And then, over time, I realized: This was a visual analogy of where I was in my career journey. Let’s take a look at some of this photo’s characteristics.
Slight ups and downs are visible in the immediate road ahead.
That is to be expected in any career endeavor. I think anyone can relate to that.
Not sure where the road leads beyond the short stretch that is visible.
The continuation of the road is concealed behind the landscape around it. Will there be just one bend, followed by another stretch leading straight ahead? Or will the roadway take winding turns, perhaps hugging cliffs? For starters, the horizon—or what we see of it—suggests the road ahead will be going uphill.
Whatever lies beyond the horizon is shrouded in fog and clouds.
This section probably needs to be navigated with caution, at a slower speed. And you might want to make sure your car has fog lamps, just in case.
There is no one else around to go down this road.
This is your journey, at this point in time. Whoever else happens to come down this specific stretch of roadway will not continue on the same journey. They will focus on different details, and they may take a different turn when they get to a crossroads. And they will find different things to stop for. Case in point: I doubt anyone else would have stopped right there to stand in the middle of the road to take a picture. (Incidentally, the camera was pointing north—to my “true north,” perhaps?)
It turned out later I wasn’t quite yet where I thought I was.
I thought I already was in Big Sur. But later, as I reconstructed my path on the map, I found I still had a good six miles to go before “officially” entering Big Sur territory. I wonder how often I have made the same misjudgment about the place I was in as my career journey progressed. (In the case of Big Sur, at least I did get there soon afterwards.)
All in all, I can say I am glad I didn’t take the fast and easy route (U.S. Route 101). I would have gotten where I was going in less than half the time. But it wouldn’t have been half the experience at that. The meanderings of the Cabrillo Highway were worth it.
Oh, and about the fog and clouds on the horizon: They never deterred me from continuing on my journey. Although it was uncertain what lay ahead, there still was enough filtered sunshine to indicate things were going to be bright.