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Literally no sense of direction... at all

182 replies

Pippa12 · 04/05/2021 15:15

I’ve just had a complete melt down as my sat nav had technical difficulties and I couldn’t get it to work. I’ve done this 40 minute journey every week for 5 weeks now, but I cannot for the life of me get there and back without GPS.
I rung my husband in blind panic (again!) and although he’s calm and kind, he’s completely perplexed at my lack of directional skills and feels there is more to it.

I struggle with directions and remembering how to get to places everyday. I rely heavily on my Sat Nav for the shortest of journeys. If we are in a hotel for instance, it will take a good few days before I can confidently get to reception/pool or navigate round the resort. I am otherwise fairly clever and together person with a technical job in a managerial position with lots to organise and execute, but why oh why can’t I get from A to B without assistance.

Anybody else have similar experiences and any ideas how to improve this after 37 years of bloody embarrassment and torment!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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Aprilx · 04/05/2021 15:19

I am similar, I am 51 now and have not improved with age. I am logical, mathematical, I can read maps no problem, but I have no sense of direction. If I am walking down a new (to me) high street and go into a shop, when I exit I do not know which way I was walking down the high street. I also leave hotel rooms and do not know whether to go left or right to get to the lift, DH often hangs back to laugh at me.


mamaatthegym · 04/05/2021 15:21

Oooh yes I was exactly the same! My dad taught me something fantastic many years ago that has helped me with my sense of direction: landmarks.

So noticing something specific and connecting it to your journey. For example if you check in at reception and are walking to your room, what things do you notice on the way there? Did you turn left when you saw a fire hydrant? Was the lift past the sign post to the pool?

Or navigating a journey - I just saw a big Sainsbury’s then turned left at the roundabout. So on my way back when I can see the big Sainsbury’s I know that I have to take the last exit on the roundabout.

Just connect your personal landmarks to directions. You’ll get the hang of it!



Pippa12 · 04/05/2021 15:25

Thanks so much for replying, and the land’s marking is a skill I will utilise more. It’s good to know I’m not ridiculously alone with this! Thanks again

OP posts:

Elouera · 04/05/2021 15:26

Can you use an A to Z directory when the sat nav stops? How did you navigate prior to sat navs? Can't you use the sat nav on your phone instead?


DragonWillow · 04/05/2021 15:26

I have a pretty good sense of direction but DH has none what so ever - he can honestly get lost in his own garden


HunterHearstHelmsley · 04/05/2021 15:27

I don't either. It took me 8 years to get to a friends house without sat nav. I can't read a map, I can't even follow walking directions on a sat nav! I've been going to the same football ground since I was tiny, parked in the same car park all that time.. Still can't find my way to the ground.

It's an utter pain in the arse. I just don't seem to have the sense of direction gene. I'm not sure how to improve it either.


HunterHearstHelmsley · 04/05/2021 15:28

I landmark. It does help a bit.

I've had an utter breakdown in the car on the phone to my dad trying to get him to understand where I am and where I need to go.


KittyVonCatsworth · 04/05/2021 15:30

No, you're definitely not alone! I've lived on the East Coast all my life until 3 years ago where I moved to the west coast. I still can't get it into my head that I can travel east and still wouldn't be able to tell you if the next city to me was east or west to me. I've lived in the same city for 3 years and can only confidently get to 2 places, the gym and the supermarket. I'm a lost cause!


HappyDaysToCome · 04/05/2021 15:30

My mum is like this. She is very bad at numbers too, she thinks number dyslexia. 2 of her 3 children are dyslexic. Her sister cannot tell left from right (I wrote R and L on my aunty’s hands when I was driving but being directed by her). My mum makes it worse by living in a daydream!

It’s not something to be embarrassed by, just have coping strategies - such as your sat nav, landmarks, knowing what town will be on signs for the general direction you need if sat nav fails etc.


Brogues · 04/05/2021 15:31

Me too. I’m hopeless. I can navigate with maps but if you asked me which way east was I’d have to go by the sun/time of day rather than an innate sense of which direction it would be.


therocinante · 04/05/2021 15:33

I'm like this. Really bad spatial awareness generally, and especially so the bigger the space - I still only know some of the routes round my old hometown thanks to a very large landmark and it being by a coast.


