Five easy steps for a better travel experience.

In the following paragraphs, you’ll be exposed to the five simple and most important steps to employ while trying to maximize and enhance any trip you take as well as how to get more fulfillment and enjoyment out of the community you live in.  I was new to Silicon Valley, California and when I discovered that the Laguna Seca Racetrack was only 50 miles away from Silicon Valley I knew I had to take a trip to see it. Laguna Seca is a mesmerizing and historic race track, home of the famous corkscrew where race car drivers are pushed to the limit.  The corkscrew is world renowned as one of motorsport’s toughest and most challenging turns due to the drop in elevation and the blind crest that emerges as drivers exit the turn. The drivers have to lean on faith and just have to know there is more course ahead even though for a moment the shift in elevation prevent them from seeing the road course they are barreling through at high speed.  It’s dangerous to push a motor vehicle to its limits on a racetrack and the danger leaps to a new level when the driver can’t truly see where they’re aiming the nose of the machine they’re wrestling to keep on the track. From the Le Mans series to Super-bike championships, Laguna Seca is legendary in the racing world. Its prestige and notoriety are world famous and being so close I was eager to experience the racing circuit.

The Ferrari Challenge event was approaching and I simply couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to attend.  The Ferrari Challenge is a racing event for different classes of Ferrari’s race cars that all compete against each other on one track. It’s a bragging right in the Ferrari racing world that the teams are not just to compete but also have fun and enjoy the comrade of Ferrari racing.  I decided to not pass up on this opportunity and do what I must to get to the track and experience the race day. Eager with excitement I drove towards Monterrey California following the GPS directions and enjoying the ever-changing California scenery. As I entered the valley that the Laguna Seca Track rests in, I saw the iconic signs saying it was just a few miles away. It was unusual to drive to the track because the only times I had seen it was on television or in video games and the focus then was the actual track, not the area it rests in.  The rolling mountains and undulating terrain made me better understand how the track got its notoriety.


As the racing events started I lined up with other spectators at one of Laguna
Seca’s famous turns so I could witness the downshifts and experience the deceleration of the vehicles followed by their rapid acceleration out of the corner into the next circuit of the track.  After a few warm-up laps of to heat the tires and to get the engine internals and fluids up to operating temperature the race started. I could hear the announcer calling to the drivers to start their engines and the sounds of dozens of finely tuned race vehicles bellowed out across the track. The countdown began and the race started the high revving motors of V-8 as well V-12 engines serenaded me and the other spectators as we awaited the cars to pass by our section at breakneck speeds. As the sounds became louder I could see the race cars approaching with their bright colors, large rear wings designed to capture airflow and force the rear of the vehicle on into the ground to improve traction and increase faster-cornering speeds.  The sounds of motors downshifting and the explosions of the exhaust billowing out all while the drivers aggressively brake into the corner causing the brake pads to heat up and give off a slight glow from the temperatures their reaching after corner after corner on the track. I could smell the mixture of burning fluids and parts being pushed to their limits as they do their sole purpose of keeping the race car on the track at speeds as fast as possible.

Here I am at Laguna Seca witnessing the Ferrari Challenge just feet away from the trackside, so close I can feel the exhaust notes reverberating in my chest!  This is a childhood dream coming true at this moment trackside at Laguna Seca. I had no idea I would be here today, I didn’t plan this trip, and I never imagined that just a few days ago I would be here at Laguna Seca!  How did this happen, how was I lucky enough to have this amazing experience? These are questions that loomed over my mind as I enjoyed lap after lap laughing and smiling with glee as I experienced one of the racing world’s top tracks with the history of Ferrari racing tearing up the race circuit lap after lap.

