True confessions – I do not have a sense of direction. I can get lost in a grocery store. I have.

Underground parking garages move my car from one spot to another. I’m sure they do.

If I enter a large block-size department store near ladies accessories then my mantra the entire time I am browsing is ladies accessories so that I will exit on the same street as I entered. If not, I will be lost.

Many years ago, long before the GPS, my sister and brother-in-law gave me this key chain as I set out for a year of European travel and adventure.IMG_0844uca_1

I guess they did want me to come back! I used it too. Many times. I would stand in a phone box (remember those?) so as not to look too vulnerable and determine north.

I have been lost in cities and towns all over the world. I am not adverse to asking directions but many times I didn’t speak the language to ask “Where am I and how do I get to the little circle on my map?”

But being lost isn’t always bad. Being cautious and aware of dangers (remember the phone box?) I try to view being lost as an adventure.

  • I have found some lovely coffee shops by accident. A perfect place to have a cuppa and to find north.

  • I have met some helpful people, some of them also lost. Aha, it’s not just me.

  • I have discovered off-the-beaten-track shops. I have lovely memories whenever I wear a particular scarf.

  • I have come across some beautiful scenery.

  • I have learned that my car makes easy U-turns. That’s a necessity.

  • I have learned I am not afraid to say I don’t know where I am.

  • I have learned to control the feeling of panic. I may not have a sense of direction but I won’t let that limit me.

Being lost in Paris a few years ago I stopped for lunch at a sidewalk cafe. The gentleman at the next table saw me rotating my map as I prepared to leave and asked if I needed directions. “Yes, I do” I responded, “but I think I’ll just keep wandering because I was having such a lovely time being lost.” The look he gave me was neither strange nor confused. I knew he understood when he answered, “I hope you get lost gloriously.”

Getting lost is different from not knowing where you’re going. Getting lost can be an adventure. Getting lost can lead to discovery. Getting lost can lead to self awareness. I hope you get lost gloriously.

About etiquetteottawa

Founder and Owner of the Protocol School Of Ottawa
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6 Responses to Lost

  1. Alessandro says:

    Suzanne, I think this is the absolute best post you’ve written in your blog. It’s amazing because life is just like a journey and being lost other than making us uncomfortable, leads us to discover new things often very good for us.
    Your post is a strong invitation to be lost and happy to be, because we can always have good things out of it (your list is great).

    I can’t thank you enough for this lovely though you shared with us.


  2. Ron Scott says:

    Yes Suzanne….I still have the identical matching (now antique) key chain. And yes, I have to confess to using it a time or 2 when I was turned around deep in the woods on my motocross motorcycle…but here I am…must have got me home safely. And yes, I now equally appreciate GPS. Glad to hear your compass was a source of both comfort and discovery.
    THE brother-in-law.

  3. Karen Hull says:

    You could always try Zen navigation (thank you Douglas Adams). Next time you are lost try following someone know looks like they know where you are going. The idea is that you will probably not end up where you were going but you will end up where you needed to be.

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