Roads are made by men ….
During a NAVEX early in my military career, the section I was a part of was lost. As the section came to a stream straddled by secondary forest, we decided to rest as we had been rucking it for over 8 hours.
As with all sections, there is usually one individual who is super on the ball. While the section rested, he happily announced that he would go scout for a route. After about 10 mins, we heard him calling out from the thick vegetation above us that he had found a path, and that we should start making our way towards the sound of his voice.
Happy, but cautious — as we did not want to ruck through thick vegetation without being certain it was the right direction — we shouted back to ask if he was sure. He replied that there is a huge road where he is and that he is sure that this is the correct direction.
Wearily we grabbed our gear and started to move into the thick vegetation towards him. As we climbed the embankment and up the incline, we noticed that the vegetation was not getting any thinner. But we kept our confidence in his “promise” of a road. Soon, when we were within 10 metres of him, we heard the distinct sound of vegetation being chopped by a machete. We pressed on and, when we caught up with him, he was covered in sweat and bashing away at the vegetation to create a path forward.
Somewhat annoyed we asked, didn’t you tell us that you found a huge road? Without missing a beat from his bashing, he replied that “roads are made by men”.
I seldom reminisce about the past, but this incident came to mind when I was asked to share one of my favorite quotes. To me, the quote “roads are made by men” is instructive in its simplicity that we are the master of our own destiny.