I worry about my sense of direction sometime. I mean that in a literal sense. I have difficulty finding my way around.
I’m not terrible at it. I can learn simple routes. I know the route from home to my main job, to the shops we frequent most often, etc. But I sometimes I struggle with understanding how these routes fit together. I can understand how to get from A to B, and from A to C. But if you want me to go from B to C… Well, I’ll probably take a while to work out how to do it, and even then I probably won’t have managed to chose the most appropriate route.
I think part of the problem is perception. When I think of a room I tend to picture it from a specific angle. Does anyone else do that? It’s almost like I can’t imagine it from a different angle. In my mind, it is this particular way around. I remember I did the same for the building my secondary school was in. It was strange because my mind put the ground floor of the building at a different angle to the first floor, which would sometimes confuse me when I needed to get from a classroom on one floor to a classroom on the other.
When I’m travelling in the larger world (not too large – just around the city, for example) I’m glad I have my phone and its GPS to save me in case I get lost. But I don’t like having to rely on it. I do my best to try and understand my way around key areas at least.
Today was the first day I came back from my newest job location without using the GPS. Upon leaving work (within about 30 seconds of getting there – the family was ill and they didn’t want to infect me, so I ended up cycling ~13km before 9 am) I decided that, as I wasn’t exhausted from a long day and didn’t have anywhere urgent to be, I would risk getting lost and see if I could get all the way home without the GPS. Without even checking the map.
I did pretty well, if I do say so myself.
Actually if I’m honest the route isn’t the hardest in the world. There’s an awful lot of following the same path for a kilometre or more, taking a turn, following for another kilometre… The main thing is remembering which turn to take, and before now I hadn’t wanted to risk getting lost.
When I tested my route remembering abilities today there was only one turn that I wasn’t certain about. I was about ninety percent sure that I needed to turn right, but the path going straight also looked very familiar. Rather than stopping to check my phone I took the right turn and almost immediately saw a particular recognisable building that confirmed my decision.
(Incidentally, I have a feeling that if I’d gone straight ahead it would have taken me to the place I’ve met husband a couple of times after leaving that workplace, in order to go to a particular shop. That would explain why it looked familiar.)
That was the only place on the whole ~6,5km journey that I had any doubts as to which way I should be going. And it wasn’t many minutes longer that I reached a junction that I knew with absolute certainty I could find my way home from.
I felt very proud of myself.
I’m working at that location again on Wednesday (assuming they are all recovered). I’m going to try and get there without the GPS. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? It’s the exact same route, just from the other direction!
How’s your sense of direction? Are you happy to rely on GPS to help you find your way around?