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
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.
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.