Getting lost while driving is a different sort of problem nowadays because of smart phones. It’s easier to recover.
Cyndi and I recently spent a weekend being lost while driving in Santa Fe, which some would say is a redundant statement, but it wasn’t so bad. No matter where we were, we could pull over, input the destination address, and the mapping ap would plot a solution for driving. It even provided alternate routes, as if we had enough local knowledge to make an informed choice. And you know what? Getting lost isn’t so bad if you are with someone you love who doesn’t argue.
Our second morning in Santa Fe, while driving to Cyndi’s workshop, we missed an obscure “Y” in the road and ended up about 90-degrees off prime. We ended up driving half way to Glorieta on I-25 North (which, of course, goes south) before doubling back to the correct location. I think Cyndi was the last attendee to arrive. The gate tender was standing in the road waiting for us.
The disadvantage of using a phone to navigate is you only get a small detailed picture of where you are and where you are going. Most of the time I need a wider view of life than my phone screen offers. Another disadvantage is that only the navigator can see the map. It’s too small for both driver and navigator to follow.
So after delivering Cyndi to her workshop I found a place to camp out and enjoy Sunday morning coffee and newspapers. I unfolded my large analog city map and retraced our morning routes, including wrong turns and missed opportunities, and figured out where we went wrong and how we recovered. I felt much better about the entire experience once I had it in my head.
I wonder why no one has invented a “Where Did I Go Wrong” phone ap that retraces the previous hour’s driving and deconstructs exactly how the driver got off-track. With an ap like that I could identify the first error that cascaded into deep lostness.
Even better, maybe the paid version of the ap could point out where I first went wrong on my last job, or most recent blunder with Cyndi, or even identify the bad assumption I used that cascaded into an intractable mess. That would be worth $9.99.
However, looking over past mistakes is only useful when plotting a future course. Going forward, I am a wide-angle view kind of guy. I need to see a bigger picture before drawing conclusions. I need a large-scale paper map alongside my phone to really do my best.
Unlike Cyndi, I am not a kinesthetic learner. I will never understand a place simply by driving around. I need a mental picture of the roads and how they relate to each other, and the sooner I use a map during my exploring phase, the quicker I get the image of the layout, and the better I understand the city.
And, just being honest here, I also need maps to understand relationships, or theology, or history, or marathon training, or whatever. My mind needs as much data as possible before zooming down to the detail level. In fact, I can’t grasp which details are important until I have them all in front of me.
There have been occasions when Cyndi and I worked together to lead a workshop and our opposing styles for preparation clashed. Cyndi, being a professional teacher, can go from abstract to concrete almost immediately. Once she senses the core of a lesson, she relentlessly pursues the final result and cranks it out quickly. For Cyndi, the work comes after she knows her destination.
Not me. I never know the final target of a lesson, or an essay, or a speech, or a workshop, or even a book, until I pile all the available data on the table and start sifting. For me, the destination comes only after I do the work.
So we are leaving for a vacation this weekend, maybe our first pure vacation in ten years, to Kauai, and I don’t think I have a good road map yet. I have a spreadsheet mapping out our days, but I have no confidence for driving. Fortunately, we are traveling with great friends, so it will be OK if we get lost together. It just adds to of the adventure.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
Journal entry 070512: Is Getting Lost Part of the Adventure?
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