Badgerwood · 04/05/2021 15:36

I'm exactly the same, am completely clueless even in familiar places. It feels like everywhere I know is a separate island with just mystery space in between. It's somehow worse in places I know better because if I'm repeating a journey and I know I've never travelled a certain road/path I can know it's not the right way. In my city I have been everywhere so that doesn't help.

Really hate the hopeless panicky feeling when my phone dies and I have no idea where to go. It's a joke amongst friends but actually really horrible!


OneDayAtATime1305 · 04/05/2021 15:37

Honestly my mum and dad are the same - they are great drivers in general but they panic as soon as they don't have a set direction. They've found that having a passenger where possible helps, as does checking the map/plan before they set off!


Tribblers · 04/05/2021 15:37

I'm bad at this too - also not much spatial awareness, can't drive - I have wondered about dyspraxia too. I am good at reading maps.

As mentioned, I use landmarks a lot. If it's hugely important I don't get lost eg I'm abroad, I also take photos of landmarks at key points.


StapMe · 04/05/2021 15:41

The more you use the gps the more you will rely on it. I too have a poor sense of direction, but the sat nav has most definitely made it worse. God knows how we managed before sat nav, but even I didnt get too lost that much! Maybe try to resist using it on shorter journeys, and as pp said, look for landmarks?


MissConductUS · 04/05/2021 15:42

I'm pretty hopeless with this too. Apple Carplay froze up on me yesterday while I was on my way to a doctor's office I've only been to twice. I had to park the car and restart my iPhone just to calm my anxiety about it.

I got a Garmin satnav/GPS when they first came out and cost a fortune. It was life changing.


sashh · 04/05/2021 15:43

For car journeys look out for pubs.

If you have to stop and ask most people can direct you to a pub even if they do not know what street it is on.

If you get completely lost on your way to somewhere look for signs to a station or a hospital, everyone knows where there nearest station or hospital is, and in the old days, before mobiles, they both had pay phones and many railway stations have taxi ranks so you can pay a taxi and then follow it.


InTheNightWeWillWish · 04/05/2021 15:45

As a toddler I had to direct my grandma home when the road was closed.

My sense of direction is quite good but I have purposefully got myself lost quite a few times. Obviously don’t try this when you’re in a rush to be somewhere, if it’s dark or you don’t have battery on your phone.

They’ve moved the dual carriageway near us, so I took a Sunday morning and just took a random exit, drove until I recognised a landmark, then turned around to look for more landmarks on that road. Went back on the dual carriageway and popped off at another junction to see where I was. On the way home sometimes, I will just randomly take a road and see where it leads me. It’s slow going but you build up a network of landmarks in your head. Also when you get diverted or lose sat nav, you aren’t too flustered as you’ve deliberately got yourself lost a number of other times before.


BashfulClam · 04/05/2021 15:49

Yes, I could get lost in my own house. I still couldn’t get the supermarket without a satnav despite living here for 5 years! DH drives when we go. If I walk along a street a different way sometimes it seems like it ‘back to front’ and thongs are in the wrong side!


BLACKTUESDAY1 · 04/05/2021 15:51

Oh I am exactly the same. I get lost constantly when driving and walking. If there are road closures anywhere I really panic!

I went for a job interview once and when I was shown out the door afterwards I walked in completely the wrong direction. It was highly embarassing. I am nearly 50 now so I don't think it's going to improve!


sproutsandparsnips · 04/05/2021 15:52

I am the same OP you are not alone. I panic too and imagine myself going round and round in circles for ever!
It's a standing joke with the kids -'are you going to get lost and cry mum?'
I once lost my car in the streets outside a local rugby ground. I must have circumnavigated it 3 times for nearly an hour before I found it.
I honestly could get lost in a paper bag.


BLACKTUESDAY1 · 04/05/2021 15:54

....and I love it when my teenage dd is with me . She tells me where to go as she's fab with directions (takes after her dad 😅)


JemimaJoy · 04/05/2021 15:55

Me too OP.

Luckily DH is a human sat nav.


Harvey3 · 04/05/2021 15:55

Me too, hopeless!


PenguinMama · 04/05/2021 15:56

I'm like this - I could get lost on a straight road Blush and it feels like a magic power when dh says just go down this road/path to get to where we started!

As an pp said, I've found using landmarks is vital, plus always having a map in the car. And not being too proud to ask for directions if needed.

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