(New to the site? Each post opens with a movie quote and then features a song which encapsulates the feelings I tried to convey in the post. Press play and if you like what you read and hear, consider signing up to the newsletter.)
“Should we jump the fence?”
“Nah, I think we’re fine here…”
It was the 4th of July. (America Day, to all you international folks.)
Like everyone else in the northern Bay Area, we were going down to the Berkeley Marina to watch fireworks.
(Shh, don’t tell. I actually only went to see the fireworks because they were taking place at the beach. I’ll make any excuse to hang out at the beach at night.)
We got back from a day of adventuring around Berkeley with just enough time to grab some dinner at the dining hall and head down to the bus stop.
The next bus that was coming would take us straight to the Berkeley Marina in time to see the fireworks.
I pulled out my money and impatiently waited for the bus to arrive. When it finally did, it read “DROP-OFF ONLY.”
“What?! No. That’s our bus!” I yelled. It was packed with people trying to get to the same destination as us. That left no room for any of us at our stop.
My sister asked the driver when the next bus was coming. She was quite a bit calmer than I was. She knew about the 4th of July rush.
“There’s one right behind this one, heading to the same place,” the bus driver told us with confidence.
We waited five minutes.
No bus was coming.
We were losing our cushion of time to get to the Marina before the fireworks started.
“Let’s just get an Uber and ask if anyone here wants to split.”
Neither of us had Uber installed on our phones, so we wasted even more time praying to the T-Mobile gods to make the download go faster.
Just as we called the Uber to pick us up, my sister spotted her friend at the bus stop. “Hey! Are you guys going to the Marina, too? Do you want to split an Uber?”
They said sure, and I got introduced to some people who I’ll probably never see again. (Spending adventures with people who I’ll never see again is one of my favorite parts of adventuring. I know — I’m a little crazy.)
We waited for the Uber to reach us. We were confident again. The Uber could get us to the Marina with plenty of time to spare.
As we were watching the dot of the car get closer to us, my sister got a call.
“Um, where are you guys?” It was the Uber driver.
“We’re on [random street name], at the bus stop across from the American Apparel.”
The driver proceeded to tell us she wasn’t from around here. Great…
We watched the Uber map as the driver went in the totally opposite direction, and the bus we were originally waiting for came and went.
After eight agonizing minutes, she canceled the request. Thanks, random Uber driver!
We requested another and hopped in fast. We could still make it… probably.
As we got closer, the traffic got intense. The road you would normally take to reach the Marina was shut off, and we tried to take many lefts and rights to find some way in.
Everyone we came in contact with had the same goal. It was too much. As we started to hear the fireworks, we just asked to be dropped off. We’d probably do better on foot.
We followed the crowd and stood with a bunch of people on some random highway that was closed off for the fireworks. This wasn’t anywhere near the Marina. I couldn’t even see the ocean.
But, we could see the fireworks.
We settled into a spot with as clear of a view as possible. It was extremely cloudy that night, so most of the fireworks went up into the clouds. All we could see was the light spread across the sky.
Here was the process: Dark, cloudy, silence while it was drizzling. BOOM! Sudden flash of color! Rinse and repeat for 40 minutes.
No one knew how long this atrocious show would last.
“Should we jump the fence? If we ran across the field like the other people, maybe we could get a better view without the clouds.” My sister still had the adventure adrenaline running through her veins.
“Nah, I think we’re fine here.”
The fireworks show was nowhere near Disneyland material, that’s for sure. The climax skipped over blue fireworks entirely. All we could see was red and gold. It was unprofessional, boring, and it lasted way too long.
The destination never lives up to the hype the journey tells you it will be.
But that’s the real secret here… The adventure lies in the journey, not the destination.
Now, you may think I’m making some grand metaphor for life. I’m not.
Seriously, the next time you go on an adventure, remember to enjoy the journey while it lasts.
From my way-too-literal heart to your favorite song full of metaphors,
P.S. Movie quote in the title is from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). A summer blockbuster done right.