I am not a very patient person – I like to blame it on my first child syndrome. I don’t like waiting in long lines, I hate traffic, and I want to get to where I’m going as smoothly and quickly as possible. When I first began traveling, I would become anxious at the thoughts of waiting to go through airport security and the possibility of hours-long layovers. I wanted to plan every aspect of my itinerary so everything would be quick and concise. I would opt for the faster flight or shorter route. And I soon learned that by burying myself in the mess of trying to control every single detail, I missed out on so many opportunities.

I have learned that adventure is not about trying to control everything; it is about relinquishing control. It is about embracing the scenic route. It often takes longer, there are unexpected detours, and it is often overgrown, muddy, and often has no set path. But by going down the path less traveled, I have discovered how to slow down and actually experience the world around me.

My breath has been taken away as I’ve looked out at new and strange landscapes.

The way the sun reflects off the Colorado River has been engrained in my memory, shades of aqua and seafoam and every shade of emerald glinting in the light.

I have nervously tromped up mountainsides with no visible path, only to be greeted with a horizon so bright and jaw dropping that any ounce of doubt has vanished.

I have waved to other solitary souls along the way, both of us sharing an unspoken connection of deep awe at our surroundings.

I have noticed what aspen leaves look like during an Indian summer afternoon.

Whether real or metaphorical, taking the path less traveled has taken me to places that I would have otherwise overlooked or missed. I will still do anything to avoid traffic when driving around. But now I’m content turning down a new street a little farther from my house and taking the scenic route home.