Take the road less travelled
Weíve all heard the saying take time to stop and smell the roses. Though some people may abide by this and faithfully take in the beauty around them, we often donít venture farther than our own rose garden for a deep breath of change.
There are bits and pieces of the life around us we take for granted on a regular basis. How well do we really know the county, or even the town we live in?
Even when you live somewhere with a population of less than 5,000 like Barrhead, donít make the mistake of thinking you know your community backwards and forwards. Regardless of the size of where you live, or how long youíve lived there, there will always be new experiences waiting just around the corner if you take the time to look for them.
Tourists have it easy. When you take a trip, youíre actively looking for these new and interesting experiences. You travel the back road instead of Main Street, and look for that quiet spot hidden away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Youíre on vacation, why not explore what the town has to offer outside the norm?
As someone in a new place for the first time, itís natural to feel those adventurous urges to investigate every nook and cranny. Vacation gives us an excuse to be like children on a grand expedition, taking on the world and finding things and places not everyone knows about.
But why canít someone who has lived in the same town for 20 years be an adventurer too? Maybe people donít have the time, or donít take the time, to venture out on paths usually untaken. Often itís unavoidable to fall into a comfortable routine of our favourite pastime, favourite bookstore, favourite restaurant.
Itís easy to pass a coffee shop every day without a second thought when your favourite cafe is waiting two streets away. Why bother going out and looking for something new for your children to do on the weekend if you know they already enjoy playing at the splash pad, or in the local parks?
We all know those few select places where we want to take our out-of-town aunt or visiting college friend when it comes time to tour the town. We want to show them what we know and love; what weíre used to.
As some participants of a Mayerthorpe familiarization tour discovered last week, what we know already isnít always the only option. There are places perhaps more enjoyable than our everyday ones just waiting for someone to take the time to uncover them.
Of course the tour group had to stray from the nicely paved highways and brave the old and bumpy dirt roads. Although they travelled into areas that seemed to be the middle of nowhere, their destinations were sometimes no more than 20 minutes from downtown.
Who knew there was a petting zoo with chinchillas and alpacas a short drive away from Mayerthorpe? That there was a cabin-like alternative to in-town hotels and motels tucked back in a wooded world of its own? Those on the tour sure didnít.
A bus tour isnít always going to be available to sweep you up and whisk you away to lesser-known destinations. Ask around. A neighbour or coworker may know some places you donít. Even if youíre not a visitor, what harm is there in picking up a local tour guide magazine or dropping in at the tourism centre?
Sometimes it takes a pair of fresh eyes, like a visiting friend or family member, to see whatís been right under your nose all along. But thereís nothing stopping you from going out and finding that garden down the road less travelled, and stopping to smell the roses there. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
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