Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Resolutions Part 5: Journeying (in Southwest England) and Life

Yesterday Duane and I set out on an adventure, driving on the left side of narrow roads barely wide enough for one small car let alone two normal size cars, navigating roundabouts, and towns we cannot pronounce.

Our destination: Dartmoor, a national park "famed for its wide open spaces, its dramatic tors, wooded valleys, rushing rivers and . . . its wildlife" as well as for "its diverse cultural heritage"  

It's a large park, as national parks go, so I thought that I would narrow our focus to somewhere in the center, so I chose to go to Widecombe, the quintessential Devon village in the center, the home of a 15th century church.

When our daughter Kirsten suggested that we rent a car to explore Southwest England, I knew Duane would love the adventure of driving on the left side of the road. I pictured driving down open roads and countryside. I pictured random discoveries of hidden villages and monuments.

I didn't think about traffic, confusing signage, or the real possibility of getting lost or turned around. On the first day of the car rental, on the way back to Kirsten's house after renting the vehicle, we missed the turn off three times.

Our GPS lady, referred to as Sat Nav in Great Britain, was very patient with us, but her calm, repetitive, and incomprehensible commands were not helpful.

At one point, Duane suggested that we return the vehicle.
I thought it might be a good idea.

I'm glad we didn't because we would have missed the rolling green countryside and thatched roof cottages. We would have missed discovering the Widecombe Cathedral in the center of Dartmoor.


We would have missed sitting in front of a fire in a local pub and eating bap with gammon.  
We would have missed discovering a twisted stick and fetching it out of the river.

The wandering creek. Duane's walking slowly.

I turn around, and Duane is doing something. I have no idea what.
Whatever he did before didn't work. But he's thinking.
Hmmm. What to do next.
He looks at me, but I have no suggestions. That's okay. He has another plan.

And now he means serious business.

Discovery of the twisted stick.
Not sure what we'll do with it since it doesn't really fit in our suitcase, but it sure is cool. 
We walked up the road and discovered farms. I took another twenty pictures of the cathedral. And then we took a "public footpath." It was super muddy. I was glad I wore boots because the mud came up past my ankles. But Duane's feet were mostly clean.

And then we started our drive back to Exeter but stopped to climb a hill and a rock and felt like the wind would blow us away. Along the way we discovered some roaming sheep.  

And then we drove back to Exeter and only got lost once.  
There are more things I could say, but I suppose my point, and it took me a long time to get there, is that sometimes we set out on a journey, and our goal is good, but our expectations are unrealistic. And then we encounter challenges and want to quit. 

But if we keep going, adjusting along the way, we may discover some really amazing things. Keep calm and enjoy the journey.

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