Upon reflecting on my day at the race track I realized a few key factors lead me down the path to enjoying this experience.  I was able to have an amazing day and life out a dream just because I was ready and prepared to take advantage of the opportunity that came before me.  I learned that I’m open to new experiences and when an opportunity emerges I’ll find a way to carve or design a path to ensure I’m able to enjoy and take part in that experience. I learned that when following that mindset and basic principle more than you could imagine may unfold and that the world around you can confirm in ways to make the opportunity even more plausible and viable.  I had no specific plan to attend a race at Laguna Seca in the near future, I wasn’t even aware of the race schedule. However, I did do something I often do when I travel to new places and I suggest you do the same to maximize your experiences:

  1. Explore your destination in detail I explore a google map and learn where you are in perspective to the surrounding area and how far you’re from nearby cities as well as other major cities or areas you may be familiar with. This will give you a better idea of what’s in the environment around you and if there may be something you should make an effort to get to or explore that may have peaked your interest in the past.

In my case above I was new to Silicon Valley and in the days prior I had explored the map of the area learning and understanding how far and where San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey were in perspective to Silicon Valley. Monterey had a close personal connection for me because as I told my father about my trip to the area he informed me that he and my mother had actually met in that area.  They, in fact, went on their first date there and thus I put a little more attention on exploring the google map of that region only to discover that Laguna Seca was just outside the city. This sparked a special interest in me as I was familiar with the track but hadn’t realized how close I would be.

  1.  Research upon arrival- If you’re new to an area or visiting be sure to research and explore what’s going on in that area. Look for notable events and get an idea of what’s going on in the community you’re visiting. Don’t forget to explore the surrounding areas, cities, countries, etc. look for things that spark your interest, you may be blocks away from a bucket-list item!

For my trip above I had noticed that Laguna Seca was close and I happened to visit their website and realized the Ferrari Challenge was on a weekend that I would be in the area. I viewed the race schedule of events, the pricing info, and mapped out how far the track was from where I was.

  1. Have flexible plans- In fact, I avoided planning in my life as much as possible. Plans lock you into something specific that you may not be able to break away from.  If you plan to keep them more as guidelines and don’t be rigid and set. Flexibility will enable you to take advantage of something that pops up at the moment. Often those events that pop up become fond memories and can create an amazing story to share with others.

I didn’t have official plans the weekend of the races, there were things I needed to accomplish but by being open and having the flexibility, I was able to make the decision to take advantage of the races and travel to Laguna Seca.  My lack of planning enabled me to pursue a childhood dream. I had planned on getting some work done that day and doing some writing, so I decided to attend the races and then do some writing in a new environment, seaside in Monterrey as the Pacific oceans crashed against the rocks of the California coast.

  1. Say YES- Be willing to say YES, say yes to new experiences, say YES to new adventures, say YES to yourself, and say YES to your friends, Say YES to life and the exploration of life.  Try to avoid saying no and bringing a negative or negated approach to your travels and or adventures. It may be easier to try this when you’re close to home so practice there and then challenge yourself when you travel further from the comfort and familiarity of home.

In my Laguna Seca Trip, I had no specific person asking me or influencing me to take the trip to the track.  The person I said yes to be myself. I said yes to the pursuit of a childhood dream of being at Laguna Seca. It wasn’t the type of dream that I was determined to accomplish, it was more of man that would be cool to do.  Or a one day I’ll go there and experience the track so when the chance was right in front of me I said yes to my inner child who had a desire to fulfill this dream.

  1. Pursue your Passions- You must take the time to discover and learn what you’re passionate about. By doing so you’ll learn the things in life that can inspire and motivate you.  The moments that make life worth living, the moments you can establish and hold on to fond memories and or create traditions around.

I have a passion for motorsports, sports cars, and experiencing life. I realized this event at Laguna Seca could encapsulate many of these areas all in one event. I was able to complete a bucket-list item of attending a race Laguna Seca while spending time around other automotive enthusiast and some of the world’s greatest race cars. I was able to say YES to myself and create a memory that will last for a lifetime all because I applied a few simple strategies and was open to living life NOW. Being in the moment and making the most of the experiences and community around me.

I wish you memorable and exciting experiences as you apply these simple steps to living life now as you pursue passions in your pursuit of the Live Retired Now lifestyle. Follow more articles and post about how you can design and build the lifestyle you want with the principles of Lifestyle Architecture Live Retired Now!