The Lost Art of Asking For Directions and Other Dwindling Travel Skills

I’m a directionally challenged person. Don’t laugh, this deficiency can lead me up many blind alleys where Google maps, that universal compass, is of no earthly use. Finding my way to a destination, calls for the use of communication and other interpersonal skills on my part and the goodness and kindness of strangers on another’s part. But by engaging other people in helping you to get there, you can have a far more creative and adventurous experience than were you to turn to technology for help.
I can stare at a google map until I’m blue in the face and still go the wrong way as I did last Thursday. I was looking for a particular address and studied the map for some time.
‘It can’t  be that hard to find can it?’ I naively asked myself.  When I turned off to the road with the same name as the suburb I was going to and came to a dead end I knew I was in trouble. So I started driving in the ‘general’ direction (I had to turn the google map upside down to find it) and eventually came to a shopping centre. I could feel the irritation growing -I should know by now that’s the time to have a bit of laugh at myself- but of course I ended up getting cranky and to top it off I was on a time schedule, even more reason to berate myself!
Every year on my birthday,  a  dear friend sends me a generous cheque with which to trea


t myself. This year, noticing an advertisement in the local paper for an Indian head massage-I’m a devotee of this stress releasing and relaxing modality- I decided to book one.
At the shopping centre I chose a busy cafe and asked the help of those Angels of directionally challenged people like me in  finding someone who could help me make the massage on time.
  How lucky was I to serendipitously find a barista who used to live in the street I was now looking for! I confessed my shameful secret and that I would need simple, very simple instructions to find the place. The dear woman wrote them down for me.
After having slurped down a strengthening capuchino, I left with written instructions in hand.I drove with one hand on the wheel and the other clenching the instructions.
I arrived three minutes before the appointed time only to find It was the wrong day. It was then I was able to laugh at myself, in a semi hysterical fashion. The following day I returned, this time with confidence in my ability to find the way. I experienced one of the best head massages ever!
Being a moderate extravert, I find I have a better chance of getting somewhere if I interact with people rather than rely on a map. It’s all those little visual and nonverbal cues which help me to make sense of how to get where Im going. I also notice and appreciate just how many people, the vast majority in fact are more than willing to help. This has caused me to wonder what other skills which we have relied on in the past to orient ourselves in new territory,  are now being replaced by technology.

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