Off the Beaten Path

Have you ever played one of those weird question games where you are presented with two seemingly random items/events/places/actions and you have to decide which you would do in real life, if faced with the choice? I confess I occasionally do this to my students at school. It yields hilarious results.

IMG_2310But just think for a second, what if life actually worked like that? What if, instead of ploughing ahead along our rather humdrum existence, head down (looking at a phone) and not noticing LIFE happening around us–what if instead we regularly faced radical choices that determined the next step of our lives? What if life forced us off the beaten path more often?  How many of us would go, willingly and with joy? We talk a pretty good game, but can we play?


Currently Life is pushing, pulling, begging and pleading for me to get off my path. My comfy little path is pretty, well-worn and familiar. I teach. I go to school. I hang out with friends. Rinse. Repeat. I’ve become pretty rooted in my little rut. I kinda like it here for the most part.

But Life…Life is not satisfied.



This is where Life wants me to go. It wants me to wander down the scrubby path under the thicket and into the trees. Life wants me to explore the path that I can just sorta make out as it winds off into the great unknown. A year ago Life presented me with a choice. Against all odds and all sanity I took the unbeaten path. Now, a year and much preparation later that decision is about to become unalterably real.

I’m terrified.

In the same moment I have the kind of peace that “I know, that I know, that I know” I’ve chosen the right path. It’s so settled in my soul that I regularly chide myself for my fears.

When I travel I’m the person that regularly “looses” the group or their travel partner because I have a tendency to wander off. The unbeaten path is my travel specialty. Tolkien was right when he observed that “Not all those who wander are lost.” So now is my chance to embrace that as a whole lifestyle. I’m packing up my whole life and moving across an ocean to a place I’ve never been, to live with people I’ve never met. I’m sure the oft-quoted words of Robert Frost will prove undeniably true…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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