Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference
I heard Robert Frost’s famous poem read recently in the context of reflecting on our personal values. It started me thinking about how the likelihood of taking a road less travelled has been so drastically lessened today by how we guide ourselves by searching the internet on our phones.
‘Restaurant near me’, ‘hardware store close by’, ‘Milwaukee attractions’ and the like are all popular search terms (I just checked and Google happily auto completed those for me!). But then how does Google decide what results to supply? It goes by what’s biggest. A franchise or chain with lots of branches is likely to be at the top. Places lots of people have already gone to, such that it has lots of reviews and mentions online will also be high. Anything small and locally owned is pushed aside.
For example, next month I’m planning a short trip to Phoenix. I’ll have a free day there, so I searched online for things to do. Top recommended Phoenix attraction: Diamondbacks baseball. Also up on the list are Camelback Mountain (not for an August afternoon), the zoo, and some major museums.
But here’s the thing. If I want to see professional baseball I can go to Miller Park. Milwaukee also has a very nice zoo, art museum, and science center. I want to find something in Phoenix that isn’t already in every city. Something unique, off the beaten track. And Google, Tripadvisor, and the like won’t point me in that direction.
So I decided to look on Airbnb experiences, tours by locals, and to talk to a relative who lives there. Maybe at least part of my day I’ll just wander around. The point is that in order to find something that the masses haven’t yet been to will take effort and research- it’s much harder than visiting the main sites where most every tourist goes.
That’s also true about both Save Milwaukee Escape Rooms and Milwaukee Seven Seat Bike Tours. Unlike most of the other escape rooms available in our city, Save Milwaukee is not a franchise or chain. And I don’t want to become a franchise! One of the things that makes us special is that we are themed specifically to Milwaukee, we design our clues ourselves, and you can’t get the exact same experience anywhere else.
Milwaukee Seven Seat Bike tours is especially unique. There are only about 400 of the round, seven seat bikes out there in the world. Most are in Europe, not the United States. And I don’t know of any other company that uses the bikes for tours.
Clicking the first result from a Google search will never lead to the road less travelled. Searching a little more will make a difference.