Take the next exit | Life Series

I had accepted a new job in Toronto, the big TO, in 2006, and despite the excitement, leaving Florenceville, New Brunswick was unusually harder than we expected. This was not the first time we were uprooting ourselves in search of the proverbial new pastures. We had travelled thousands of miles before, but this time it seemed different.

With our new Garmin GPS on the car dashboard, joined by my wife Lubna, and our daughter Afraa, we started our road trip from the good old ‘French Fry capital of the world’ to the towering Toronto. Having gotten lost several times before using the traditional map booklet, I felt a GPS was a wise investment.

It was a 1300 km, 13-hour drive, and fearing we could get stalled in the middle of nowhere, I stopped for refuelling everytime the fuel tank climbed down a quarter.

Blue Sedan on Snow at Daytime

Driving from a 900 lovely people, no traffic lights and just one public phone both village, my first adjustment was to quickly prepare for the oncoming speedy busy lanes with roaring wheels left and right to our car.

In spite of the repeated, firm, but gentle and perfectly wise voice navigation guidance, to my sheer embarrassment, I steered onto wrong lanes and missed exits or took the wrong ones several times. Most were in the first few hours of the trip.

Thanks to the GPS, the trained voice never ridiculed me or judged me for my mistakes, but objectively like a mentor, kept correcting my errors and placed me back on the right route. I repeatedly heard her saying “Take the next exit.”

Now, if you are wondering what does my long and tedious trip details have anything to do with our Back to Basics journey, then please stay with me a bit longer and I promise it will be worthwhile.

First, It’s always hard to start something new.

Starting anything new outside your familiar space may seem hard. And it is normal. Preparation will be your best friend. However, despite your preparation, the distractions and doubts will slow you down. And when it does, don’t look back and second-guess yourselves. Keep going toward your worthy destination.

Second, you will miss some exists.

We all miss the right exits once in a while. And like the wise GPS, we all hope to find someone who can help us stay the course. Perhaps your partner, your family or a close friend, or a colleague. If you can’t find someone or don’t know who to go to, then try clinging on to some words of hope from the numerous inspiring books. You will get the guidance to get back on track.

Third, be the Garmin voice for others.

If you don’t happen to be behind the wheel like me, but do know of someone who is looking for direction, please do not judge them for having missed the exits. Lend them a helping hand. Sometimes a few words of hope is all is needed to put someone back on track.

As we are in this journey for shaping our foundation, the above may be useful to you whether you are behind the wheel or the wise Garmin voice.

If you got something out of it, please share and drop me a few words to make it better.

Success to you!


PS: It took us 15hr and 20 min to reach Toronto. But we did.

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