Ready for an adventure of my own, I needed to return my Minnesota-appropriate/Washington-ridiculous hoodie. Good journey preparation requires having good directions, confidence to handle surprises, and a reasonable expectation of what you will find there.
The map to the desired store depicted a simple 23 mile trip south on the 405 – with a straighforward exit onto 8th St, a left at the 3rd light, and a right into the parking lot. Yup – I can do that.
Driving down the 405 was reversing the final leg of our journey to Everett. I found I recognized the names of the towns and roads. So proud of myself, I moved gracefully into the lane for exit 13B and zoomed up the ramp only to slam on my brakes to avoid the Mercedes stopped in front of me. After a long time at a long light, I was dumped onto 8th Street – greeted by a forest of tall buildings – many with MICROSOFT emblazoned on the top: unbeknownst to me, the mall I had chosen to visit was located in downtown Bellevue.
Supressing my initial reaction to just circle the block and go home, I reconsidered: it was early in the day, and, having done in-home therapy in the Twin Cities, I knew I could squeeze into left or right lanes as necessary by waving at people and budging in – which I did, finding the parking lot without having to circle or turn around.
And the Mall was beautiful – I was able to return my hoodie, walk the stores, and find, to my inner Cookie Monster’s delight, a fabulous bakery/coffee shop. Then, assisted by numerous and critically placed signs, I made my way back north on the 405 willing and able to return at some point in the future.
And this is the lesson: had I known all the details (the destination was in downtown Bellevue), I would not have gone – thereby missing both the journey and the fabulous cookie (yum!).
Perhaps the triumph of any journey lies in the desire to go, the willingness to engage the struggles on the way, and the openmindedness to embrace what is there. Perhaps risking the journey itself reveals it’s own reward.