Tuesday, March 29, 2011

989.9 miles; twice as many smiles

If you know me, you know one thing about me - I HATE driving. I go out of my way to not drive. There was a time that I'd drive to a point then simply take a bus. Yes, it's that serious. You see, for me, driving is the one surefire thing to trigger an anxiety attack. An anxiety attack while driving is not fun - nor safe. I'm doing a public service by avoiding the roads.

So when I got the bug last January to go visit a friend in Tallahassee for her birthday, driving there was the farthest from my mind. But plane tickets were $500 (seriously, Tally, why?) and 12 hours on the Greyhound sounded much too much. I opened Google Maps and looked wistfully. About 500 miles/7.5 hours of driving. Up to that point, the furthest I had driven was maybe 70 miles. 500 would kill me or take days. I closed the window.

I kept thinking about it but knew I could never do it. After a particularly hilarious conversation last Monday night, I told myself - Now or Never. I liked never. But Tuesday morning, I decided to just do it. Providing that my car could make it, I was heading on a solo road trip.

The plan was to leave on Thursday night - after rush hour. Did I mention that I don't drive at night? Thursday evening came and my plan for a 3 hour nap before hitting the road was foiled. Maybe I should just cancel. But I made a promise. People were making plans. I had to do this. I sat in the parking lot of the gas station for a long time before I took a deep breath, said a lengthy prayer and hit the road. 

The drive wasn't as bad as I expected it to be but it wasn't fun. On the final 50 miles, I was exhausted and in pain. When I made it to Tally, I was beyond cranky and not the nicest to one of my hosts (sorry :-(). 

But after a few zzz's, I was ready to live it up - Tally style. To summarize all the things that I did this weekend, would take much too long. The collages cover it all though. Suffice to say, it was one of the best times I've had in a very long time. Every aspect of my weekend was amazing - from earrings to galas to track meets to fish fries to dry ice to quiche to sniffing soap. 

On Sunday, I never wanted to leave. Could we just stop time? Cancel my life in Miami? Could I just stay in Tally forever? I delayed the return trip as much as I could and barely dragged myself out of bed yesterday morning. 

The return trip was slower because it rained 90% of the way. Did I mention that I don't drive in rain? However, I wasn't as exhausted nor was I in pain. When I pulled into my complex, I was both happy and sad. Happy to have safely driven 989.9 miles. Happy to have enjoyed twice as many smiles. But sad because it was over. I met great people this weekend - including strangers who welcomed me to dinner, an inspirational coach and a creative jewellery designer. Proving the small world theory, I had dinner at a then stranger's house who turned out to be the friend of a friend.

It's definitely a weekend that I will remember forever. I'm glad I stepped way out of my comfort zone (hundreds of miles out!) and made the trip.

A huge shout-out to my hosts! Thanks for taking so much time out of your schedules to entertain me!

Now let me go hide my car key. I am NEVER driving again. My butt hurts!

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