Repeat after me: It’s okay to ask for directions.
There comes a time in every traveler’s life when he or she wanders off the well-worn trail in a far away place and ends up very LOST. Being a free-spirit, I usually invite quite a bit of chaos into my travel adventures and have discovered many hidden treasures away from my intended path. So let’s agree that being lost is not always a bad thing. However, there is such a thing as being lost and it having serious consequences. So that got me thinking about when to push the panic button.
Here are 6 definite signs or situations where you need to ask for directions:
You have to be somewhere, at a specific time
This one can become really embarrassing. You know you need to be somewhere at a specific time and location, yet you are lost but confident you will arrive on time. Blinded by your own confidence and bad judgement you continue moving farther away from where you need to be. Many along the path offer to save you, but you will not accept their help. By the time you figure out you’re screwed, it’s too late. Good thing this has never happened to me! (hahaha)
It’s night time in a strange city
You go out to dinner with your traveling companions to a nice restaurant a few blocks away. Everyone walks because it’s a lovely evening and you need some fresh air. You have a little wine and lobster and leave about 3 hours later. Starting back to the hotel, you all realize no one knows the way in the dark. Sound familiar? Do you a) hail a cab?, b) stumble around in the dark?, c) go back to the bar or d) ask for directions? Most will choose option b. I typically go with option c followed by option a.
You feel like you’re in a scary movie
Most of the time when I’m lost, I make an effort to embrace the feeling of the unknown. The best things are found by not looking for them so being off-course can bring fun-filled surprises. However, there are times when being off-course will transport you into your favorite horror movie. It hits you like a ton of bricks and you scramble to get yourself back to safety. Always have a plan and listen to your little voice. Both will save you, along with the ability to ask for directions in ten languages.
Someone starts crying
If you travel with a group, you’ll find that everyone has a different tolerance for being lost. Some people embrace it like it’s an adventure of epic proportions, others will go along in shocked silence hoping the others will figure it out. I have learned that the silent ones will eventually crack and start crying. When this happens, it’s time to call in the cavalry. Trust me, no one wants to see or hear a grown person cry out of desperation.
Your chances of survival are dropping by the minute
You hear stories all the time of people becoming lost or disoriented and not realizing they are in significant danger. They are usually on a big vacation and attempting something they have dreamed about forever. I’m no expert, but make sure you have a fail-safe way for someone to find you should you become lost. Or better yet, hire a guide if that’s an option. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your smartphone can bail you out of any jam. Plan ahead, just in case there’s no one to ask for directions.