The 6 Stages of Getting Lost While Traveling

Traveling makes you learn and understand things about yourself that completely transform your life. After traveling to 16 different countries, there is one true fact about myself that I can’t take away or deny: I am completely directionless. Like… God help me if I don’t have maps on my phone and some solid Wifi. Even after living in a new city for almost 3 months now, I STILL get turned around when I’m trying to go somewhere I’ve been plenty of times before. If I’m supposed to go left, yoouuu guessed it: I go right. Luckily for me, I’ve been lost enough times to rationally know how it goes. Or at least… that’s what I’m telling myself.

From one directionless gal to the next (because it WILL happen to you at one point or another), here are the 6 stages of getting lost on the road:

1) Light-hearted confusion

This isn’t happening, right? You left the hotel thinking, “London’s Tube system is FANTASTIC. A no brainer. In fact, I don’t even need to look too closely into my route!” You were of course, wrong. But hey! At this point, you’re just coasting along, and staring at the underground map system a little confusedly.

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2) Anger

This IS happening, and your life couldn’t suck more. Your map sucks, the weather sucks, everybody sucks. Yup, that map you have of Venice is horribly undetailed, and you’re going around in circles because this city is a STUPID MAZE.

3) Panic

The rude guy you asked for help in the corner store is totally useless, and panic sets in. You can feel your throat constrict slightly, and you’re no longer even minutely effective at looking at your map. Shit is getting real.

4) Despair

You’re alone, in an unfamiliar city, and you might NEVER find where you need to go. The worst case scenario is ten times worse than it actually could be, and is the only scenario left in your mind. Things that may go through your head in this stage: you’re almost out of money, nobody can help you, you’ll soon be homeless on the street for the night, hungry, and *gasp* with a dead phone and no connection to the world. The more dramatic the better.

5) Acceptance

You plunk down at the nearest bar, order a beer, and accept you are undeniably lost. You can almost laugh at yourself at this point. Or… you can imagine that the whole situation will be funny one day.

6) Clarity

Once you calm the hell down a little, something clicks that just couldn’t  in stages 1 through 4, and you *finally* figure out a solution to get you where you need to be.

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If this has ever been you, then know you are not alone. And hey, you can be proud that after all of that, you lived to tell the tale, and it’s probably a damn good one too.

Ps, the places mentioned in the first two stages (London and Venice) were a few of the real places I got terribly and hilariously lost. Stories to be told another day, in another blog post.

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