[Hey guys! Re-sharing this post from I Dream of FIRE back in the day because not only is it just damn good, but it’s also something I’ve never stopped thinking about ever since first reading it… I see these “desire paths” everywhere now and they’re so fascinating! See how many you can find in your community!]
Two well-worn dirt paths run through the grass near my house.
The first runs just a dozen yards from one sidewalk to the other, and then the second goes down a small hill to join an asphalt park trail.
I live in a master-planned community where roads, trails, and sidewalks have been carefully designed and maintained to guide travelers along a predetermined route.
But those who choose to walk on dirt tracks have a different idea.
These bare dirt paths can be found almost everywhere you go. They may be a few feet long or hundreds of feet, but enough people have taken this same unofficial route that it has become an obvious option – the proverbial road less traveled.
We often just call these shortcuts – and indeed Wikipedia suggests they are often “the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination” – but they have an…