There’s More To It. FILE PHOTO

The road less travelled

Sometimes it’s worth it to take the road less travelled and reach out to those who feel too far away.

Shawn Acheson

There’s More To It

I am a traveller of purpose, there are many like me, who want to help, serve and make the world a better place. Though, unlike many of the others, my help is a little less tangible. I am not a medical resource, nor do I provide economic or food relief, at any substantial level anyway. My commodity is ideas, perspective change and the ongoing relational commitment to local leaders as they become inspirational fulcrums of change in their own societies, in ways only a local can be.

My international language skills are poor, I almost always require an interpreter, but somehow we manage to convey the message as we sit across from one another, often in the most exotic of settings. There is a depth of understanding that comes from direct interpersonal communication, something a text, an email or even a phone call can’t accomplish. In my case, it often requires taking the road less travelled to get there.

When I went on my trip to Myanmar and Nepal earlier this year, my Nepal leg of the journey took place via rented motorcycles, across some of the most beautiful settings and scenery, on some of the most difficult roads, trails and goat paths. Speed limits being painfully slow, and often, the slower km/hr assured some reasonable safety as we shared space with trucks, buses, tractors, other bikes and goats, cows, buffalo, and even monkeys!

The people we met with had often commuted a day’s worth of walk from the nearest bus, and many times they had happily undertaken the long journey to meet me in groups at major centres. But, I think relationship is a two-way street, and if I really believe in my message, and if I really believe in these leaders, I should undertake the journey on my own from time to time. Besides, I could hire a motorcycle, while most of them were pedestrians.

It’s almost impossible to describe the value in making the effort to reach out and connect with people, right where they are, and has both figurative and actual benefits. It solidifies relational intent, and assures the message is expressed and received in the right context and with the right heart. I can’t imagine doing this any other way. Transferring ideas, strategies, plans and beliefs require genuine relationships and genuine relationships require sacrificial and inconvenient efforts. Travelling the road less travelled is physically draining, mentally taxing, and probably the greatest adventure you will ever experience.

What relationships in your life feel far away and out of reach? Maybe you should take a road less travelled and go off the beaten path to get to them.

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