His first detour is at a crystal shop, where he becomes a crystal merchant. At first when he gets there, he thinks he should stay there as a crystal merchant because he helps the store’s business pick up and sees it as an omen saying that he should stay. During this stay, he learns that he can speak the language of the world, a certain language that allows people to understand omens and other mystical events. Learning this helps him recognize that the omens are giving him critical clues to finding his treasure.
His second detour is at a village oasis in the desert. This can be seen after he meets up with the Englishman and continues to the pyramids. He thinks that he should stay there because it is here that Santiago meets the girl he loves, and he helps the village win a battle against an enemy ambush. Here he learns that if something is part of his personal legend he will see it again and not ever having to worry about its slipping away, and this gives him security about moving on.
His third detour is through the desert to the pyramids. Here, he was thinking that he would find his treasure at the pyramids, so he was planning on settling down