I survived. I actually, truly did.
I learned a few things, too: I can do things on my own. I do like to have company sometimes (most times), though. It was really fun to listen to all my own music and sing like I was the lead for every single song that I played. I'm not entirely comfortable doing things on my own but I can do it. And despite my fear of being totally judged, I'm guessing for the most part, no one cared except me. I learned that if I see something I'd like to snap a picture of, stop the first time because I'll probably regret it. I spent a lot of time backtracking because I passed something and regretted not stopping. And as for feeling stupid for stopping and taking a random picture on the side of the road? NO ONE cares! I learned that I have a hunger to discover and see the world...or Minnesota anyway. Lastly, and probably my most important lessons learned? There are nice people in the world (and yes, they might even be Iowans) who will do the right thing and never, ever, ever get out of your car without taking the keys and/or cellphone or at the very least make sure the doors are unlocked.
Yup, that last one was a brutal lesson to learn. It actually still makes my stomach turn a little bit. I drove past a dilapidated, abandoned farm and yes, turned around because I knew I had to have a picture. Got out of the car, shut the door, took my pictures and went back the driver's side and lo and behold...doors were locked, keys in the running car and phone inside. Pure panic set in. I first envisioned myself sitting in front of this broken down farm for hours and hours. Then quickly realized, I'm on a relatively busy highway but in the middle of nowhere (Marion, MN or close to there, I guess? Yup, I had never heard of it either) and I'm going to have to wave someone down to call 911. Then I'm thinking, crap, we might have to break the window...ugh, what a pain. Then, I realized that the car has a code on the door!! Truthfully, this all happened in about one minute's time but it felt like forever, like things were in slow motion. I waved at one car, no luck. Then I waved at the next. They slowed, then turned around; bless their hearts! Iowa plates and I could see it was a dad and his older teenage son. Honestly, I wasn't even worried about safety of any kind and I was just relieved. I get a little panicky so I'm sure I sounded close to hysterical but I asked if they had a phone I could use and that my keys were in the car and I rambled about stopping to take a stupid picture. I called my hubby, he gave me the code and all was well. I think I thanked these two guys 20 times. I told them they were angels...they absolutely were! In this day and age it's awfully scary to think of stopping for someone.
With all of that, here's the picture of the damn barn I had to stop for. ;)