I read a quote once that has really stuck with me through the years. I’m unable to attribute it to anyone because I have no idea who said it but the quote says, “The truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” I like the idea of that. Detours will happen in life. It’s not if they happen but when. And how we deal with life’s detours really determines how we’ll live and enjoy our lives.
I had this point driven home this past week as I took a 3 day backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains. There’s a certain level of planning involved when embarking on a trip into the backcountry. You need to be aware of the terrain, the weather, the location of campsites, and the amount of miles you can hike in a day. When all is said and done, you start your trip with some idea or plan of what you’ll do and where you’ll be each day. But great plans can be interrupted and detours arise.
After only several miles of hiking on my first day out, I was faced with a detour because of an overgrown trail I chose not to take. And that’s where the adventure began. Because of that detour, I arrived at a different backcountry shelter at a different time than intended. I met some really fun hikers and had a great time conversing with them. Later, a bear sauntered into our camp and gave me my first experience seeing a bear in the wild. That evening, a powerful thunderstorm rolled in, pelting us with rain, hail, and lightning so close we could feel the reverberation of the thunder through the shelter walls. And I was witness to all of it due to an unplanned detour earlier in the day.
If it wasn’t for the detours in life, we would miss out on the most exciting, educational, and memorable events we can have. Someone at the shelter I camped at my last night out asked me what I thought of all my crazy experiences I had had the last few days and my response is the same one that I always want to give when a detour arrives. I responded with a smile and simply said, “I love it…it’s just the way I like it!” He smiled knowingly in return and replied, “It’s just the way I like it too.”