Comfort Zone

I realized I have been traveling well within my comfort zone. I go to my jobs, downtown, familiar dog walking trails, places I know well. I do pretty well those places. I can anticipate and I don’t need to use signs or discern among unfamiliar landmarks. I know my surroundings. I can get pretty smug.

Yesterday I needed a ride to see my husband at the hospital (better; thank you) and a friend from a fair distance away offered to take me. Since she and her daughter had made the trip, we decided we would also go to an entertainment event several miles away.

Since they had gone to lunch while I was seeing my husband, we split up so I could eat and they could do an activity. I ate and started to wander in this basically unfamiliar environment.

It was not bad but it was not good either. Although I had grabbed an area map, I was having trouble reading it. My reader had run out of electricity. (Note to self: charge things before you leave the house!) Even if I could have read it all more easily, I was having trouble reading the signs on buildings.

You cannot find your place on a map if you are not sure where you are.

I was not afraid. This is a family friendly place and they are used to dealing with lost children and confused oldsters. I could have easily asked someone for help. I also had my cell phone. I could have called and my friend would have come after me. It was just a little vexing.

Now, you have to understand: being disoriented was not a totally new experience for me. I have never had a great sense of direction. I have been known to pull into a rest stop, pull back out and head in the wrong direction. I am not as bad as a hiker my friend told me about, though. She “stepped off” the Appalachian Trail to pee. They found her body two years later – two miles from the trail!

(I guess that is DBT comparison skill again. I could be worse.)

I have basic ‘woods craft’ skills. If lost, go downhill. Follow water. Figure out where the sun is relative to the time of day and use it to travel in a consistent direction. Great if lost in the Great Smoky Mountains, not so great in the city.

Everything came out fine. I am writing this from my own comfy bed. The experience made me realize, though, what Daddy taught me about basic orienteering is not going to be enough. I need some travel skills.

Next: cats and dogs

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