ad·ven·ture – noun \əd-ˈven-chər\

: an exciting or dangerous experience
: danger or excitement

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Sometimes when Steve and I are out running errands or making our way home from dinner out or an event at church, he will make an unexpected turn, announcing, “We’re going on an adventure.”

Such was the case on Saturday after we had driven down to Indianapolis to buy moving boxes. We already had followed our noses through several antique shops, looking for a couple pieces of furniture for our new house. And since we were already in the city, we decided to stop and have lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. When it was time to head toward home, we found ourselves on the north side of Zionsville in an unfamiliar area.

We could have turned around, found a familiar landmark, and started again. Instead, we headed off on an adventure. We knew if we traveled far enough north or west we would eventually intersect with one of the major roads we knew, plus we would be making our way toward home.

As we headed off on a hilly country road, though, suddenly things were looking a little too familiar, even though we didn’t know where we were. At the next intersection, I said, “Go straight,” but Steve saw an interesting sign and decided to turn left.

“This all looks really familiar,” I said. “I think we drove through here on our last adventure.”

“I think you’re right,” Steve said.

“Look, another wedding in the same place as last time,” I called out as we passed a big sign announcing another barn wedding.

“Look, there’s the castle-looking house again,” I said.

“Yep, we’ve been this way before,” Steve agreed.

“It’s still an adventure,” I said, hoping he wasn’t disappointed. “Sometimes, you have to travel new roads a few times to really see everything.”

We both agreed that before long we would be entering Whitestown, and sure enough, within a few minutes we were driving down the main drag. Just like before, we turned right at the stop sign in the center of town and headed north.

“Eventually we’ll be in Lebanon, right?” I asked, because suddenly nothing seemed familiar anymore.

“Yeah, this road runs right into 32,” Steve said.

“Huh, that’s funny. I don’t remember this part at all,” I told him.

“That’s because you were asleep last time,” he reminded me. “When we hit 32, we’ll turn left and it will take us right into Lebanon.”

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And then, I remembered. The last time an adventure took us through those parts of Indiana was on the Fourth of July. After a hot afternoon at CarmelFest, I had konked out on the way home. This familiar path was suddenly new again.

But not for long. We made the rest of the trip rather uneventfully, our adventure coming to an abrupt end as once again I began to recognize the roads, the towns, the familiar landmarks, the way home. Admittedly, our adventure was rather safe and our risk rather small in the scope of things. We have a compass on our van, we know the general lay of the land and roads, and we had a full tank of gas.

But we needed to remember that “new” can be good, and so can “familiar,” and while there’s nothing wrong with taking the path less traveled, we can always find something new on the old road home, too.

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WORD COUNT: 535

Photo above by Dave Catchpole, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.