When I lived in the States, most of my detours were unintentional. I’m directionally challenged, so I got lost quite a bit, and — except for a few stressful times when I ended up in a sketchy neighborhood, at night, with no idea how to find the freeway — the detours were actually fun. I discovered new shortcuts, interesting restaurants and cute neighborhoods I never would have found if I hadn’t gotten lost.
Now that I live abroad, and especially now that I have a car again, I take intentional detours all the time. Most recently, one of these side trips lead me and my friend to an abandoned castle — on Jeju! We often see ancient temples and shrines, but castles are rare. I’m super bummed because I can’t find my point-and-shoot camera that has all the photos on it, but, trust me, it was an amazing discovery.
We first spotted it from far away and wanted to get a closer look, but barbed wire and padlocked gates stood in our way. We weren’t deterred. We searched and searched until we found a tiny, somewhat scary, winding path that took us directly to the castle grounds. As we approached it, I half expected to see a witch or talking lion appear before us.
Truly the best detour ever.
For today’s challenge, though, I took a slightly different approach. Instead of aimlessly wandering and hoping to find something intriguing (what could beat a castle anyway?), my intention was to pay attention to the path I always take.
All of us drive or walk by interesting things every day, but how often do we take the time to stop and check them out? Sort of like stopping to smell the roses, but different.
Three days a week, I pass this strange little orange submarine thing on the side of the road. It sort of looks like an abandoned car, except that it’s a submarine, in a small field, next to a sidewalk, a few miles from any water. Large letters spelling “Cambodia” on its side are its most intriguing feature. How, on earth, did it end up here? I often think about pulling over and taking a closer look, but there’s always an excuse why I don’t. I’m too busy or I’m tired or it’s raining, blah, blah, blah.
But today, I decided I would finally stop and investigate. Much to my dismay, the submarine was gone!
Just kidding. But, seriously, that could’ve happened.
Anyway, I drove past it with the intention of photographing it, but the lighting was much too harsh. I had to wait for the sun to sink a bit, so I decided to meander through the neighboring towns. More than an hour passed easily, and even though I didn’t see anything quite as amazing as a hidden castle, simply slowing down and soaking in my surroundings was a great way to end my work week.
I know living in a beautiful location helps. But I truly believe there’s beauty everywhere — even in random abandoned objects on the side of the road — if you’re open to seeing it.
Where did your detour take you and what did you see?
Tomorrow’s Challenge: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
To see what else is coming up, check the 30-day Challenge List .