Years ago, my friend Don stated that the above would be the title of his autobiography, should he ever decide to write one. When it comes to life paths, Don is actually one of the LEAST “lost” people I’ve ever known. He’s wanted to be a writer since he was old enough to hold a pencil and I’m not sure he’s ever made a living doing anything else which is pretty extraordinary. He’s been married to his wife, Nan, for nearly 30 years and they are one of the happiest, most well adjusted couples I’ve ever known. They also don’t have any children, which says a lot. 😉
My own life path has been somewhat more circuitous, but here’s an interesting thing you probably don’t know about me. I’ve never been lost geographically. I always have a complete, innate sense of where I am on the planet. The odd thing about this is that I find GPS devices incredibly confusing. It’s like they upset my own internal compass somehow. I don’t particularly like them, and if I wasn’t interested in geo-caching I’d probably never consider getting one.
Maps, on the other hand, are my friends. I love maps, looking at them, pouring over them, trying to get the lay of the land of a place before I go there. Maps translate into my own geographic processor quite well. When I was walking in Spain, I got to Pamplona early in the day of walking and after my companions and I had claimed our bed, we decided to explore the city. We made our way to in information center and found a couple of touristy type maps. My companions were German and we were all delighted to find literature there in our respective languages. After we left the center, they wanted to go back toward where we had started from, which was quite a walk by the way we came. I started walking in nearly the opposite direction. They were reluctant to follow me, but I kept telling them we were okay, that where we wanted to be was “just over there” and I kept pointing. Sure enough, we walked through a series of small side streets and suddenly we were in the plaza. Going back the way we had come would have taken nearly half an hour. I don’t know how I knew where the plaza was because I didn’t look at the map other than just to orient myself in the information center. I just KNEW where it was.
When I’ve lived in different places or when I visit, one of my favorite things to do is just to drive around or walk around and get “lost”. I go down side roads and criss-cross through neighborhoods and try to remember street names. I like seeing where curvy little roads end up–usually back on the main road I left a while back, just further down the line.
I find it hard to understand it when people say they have no sense of direction. How do you not have a sense of direction? Even in Australia, on the other side of the world, I knew where I stood. The sky was different and I had a definite sense of my orientation being “opposite” from what it usually was, but I felt as comfortable wandering around Brisbane and Adelaide as I do in Pueblo or Denver.
What about you? Do you wing it or do you need that GPS? Elaborate.