On Saturday I went on a road trip. I drove all by myself to Moab and back in one day. That's about 9 hours on different highways, freeways, state routes, whatever you call them. Big multiple lane roads moving at very fast speeds. For most people this is nothing special, but for someone who gets anxious and has fears associated with driving, its a huge accomplishment. One speeding ticket and one potential dead deer later, I rolled into my garage at 10:30 at night ready for bed.
I am generally okay when driving around in my comfort zone, but I do not like driving somewhere I have never been before. I especially don't like driving with other people in the car with me. I used to be really scared on the freeways but a daily 2 hour commute for a couple years has helped me to overcome it. That said, I am okay on freeways that I am familiar with. Once I start having to merge onto other unfamiliar freeways, things get tense for me.
The trip was to visit an old friend and take pictures of her newborn baby. I had a GPS telling me exactly where I needed to go so that took a lot of the fear of the unknown out of the equation. I was enjoying my tunes and making progress. I like to listen to music when I drive. It helps to calm my nerves. Then I got pulled over. Argh! I had been trying so hard not to speed the entire time. But the road slowed as I drove through a small town and I got careless. That put me in a bad mood. After that, the only music that was helping me was anything really mellow.
I made it to Moab and had a great photoshoot. It was so nice to visit with my friend and it made me glad that I didn't back out or cancel at the last minute.
On the trip back, I stayed in the slow lane and set my cruise control to the exact speed limit posted. I wasn't taking any chances. As dusk hit, I noticed several "Warning: Deer Crossing" signs. Sure enough, a deer jumped onto the road right in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes but still managed to take the deer out by his back legs with the driver side of the car. The deer was down for a minute or so, got up, stumbled, fell, and eventually jumped off the other side of the road. I had pulled over, and was shaking. I didn't know what to do at that point.
The sky got really dark and driving out in the desert, there was hardly any light anywhere. I was really jumpy. Anything that looked out of the ordinary I was sure was another deer. I was thinking what else could happen on this trip? Only to see a Warning: Falling Rocks sign.
I was done with driving. I just wanted to get get home. I wanted to get pulled over so I could ask the cop for an escort home. I was really scared that I was losing all control.
I eventually made it home all in one piece. In the future I don't think I will take on such big road trips all alone. Having a friend there to support me would have been really nice.