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So you want to go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. You get out the map and find the road’s people have tested, tried and true. It looks so long and going to take forever, but it’s how people have gotten there in the past. You ask other people and they tell you the same thing. If you want to get from A to B, you take these roads. So you set off on your road trip.

Everyone is on these roads because these are the roads everyone takes. There’s a traffic jam. It’s getting hot, getting tense, and the fuel gage is lowering. You’re not happy. You look at the other drivers–no one else seems to be happy either.

There’s open land to your right.

You could veer off and set off on your own path. You’ve thought about it more times than you’d like to admit. It’s reckless. It may not be safe. It’s not done. People just don’t do that.

You have all these justifications: My car’s not designed for offroading. Yeah I’d like to try it but we’re not offroading people. What will people think? Will someone call the cops on me? So you sit in your overheating car listening to a song for the third time.

Finally the pain of staying in traffic, not moving but wasting gas, becomes too much. You wretch the wheel to the right and floor it. It’s bumpy, but it’s fun. You’re really testing the shocks, but you’re still going. New fears emerge. What if this is a farmer’s field and he’s already planted? I’m killing their livelihood. What speed should I go?

That’s when you realize it’s all open space. There are no roads, no signs, no other people. Where are you going? What are you doing?

Well, you can’t stop in the middle of a field. That’d be silly and get you no where. You’re pretty sure your destination is that way so you keep going that direction.

Soon the flat lands become hills. You’re trying gears you didn’t even know you had, the ones people say, “Don’t worry about that one. You’ll never use it.” You’re feeling like a flipping car commercial. And that feels really good. You’re seeing what you and your car are made of.

The ground will give way, you come across a stream, a fence. You see a sign that says “Now leaving…” and you realize you need to reroute.
But you get to where you’ve always wanted to go with time to spare and a lot more energy. And a lot better stories to share than your epic win at license plate bingo.

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