Do You Always Plan Where You’re Going?

By Melinda VanLone | Photos

Jan 21

Black Park Lake near Gaithersburg, MD

 

The funny thing about photography…if you want your own pictures it does require that you actually leave the house and get them. At least, if you don’t just want photos of your cat. Not that I mind photos of my cat, but I figured people would stop coming to the blog if that’s all I ever showed them.

Since today was a holiday (and inauguration day but that’s besides the point), I had access to our car for a change so I went out hunting photo ops. I had no plan, no intended destination. I couldn’t go to any of the regular touristy things in DC because the entire city was overrun by people and parties today. I didn’t think I wanted to drive to the coast since it’s a bit chilly out. So I headed north and hoped I’d run into something interesting.

If you don’t have a destination in mind you’re not likely to get there.

I ended up more frustrated than anything, because wandering aimlessly landed me mostly in suburban neighborhoods and shopping malls. Not exactly what I was looking for. Thank goodness for GPS. I stopped and looked up “points of interest” near me and ended up at a nice little deserted park with a small lake attached that I might not have found otherwise. (Black Hill Park, in case you’re wondering.)

While I was driving there, zoning out a bit if I’m honest, I heard someone honk. I thought I must have drifted out of my lane or something so I quickly checked everything. Nope, still safely within the lines. I wasn’t speeding. I had my seatbelt on. I hadn’t left the gas cap off. I couldn’t imagine what they were honking at but decided it must not have been me.

Until they honked again.

Then sped up to get alongside me.

My pulse quickened and I’m ashamed to say I started formulating an exit strategy. Could I turn into a parking lot? Was this person going to shoot me? What on earth for? And when did I get so paranoid?

I took a glance over and saw a man frantically waving a hand at me. It looked like he was holding up the sign of the devil. I squinted at him…no, not the devil. That sign looked familiar. He sped up, and I got a good look at the back of his car. Maryland license plates, but there in the window was a sticker for the Texas Longhorns.

Hook ’em Horns!

I laughed. He’d seen my Texas plates, and wanted to make sure I knew I wasn’t alone here in Maryland. I sped back up, giggling, and gave him the hook ’em sign in return and then a thumbs up. He smiled and went on his way. For a brief moment, I made a connection with someone I’ll never see again. I don’t know his name, and I wouldn’t recognize him if you planted him in front of me and told me who he was. But it doesn’t matter. We connected.

I’m not even a UT alum. But Texas Longhorns somehow symbolizes home for both me and my husband. And even though we love it here in Maryland, it was nice to get that tiny taste of home from a stranger. So to that man I say:  “Thanks, you made my day!”

So what about you? Do you always plan where you’re going, or do you take it by the seat of the pants?

 

badge-166_zps4008491fFor the next month I’ll be on a whirlwind blog tour. It’s like traveling without the travel. If you’d like to follow along on the tour, just click the badge, which will take you to a page with links for every blog stop. 

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