This whole debate began with the famous words extracted from a poem by Robert Frost titled ‘The Road Not Taken’ and it goes something like this:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Many moons ago (nearly a century), Frost discovered that the path most taken is trusted, tried, and true. This road is safe and leads to ease of living. Yet on the other hand, the path less taken is rarely a tested one. Few would dare take that path because there are unforeseen obstacles, challenges and dangers lurking in the shadows.
But more than 2,000 years ago, long before Frost made this discovery, Jesus was already teaching his disciples about the narrow and broad road – and the message was the same. The broad road is seemingly safe and comfortable while the narrow one is full of dangers, uncertainties and challenges.
In both analogies, the rewards for taking the road less travelled, the narrow road, are amazingly rewarding. You may be wondering what the width of a road has got to do with travel. Stay on and you will notice pretty soon it has everything to do with it.
But let me start first by answering the question above by saying that taking the road less travelled certainly does make a difference. How does this play out in travel?
Take pre-packaged safaris for instance which are quite nice, particularly if time and money are not a luxury. By their very nature, they are designed to allow you to see an awful lot, for an awful less but experience absolutely nothing. This is because their jam packed itineraries have to be done in record-breaking times to be achieved. They are often the sort of thing that leaves you with the feeling that you need to take a vacation after your vacation!
But suppose, on the other hand, you one day dare yourself to take a trip to Kenya solo or with friends where you go ahead and buy yourself a one-way ticket to Nairobi and upon arrival, you hire a self drive SUV to the Mara or better yet raise the stakes higher by taking a Narok-bound matatu at the Nyamakima terminus.
You then get into Narok and find a group of other daredevils like you planning to hire a van to the reserve. So you jump into the bandwagon with perfect strangers and off you go to have yourself a time of your life where you simply immerse yourself in the rich local culture, admire spectacular scenery and view amazing wildlife at your own pace and then only buy your ticket back home when you have had enough.
After an experience like that, you will discover you have more stories to tell, more photos to share and more lasting memories to keep, because you travelled on that road less travelled and it connected you with an experience few ever get to have.
Imagine with me again that instead of running after the proverbial BIG FIVE of Africa in the Savannah grasslands of Kenya, you instead did a tour of some of Kenya’s local slums and met with some of their dwellers and interacted with the stories of their lives and listened to their aspirations and as you depart, you suddenly become aware of the fact that just like you, they too have a dream and hope of a tomorrow better than their today.
Would that kind of experience not leave a lasting impression on you? Would not that road be better than the one everyone else travels? Imagine further how the little help you could offer them would change their lives?
If you are used to 5-star luxury treatment while you are on holiday, this might be the time to try the cheaper alternatives and discover a whole new world that was closed to you. You may even discover a whole new side to your personality you never knew existed. If, on the other hand, you have been the backpacking type, always travelling on a budget, maybe the time is now to try a little luxury living.
Treat yourself, for once, to a holiday with a difference. After all, we only live once and who knows, that rich connection or angel investor you have been hoping to meet to finance your brilliant startup idea will be in that place you have feared to venture into!
If you have been playing it too safe as you have travelled, it is time to get a bit bolder. You will be amazed at the spectacular things that begin to happen to your life as you take that risky route many are afraid to be on. The experiences you go through may trigger a transformation in your life that will leave you a changed person.