This one was an attitude as much as anything else. The idea being that even if I was going somewhere I had been before I would try to find a different route. In this way, a drive to visit friends across the city would become a small adventure into the unfamiliar territory of backstreets. I would quite deliberately leave enough time to detour off the main connecting highways and perhaps stop at a local cafe and sit, sipping and watching people come and go. It was a way to experience some of the local atmosphere in all the richly diverse corners of the vast metropolis of Sydney as it sprawls from inner city terraces and apartments through suburban blocks to the fascinating patchwork of market gardens, turf farms and acreages.
On foot, I did the same…city lanes I’d never been down, steps I’d never climbed, small parks I’d never walked through before.
Particularly memorable was a morning walk through the Botanic Gardens in Sydney early in the year. Taking an unfamiliar path I found an attractive rotunda area with fountains and sun dials and further on, a rose garden flanked by lions. Hearing strains of music, I followed the sound and nearing the entrance was ushered into a live broadcast of classical music at the Conservatorium of music. There I witnessed a moment of quiet kindness by ABC FM radio presenter Emma Ayres and signed up for a ‘one day in the year ‘chance to do a behind the scenes tour of the Conservatorium that afternoon.
Throughout the year there were other diversions into the unfamiliar. I explored more of the Gardens, ventured into the rabbit warren of under city arcades, discovered sculptures down worn sandstone steps at Wollomoolloo and closer to home ferreted out some local heritage.
Each time I took these different paths I experienced something new, interesting and often delightfully unexpected.
As suggested by poet Robert Frost I did take the path less travelled and it did make all the difference.