Our Summer Adventure 2 – overcoming the fear of getting lost

My own little story of overcoming the fear of getting lost - via Funky Junk Interiors

My own little story of overcoming the fear of getting lost – via Funky Junk Interiors / image source unknown.


About “Our Summer Adventure”

A blogger who mentally can’t pause her social media world. A boy who lives for video games. This is the story of how an absolute miracle brought a mom and her son into a much quieter, simpler world, far far away from their own internet driven world. With no wifi. Will they survive? You’ll soon find out!

Visit all Summer Adventure instalments HERE

– – – – –

I have a little (big?) fear that’s been holding me back for quite some time. I have to work on how to overcome the fear of getting lost. 

This largely has to do with having no idea where places are or even how to get there. It also hasn’t helped that whenever someone drove me somewhere, I never paid attention to the routes. I just enjoyed the ride.

Imagine my sheer fright when a client of mine wanted me to drive deep into Vancover to parts unknown, to do a job. “I’m scared to get lost so I can’t. Have a nice day now!” would not have come off as very professional.  I voiced my concern (freakout) to a friend and he wisely offered me the use of his GPS.

I looked at that thing and thought, how on EARTH will that little box keep me safe and sound and out of harm’s way and not taking an 8 hour detour because I made the wrong turn off?!

Well, it worked. I had no idea how I got from point A to point B, but I did it! I was so excited in fact that I called him and squealed, “I’m in their lot, reading their sign and I have NO idea where I am! I’m sooooo excited!”

You can bet I picked up my own GPS right after that grand event. And have never looked back since. I can now get myself to our crazy busy airport (still having no idea where I am) and get to odd work places. And even places I would never have found if I had TRIED to get ‘loster’. GPSs love back alleys. Strange.

Today? I’m heading out to parts unknown yet again, but this time the stakes are much higher. I’m not in my safe zone of our little valley. 

This is BIG for me. Imagine this. You’re given a vague direction of where you are to head, but no where in the world is your course mapped. You just have to wing it and trust the signs and GPS. My very own personal version of The Amazing Race. 

Visiting Whiterock, BC Canada, via Funky Junk Interiors
Trust me. Even I can get lost with a GPS. Remember my little White Rock adventure where the GPS threw me into some residential area and didn’t understand there was a CEMENT BARRIER in front of me with the road continuing beyond it? Took me a good 30 minutes to get out of that mess. Silly thing… ๐Ÿ™‚

A nature walk though a gorgeous campground. via Funky Junk Interiors
There was a reason we went camping where we did. Don’t get me wrong, there are no regrets! In fact, it was wonderful in so many new ways. The only but is, it was easy. I knew where to go. And we weren’t striking new ground… or growth.

So when Karen handed me the keys to parts unknown, the way it came down, I knew I had to do this. Try wasn’t in the equation the way this all came down. No, this had to be a DO. Because one thing I know is, the more I fear, the more it’ll hold me back.

Karen’s offer gave me a safe destination to strive towards rather than, “Here, take your pick at a town you don’t know with hotels that may be full. Good luck now!”

You can bet I feel nervous about it, but I do know one thing for certain. Doing it will remove the fear factor. Once the system of navigation in this area becomes familiar, the fear will diminish. But it won’t work if I don’t step up to the plate and do it.

Fear is soooo restricting. It can slam doors on you and hold you hostage. I personally am going to punch through this one, and if I get lost, well hey… a new town to go junkin’ in, right?! That’s the spirit, correct?!? As long as it isn’t an 8 hour detour, it’ll be just fine… I guess… ๐Ÿ™‚

I know it’s up to me to show my son that being adventurous is a great trait. It’s time to figure out how to overcome the fear of getting lost. And I may have to get lost in order to get over it!

Plus, I also know sitting on the side of the road with your hood up, crying could come in handy as a last resort… it’s good day to be a girl…

To be continued. (If I can be found!)

Do you have a personal fear? How did you get over it?

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Categories: Inspiration, Personal, Travel
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37 thoughts on “Our Summer Adventure 2 – overcoming the fear of getting lost

  1. Donna I have the same fear… as a matter of fact I was really admiring you taking your son to parts unknown. I secretly wished I had the courage to do something like that. I too always have someone drive and never pay attention. To this day I don’t know many of the road names in the town I grew up in. (I always blame it on the ADHD) Good for you for branching out!

