One time I drove from DC to Baltimore and ended up back in DC. Just in time for rush hour. That beltway really is a loop, huh?
To say I lack a keen sense of direction is an understatement. Sure, I’ve notoriously gotten lost while driving over the years, but it’s bigger than that. Sometimes I drive on autopilot and head toward my office on a weekend or nearly drive to Downtown Annapolis on a work day. Raise your hand if you’ve ever missed the 97 exit – only having to drive to Davidsonville for the nearly 12 miles roundtrip. The life of a daydreamer.
Although, nothing demonstrates my true colors with a lack of direction quite like my first international trip. My mom gave each of her children the gift of a lifetime: plan a trip anywhere you want to go together, and she’ll pay for it. So off we went to France together. The youngest of three siblings, this was my chance to go first at anything.
Up close and personal with the beloved Eiffel Tower.
My mom had been to France once before, however, my dad had been her navigator. It didn’t take long for things to get interesting and for it to become clear that I was a chip off the old block when it came to a challenged sense of direction.
I’ll share my first journal entry of this trip to demonstrate what I mean:
4:20 p.m. – Lost already in the Philadelphia airport. Of course, we were distracted by the pizza stand. After what felt like a 5K race, we finally reached Gate A6.
Eight hours and one cramped plane ride later, we nearly missed our luggage gawking at the train map.
Then, we were so anxious about missing our train stop that we got off one stop too early. One hundred steps later… we finally reached the sunlight.
Breathtaking sights met our gaze: The real-life version of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame stood tall.
Shortly after, our cab driver hustled us. What should have been $5.00 ended up costing us $30.00. Lesson learned.
Talk about an interesting beginning to a trip. I should also note how on the first page of my journal, I had a few helpful phrases and words to easily reference. This one was very telling.
“Je suis perdue.” It translates to “I’m lost.”
On some level I guess I knew we’d struggle with finding our way. If you let it, getting lost can be crippling. However, my mom and I choose to take it in stride and laugh at the ridiculousness of getting lost before we even left the states.
Knowing where you’re going is overrated. And, if you let it, getting lost can be an adventure.