I’m not exaggerating when I tell people that I have no sense of direction. I’m the sort of person who goes into a shop and comes out to walk back the way I just came, without even noticing. So I constantly wonder how I make it through day to day life, let alone how I made it when travelling around the world for 8 months.
I should first start by saying that I have never travelled alone. It’s not that I’ve never wanted to, its more that i’m surrounded by people who love to go on an adventure too. I travelled around the world with my best friend with other friends joining along the way, and I have since done multiple city trips with my boyfriend.
I look at maps and nearly every single bloody time I think I’ve nailed it, I send us off in the wrong direction. Some things just don’t compute in my brain and directions are just one of them. It gets so bad that I’m just not allowed to even attempt to suggest the way. Or hold the map. Or even look at the map. Luckily everyone I’ve travelled with is far more competent than me, but I don’t always like to listen.
So how do I get around when I’m in a new place and I’m busy ignoring my boyfriend/friend? Well, I like to revert to the good old fashioned thing of ASKING someone. Asking a local for directions is just fun! I (shamefully) don’t speak any other languages so this is always a gamble but politeness goes a long way and I usually find that people are happy to help. If my enquiry ends up involving a massive language barrier filled giving of directions made from a lot of pointing and finger counting streets until turning, then that’s good enough for me. Someone giving their time up to try and help a stranger is something to always be grateful for.
It’s far too easy nowadays to just whack on google maps and spend your whole trip looking at your phone. And that sucks! The best bits about travelling are wandering through the local streets, seeing the architecture, looking up above your head and below at all the hidden places. And I just don’t care if I get lost. What better way to see more than you could have imagined than by going the ‘scenic’ route, getting more lost then ending up at your destination eventually?
I love it when people ask me for directions (I do know how to get to some places). Everyone has a story as to why they are going somewhere and it can be a real eye-opener to hear their stories. A little bit of kindness goes far and getting lost along the way is just part of the adventure.