  2. Good for you, sweetheart! My suggestion is to get into the adventure of finding new places. I was a rep with the phone company for many years and when I had time to kill I loved nothing more than taking a road just to see where it went. And this was way (way!) before GPS; in fact I didn’t get one of the first hard-wired car phones until I was a good five years into the job. I guess when you make the decision to get lost yourself, it gives you a better sense of control. It’s also easier to deal with getting lost here on Cape Cod than it was, say,in the depths of Maine; living here on our peninsula, I’m going to bump into the ocean on one side or the other eventually!

  3. I guess getting lost hasn’t ever been one of my fears. .. Although I have more than my share. I admire you for staring that Dragon down though… it’s not something I’ve learned to do well. I can’t wait to hear what’s next. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~Tammy

  4. Well glad you are taking control and moving forward, it will take some time but keep working on that! ๐Ÿ™‚ I never feared getting lost and that was because I was living on Long Island! I would run into water at some point but since moving off the island and Upstate NY I can get that nervous feeling when venturing out and I am grateful to have the GPS!
    Have a blessed day and thanks for sharing with all of us.

  5. I am so glad that you Love your GPS….I bought one for my daughter for Christmas to carry to college with her. We (Bob & I) have used it several times to check it out, and it has tried to take us a way that we didn’t want to go, more than once. I hate it, but then I usually mapquest and I look at an Atlas before a trip. Maybe it is just mine, but it would have taken us 30 miles out of the way Saturday night…UGH!

  6. when I moved to this city from my tiny home town over 20 years ago- before cell phones and GPS – and I fear of getting lost as well – I decided to overcome it the best way I could figure:

    I had a Sunday off, and filled up the car and just drove all around and got horribly lost. That day I figured it out: 270 runs around the city, Rt 71 and Rt 315 cut in half north/south – and Rt 70 cuts in in half Eat to west….knowing that I lived North, I knew no matter where I was if I remembered those important “get me there no matter what” routes I would be fine. And I never felt that fear again – seriously, I KNEW that those roads would bring me home no matter what part of this huge city I would find myself………….and it was such a relief and so empowering.

    I hope you one day lose your fear, too, fear is debilitating, small or large it does us little good in the end.


  7. My daddy was a truck driver and could go anywhere – no map, no GPS, nothing. I guess I got my love of “striking out” from him. I am not afraid to go places I’ve never been before and I do not own a GPS. Daddy always said “you’re never lost as long as you have gas in the car”. All roads lead to somewhere and eventually you will get back on track. Have a blast on your adventure – just be sure you have plenty of gas ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • LOL, my father was also a truck driver and could also go anywhere without a map (and I don’t think he’s ever heard of ‘GPS’)..

  8. Donna: Buy some BC and city road maps and your son can be the navigator while you drive and listen to the GPS. If a road is closed for some reason, the GPS does not tell you, maps are still the best! I used to drive with my young girls from BC to Ontario annually and never had a problem. Maps are a great geography lesson! Have FUN!

  9. I love getting lost although I rarely am. I find new places and new ways to get where I am going. I have always been the navigator in my family. I know north, south, east and west.
    And I orient myself with a map of wherever I am going. The only time I remember being lost was in New Orleans when I was on the loop around the city and got turned around.

    Also, remember you are never truly lost, you are always right where you are.

    Good for you finding a way to conquer what was holding you back!

    • Ahhhh, a kindred spirit! I’m just like you, Kim. It’s difficult to get me lost, but even if I do, I never panic and I can always orient myself pretty quickly.

  10. Oh, my dear..I know precisely what you mean. I have zero sense of direction and bought a GPS. It’s very helpful at times, not so much at others. I also hate expressways and sometimes the ‘fear’ remains even though I know this is all supposed to work out!
    It’s almost impossible for those who don’t have this ‘fear’ to sympathize.
    But good for you! It is a good feeling to get somewhere unscathed, isn’t it!
    (P.S. LOVE your blog.)

  11. You have my deepest sympathies. I, too, have an overwhelming fear of getting lost- got lost in the north end of Portland once for 7 hours, and it ruined me for taking solo trips. I admire you for making this journey.

