Tuesday, July 23, 2013

5 Lessons From A Day Trip

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A few years ago my wife and I were attending a conference in Denver. The conference organizers wisely gave the attendees the bulk of a day off after a morning session and before the final evening main event. Desiring to capitalize on the available time, we decided to take a road trip.
I'm not sure why, but going to Wyoming was on my bucket list. My wife found a restaurant in Cheyenne that looked promising, so we entered the address in our GPS, put the top down on our rented convertible (yay for free upgrades!), and set off for the Cowboy State!

Because of the liberal speed limit on the interstate highway, we made it to Cheyenne in a short time and enjoyed a great Tex-Mex meal. We still had several hours before we needed to be back for the evening conference session, so we looked at a map, saw that Estes Park in Colorado was "kind of on the way back", and headed south.

Instead of going back the same way we came on I-25, we decided to take state and county roads to get us to our next destination. It was fun: winding roads that followed streams, switchbacks, and souvenir shops made for an interesting journey. We spent about an hour-and-a-half in Estes Park, and then began our final leg back to our hotel and then to the convention center. We didn't have time to eat dinner before the session, but a late-night snack capped off an incredible day.

Here are five things that I took away from the Day Trip:
  • Capitalize on opportunities - We could have sat in the hotel room all day. We could have found a local Tex-Mex restaurant. But we were less than two hours from Cheyenne, and I have not been that close since.
  • Don't let Been There, Done That keep you from being and doing again - I have been to the following mountain ranges: Rockies, Sangre de Cristos, Appalachian, Allegheny, Poconos, Catskill, Blue Ridge, Cumberland, Great Smokies, Kenai Chugach, and the Alaskans. I have even been to the Himalayas. We chose to experience another section of mountains we had seen before. And it was great!
  • Look for a different perspective - A return trip on the interstate highway would have only given us the same scenery from the other window. Taking a different route on an undiscovered (by us) road made for an interesting return drive.
  • Choose relationship over experience - My wife and I would have had a wonderful time sitting by a lake feeding ducks at a public park near our hotel. The most important thing wasn't the experience or the journey. It was being with each other.
  • Remember the memories - While driving next to a lake in Estes Park, I thought my wife said, "Look at the railroad!" as she pointed with her index finger in front of my face. "Where?" I kept asking as I looked in the direction of her pointing finger. "Right there" was her repeated response, shaking her finger. I still couldn't see the railroad, especially in the middle of the lake. Finally, I realized she was saying, " Look where my nail broke!" We laughed for 20 minutes at that, and we still remember the story and laugh together.
So there you have it. A day trip full of fun, adventure, and some great take-a-ways.

Question: Have you done any spontaneous things that proved to be great lessons for you? Share your thoughts below in 'comments'.

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