Grreetings from the San Francisco, CA, area, where I’m continuing my life coaching learnings.
I am out of the frontier, but the frontier is not out of me.
I rented a car so I’d have more freedom and ability to sightsee while here. I have Google Maps, and I have navigation on my phone, featuring the voice of a friendly lady who provides directions without raising her voice at me when I make wrong turns.
Still, I feel lost. And stressed out. Comfort zone? I left it when I left the frontier.
Remember, my beloved frontier is Wyoming, a state inhabited by only 540,000 people. When I get lost in Wyoming, it isn’t because there are many routes or roads to choose from. It’s because there is only one road and no signs, or the end of a road. The land is huge and expansive, and well, yes, lonely. There are only five people per square mile, thank you very much.
Often people refer to Wyoming as being in the “middle of nowhere.” And that’s fair.
For the record, I would much prefer to be lost in the middle of nowhere than in the middle of somewhere.
You see I have maps — lots of them — for the San Francisco area. And I have the navigation system.
But I don’t have the right kind of “maps.” I’m referring to those emotional reference docs we have stored up in our brains that accumulate as a result of experiences. I have “maps” for the frontier, where the hazards are wildlife and isolated, harsh, rugged country. Here, the hazards are getting struck and even killed by a fast-moving vehicle, or — if crossing a bridge and veering off course — the ocean. I don’t have the maps for this. I just don’t.
So, as I collected the keys to my rental car at SFO, I said a prayer — and tried to psyche myself up — for driving in the fast lane and trying to find my way to the hotel. Those of you know me, or read this blog, have gathered that I love epic adventures. Well, this drive from the airport to my hotel in San Rafael would be an epic adventure, all right, but one that I dreaded.
When I’m at home, I don’t drive very often. It’s a 2-minute commute to my office and it’s a 3-minute drive to the grocery store. The entire length of Main Street is probably one mile. When I drive around the state, I drive far, and fast, but I own the lane I’m in. There aren’t fast lanes like there are here, and exits (options) are far and few between. There aren’t that many cars.
So with white knuckle grip on the steering wheel, my Droid’s navigation all set up, the radio off, and seven pieces of gum in my mouth, I set off into the fast lane(s).
I can’t remember being so uncomfortable and out of my element. I was too busy keeping my eyes in front of me to count, but I think there were, like, 10-11 lanes of traffic, each one full of zooming cars. And, there were exits every quarter mile it seemed. In Wyoming if you are unsure of a direction or exit, you simply slow down, or (gasp), stop. I would be killed instantly if I did that here.
One of my friends suggested in a Facebook message to me that I read after arriving safelyto my hotel, “Why are you driving in the fast lane?” If there were a slow lane here, I would pay extra for it. But I don’t think there is?
So, to wrap up this blog post, I’m reporting that so far, so good. I have been stretched outside of my comfort zone and in the process have overcome some fears and gained some new “maps.” As a result, I was able to drive myself to Stinson Beach and hike from surf to top of East Peak (of Mt. Tamalpais). (Post coming soon with photos and videos from the hiking adventure).
P. S. I think it’s probably no accident that Alamo rented this small town, frontier girl a nondescript car that isn’t worth very much. I’m trying not to take it personally. 🙂