Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The story of the road less travelled

In the imaginary world in my mind I live out an existence of fulfilled proverbs and cliches.
The idea of adventure and possibility encourages me to take the road less travelled, so in my imaginary world, I do.

In reality and in no metaphorical sense at all the only way I get onto the road less travelled is by being led astray by a rogue sat nav whilst I'm trying to find a village in the Spanish mountains. 
So when I say I'm about to tell you the story of the road less travelled, I mean I'm literally about to tell you a story about how we got lost up a mountain in Spain, definitely on the road less travelled. 
Probably on the road that's never travelled actually.
"Mmmk, it says that after this next bend, we get to a fork in the road and we go right."
We slowly round the corner and see the aforementioned fork in the road.
Ross indicates to turn and slows right down.
"Are we sure that it's this way?
Left looks like it'll take us to Mijas."
I look at the sat nav and then back at the road.
I'm pretty certain that it's telling us to go right.
Even though going right takes us onto a little dirt track before we get onto the actual road that I can see 100 yards in front of us.
Admittedly it looks a little bit suspect, but I'm in a foreign country where they drive on the other side of the road and I have absolutely no knowledge of it's geography, so I decide that we're not going to try and second guess it and we're going to do as the sat nav says.
"Yep, it says right. Why would the sat nav say right if it's actually left?
....We can always turn around if it's wrong."

Five minutes later and the sun is starting to set over one of the most beautiful views I've seen in my entire life.
Think lots of mountains, street lights that are starting to twinkle in the distance, the setting sun reflecting off the distant sea and far away on the horizon the always beautiful white buildings of the Spanish coastal towns.

Two minutes later and the beautiful view is out of sight.
The sun that was so beautiful reflecting on the sea is now a precious friend that is quickly slipping away.
The twinkling street lights in the distance are gone and instead there is a sheer drop of 500m into a rocky ravine.
The road slims down into a skinny one laner and the road side barrier is no more.
And to top it all off, the sat nav just gives up as if to say 'sorry, even I don't know where this road goes. Your on your own, suckers.'

I never knew that my best friend Chloe is afraid of heights.
Correction, I never knew that she is absolutely, flat out terrified of heights, but when she starts crying in the back seat and begging us to turn around, I figure it out pretty quickly.
"I knew we should have gone left.
Please can we turn around.

"Chlo, we physically can't turn around.
The road just isn't wide enough."

We all take it in turns to try and comfort her.
We try to placate her with soothing words, we try to distract her with the beautiful view we keep catching glimpses of and we try to lift her spirit with humour.
All the while we're slowly climbing higher and higher up the mountain with no choice other than to keep on going.

Eventually her cries soften to a panicked whimper and she lays her head down on the back seat so she can't see the heightening drop on the other side of the window.
The occasional 'wows' from Ross, both at the view and the sharpness of the bends in the road either elicit a "please stop looking at the view and concentrate on the road" or a "Ross, be careful, be careful.  Go slowly."

After fifteen minutes of still finding no where to safely turn around, there suddenly aren't any mountains higher that us anymore and even I start to get a bit panicky.
My heart pounds as I anxiously look at the road ahead and pray that we will be safe.

Ross loves every second of the whole the adventure.
He's the driver and feels safe knowing that he's in control of the car. 
He drives slowly and cautiously and announces when we're about to drive over a bump in the road, so that we all expect it and don't freak out.
But bless his heart, in highly tense situations, without thinking of how his comments will sound, he turns to what he thinks is humour.
"Well guys, don't worry. If we were to plunge over the edge I'm pretty sure we'd be dead before we know it."
That was the final thing that pushed Chloe over the edge of her composure.
She sits up in the back, now crying again and declares to us all "I'm not ready to die."

Luckily we soon found somewhere to turn around and managed to make it to Mijas without plunging to our death.
I've always like the poem 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost and here's one thing that I've learnt about it...
Taking the road less travelled is good in a metaphorical sense, but that is all.
When you're driving in a foreign country and have no idea where you're going, always, always take the road most travelled.

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