When I was working at my last job, a long term temporary assignment, I’d think to myself, When I’m done working here I’m taking a road trip! Well that position ended in September of 2011, and here it is, 2013 and I hadn’t ventured any further than the next state by myself.
What was holding me back, I wondered? I usually love an adventure.
I realized I was questioning my ability to drive that far, navigate and deal with the traffic in the big cities. I kept coming up with tons of “what if” scenarios wondering how would I handle unexpected problems. It surprised me, because five years ago, I drove to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula alone and never once questioned my abilities. What’s changed? Is this common as we age? I suspect that is part of it, but I also realized that my two best friends, whom I travel with, both like to be in the driver’s seat.
I don’t usually give much resistance to this arrangement, and truth be told, I kind of like it. You can bet I love being in the passenger seat when we’re driving through one of Colorado’s mountain passes during a winter snow storm. And driving up the Pacific coast for the first time being the passenger had its perks. I could gaze at the magnificent coastal scenery while someone else was watching the road.
With my new insights, I decided it was time to face my fears. So with some planning and a borrowed GPS, I set out on my trip. I still had my doubts along for the ride, but I wasn’t going to let them stop me. Heck, it wouldn’t be an adventure if there wasn’t some uncertainty. I did avoid NYC by taking a route through Vermont, and then south through Pennsylvania, where I spent the first night. The following morning, I set out with apprehension, knowing I would be going around Washington, DC. But soon I was sailing through the DC area, thanks to my GPS and the fact that I had missed rush hour traffic. I sat back and wondered why I’d been so apprehensive. Do we make problems bigger the more we think about them? I believe I do overthink things at times. Back to a more relaxed drive, I put on some Jimmy Buffet tunes, and before I knew it, I was singing along with a huge smile on my face with the renewed self confidence that I’d hoped I would find.
And for stepping outside my comfort zone, I was rewarded by some wonderful photographic opportunities, one of the wild ponies on Shackleford Banks, NC and the other is a photograph of Angel Oak Tree outside of Charleston, SC. It’s estimated to be over 400 years old.
I’ve learned now that being the passenger in life, too often, can erode our confidence in our abilities. And the more we give in to our doubts, the more our self-confidence is diminished and the smaller our comfort zone becomes. My quest this year is to keep expanding my comfort zone!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Seaward is a landscape, nature and travel photographer and owner of Summit to Sea Images. She has been photographing the beauty of the natural landscape since 1995. Her photographs have been used by Coed Sportswear, Portsmouth Hospital, Ristorante Massimo, Outside Magazine and by R. Ann Rousseau for the cover of her novel "Portsmouth A Love Story".
You can view her gallery at: www.SummitToSeaImages.com
Contact Sharon at: Sharon@SummitToSeaImages.com
Other Blog Posts by Sharon Seaward: Serendipity, Next Step, Transitions