Why is it that sometimes we willingly make life hard on ourselves? Despite the ease that GPS provides, I just won’t get one. I prefer the now-archaic act of jotting down or printing out directions. When I encounter roadblocks, construction, or lose my way, I use good old-fashioned intuition or ask for directions. Arriving at my destination gives me a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that I blazed a trail instead of cruised on autopilot.
This weekend I found myself in a GPS-tempting situation: lost in the Adirondacks somewhere outside the town of Indian Lake without a cell phone signal and no street signs. I had directions to a camp a group of us rented for our friend Kati’s rustic bachelorette getaway, but got off track within miles of my destination thanks to a bridge being out. (Note to Michiganders: cabins and cottages are known as camps in these parts.) I followed the detour signs, but somehow ended up circling the pristine Lake Abanakee – twice. Feeling frustrated but not too proud, I rolled down my window and asked a family working in their yard for directions.
I pulled my sunglasses up to reveal that typical sheepish expression everyone gets when lost. The man laughed, and walked up to my car; I was their first lost tourist of the season. He patiently explained how to get to the Gitchie Goomie camp (another Michigan reference). I was about to pull away when he called after me:
“Hey, don’t get discouraged. Think of yourself as Daniel Boone.”
“Umm, who was he again?,” I asked, with a vague vision of a big man in a coonskin cap.
“Daniel Boone? Only one of the greatest pioneers in American history. He helped settle Kentucky. And he famously said ‘I have never been lost, but will admit to being confused.’”
This friendly stranger’s words resonated with me. Beyond alleviating my temporary yearning for a GPS and the soothing sound of a British lady directing my every turn, he had reminded me it’s alright to be confused on a journey. Just days ago, I started another journey the hard way: I put in notice at my job, and am currently on a new trail. My destination? To be a freelance writer and communications consultant. Being self-employed is a dream I’ve had since playing on the oriental rug in my grandmother’s own antique shop. Watching her interact with customers and take pride in her own business left a strong impression on me. And I was given an opportunity to pursue this destination – so I took it.
Now, my favorite sunglasses are in fact, rose-tinted, but I have a realistic view of the journey ahead. It’s not going to be easy. And I’m not ashamed if I must turn back because the road is too treacherous. But for now I’m prepared to navigate around whatever roadblocks or downed bridges await me. I know I’ll experience fear, disorientation, and plenty of confusion. But I promise I’ll never say I’m lost when things get tough.
After getting my altered set of directions, I set out for Gitchie Goomie Camp. I arrived slightly disheveled, those rose-colored sunglasses caught in my wind-tangled hair. But soon I was relaxing and paddling out on Lake Abanakee with my friends. As I drifted over alone to a pine-covered cove, I thought about how driving without GPS opens you up to unexpected experiences and opportunities. You meet new people and you learn new things – like the Daniel Boone quote that I’ll add to my list of favorites. I hope my self-employed journey will be like a drive without GPS - revealing sound intuition, resourcefulness, and the ability to find peace even in confusion along the way.
A Quote I Love
“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” – Fermin from one of my favorite books, The Shadow of the Wind.
Where I Was!