  12. This post is timed just right for me… We just got back from Pennsylvania, I am from California and live in the suburbs of L.A. (city) and we were in the countryside of Pa…
    I cannot figure out how people know where they are. Luckily our sister-in-law handed us her GPS. It made the trip so much more fun for me…not worrying about where we were and just enjoying the beauty of it all!
    Have a great time! karen….

  13. My fear of getting lost is not just on the road….big shopping malls and parking garages are overwhelming to me. I not only try to remember where I parked or entered the store, I write it down! I pass up going to auctions that are in unknown territory to avoid the stress….and I have a GPS, but “she” has taken me the wrong way before, so I do not trust her….and I must change her voice…totally gets to me after awhile. So my dear, you are not alone…but looks like you are on your way to overcome this challenge!

  14. Am so glad you are out there meeting this head on and that the GPS is helping a bunch. I’ve not had that fear but I don’t like going on dirt roads. I’ve traveled by myself a lot, me and my horse, so getting lost hasn’t bothered me as someone is always willing to help, all you have to do is ask. Congratulations and am so glad that you are enjoying this new found experience.

  15. Good for you Donna! I have the same fear as my husband always has to drive (he makes a terrible passenger – backseat driver) and he never takes the same way twice. I am a visual person so when someone says go north on Main Street, I cringe… But if they say turn left at the tall brick building with the funky sign then I’m fine.
    My husband is in the military so we have had to learn how to get around in many new towns, but I think what helped the most was driving around in foreign countries (Germany and Greece) and then coming back to Canada. At least if you get lost here you probably speak the same language so you can ask for help and UNDERSTAND the directions ( well at least if they don’t use north and south …lol) I think I have taught my kids to persevere, be adventurous and maybe a few new swear words. Oops!
    Keep pushing yourself and you will be amazed at what you really are capable of!

  16. LOL Donna. I am not a fan of getting lost. I was so glad when I bought my car last year it had a built in GPS. So far it has taken me to my destination each time I had to use it. Living in the country with the back country roads, you can get lost pretty easily and gas stations can be few and far between. Although, my biggest fear has always been driving on the by-pass/expressways. When I see anything more than 2 lanes on a road, I grip the steering wheel, sit front on my seat and nobody better talk to me except my GPS telling me when to prepare to turn left or right and when to get off all that craziness of people whizzing by.

  17. My fear is a little different. I owe my good sense of direction to my grandpa. My fear is being alone. I don’t like to go shopping or do anything alone. Recently I started a new job which requires me to work a grave yard shift at night as a CNA, taking care of 14 patients all night on my own. I have noticed that I am not as afraid of being alone anymore.

    Guess we are both a work in progress when it comes to dealing with our fears. We will have to take it one step at a time. Glad you are brave enough to share.

  18. I read your blog with interest, because I’m just the opposite!

    I’ll turn down an unexplored road with the intent of getting lost! I love exploring new places and seeing new and unusual sights; things we don’t usually find by sticking to the main road. Before Google Maps and Smart Phones, I’d just jump in the car with my trusty Roads of Texas atlas and off we’d go, just me and my boy off on a new adventure to see what we could find. He’s too grown up now to want to take off for a weekend with Mom now, but my bestie and I will hit the road every now and again just for a change of scenery.

    I’m glad you’re mastering your fear because there is a whole world of adventure out there waiting to be discovered! Press on, Donna!

  19. I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this I am literally in tears right now with the hope I can overcome my very same fear, If I didnt know better I would have thought that I wrote the beginning of this myself. I’m 26 and also dont drive for fear of getting lost and also more fearfully getting into an accident. I drive very few places, I was recently offered a job as a nanny, which is perfect for me but with one small problem the family would like me to handle pick ups and drop offs from school and after school programs so I know exactly how you feel when you have to say โ€œIโ€™m scared to get lost so I canโ€™t. Have a nice day now!โ€. This article really inspired me and I will be looking into getting myself a GPS.

    • A GPS truly saved me, Rachel. I use to have to print out maps galore and study them intently before I left anywhere. Now I get a vague idea of what I have to do, plug in the address and go for it!

      If you have an iphone, I found using Google Maps to be even BETTER.

  20. Yes I have a fear of parts unknown also. I can handle back roads and small towns but don’t make me go to a big city or use the interstate! A friend of mine just left from the Southeast to drive to California pulling her travel trailer behind her. Now her sister did come out to ride with her but still that is scary to me. And on the first day she somehow ran out of gas and hitchhiked to the gas station! I would never! Lucikly a nice lady picked her up.

