Some years ago my family and I got to visit Italy for a glorious bout of international couch surfing. We did research. We had an excellent packing list. Our itinerary was impeccable. I even had a list of photos that I wanted to take (as if I could wish them into existence). I read and re-read my driving directions and pored over the map. In English. Little did I know there isn’t a single sign in all of Italy, and for all I know the rest of Europe, that reads “Florence.” Nope. They really say “Firenze.” Can you guess what Google maps at the time said? “Florence.” So there I was with my meticulously memorized directions, lost in my own car commercial driving as one must in Italy (mountains, manual transmission and windows down) blowing right past Firenze and looking for the exit to Florence. Its gotta be coming up soon. It was quite a shock when I got within striking distance of Bologna, only a mere 75km past my intended destination. I pulled an exceptional maneuver at a toll plaza that would have been unthinkable had I not been driving in Turkey for the previous year and I was soon heading back in the right direction, humbled.
- Confidence can’t triumph over actual evidence, like say the odometer.
- When it is time to turn around, do so decisively and before your rental car is due back. Don’t make it any worse!
- There is often someone within arm’s reach who has worthwhile advice. Ignore it at your peril. (The advice may come at significant cost, though.)
Now when I am faced with a situation where I can push on through and be a bozo or quit while I’m ahead I usually fare better when I whisper to myself:
“Remember Driving to Bologna! Remember Driving to Bologna!”