Remember to Get Lost

It’s Good for You!

Last month, I traveled to San Francisco for some meetings starting on a Monday morning, which meant I needed to fly in a day early on Sunday. With half a day to kill before the start of a crazy week, I had a few options: the 49ers first game of the year against the Green Bay Packers, the America’s Cup sailing races, or I could get lost.

After a very early flight and a horrendously-long line at the rental car center, I was free. Released out into the wild with an entire afternoon to experience what is probably my favorite part of the country.

The Options Are Always Endless

While a seat at the 49ers game and an America’s Cup watch party were very temping choices — I disappeared into the fog and clouds shrouding the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south, with absolutely no destination.

I drove down PCH, through the tunnels carved out of the mountains, along the small beach-side cities, and stopped at a few of the state beaches — watching a wedding at one of them out on the cliffs among the crashing waves.

Getting back in the car and driving south until I was just outside Santa Cruz, I turned around, headed north, and eventually turned away from the ocean, on Highway 84, and headed towards a town called San Gregario. It’s a town you can easily miss…I know because I drove right through it and ended up miles from the coast on a pine tree covered ribbon of asphalt that feels like it would have lasted as long as I would have kept driving.

Eventually, again, I turn around — the road is the same, but the shadows and turns are opposite, which makes the entire drive back seem familiar, but strange.

Experiences are Everywhere

Jamming at the San Gregario General Store. (My Photo, Foursquare)

I drive back toward the small town and pull into the San Gregario General Store. Near as I can tell — this is the town. The general store has a few people milling around outside smoking cigarettes talking about the motorcycles they've owned over the years. On the inside there’s a bar with some patrons that must be regulars, a guitar-duo just going bananas for the extremely small crowd (4 people, before I sit down), and a full-on general store with denim, quirky hats/novelty clothing items, and much more practical supplies, books, and provisions.

I order a Pacifico and grab a seat and watch these guys jam out for the “crowd” — they love what they do. I get to congratulate them on an amazing performance, throw a couple wrinkled dollars in their bucket and walk back out into the world.

Good for You

The day could have turned out much different: jammed into a stadium or bar only half-watching either football or the America’s Cup, and I’m sure I would have had a great time. But, this was altogether a different, and much more rewarding experience.

Hours prior I was on a flight, with the masses, going through the motions and following the flow. Here I was, out on my own, lost from the world and having an experience that was completely unexpected and unrepeatable. I mean, obviously I could go back here again, but the experience was in the discovery and appreciation for something totally out of left field.

I learned something on September 8th: don’t be afraid to get lost (on purpose or otherwise) and have zero expectations. It will be good for you. I promise.

Take a six second trip to the San Gregario General Store.

Thanks to those of you that sent me notes, emails, texts, and even a tweet on my last post. Much appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration to keep writing.