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CLINE: Always good to get off the beaten path

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

Most of us are creatures of habit. We have, and generally like, our routines, whether it's a route to work, a favorite lunch spot or an orderly (in some cases not so orderly) stack of papers on the desk. Mixing any of those things up can throw some folks for a loop, causing mild chaos where comfort is preferred.

Maybe it's all of that order that makes traveling so enjoyable. I was reminded again this past weekend that sometimes it's pretty fun to not (quite) know where you're going.

Take your commute. If you're like me, it turns into a generic trip, the sameness making it feel like your GPS map has come to life and you're on the purple line headed toward an inevitable destination. You've seen the landscape so many times it becomes almost non-existent, like white noise for your eyes. That, and maybe messing with the radio knobs doesn't help much.

But go to another city, and the drive becomes an adventure. Where does this road lead? Is this the ramp I turn on? What is that building? How fast can you drive on this road? Wow, that bridge looks pretty cool.

That same mentality extends to most any endeavor you partake in when you're on the road. A new restaurant, a beer you've never tried, a store you had only heard of. Even going to the grocery store can be interesting, with different products and placements. (Homemade stromboli at the deli? Nice).

Same thing with church services. You may know your hymnal by heart, sit in the same pew every week and know all fellow parishioners by name. But once you walk into an out-of-town church, that all goes by the wayside. You're not always sure when to sit, when to stand or how a certain prayer is done, which can actually be pretty fun.

It doesn't take long to settle back into your routine once you get home, and there's plenty of good in that familiarity as well. But it can make you excited for your next opportunity to take the path less traveled, and make that turn into uncharted territory.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.