For me this is the best thing I did for myself on my business trip to California. If renting a car, DO rent a GPS unit to help you navigate.
I have a lot of anxiety with driving. It took me 3 tries to get my license and it was only due to my parent's pushing me. I was 18 when I finally got it. I had no desire to drive. Sitting in the driver seat nearly gave me panic attacks. I eventually got used to it, but had a hard time on the freeways. So I would drive if I had to but I would avoid freeways as much as I could.
Now I have to drive an hour to work everyday on the freeway. I don't like driving with people in the car with me, and I don't like driving when I don't know how to get there. So anytime I have to drive with others, I actually ask someone else to drive my car so I don't have to deal with the anxiety.
So for me to go to a busy city like San Jose and San Fransisco all by myself and drive everywhere, this caused a lot of panic for me. It was probably what I was the most worried about. When renting the car I added a GPS unit for an addition $8 a day. Doesn't matter how much it would have cost, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only did it take away 98% of my anxiety, it gave me a sense of empowerment and confidence. I would be hungry and type in the kind of food I was in the mood for and it would tell me exactly how to get to the closest location. The best part is if you miss a turn, no need to panic! It will recalculate your destination and help you get to where you need to go. I was able to travel to my hotel, 4 different schools, several fast food places, etc. with complete ease even though I had never been there before.
By far the most exhilarating day on my trip was when I had some time to go to San Fransisco to do some sight seeing. Never before would I have dared to drive an hour away to some unknown place all by myself but with my handy Garmin GPS unit, I located the Golden Gate Bridge and set off on my adventure. I drove around downtown San Fransisco on the unbelievable hilly roads with the beautiful scenery. I drove over the Golden Gate bridge twice, ate clam chowder while photographing the bridge, had a wild coyote follow me around, walked along Pier 39 and saw Alcatraz, ship yards, and so many other great things that I will forever remember as a liberating experience. I never would had that experience without the GPS unit. It was so windy and cold that it made taking pictures difficult. Plus there was a fire burning in northern California so the sky was covered in smoke, but it was still very cool.
Now back at home I want to buy one for my personal car to help me get around town better. Maybe I will be more daring to drive around Salt Lake and see some of the great things my home town has to offer.
P.S. For those interested in photography, I still need to edit these photos a bit but I wanted to get the post out.
This post is part of a series. You can read some of my other do's and don'ts here: Part 1, Part 2
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