joy along the way.
Wherever you’re headed, you’ll inevitably get stuck in certain moments and discover that the route you planned to take is blocked by events beyond your control. In those moments, may you see it as an opportunity and not a hindrance. There may just be a back road waiting for you.