Some of my best hi-jinks have been misadventures, dragging me away from my perfectly planned getaway, my passport, my keys, and in the middle of nowhere, without a GPS signal. How lovely, right?
“Abandon all hope ye who enter here” is supposed to be inscribed on the entrance to hell in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” and having everything that could go wrong happen feels a bit like that. How about this, instead: “Abandon all control, ye who want have real fun.”
When you have it all planned, life decides to take you off the beaten path and shake up your soul. Don’t worry — misadventure is good for the mind, body and soul.
Life Doesn’t Have a GPS Signal
Life’s not mapped out. There’s no compass, map or GPS. Besides, who wants to be the person who listens to their GPS and drives into the ocean? For most of life, you walk on your own. You must learn your own lessons and find your own way.
When you do find your way, you may get attached to your ways, your home and your comfort zone. To truly grow, you have to occasionally tip-toe, but preferably dance, outside the lines and into the wild unknown of the world.
That was me, on the way to a music festival and I ended up driving two hours away in the wrong direction. There were trees. So many trees! There was water. There was no music and no city. I made my own music and danced. Eventually, I made it back, but I let go of control and had a side adventure driving and walking around a nature preserve.
I wasn’t about to waste an hour and a half of gas just to sit in the car and make the drive back. No! It was misadventure time. Eventually, I came back to the preserve with friends and we had a kayaking adventure, which is now an annual tradition! I really needed nature that day, and something in me must have known that. It could be that the GPS was secretly manipulating me, thankfully not to the bottom the ocean.
Signs Give You Strange Life Advice
Do you believe in signs? If you don’t believe in maps, why believe in signs? Some signs are indecipherable, but the meaning you make of them leads you in interesting directions.
Signs are excellent placeholders along the freeway, the literal one and the metaphorical one of life, giving you little hints about what’s ahead. Yield. Stop. No crashes please. Exit 101: Take a break now.
From the corners of your eyes, road signs rearrange their letters and give you interesting messages. Let yourself get lost in your mind, and see what happens as you glance away. A sign will catch your attention. You’ll misread the words, or think you will, when you’re really reading them right. You’ll catch a glimpse of something off the side of the road and know you need to go there.
While on the road, I was thinking about a recent breakup. Second-guessing it, actually. My friends had kidnapped me for a road trip adventure that turned into a misadventure. My friend swerved to dodge another car, and we couldn’t go anywhere. We were all fine, but the car wasn’t.
We had stopped right outside this exit with a truck stop. I kept eyeing it while we were stuck and wanted to check it out. After our mess was taken care of and new ride secured, we stopped at the truck stop diner and service station advertising, strangely, “Road Ragin’ Cajun.” Life has a weird sense of humor.
Our server Zoey had this fifties fashion sense and was full of wise cracks. We told her what’d happened, and she told us about a few crazy things of her own. Breakups included.
Before we left, she brought us all dessert, on the house. She said to me: “Darlin’ enjoy the sweet stuff in life.” It was too simple. Anyone could have said it, but I needed it. Now, her accent is a sweet reminder when seemingly bad and weird things happen in life. I still have a hat from that truck stop, and I get interesting looks wearing it. Like me, like Zoey, it has a story and a meaning.
Like any story, life has its ups and downs – its plot twists. Adventures are supposed to take unexpected turns. The power comes in embracing them, even when you drive in the wrong direction, forget your passport, “misread” a sign or need a sit down in a truck stop diner.
Exit 101: Take a break now. Let go of control. You make meaning, and sometimes you do stumble on it. That’s the beauty behind a misadventure.