My entire life, I’ve lived on the East coast, where driving to the ocean means heading East, and driving inland means heading West. If the ocean was on my right, I knew I was driving North. On my left? I must be headed South. It was a universal truth, like gravity, or knowing my left from my right, or that the first Star Wars movie is actually the 4th in the series. Now that I am on the West coast, I have become navigationally dyslexic. At highway on-ramps, when looking at written directions, even when gazing at the beautiful Pacific ocean, I have to consciously remind myself what direction I am physically pointed in, what I have to do to get where I’m going, and I repeat like a mantra “West to the ocean, East is inland”.
I’ve made this mistake at least a dozen times. Just yesterday, when driving South from LA to San Diego, I decided to turn off the GPS, get off the 5 and onto the Pacific Coast Highway (“the PCH”), so I could drive along the ocean and see some of the coastal towns. I ended up driving North for a few minutes, until I realized “wait a second, the ocean in on my left — what’s going on?” Luckily, a Starbucks appeared in front of me at that moment, and I was able to pull in, get a grande decaf soy latte, and reorient myself. Also, I was surrounded by such natural beauty that I was glad for the detour. It gave me a chance to stop at a scenic overlook, where a gazebo and benches had been thoughtfully provided.
The benefit of getting lost here is that I discover new places, so I won’t worry about ditching my bossy GPS and winging it occasionally. It’s a chance to explore this new, beautiful world I’ve landed in.