The Way We Get There

I am amazed by complicated highway systems. I cannot picture their grids and swirls in my head, but I am an expert at following the signs. 

I often must attend meetings near the Toronto International Airport. When leaving to get back home, I just merge onto whatever the sign overhead is telling me will take me to 401 East. The same when I am dropping someone off at the airport, just follow the signs that lead me out of the airport complex and, before I know it, I am on the 401 east and I really have no idea how I got there.  Other people I know can picture the Toronto grid, have a better sense of direction than I, understand how all these 400 series highways intersect and where they all go.  Not me, I follow the signs or the captivating voice of my GPS.  

I think there is comparison to be made here about a lot of things.  Many of us want to see the whole landscape, understand where each move might take us or not, see the entire spectrum of possibilities. Then there are times when, like my airport road excursions, we are just too much in the middle of unknown territory and making the next right move in real time, without looking much beyond where to merge. 

I think there is definitely a time for both ways of travel. A time to leap and trust the signs and a time to print the map out, study all the possibilities and make a plan.  Maybe the magic elixir is to know when it is the right time for which kind of planning.  Long range strategic direction setting or short-range crisis response, and then when to move out of day-to-day reacting into a more planned out long-term course of action.  Then adding a bit of time when you have reached the destination to look back and evaluate if the road you took or the plan you made was the route to remember for next time.   When my dad and I travelled, we sometimes got lost, this was before GPS systems, and he would always say, all roads lead to home.

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