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Do You Always Plan Where You’re Going?

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. 

8 comments on… “Do You Always Plan Where You’re Going?”

  1. I don’t mind wandering aimlessly when I’m walking. I love to walk, so on a beautiful day, I can stroll along for miles. As for almost everything else in life, I’m definitely a planner 🙂

    • I have to say that even though I was frustrated at not finding exactly what I was looking for (having not even looked up where anything was) I’m pretty happy with what I DID find. But usually I would have an end destination in mind when I set out, and now I know why. Because I get frustrated if I don’t have one lol.

  2. That is so funny Melinda. I would’ve thought the same thing. Am I about to be knocked off? You never know these days. Or am I watching too many movies? Anyway, with the limited amount of time I have during each day, I would have to say that I am a planner. I do plan out my stops and group my errands together. And of course this does save on time and money for gas. Some day I would love to just take off and not think about where I’m going. I do love to travel. So glad to know you’re okay. Go Texas! LOL! 🙂

    • I try to group errands together too, since I don’t often have the car. I think for the next photo safari though I’ll plan just a tiny bit ahead. Like pick an area I know will be good for photos and THEN wander lol. Although, one of the things I love to photograph is old, run down buildings which aren’t exactly on a map anywhere.

  3. LOL. We get people giving us the Gator chomp (both arms straight out, one above the other, then open and close them like a gator’s mouth) when they see my husband’s Univ. of Florida license plate. I’ve gotta admit that the first time this happened I too thought the guy in the car next to us was making a threatening gesture. Then he lowered his window and yelled, “Go Gators!”

    Glad you’re enjoying Maryland, Melinda!

    • Oh wow, so that would look even more strange than the hook ’em sign lol. Yay Gators! lol. Isn’t it funny how sports or college affiliation will bring us together like nothing else?

  4. I love taking the road less traveled. That’s too funny about the other car ~ I was right there with you. He’s a stalker! I’m going to die! Um, nope. Just wanted to share some Longhorn love.

    Great picture. Now you have a place you can go to again and see it in all the different seasons.

    • I bet it’ll be beautiful in the summer! And a lot less creepy. There weren’t many people out there, and I jumped at every little leaf rustle lol. I like that I didn’t have to work around people in my shots, but I sure was a bit freaked by being there alone. I think I watch too much Castle and NCIS lol. I kept picturing the good spots to hide a body. Yeesh.

      I’d LOVE to take your recent road-less-traveled…that highway along the coast is gorgeous! Talk about photo ops!

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