The arizona heat fills the car that carries my four friends James , Jasmine, Victor and myself all very hungry and lost. Now it was my time to prove to them that I Carlos the one that is very bad with directions can actually guide them to their first destination. Yet that’s what I assumed would happen with my first go at using a map. Having previously learned how to use it, as what I thought I did I had full confidence that my new found skills could not only impress them but prove that I could actually lead a group. As we proceed down the desert road it was now my turn to give James who was driving, the first pieces of directions first a right then a left and so on. James however is the least patient in our group turns to me with slight tension in his voice Carlos are us sure about where we are going? With full confidence I say yes with no phone service to verify it he simply took my word and proceeded to drive. Although one thing they didn’t know was that this was my first time using a map. So let’s backtrack this story before everything would turn into a twist no literally.
My dad who is the expert at camping trips is a 5’6 guy who also just like James has no patience when it comes to certain situations. When telling my dad about the trip he was so excited that I’ll be exploring and leading a group just as he used to do with my family when we were little kids. It started out with a simple talk about what to pack and soon came down to the question of so do you have a map or any sort or gps system. Being a millenial when I heard the word map I immediately in my head was like uhh… yeah I have it on my phone pops were in the 20th century. After my inner talk my dad had brought to my attention that the places that I would be going would probably have no phone service. Soon after he pulls out a map that is folded about a million times I would have thought it was a failed origami project the size of a billboard.
When I looked at it, it was very intimidating and brought about instant anxiety since not only will I be in a different state but that I would be having to lead my friends on our trip. My dad started to first list out the features of the map the compass, looking at which highway would connect to the next and so on. Also to mention that this was the day before my trip since I’m pretty bad procrastinator he gave me what I had to know but with a lot of detail. We sat at the kitchen table for what seemed like forever as he instructed me and reassured that I would be perfectly fine and just to have confidence in myself. Later on that day I sat in my room packing all my goodies when I glanced over at that dreadful map and just like it felt like everything my dad had taught me suddenly disappear.
Overthinking every situation possible I skied myself out and went back to his room to get another crash course on it. This time he seemed a little irritated since the lesson before seemed to slip my mind but my lovley mom backed me up. Yet again we sat down and he began to go back to the map but this time giving me the main things points that I needed to know. So now this leads us back to our story, once I gave James the next place to turn everyone in the car drew about an uneasy feeling that we were going the wrong way. We stopped in a small town that surprisingly had phone service to verify if I was going the right way. Only to find out that the last 50 miles we had being going the wrong way. Frustrated everyone voiced their opinion in a small toyota corolla each voice overlapping the other. Although at the time I felt like I was defeated I still had an open mind that maybe I’ll be able to get the next one right, well that’s if they can trust me. Eventually we made it to our destination and woke up to venture out to our first national park.
Reminiscing about the night before laughing about how we all turned into monsters the past night we had high hopes that it would be worth it. We entered the park and the park ranger yet again they handed me that folded up map but this time it was the park map. I know it may not have been a super complex map but it still showed different routes to take the shuttle bus to get around different places on the mountain. I seen this as my golden opportunity to try to not only prove to myself and my friends that I can lead them and not get them killed this time. We all sat in a circle on a small patch of grass that looked from the outside like we were out to plot something with a map in the middle. However I couldn’t just jump in after getting them lost so I made slight opinions but they were merely laughed off.
Jasmine suggested a trail and we begin our journey to hop from bus to but when we got off…. It wasn’t our stop when looking at the map we had caught the wrong connecting bus. We all looked at each other as if this was a repeat of last night but we saw the silver lining since there was another trail nearby that was just as beautiful as the one we expected to arrive at. At last our trail was done and now we were all very sweaty hot and ready to pack up and head back to the campsite. Mumbled words under heavy breathing are the layers of voices that asked which bus do we take? With the very little energy still in me I pushed my voice through my gasping lungs and said Oh I know! With really no energy to argue if we would get lost they simply followed me on the first bus. It wasn’t till the AC of the bus had cooled me off that it had all settled in. I pulled out the map and begin to retrace the important lessons my dad had taught me but at times the anxiety of messing up was lingering in the back of my head. We had finally arrived to the place were we had taken the wrong bus but by now everyone was cooled off but very tired so I built up the courage to get there since this was the final leg of the journey. For one last time I opened my bag to reveal the wrinkled map and unfolded every part to reveal the way back. I then began to retrace where we had made our mistake and guided us to the connecting bus that took us back to the parking lot. Once I stepped foot off the bus it felt as though I was lost at sea and was finally seeing the shore just a few miles away. In the car they all begin to mess with me and say that we made it alive but also gave props on the fact I was able to get everyone back.
This trip taught me to not only learn how to begin to read a map but also to have confidence in anything that I do. We tend to doubt ourselves and never fully commit to trying something even if it means making mistakes. However it all paid off in the long run like exploring new trails that we had never seen before to the everlasting stories like the one I just told. This also painted new memories of bounding with my dad and building a stronger bond with him and my friends.To this day I’m still learning how to read it and still getting lost but at least this time for now I have my gps and the confidence to take on any adventure.