Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Road Less Travelled

Our aim was to drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg without using the National Highway. And so we set off on a route that combined our English Colonial past with  Afrikaner political history: we drove through Ceres,  Sutherland (the coldest place in the country), Fraserburg, Loxton, Carnarvon, Prieska, Douglas, Kimberly, Boshoff, Hertsogville, Bothaville, Viljoenskroon, Parys & (an unavoidable bit of highway) Johannesburg.

At least half of this was on gravel roads. The rest were minor roads. All were the kind of roads that don't have one-stop stations dispensing fuel and fast foods. They were the kind of roads that have no container-bearing transport trucks; roads that have people who wave as we pass by; roads that go through towns rather than around their perimeters; roads that require us to pay attention to the river crossings, the stunning views of the onder and bo karoo, and of wild game alongside the Northern Cape roads. We took three days, and learned something new from each place we stayed the night - bits of which I will offer in subsequent blogspace. We arrived at our destination wiser, more curious, and refreshed.

Robert Frost writes of choosing roads to travel: 'I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference' I find this a useful analogy: it is only when I choose to step out of the well worn paths of my life that I  learn new things.

Of course this is hard. And uncomfortable. And I become afraid. But if I am unwilling to be challenged by new roads in life then I will slowly shrivel and die. In the words of M Scott Peck (from whom I borrowed the title of this weblog):
A life of total dedication to the truth also means a life of willingness to be personally challenged.
To my friends and enemies - please challenge me. Vigorously and often. I have unknown roads yet to travel....and much still to learn

1 comment:

Gus said...

I know those roads and I love them... look forward to reading a bit more, hope to see some pics too.

PS I avoid the N1 from Parys to JHB by going up from Parys through Potch.

Beautiful country.