Have you ever been on your way somewhere when you saw something that made you want to stop, like a beautiful vista, a photo op, a kid selling lemonade? You think to yourself, “I’ll stop on my way back.” The next thing you know, your plans change, you take a different route, and you never make it back.

When I started traveling, this was a common occurrence for me. Sometimes I wouldn’t stop because I was on a schedule, and why I did that to myself after I quit working I’ll never understand; it was harder than I thought to break the cycle of calendars and appointments from my lawyer days. Some days I didn’t stop because I was in the rig and not the toad, and there was no convenient place to pull over (I told myself).

Then one day, in Tennessee, when I was about to pass a country roadside stand of Amish women selling peanut brittle, I heard this song in my head:

“Weee may never pass this wayyyy again …”

A Seals and Crofts divine intervention!

Thanks to that duo and that little ditty, I now add extra days to camping reservations, change my itinerary to visit places recommended by locals, and follow detour signs just to see where they lead.

It happened again recently when I drove through Stowe, Vermont. I was on my way elsewhere, and I didn’t realize my path would take me through Stowe. I planned to see the Village on a different day.

“Weee may never pass this wayyyy again …”

Okay, okay, you guys, I’ll stop. It was a beautiful sunny day as I walked the quaint streets of Stowe. On the day later that week that I set aside for visiting Stowe, it rained buckets.

There is so much to be and see and do in this big, beautiful world, and only so much time. We have a finite amount of days on this mortal coil, and no clue how much time that really is. Imagine a game show where the host gives the contestants a challenge, then says, “Start the clock,” without saying how much time is allotted. Such is this thing called Life.

One would think that, with knowledge of the inevitability of death, we would not squander our days. We would live mindfully, and in the moment, as if every day was our last. Instead, many of us live in ruts and routines, naïve in our faith that there’s always tomorrow and that there will always be time.

Since I began my journey over two years ago, many people write to me with stories of waiting their lives away. The five-year plan until retirement cut short by poor health. Travel plans halted by the loss of a spouse. The chance to say I’m sorry stolen forever by death.

I understand, to paraphrase Robert Frost, we all have promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep. We can’t just chuck everything and stop and smell each rose along the way. But, how about every now and then, slow down. Breathe. Pick up the phone and call someone – better yet, go see them in person, instead of texting. Linger over that cup of coffee or glass of wine with a friend. Let the kids stay a few more minutes at the playground.

You may never pass this way again.