Sticking to the beaten path is easy. When the road you venture down has largely been rid of obstacles, bends and forks, there is so little to lead you astray.
You know where you’ve been and you know where you’re going, because so many before you have gone the same way. Even though you may be experiencing it all for the first time, there are no surprises because you knew what to expect. You planned for it, saved for it, studied for it. And you won’t be alone; you’re not the first to take this path and you certainly won’t be the last.
The beaten path is the safe bet. But… Where’s the thrill in that?
What if “safe” isn’t what you’re after? What if, instead, you took the road less travelled?
Maybe you know where you want to go but have no idea how to get there. Maybe your destination is somewhere completely off the map. Or, maybe, you have no destination at all; just an inkling of something pulling you in a very specific direction.
Every journey that begins like that calls for one thing before even the first step is taken: belief.
You need some kind of belief to get you to where you’re going, because you don’t know what to expect, because nobody before ever has taken the path that you’re about to. Without the belief that things, at the very least, might turn out okay, you never will take that first step. And if you don’t believe in where you want to be or which direction to take, then there really is no journey to speak of.
Belief is a scary thing, because it requires confidence in the unknown. It requires effort — lots of effort — and persistence. And the moment that persistence wavers is the moment that belief fades. Dare you take the road less travelled, hold true to your belief, else find yourself lost in the woods.
No matter where your belief leads you, there is one certainty that is always sure to emerge: you’ll learn something. Likely, you’ll learn something no one has before. Somehow, you are sure to gain something on your journey, even if what you gain is presented as loss. Wisdom comes at no easy cost, after all.
More than anything, your experience will be yours and only yours. And though you may cross paths with other maverick travellers along the way, in the end, you still walk alone.
You may very well have paved the way for innumerable others to follow in your footsteps. And, in time, as they learn from your experience and your trail gradually becomes the beaten path, one of them is bound to chart new territory, just as you once did — because they believe they can.