Where Am I And Where’s My Stuff?

Two of the most debilitating flaws for a travel are absent-mindedness and a poor sense of direction. I have both.

The end result is that I leave my belongings all over the place. And even if I can figure out where I left something, I can’t find my way back.

Cameras, headphones, iPods, wallets, books, toiletry kits. You name it and I’ve forgotten it somewhere. Usually I get it back. Occasionally I don’t.

Over the years, these deficiencies of mine have only gotten worse. So I’ve developed some loss-prevention strategies to cope. These include:

  • Wear a wallet or purse with a strap across the chest – over one shoulder and under the other arm. It is almost impossible to lose it this way, and it deters theft. Except that I once absent-mindedly took it off and left it over a chair. So the key is: don’t take it off.
  • Search the room before you leave the hotel. Not once, but twice. Let me add that a black iPod pouch at the back of a dark drawer in a dimly lit room may be practically invisible. Take my word for it.
  • Have a place for everything. The passports go in the travel folder wallet, which goes in the zipper pocket on the outside of the carry-on tote. Always. Although, of course, I might lose the tote.

Worse than losing my things is losing myself, which happens constantly because I have absolutely no sense of direction. The kid has suggested that I simply go the other way – that is, when my instincts say turn right, I should turn left. But this supposes that my sense of direction is merely reversed. It is not. It is non-existent.

So, I have developed strategies to cope with this flaw, as well. To whit:

  • Look backward. I learned this as a kid, on family hikes. Every once in a while, you turn around and look at the trail you just walked down. That way, you ought to recognize it on the way back.
  • Bring maps. Lots and lots of detailed maps. (As I’ve mentioned before, I like Streetwise maps.)
  • Bring a navigator. I still don’t have a GPS, but I do have a kid and a husband with senses of direction. I just go where they tell me.

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