“Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” Walter Hagen
When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? I know, that sounds so cliché but honestly when was the last time you stopped to watch a honeybee land on a flower or watch a sunrise or enjoy a sunset? Most of us are so caught up in our daily to do list that we miss the little things in life that bring meaning and much joy.
How many times have you experienced or heard from others about a business trip that consisted of flying in, going to the meeting, having dinner, sleeping at the airport hotel and flying out the next day? What’s so special about that? Absolutely nothing is special about that. We all get caught up in daily errands, housework, work obligations, our children’s sports and school activities and most often overlook the little things in life that are right in front of us.
We get worried about missing a cellphone call, a text message, the latest Facebook post to such a degree and all caught up in making sure every part of the big picture is taken care of that we miss the little things that can transport us out of the daily norm.
The Paths We Take
Over the last thirty six years I have done much traveling for both work and pleasure. In the past, I often fell into the trap of super highways, franchise food, airport hotels and fly in fly out meetings. However, over the past fifteen years I have made it a point that whenever possible I would enjoy the little things along the way. Last week on a speaking trip to Coeur d’Alene Idaho it was no different – I enjoyed the little things along the way. Instead of flying directly into Coeur D’Alene my wife and I flew into Seattle Washington, rented a car and drove the rest of the way to the event. I am so glad we did. On our journey we enjoyed many of the little things others would normally miss.
The Stops We Make
We started our trip with breakfast at a small family owned restaurant outside of Seattle named Pancake Chef. Besides the great food we were served the genuine friendliness of the people working there was something you rarely experience these days.
Our next stop was at Espresso Chalet on Highway 2 traveling through the Southern Cascade Mountains. When ordering our coffee I asked the lady helping us if she wanted to trade jobs – we talked for a good twenty minutes. They have the best coffee and candy they call coffee beans which is a chocolate covered coffee bean that is out of this world.
One of the highlights of our trip was a home cooked meal with friends Sheila, Mary and Sheila’s grandparents. In my life I had never met a true master craftsman of anything – not until this meal when I met Sheila’s grandpa Roger. He carves birds which when he is finished are so life like that at first I thought they were taxidermy specimens. His work has earned him many awards. My wife and I met a true master artisan whose work took our breath away.
After speaking we had dinner with new friends we made during the event, Connie and David. We spent several hours over dinner at a quaint little Coeur d’Alene local restaurant. We talked, enjoyed good food and enjoyed each other’s company. Most importantly we laughed a great deal together about life.
On our way back we took Highway 20 also known as the Northern Cascade Highway which for me is one of the most spectacular roads I have ever been on. Our last night was spent in Winthrop Washington at a small hotel named Hotel Rio Vista. Our stay at Hotel Rio Vista and the ride back to Seattle on Highway 20 was another highlight of our trip. Words cannot describe the stunning beauty we witnessed on our ride back.
The point I left out is that we could have taken Interstate 90 from Seattle to Coeur d’Alene, stayed at franchise hotels and ate franchise food. Instead we stepped out of the norm. It’s scary stepping away from the norm but is worth it in so many ways. When you set your focus to the here and now and not to what is on your to do list you will start to see the little things you are missing. When you start to see the little things in life you will begin to find that the simplest of things can be regarded as marvels which become cherished memories. Put down the cellphone, step away from the normal routine and start looking for those little treasures waiting to be discovered.