The Importance of Taking the Scenic Route

Life is too short not to take the scenic route.

I know that seems contradictory — the scenic route always takes longer and that’s a fact. Usually taking the scenic route means encountering things like lost cell service, dead ends, closed gas stations and occasionally dangerous wild life. I get it — taking the scenic route isn’t convenient and these days it seems like convenience is number one priority.

I order my Starbucks with ice cubes in it because waiting for it to cool down enough to drink quickly is too inconvenient. It’s just a testament to our times.

Sometimes, though, in an effort to achieve convenience, we actually work ourselves backwards.

“I made an executive decision,” I said to Steve as we barreled through farmland on our way home from a long weekend trip away (you can read about that trip in my column this week, HERE).

“Oh,” he said wearily. Clearly I had woken him up from a passenger seat nap to tell him this important piece of information.

“Yes,” I said, “we’re taking the scenic route.”

hw 99

Highway 99 in British Columbia runs from Cache Creek through the mountains, down into some Canyons and right up to the tip top of Whistler Blackcomb and back down to the ocean here in Vancouver. It’s not an easy highway to drive, especially because it forces you to go 30km/hr around several hundred hair pin turns, but it’s beautiful.

It exists because we didn’t use to have major freeways that cut through mountain passes 6 lanes at a time. But also because some of us occasionally make game-time decisions to skip the returning long-weekend traffic. Sure, the Coquihalla is convenient, but because it is just so, everyone else drives it home after the May long weekend and the line up getting into the city is over three hours long.

I was blissed out after a weekend at the lake, I didn’t want to end it being stressed out and anxious in idle traffic.

So Steve spent the afternoon being very brave in the passenger seat as I white knuckled the corners in a vehicle that wasn’t second nature to me (it was a trust exercise — we lived and he passed.) We bought a terribly tacky fridge magnet and gas station coffee in a town with a population of 5, golden mountains jutting up on every side. We stopped on a dime in order to snap Polaroids by the most brilliant blue glacier lake. We found a hot tub to make-out in. We had a picnic of spicy cheese and garlicky olives.  We ended up wearing parkas in a room made entirely out of ice (there’s more to that magical story,but it’s so intriguing if I leave it out).

When we finally got home at 8 this morning, we collapsed into a breakfast of toasted bagels and cream cheese — bleary-eyed and exhausted.

Yet, we were still blissed out.

I always say that I need a holiday in order to recover from my holidays. I don’t think this is a Princess statement, it’s more of a need for a slow re-adjustment back to the pace of real life. Back to the speed of convenience.

The drive home is always the worst part of the entire trip — unless you take the scenic route.



  • Thanks for sharing your (exceptional) scenic route experience! I hadn’t read any of your writings for a while but I am always captivated by your vivid descriptions, contemplations and joie de vivre.

    • Thank you so much, Howard! Got to love B.C — it lends itself to vivid description like no other 🙂

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