    I’m not sure I entirely trust a GPS though. On a recent trip it took us completely in a circle. I can’t remember the reason why. I said to my husband this looks familiar and he said it’s because we are right back at the same place!

    • Yup, those interstate turn offs freak me out. But only if I don’t have a clue how far the next turn off is. My issue is not knowing if it’s a 5 minute mistake or 5 hours! Studying beforehand helps greatly!

  21. I used to have that fear. Then my daughter joined a metropolitan choir and they had concerts all over the metro area of Mpls/St Paul. I had no clue where I was going and this was LONG before GPS. I discovered that if you get lost, you aren’t permanently lost – just delayed. You will see home again! I leave earlier all the time to allow for getting lost. Just stop and ask for help. It is now no big deal at all when I get lost, which I still frequently do! Enjoy the ride.

  22. hmmmmm we all have some kind of fear my hubby thinks I am a freak [esp about lightening] ha ha but I am the navigator and I have learned how to read a map upside down.The gps is great especially in an unknown city. We did turn the voice off ha ha cause telling her to shut up just didn’t work.

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  24. As much as I love the internet it never occurred to me to find out how I could overcome my fear of getting lost while driving. I interviewed for a job yesterday and if I get the job I must travel on a daily basis and even fly . I really want the job but am afraid I may end up quitting it if given an assignment I can’t handle. Your story is inspiring. I’m 41 and as smart as I am this has held me back from jobs even relationships. I’m tired of being a prisoner of my own mind. I’m going to attempt to work on achieving my goal of one day soon being able to just drive to another state with no fear. Thank goodness for GPS it has helped me a lot. I came from a small town one lane this way and that way .. No need to read signs we just knew where everything was. We never travel as a family and it’s the one thing I want to do, travel. Thanks so much. I just happen to be a junk junky too. So I am loooooooving your blog! I will subscribe! Thank you for openings get up and sharing your fears to help others!

    • I completely relate to you Cassie! I think we fear when we don’t have any idea of what’s ahead. A little education really helps me.

      I recently went to NYC, and was completely lost in their sea of concrete. Finding stuff didn’t work well when you walk with a GPS. So I studied maps, and drew my own, in order to visit landmarks. It worked!

      Subways were also a struggle for me. But it wasn’t until a kind soul took the time to educate me properly, that I then hopped on one and couldn’t get off the things after that!

      I share the paranoia of driving into the unknown. But a GPS really saved me. Team that up with a good map for referral, where you can stop along the way to check things will help ease your fears considerably!

  25. Oh my gosh! I love this. I have l8ved in fear for so long. In a bad relationship, marriage to an alcoholic man..I can say “I lost myself “. I been 22 yrs trying to find myself. Stepping on faith to go back into the work field is major for me. I know though..I’ve got this courageous in me that was there before fear stole it. My quote “never loose urself”. No one is worth loosing yourself in order to help them find themselves..especially I’ve found they don’t want to be found! To new beginnings…new goals, and finding yourself when you thought you were lost for good.

  26. This is an old post, but I thought I’d chime in anyway.

    I get very uneasy just reading about navigation (and getting lost).

    I am seriously disoriented. Even though as a child I had a sharp mind and good memory function.

    Now, my ability to remember is seriously impaired and the older I get, the worse my memory gets.

    I even have trouble navigating in my own town (regardless of how hard I pay attention to detail).

    Nowadays whenever I go out to a part of town I’m not familiar with, I print a mini map (via Google Maps) and take it with me.

    Thank god I’m used to taking the bus here. The drivers do most of the work (all I have to do is make sure I get off at the right stop – that’s it).

    I have an absolute fear of traveling alone due to being so disoriented.

    Wished I could do more of it, cuz it’s kind of exciting and fun to discover new places. But alas, for now I accept my limitations.

    • I totally understand! When I had a fresh neck injury, it clouded my memory and added a whole lot of fuel to the already navigation issues. What helps me now is being pretty much married to my google map on my phone. The audio instructions save me every time! Even if I miss a turn, I know it’ll direct me back again. Life saver! I like your printed map idea MB, it’s really helpful to have that foresight.

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