We're about to head off to about the most not off the beaten path place that you can probably imagine. Truth is, we couldn't care less how unimaginative our destination may seem. Our experience will be what we make it.
Recently, we were walking through our hood in Seattle discussing the idea of off the beaten path travel. As pretty constant travelers, there can be a lot of pressure (from others and ourselves) to hit unexplored places in unconventional ways. We tend to get so focused on where we want to go and what we want to do, that we usually pay little attention to that pressure.
So, needless to say, we struggle with the whole idea of off the beaten path travel. Isn't there the opportunity for something "new" where ever you are? Can't something seemingly ordinary end up being momentous? Any experience – travel related or otherwise – is what you make it. That's the conclusion we came to at least.
So, we try to focus on what's happening in the moment, no matter how grand or simple – no matter how near or far away.
Learning to prepare shima in Zambia.
Preparing a pepper at cooking school in Mexico.
Or joking around about the quality of "college food" when we visited a relative on campus.
They're all worthwhile food experiences to us.
One day we're heading to the beach on Bora Bora.
And on another, we're enjoying a spontaneous play session with our kids on a lake here in Washington. Just kidding... friends' kids.
We try to find the fun in both types of water experiences.
We value visiting our Senators' offices to advocate for human rights.
But we also try to take any one-on-one opportunity we can – even on a train in Alaska – to "influence" others' thoughts on equal rights.
We also like to champion causes here in the streets of Seattle.
Each type of speaking out feels exciting and new to us even though we advocate regularly.
So, that walk the other day was a turning point for us. We now believe, more than ever, that off the beaten path is where ever you are and it's a mindset. It's looking at what's in front of you in a different way, or not. Of course, going to out of the way places in out of the way countries qualifies, too, but it's important to not discount the unexpected or ordinary that can happen when you're just doing whatever your doing – at home or on the road.
We're quite the surprisers lately. We're heading out the door – to, yes, about the most on the beaten path place in the country – to surprise a couple people for their birthdays. Our ordinary destination will be extraordinary because we'll let it unfold how it will, and it'll be different from every other time we've visited. That will make it off the beaten path.
Stay tuned for details on how the surprise turns out.