One day last week my daughter rang me and said “There is a programme on the radio about people who go on holiday and end up in the wrong place. You should ring them“.

Oh, I said  `’Do you mean about the time we got stuck in the White Apache Mountains and had to stay overnight?” (this story includes the elements of diabetic hypoglycaemia, rattlesnakes, scorpions and a bear – the bear turned out to be imagined, the others were not!). “No” she said. “Oh, the time I took Ben (then aged 10) to South Africa and got lost on the drive to Swaziland and ended up lost near the Mozambique border and people threw stones at the car?” ” No, not that either.”  “When I accidentally navigated us through a Township we had been warned was dangerous?”  “No!” “The bomb explosion in Egypt?” “No”Well, what then?” I said rather impatiently. She sighed and said “something completely different that you probably don’t even remember but on reflection I think you should ring them and take over the rest of the programme The BBC might commission a whole season of your MIS-adventures!! ”

It’s not as bad as it sounds

Putting it in perspective these are things that have happened over very many years and I don’t think they are representative of every trip I’ve made but I do admit I don’t have a very good sense of direction. Correction – I don’t have a sense of direction at all! Iain has suggested that I take a Winnie the Pooh approach, which is to decide which way I think it is and then go in the complete opposite direction. This is unfair (a little) because Iain has an excellent and almost uncanny ability to remember places once he’s visited them. We have visited lots of different Cities in the world together because of our jobs but even if we have visited somewhere only once he can still recall the names of streets and the layout of the city centre if we return five years later.  When we moved to Cheltenham, within a week he not only knew how to get to places but he worked out shortcuts. Whilst on the other hand it once took me nearly two hours to get back from Sainsbury because I couldn’t remember how I’d got there.

Lost in the forest

I love walking and being in the New Forest is a great opportunity to explore the wonderful nature of this National Park. I have often (most usually) got lost and ended up with a much longer walk than I intended. This didn’t matter too much as I do eventually find my way home (once via a pub where I rang for a taxi!) and I enjoy discovering lovely places that I come across accidentally. However, when I started walking with Julie, I discovered there is someone with an even worse sense of direction than me! We have sometimes been on a one hour walk and then been lost for the following three.

There have been several times when we’ve been quite worried that we are going to be stranded in the Forest in the dark or even overnight! GPS doesn’t help as there is rarely a signal in the midst of the Forest and anyway the footpaths don’t show, just the main roads.  Once, when we were lost, we were elated to find we suddenly had a phone signal and could check Google Maps. We put in our destination and heard the message, ‘ …. your  route will take 50 minutes …… by car ….. in good traffic conditions!”.  It did give us a good laugh before we got sore hips and feet. Thinking ahead to the winter and darker evenings we have decided to join a Ramblers group so that we can enjoy some good walks without wondering whether it may be our last!

A scientific explanation

I’ve looked at the research of whether men do naturally have a better sense of direction than women or just think they do. It seems that the differences are down to how our brains have evolved. The theory is that men’s brains are developed to be hunters and women’s as gatherers. This (is meant to) explain why men can find their way around unfamiliar places outside but can’t find their socks at home.

Please Note: : I am an early riser and frequently wake up with thoughts and questions on my mind. I write them down and record them in these short unedited, un-researched, unscientific bits of writing. They are written in a half asleep hypnopompic state and should not be regarded as anything more than what they are – random thoughts and musings. For sensible subjects and writing please visit Positive Psychology Learning website