On a recent vacation we had our plans of what highlights we wanted to see and visit. This trip involved a lot of driving between locations on the Interstate Highway system. We have all seen the many signs along the highways and roads of America. Giant billboards trying to entice you into a restaurant, gift shop, retail shop or hotel. Regulatory signs for speed limits, no passing, exits, etc. And then, my favorite, the brown and blue signs. These signs are described below from a Google search.
Signs that are blue in color are not regulatory signs. Instead, they display services for travelers. These signs are normally found on expressways and highways, directing motorists to where they can find places such as rest areas, tourist sites, hospitals, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, picnic areas, and other services commonly used by motorists.
Similar to blue road signs, brown signs are not regulatory signs. These signs indicate areas of recreation and cultural points of interest. Brown road signs will mark or give directions towards historical sites, parks, picnic areas, and other recreational areas.
On our last trip, I often spotted the blue and brown signs and contemplated on making little side trips. We saw a brown sign for a Civil War battlefield and off we went. It was miles away from our main route, but I had to go. The problem with these signs on the interstate is they often only point the way. Once you exit you see the next sign that says the site is 75 miles to the left or right. You have to have a lot of spare time in your schedule to get to these places and back to your original route. I'm sure some locations are worth it. But, I'm not driving 75 miles to a boat ramp or camp ground.
These signs tie into a previous post of "You Never Know 'Til You Go". These are the type of places that you may not have had on your agenda but may well be worth the time and effort to visit. In the past we have stopped at the largest hand dug well, the largest ketchup bottle, historical markers and many other interesting places. You probably have many of these signs in your own city and state and pass them by without a thought. Next time, consider a little detour to see what's down that road!
As road signs are important on any car trip, I think we have similar road signs on our trip through life. We have the billboard signs that say "Go to college", "Join the military" or "Start your career". Then we have the regulatory signs that say "Obey the law of the land", "Be kind to others" and "Love your family". And finally, we have the brown and blue signs that make life interesting that say "Have a child", "Move to a new city", "Start a hobby", "Take a vacation" and many, many others. Once you exit to one of these life choices you may see that it is on down the road, not in miles, but in time. The "Have a child" sign may say 3 months or 3 years. The "Take a vacation" sign may say 2 days or next year. The "Save and Retire" sign may say 30-45 years. This sign will cause many to get right back on the main road. 30-45 years is so far out there, why save now? Those of us that are retired know that it takes a lot of saving and planning for a successful and comfortable retirement. For those that aren't retired yet, I highly recommend you take that side road to retirement and save early and save often. The good thing is, unlike an actual road trip, you can follow many life paths at the same time. So, stay on the retirement planning path while also enjoying the many other fun side trips in life.
Don't forget the rest areas along your life trip. Pull in to a rest area every once in awhile, sit at a picnic table, get out a ham sandwich and rest for a minute. Take time to savor the moments and enjoy the trip you have taken so far and daydream about the trip ahead. Happy travels!