Getting lost while traveling is a given for me. I am directionally challenged. I expect to get lost when I’m traveling but I do not get upset about it.
I’m unable to pinpoint the exact moment when it happened but I have been possessed by the wanderlust for many years. I believe the seed may have been planted when my mom would gather us five kids in the car when she had errands to run. Occasionally she would get a little lost and exclaim “looks like we’re on another unguided tour!” She always seemed so upbeat about it so I didn’t mind being lost. I thought it was all rather exciting, we were on an adventure! We always found our way eventually.
Owing to the fact that getting lost does not bother me I do seem to get there with some regularity. Directionally challenged, anyone? Yes but I am pretty good at finding my way back, eventually, to where I planned on being before I got lost.
Getting lost while traveling? Watch for landmarks
Not that I am terribly good at reading a map or anything. I look for landmarks, gauge my direction via the sun, and I often rely on the kindness of strangers. People are incredibly helpful even if, or rather, especially if there is a huge language barrier. If I have a map or guidebook I can at least point to the place I am looking for. It is a great opportunity to test out one’s foreign language skills.
When I traveled to Marrakech Morocco I stayed at the Riad Massine II in a residential area of the old walled city – the medina. It was complicated to find the place through all the winding narrow walkways. Fortunately there was trick to remembering the way – the light posts along the buildings all pointed in the direction I needed to turn to get to my riad. Someone even made a video of the route on youtube – Way to Riad Massine II. I did not always remember to watch for the light posts but I always found my way. The locals would giggle at me when I turned the wrong way and I would smile and remember to look for the light posts once again.
When I’m visiting a new city and I inevitably find myself getting lost I will usually just roll with it and wander around the area for a while to discover a part of the city that I otherwise would have missed. I do prefer to get lost while walking as opposed to driving or taking a bus/metro. Walking a city is the very best way to see it and experience the vibe.
You won’t feed all your senses while driving around in a car or bus. You can’t fully appreciate the smells and sounds like you can while walking about. You can’t run your hand over that amazing textured surface from an automobile. I find it is more personal and enjoyable to walk.
Lost while traveling? Reward yourself with food :)
One can work up a healthy appetite whilst on an unguided tour. Take note of the eating establishments along the way, you may discover a favorite new restaurant. Or try some local street food. I look for a vendor with lots of customers. Not keen on dining solo – read my post about dining alone for more tips. If you are truly feeding your senses you are in fact obligated to complete the tour with a culinary experience.
To this day I never mind getting lost while traveling. I always think looks like I’m on another unguided tour!
Do you freak out when you get lost while traveling? Or do you enjoy losing your way every once in a while?
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