Off The Menu, Outside The Box, The Road Less Travelled

Thank you for visiting “Life & Random Thinking” today – today I turn the keyboard over to a guest blogger.

I started a new category on this blog called “Off The Menu” and I hope that fellow bloggers will share their stories here, along with a few of mine.

Off The Menu are stories where you took a chance, or you know someone else who took a chance.

Today’s post certainly is all that, and if I say anything more, I will spoil it for you. – Hugs, David

The author’s wordpress home is and this is her blog post that she is kindly sharing with us.

Please visit her blog – I am sure she would love to meet you! – David


Off the Menu, Outside the Box, The Road Less Traveled …

Ever since fellow blogger, David Folstad posted a blog entry called Off the Menu in 2023 – That’s My Order ! I’ve been thinking about it; the content and the title. The title made me think about doing things ‘outside the box’ and taking the ‘road less traveled’ but neither of those things, while similar, were exactly like the meaning of ‘Off the Menu.’ I tried to apply the Menu reference to myself and even though I think of myself frequently as thinking ‘outside the box,’ that just didn’t seem quite right for ‘Off the Menu’ either.

In his blog entry David described an encounter in the 1970s he and his family had with a very different young man while camping. I guess Gary could best be described as a hippie of the day; off beat, free-spirited and instantly likeable. Later he ended up ‘crashing’ with David’s family for a few nights as he was passing through their hometown.

As a gesture of his appreciation for having him stay with them a few days, Gary took them to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and ordered from the non-English menu for everyone. They told him how impressed they were that he spoke Mandarin and could so easily order from the menu. Gary explained that he DIDN’T speak the language at all but enjoyed ordering that way, not knowing what it was he was ordering and enjoying the surprise when the food came. Amazingly, they all enjoyed their dinner. It was ‘off the menu’  because of the chance Gary took at being surprised, not only for himself but for ALL of them.

It was a delightful blog entry that left the reader with the idea that taking a chance now and then, doing something different and unexpected that had a surprise ending was a GOOD thing. Blogger David determined that taking a chance and ordering ‘off the menu,’ not only at a Chinese restaurant but as we travel our journey through life, offered many good outcomes as well as the joy of surprise.

While I was digesting all of this I thought of my own ‘off the menu’ experience.

While not the fun experience of ordering unknow delicacies from a non-English menu, it still had some pretty positive and life changing results.

Growing up I was the kid in elementary and high school that got sweaty palms, a mouth as dry as any desert and a rapid heartbeat. I could HEAR booming in my ears when I was called on to give an oral book report.

I was a very social kid, had many friends, joined in all sorts of activities without incident but speaking in public paralyzed me and followed me into my adult life where I avoided it altogether.

Years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor was very small, found very early and had not spread. I was extremely fortunate. The treatment, however, still included radiation and chemotherapy, which are harsh and difficult under any circumstances.

It was a HUGE wake-up call for me. I realized we aren’t promised second chances and I became determined to try to do all those things I’d always said I wanted to try … using the talents I’d been given above and beyond my most satisfying career as an Operating Room Registered Nurse. 

Towards the end of my chemo, the local cancer treatment center where I was treated offered a public program on Women’s Health with a focus on breast cancer. The event coordinator invited me to be one of several women that would speak at the program about our unexpected journey through the murky darkness of breast cancer.

Without considering my fear of public speaking, I accepted the invitation.

The night of the event I was nervous but very invested in my opportunity to share my experience with other women. I hoped I could possibly encourage them to get mammograms preventatively or if they were struggling through their own breast cancer experience, perhaps sharing mine might help make theirs a bit easier.

While giving my presentation, I was met with smiles and laughter and tears and gratitude. ♥

I was elated and at that moment … my moment of going ‘off the menu’ and doing something for which I had a life-long fear, I set in motion the path my life would take from that moment forward.

I discovered while veering ‘off my personal menu’ that when speaking on a topic about which I felt passionate, my public speaking fear dissolved.

From that point forward my life changed and became enriched beyond imagining.

I hosted a local television talk show for 6 years, annually featuring breast cancer awareness topics, and began speaking at breast cancer seminars, encouraging women to be responsible for their health care, to be pro-active and breast cancer aware.

Today I still speak publicly about breast cancer. Those appearances have led to speaking to nurses’ seminars and retreats about any number of nursing topics and speaking to any group that invites me to speak about topics with which I’m familiar. I LOVE it!

Because I was brave enough to try it and passionate enough about wiping out breast cancer, that first public speaking experience encouraged me to find a real and definite positive in the breast cancer experience. I put fear aside and struck out and ordered ‘off the menu.”

Now and then, go Off The Menu, take a chance Outside The Box, and Take the Road less travelled.

My hope is that you discover what I discovered when I went outside my box. My recommendation to you reading now, is to take a chance now and then!

Because as blogger David clearly described, going ‘off the menu’ can be filled with wonderful surprises.

 I’ve found this to be true, even if you don’t happen to speak Mandarin or like Chinese food.


About dfolstad58

I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and and am able to thank readers for their encouragement on what they liked and suggestions on what they would like to see me try in order to improve.
This entry was posted in guest blog posts, Off the Menu ! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Off The Menu, Outside The Box, The Road Less Travelled

  1. Good for you for being so brave David!


  2. cupcakecache says:

    The road less travelled is one worth travelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this David. What a beautiful story Heimdalco shared with such grace and clarity. I love how she pushed herself to do something she feared but knew she wanted to do. Bravo. I thoroughly enjoyed her story, her triumph, and her many accomplishments because she pushed through her fear and lived off the menu. Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

    • dfolstad58 says:

      Hugs C. As a person who has hugged the wall at sock hops in high school I can relate to fear of public speaking. This story of pushing past and unexpected achievement is like dark chocolate to me. LOL – David

      Liked by 2 people

  4. lghiggins says:

    Thanks for sharing her post, David. Very inspiring. I agree with her that “outside the box” and “the road less taken” are not the same as “off the menu,” but they are all related and expressions of a free-spirited attitude where the outcome can not be predicted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane Fritz says:

    Fabulous post, Linda. Thanks to you and blog host David for sharing such an important example of moving out of your comfort zone. The ultimate win-win result! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darlene says:

    An excellent example of “Off the Menu”. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leggypeggy says:

    A perfect example of”Off the Menu’. Bravo to you and to Heimdalco.


  8. heimdalco says:



  9. Hi David,
    Your Off the Menu series is such a great idea!
    As someone that is terrified of public speaking, I found her story very inspiring. Good for her!!
    And good for you for sharing!


    • dfolstad58 says:

      I believe I have encouraged you to be a guest (for free) at a local Toastmasters club – have you looked to see if there are any close by and convenient time? Consider it a free evening out – you can check for clubs closeby on the website
      I think everyone is afraid to speak but has stories to share. I am glad you like the idea for the category – have you an Off the Menu story you would like to tell? – David


  10. An Audience of One says:

    Incredible! Of course, I loved the original Off The Menu post, and loved reading Heimdalco’s as well! Thank you for sharing it!


    • dfolstad58 says:

      Linda did a wonderful post I agree. It was Off The Menu for her to do public speaking but she did it anyway! I welcome you to share a story as well for this category. Interested? No rush. – David

      Liked by 1 person

      • An Audience of One says:

        Yes, she did – love that! And how kind of you to offer, David. I’m not very good at ordering off the menu, which is one reason the post appealed to me, but if I can think of something that fits the category, I sure will. It would be great fun to keep it going. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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