Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes you go off the beaten path because you want or need to, or because you were mistakenly led and willingly followed someone in the wrong direction.  Going off the beaten path can be good, such as not following your usual schedule, or bad, as is in going one way when you should have gone the other.

Recently, I went on a jaunt with a few family members.  Winter is a good time for jaunting, especially when you jaunt to a warmer climate.  We jaunted as far south as we could go in the continental United States and it was good to not follow our usual schedule for a few days as we jaunted in the sun. Okay, I know, enough with the forms of jaunting.  The bottom line is, we all tend to get caught up in the same-old, same-old and need to go off the beaten path in order to spice things up a little. It helps you feel rested, refreshed, and ready to get back and stay on the path until the next jaunt.

Bad trips off the beaten path can happen unexpectedly.  You think you’re going one way only to find you are going another.  While on our recent jaunt-yeah, I know, I said enough, but it works well here so a couple more won’t hurt-we went on a jaunt.  It was a jaunt within a jaunt and it involved a bus, a lot of walking, and eventually, dinner.

I don’t know how to use public transportation very well because I grew up in an area where there was one bus. We would ride it to G. C. Murphy so we could get lunch at the soda counter and play with the sock monkeys.  But that’s bedside the point, which is that my posse took the bus to another part of the southernmost portion of the US, got off, and walked in the direction of the restaurant. It was dark and desolate and when we reached a sign telling us we did not belong where we were, we should have turned around.  But restaurant row was right over there and it seemed logical that a quick pass through the area where we didn’t belong would get us there faster than turning around-even though it was off the beaten path.  Multi-story buildings, dark cars with tinted windows, crying babies, and a lot of fencing give you an idea of where we shouldn’t have been.

As we reached the end of the unbeaten path, a large, black SUV approached from behind.  It crept closer and closer and we walked faster and faster only to find we’d reached a dead end.  We were pinned at the guardrail. The SUV driver watched the four of us scurry like little white mice to find our way out of the corner and back on the beaten path.  We were pointing this way and that and moving in all directions.  Let’s be honest, nothing says, “We’re lost,” like four white northerners dressed in vacation attire, carrying cameras, and wearing fanny packs walking through an area where they don’t belong.  Okay, so we didn’t have cameras or fanny packs, but you get the picture.

Sometimes you go off the beaten path and end up feeling rested and refreshed and other times you feel anxious and hungry. While there are plenty of pictures of our sometimes on this trip, there’s probably only security footage of our other time. And all because we went off the beaten path.

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