Navigating. I use GPS!
Navigating an Abandoned Road
Elderly man drives into Sand Pile
Girl drives down boat path into lake
Limo Driver follows GPS down a flight of stairs
Driving into the ocean and 8 other spectacular fails as GPS turns 25
by Sarah Wolfe Global Post PRI
Knowing HOW to get there is a big deal.
GPS is not the whole answer.
Though some of these stories are funny, not finding the DMV after driving an hour, being late picking up the kids, or ending up in a dangerous part of town is not funny.
To live well in a community, you must know your community’s layout, landmarks and how to get ________(there).
A PAPER Map. To many younger than 40 that might seem unreasonable. However, a paper map, one you can spread out on your kitchen table, is the first step to understanding where you live.
Starting with a paper map identify the major highways and which part of town they are in. They could be on the north edge, go northeast to southwest or potentially a loop. By identifying these and knowing generally where you are in the city, NOW you are never lost.
Next identify the landmarks in your city and put a star or highlight the intersection on your paper map. Whether they are major, like the St. Louis Arch or what your sister would judge minor the high school or the only stoplight in town, mark it all.
Identify landmarks on all sides of town. Even If one of them is the only sign of civilization truck stop on the west side mark it.
This layering of information creates a spatial map in your brain engaging the navigational abilities we were all born with.
A MAP IN YOUR BRAIN
Practically, with a spatial map you:
- Know how to get there
- Are never truly lost
- Do not waste time
- KNOW IMMEDIATELY if Siri/Waze/GoogleMaps is sending you the wrong way.
GPS, as good as it is, is flawed. Waze, as much as I LOVE it above the rest, sends me into some of the worst neighborhood when I am not paying attention.
Like with everything else in life we must take responsibility for where we are. This is as much for our safety as the safety of those we love.
FUN WITH PRACTICE
We have a bird’s eye view of where we are going. We know the major landmarks to verify our route along the way. Now it is time to practice getting there.
We might as well choose something fun as our first destination.
Let’s say you have a passion for Italian Ice, fabric stores or select soccer. Find the top 3 of your thing and plot them on the map.
- Look over the directions both on your paper map and GPS.
- Print out your directions
- Make your way to your destination without voice directions
Without voice direction you notice the environment around you and increase practical knowledge of the area. Are these good areas of town? Would I walk around here? Is there a brewery or pie shop to explore next time?
Each trip into the community will provide another thread of information that ultimately makes this community, your community.
YOUR SUPER POWER
Becoming a navigational expert in your area is a SuperPower! Who knew all you needed was a paper map and a little practice
Most locals only venture within a 2 mile radius.
You will find that they will start asking you how to get places. Being navigational expert people will start asking you, the new kid, how to get there. All is all, it is an easy and practical way to understand where you live.
Perhaps you can even encourage others to learn about and engage more in their community.
If you have any suggestions to help others please email me at Annette@ReloMoms.com. Together we live great Relo Lives!!
A ReloMom currently in the wilds of Texas, working to encourage and inspire others while seeking another adventure.