Today on my walk I went down a different path. I wasn’t sure what was down there, but it peaked my curiosity. For three months I went to a park near my home and walked the same trail. The park has five miles of trails, but I carved out my regular journey that took me about 30 minutes to complete. Most days I walked it morning and evening for a total of an hour of daily exercise.

The trail from a particular sidewalk lead to a wooded area. Each day as I saw walkers stroll down that path, I wondered where it went. Content with my routine, I never veered off my chosen path. But something about today, lured me to walk to that different place.

As I ventured down that sidewalk I was amazed at the breathtaking view! The leaves on the tall, swaying trees provided much needed shade and a soothing breeze. The green grass looked like carpet covering the ground. I even saw a small stream of water running through the woods. This place was like a different world. I was no longer exercising, but exploring.

I didn’t know how to gauge 30 minutes on this new trail, so I checked my watch for my start time. Once I reached 15 minutes, I would turn around and spend 15 minutes walking back to my car. But my plans did not work as calculated. Just when I was approaching my time to turn around, the path curved. Where was it taking me? To find out, I had to keep walking!

I discovered another breathtaking view of the park! When I stopped to suck it all in, I saw a few deer in the distance out for their morning jaunt. They were far enough away for my presence not to frighten them. How did I come to this park for three months and miss this entire experience? I was limited by my regular routine…which I was quite proud of considering I had not walked at all before jumping into an hour a day regiment.

The new place continued to lure me in as I walked without looking at my watch. Just when I figured that I had exceeded my 15 minutes and should be retreating, I saw a curve in a different direction.

Where did that lead?

With the courage of an explorer, off I trekked around that curve to approach a boardwalk. It was beautiful, but had a deep descending path.

I knew if that if I strolled down that path, I would be wheezing on the return trip back up, so I stopped at the boardwalk.

I looked at my watch and realized that I had walked for 30 minutes! I still had 30 to go to return to my car! With a deep breath and a smile, I did a U-turn and back I walked…enjoying it all again!

What I learned today was that as long as you go on the same path, you see the same things. It’s only when you venture down a different path can you experience something new.

Today my new path taught me to:

Be courageous.

Be adventurous.

Go as far as I can.

Stop when I get tired.

Go back another day and do it again.

Control how far I want to go.

I walked as far as the boardwalk. It seemed to have a steep decline that I knew would challenge my abilities on the return trip up the incline. I decided that I had explored enough for this day.

Part 2 of this blog details what I experienced when I dared to walk past the boardwalk. Please come back soon for Beyond the Boardwalk.