America is big. I mean really big. You may know this already and unless you’ve travelled there, it’s tough to understand how much space there is.
I’m writing this on a flight from San Francisco to London after just over two weeks traveling the west coast.
Not quite a road trip but enough tarmac to feel like one.
We flew to San Francisco and then straight to Las Vegas where we stayed for a couple of nights. I’ve never been and wanted to see what the fuss was about.
I’m glad we took the trouble to visit but if I’m honest, two days was enough for me.
It wasn’t that hot (it had seen snow the week before we came) but it was big, and busy and to me a little soulless.
Maybe I missed the point.
We didn’t go ‘out out’ in the evenings, I don’t gamble and after a while the casinos all tended to blur into one another.
The one thing that did stand out was the desire, everywhere to ‘trump’ everything else. Usually though size. For example, as soon as the London Eye was built there was one built in Vegas – pretty much identical, except it’s 100 feet higher.
Everything stands as a testimony to being bigger than everything else.
Nothing was a big, grand or stupendous as our next few sights.
Firstly, a helicopter ride over and through the Grand Canyon. You’ll have to do some serious building to compete with that.
This was followed by three days in Yosemite National Park. I thought the Grand Canyon was incredible. However, Yosemite was something that will stay with me forever.
It’s nothing less that awe inspiring.
Every turn of the road, every step brought new wonders, sights and vistas into play. I’ve seen nothing like it and struggle to see how I might top it in the future.
We did a lot on this trip. San Francisco, Las Vegas and a helicopter trip to The Grand Canyon. We drove through Death Valley to Yosemite and then back to San Francisco. From here we flew to Hawai’i for a week and it’s this that prompted the reason for this article.
Our hotel room was right next door to the 10th Green of the local golf course.
The Kingsland Course in Waikoloa.
Now, if you read my articles, you’ll know I’m a golf nut. In fact, I could probably find an article every month using golf as the inspiration for business lessons
You see, for five days I resisted playing. I didn’t take clubs with me. In fact, I didn’t have shoes, balls, or even a glove.
In the end however, I gave in. It turns out I could hire clubs, use my trainers, borrow a club and well, I always need golf balls.
I had a really good time.
It was one of the highlights of the trip (for me). I met a guy called Mike in the pro shop and we went out together. And… Here’s the thing. I asked him why he was there, why he was playing… His answer?
“I’m in Hawai’i. I’ve a chance to play golf, why would I not?”
I resisted for five days, for no real reason.
Maybe I thought I’d have terrible game and it would spoil my mood. Maybe I thought it was unfair of me to leave Kay for that amount of time on holiday. I don’t know. What I do know is that when I put it to Kay, her response was this…
I’m marrying a wise girl.
She’s right. We’ve crammed this holiday with so many things. Some we’ve loved and some less so.
I’m glad I experienced Las Vegas even though it didn’t fulfil me. I went. I tried it. I’m not sitting here thinking “I wish we’d gone to Vegas”.
There were many things we could have said no to.
Hiring a car in an unfamiliar country, trekking difficult trails in Yosemite, new foods, new drinks, trips to see volcanoes. I even got on a helicopter despite a terrible fear of heights and all of me screaming “don’t do it”.
I think we often ‘don’t’ do things due to fear.
Whether it’s of not knowing where you’re going, heights, different experiences, picking up the phone, sending out marketing campaigns, going to networking or speaking in front of people.
During that round of golf there were moments I was (golf) petrified. The sea to one side, Lava to the other and a rock in the middle of the fairway.
All I did was break the shot down into what I like to call micro parts, made up of moments of micro courage.
I dismiss everything the whole hole (sorry about that) has to offer and focus on one piece of bravery at a time. The second that makes up the backswing. Then I’m committed.
It’s easier than facing the complete round. All the possible mistakes facing me on a course I don’t know in high winds, playing with someone I’ve just met.
It’s not just golf though is it?
We’re faced with choices all day. Some of them appear so big, they overwhelm us.
Do we take the safe option or the one that’s fearful?
What would happen if you broke the scary option into micro moments of courage? Would your decisions be any different?
We’ve already started planning our next trip. One with even fewer limits, with new places to see and new experiences to be had.
I think I’ll at least take my golf shoes with me this time…