STATS – Day: 23 | Distance: 3638.5miles | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania | Money Spent To Date – Gas: $386.23| Food: $250.40| Play/Misc: $72.48 | Lodging $303.50
With today’s land of gadgets, gizmos, and apps you’d think getting lost would be impossible. It does still happen, at least it happens to me. I’m directionally challenged. I notice visual markers, not street signs. I know exactly ONE WAY to get someplace. I can’t read a map, but I do like to make fun art projects out of them! Sadly, this talent doesn’t help me when I’m lost. So here are some things I do that might help the next time your GPS has you spinning out in a cow pasture, satellite service is lost, cell service drops, or the magical world wide web disappears. It happens!
1: Get a Map – even if it’s outdated and you don’t know how to read one you can find the city/town that you’re in by using the index and location markers on the side of the map and AT LEAST see what’s the next major city/town, then go ask someone how to get there, or even better….look at bullet #2
2: Find Someone who CAN Read a Map – plus you’ll meet new people and maybe make new friends.
3: Direction Screenshots – Find a place that has WiFi like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s or McDonalds, then look up directions and take screenshots on your phone. This works as long as your phone doesn’t die.
4: “Waze”, download the app to your phone. Then load the addresses into your favorites, and hit navigate. It will continue to display the initial directions even when it loses internet, cell or satellite connection.
5: Ask Directions. Okay, now 9 times out of 10 the directions won’t be accurate and you’ll need to ask directions again from someone else, but hey…get out there and meet peeps!
6: Be Lost! New Experiences are waiting at every turn, so get out there and experience them!
Yes, you can also print out directions ahead of time, but I like to save trees and these suggestions you can do without pre-planning. If you are traveling in another country (okay, even this country), brush up on your miming skills as an additional backup.
A couple years back I was in Korea, walking around the city of Suwon, just outside of Seoul. There was a roadside oddity of a
house built in the shape of a western toilet, called “Mr. Toilet House“. It was built for Sim Jae-Duck, who was actually born in his grandmother’s toilet. He gave rise to the sanitation “movement” and the health-related importance of our bowels. So of course, I HAD TO FIND THIS HOUSE!
I had been going off of a map that wasn’t to scale and it looked like the toilet house was walking distance from where I was. After walking for miles and not getting very far, I waved down a taxi. I get in and explain that I want to go to the toilet house. He looks at me, I look at him. I know a few words in Korean, he knew a few words in English. None of the words were “toilet” or “house”.
I pulled out my map which had all the names of places. Unfortunately, the words were written using the English letters, not Korean symbols. Doh! I pointed to where we were on the map and signed with my mad miming skills demonstrating “HERE” and then pointed to the toilet house on the map and mimed “GO”.
I then put my hands over my head, touching my fingers together like the point of a house, then acted like I was pulling down my pants (no I didn’t pull down my pants) and squished my eyes shut really hard and strained my face. I did that a few times and pointed to the map location.
after a long while he said “haewoojae?” (sounds like Hay-Woo-Day)
My eyes light up with a big smile on my face! I shook my head yes and said “Ah! Haewoojae!” because I saw that word printed near the toilet house. I was so happy that we both understood that one word. If I would have known how to pronounce it at first I would have led off the miming with that word. Now I knew.
“haewoojae!” haewoojae!” – he laughed and smiled, then put his hands up like the tip of a house and acted like he pulled his pants down and squished up his face. I laughed and then we were both laughing. He said OK, and off we went. Haewoojae doesn’t mean “toilet house”, it was explained to me later that it more closely means when a monk relieves himself, so basically it is like a “holy shit”.
20-Miles was how far I would have been walking!!! Damn poorly scaled maps!
He gave me a tour of places along the way, I couldn’t understand a word, but I looked as he pointed. Then he finally slowed the taxi way down and made sure I noticed a train station and where it was located. He was telling me that when I was done visiting the Toilet House I’d only need to walk 4 blocks to the closest train station to go back to Seoul. I nodded that I understood.
Then he “dropped” me off right at Mr. Toilet’s door.
“Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost” – J. R. R. Tolkien
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