During lockdown, my teenager and I had been struggling with how to find adventure and fulfill our wanderlust hearts, but still remain as safe as possible from Coronavirus. We came up with a solution: Get lost!
It actually started during the first lockdown in the spring when I started to have cabin fever. I suddenly had the strong urge to get out of the house and go somewhere. Anywhere. I coerced my son away from his gaming computer to come along with me, and as a reward he could be the navigator and was allowed to tell me where to go. The rule was that we could go anywhere within reason. He liked the idea and felt a sense of duty and responsibility. He would simply call out, "Left!" or "Right!" and eventually we'd discover someplace new. We'd inevitably end up saying something in a satisfied tone like, "I've always wanted to know what was over here!"
One day my husband came along with us, and we explored a neighborhood above the local Safeway a couple of miles away. We parked the car and walked around a neighborhood we had never been to. The street names were bizarre and made us laugh: Bolbones, Fages Ct., and Devil's View. I'm not sure why it was so funny, but we kept up the jokes for a good period of time. I was grateful for the chance to connect with family, and I was thoughtful about how sharing something so mundane away from home gave us a reason to perk up and laugh. The bonus part was when we stumbled across a little hiking path in that same neighborhood and even spotted a coyote camouflaged in the golden colored grass. It turned out to be a really good day.
On another occasion, my son and I drove down the backroads of Orinda, and we stumbled upon an entrance to Briones Reservoir. We had never been in that particular location before, and we basked in the beauty of the birds skimming above and landing upon the water. There were families socially distancing and soaking up the outdoors which brought a relaxed feeling of happiness and a satisfaction for finding someplace new.
More recently we drove to the top of Mt. Diablo and were astonished by the incredibly clear views on that particular day. Far off in the distance to the east, we were able to see snow on top of the Sierra mountains, and to the west we saw the sparkling bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an absolutely exciting and wonderful day.
Today we had a plan to drive west, finding a road from Moraga to Oakland. It was something we'd always known existed, but we never had the time to explore. Well, today we found ourselves winding and weaving through a canyon lined with beautiful redwoods and ferns that hugged the little creek off of the side of the road. Houses were tucked and scattered into the hillsides, and we watched as bike riders bravely rode over the summit. We did find our way to Oakland and drove around the hills and through the neighborhoods that surround Redwood Park. We caught a glimpse of the bay peeking through the trees and marveled at the large homes and thought about the families who probably take that view for granted.We felt as though we were in Marin, or on our way to Mendocino, but we were only 15 minutes away from our house. It was kind of remarkable!
As we descended the Oakland hills, I was able to point out to my son where his dad and I were married nearly 20 years ago in Joaxine Miller Park, and I drove him through Montclaire Village, which looks coincidentally a lot like Moraga. After about an hour of driving, we felt like we had had enough time out and about. We explored our "backyard" and gained a greater understanding about where we live. Most importantly we were safe from the coronavirus, and we had satisfied our travel bug.
I'd say, from time to time, it's so worth it to just -- get lost!