Oops, I think I made a wrong turn…

Within a week of first moving up to New York, and after driving down too many one way streets into Kingston Police (thank God they are forgiving of brand new out-of-state drivers), I decided that I should invest in a simple navigation system. It is a Garmin, and to this day I still follow the Australian Garmin Navigator Lady’s directions when I am driving anyplace new; except for when I forget to bring the system with me. (I cannot keep a straight face when I listen to that accent, it’s hysterical). But, the system is useless for when I go for bike rides or runs, because I don’t use it and tend to rely on my own internal navigation system, which is faulty at best. But despite my silent muttering of every swear word I know when I am lost, I’ve come to consider my inability to follow directions a blessing, and not a curse.

Let me tell you just a couple of reasons for why getting lost is a good thing:

1. Asking for directions is a great way to meet people. Today I had a general idea of where I wanted to go on my bike ride today, but, somehow, ended up completely lost. I happened to turn onto a side street and follow another cyclist, sped up so I was riding parallel him, and asked him for directions. We ended up having a short chat, and I learned that he had just completed a cross-country cycling trip. Such a pleasant fellow!

2. There is an unintentional bump in your weekly mileage. All my rides end up a couple of miles–or couple hours–longer than anticipated. But how can I complain when, at the end of the week, I see I rode an extra forty miles without knowing it?

3. You discover new ways of getting places. Had I not gotten lost on certain roads before, I would never know different routes existed. I know four different ways to get to Woodstock, New York, from where I currently live–all from getting lost!

4. You find out where to purchase specialty food items in your area. Had I not asked for directions, I would not know where to find “the best chocolates in the Hudson Valley” or where I could pick my own fruit in the Hudson Valley. FYI, according to the cyclist I met today, Krause’s Chocolates in Saugerties, New York, “are simply phenomenal.”

5. You learn which roads are acceptable to cycle/run on, and which ones should be reported to the NYS Department of Transportation for being complete pot-hole messes with no shoulder whatsoever.

As for the next time you are lost, think of it as a positive learning experience, not a nightmare.

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September 2010

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