get lost!

by Sharon Santoni



I have a very poor sense of direction , and sometimes this means that I get lost ….   I have been lost on my own, and  with the dogs (not that they mind), I have even been lost while being guided by Mr Google and his maps.

I used to stress about getting lost, but that has changed.

I understood long ago that a lot of the best stuff happens when I get lost   The wrong path that leads to a hitherto undiscovered clearing in the forest, the erroneous turning that brings me up to a charming country church where I can take pictures and breath in some beauty; the wrong exit off a highway that leaves me outside a beautiful garden to visit.

I have a friend who is the same as me, in fact last year she took it one step further when  she accepted a work colleague’s invitation to dinner with his family.   She turned up at his house, complete with bottle of wine and bunch of flowers for his wife.  She was received graciously, the flowers put into a vase, and a glass of wine served … it wasn’t until the husband arrived home, and he wasn’t the work colleague that had invited her, that she realized she wasn’t at the right address ….. it is a witness to her personality and theirs that they are all now good friends.

And while it isn’t always convenient to go off track, off schedule, and generally off course, experience has taught me to remain open minded about the whole thing, and be prepared for good surprises.

It seems to me that this is a good metaphor for our lives too.  And for the reinvention theme that I like to chat about with you.   If we can relax about the idea that things may not go to plan, that we may wander and take an un-intended direction,  that the blueprint for our career; our marriage; our life; may change en route, then when the unexpected u-turn actually happens, could we find it easier to cope?

Of course losing a job, or saying goodbye to a marriage, or not knowing where to go next in life is very traumatic and difficult to cope with, but the longer we refuse to adapt and accept the new direction, the worse it is.

So I wondered if you think I am being very naive,  or whether this is your experience too.   Do you dread getting lost, do you have a perfect sense of direction and never get waylaid?  Or do you, like me, build in a little extra time when going somewhere new, so that if you do get lost …. you’ll be able to take a moment to enjoy the view?


Amy | Brocante Treasures May 26, 2016 - 1:36 am

When I was a child we moved quite a bit. I used to get very stressed when I realized my mom was lost. My husband and I have continued to move frequently and my favorite way to learn a new area is to get a little lost. When we lived just outside Paris I would get brave and try to get home without the GPS. Sometimes it worked, sometimes the GPS had to come to my rescue, but I always made it home eventually.

Karen May 26, 2016 - 2:02 am

After a 26 year marriage ended in a very painful divorce, I realized it might have been the end of that chapter, but not the end of the road. I have found new friends and new hobbies and would not change that bend in my road for anything.

judy May 26, 2016 - 2:09 am

I have ADD as does most of my family and when I was my children were grown and gone we cared for foster children. One, a boy at 6 years old( and having told me the right direction to turn many times) offered the following advice. Judy-you should decide which direction you should go and then go in the opposite direction. I used that advice a number of times and most of the time it worked quite well. I have a niece with a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering who suffers the same problem and she informed her Husband who was teasing her about getting lost that her “internal gyroscope was just flipped”. I liked that, it sounded so much better than you are a sandwich shy of a picnic.

Brenda Chambers May 26, 2016 - 3:17 am

I have a daughter who I call direction challenged. She constantly gets lost. I think internal gyroscope is flipped is a lot better description.

Colleen Taylor May 26, 2016 - 2:16 am

If I’m driving in busy traffic in the city, I do mind very much getting lost. I’m not necessarily worried about the lost part as much as the danger of unhappy people being impatient with me. Even though GPS’ satellites can be updated, they can still get you messed up & I can never figure out why that is. Eventually I make it to where I need to go & adventures can be very interesting.

Jane Needham May 26, 2016 - 2:40 am

I, too, get lost and have that same internal gyroscope. I can be positive about directions and am never right or if I am lucky enough to to get somewhere, I get lost on the return trip.
However, I leave plenty to time to get somewhere and learn many new roads and shortcuts. I say left when I mean right and the reverse. I am pretty relaxed about the whole process as this has been a lifetime issue.
I am such a “foodie” I never forget where a restaurant is, can get there and remember what everyone had for dinner. Priorities.

Elvie May 26, 2016 - 2:45 am

Hi Sharon ,really enjoy all the things you do as its all very interesting.I wondered if you were going to finish the loverly story about the old French house ,I really enjoyed it and have been eagerly waiting for the final part .very interesting about getting lost ,I would be the greatest for losing direction ,can be a little confronting sometimes.

Paula h May 26, 2016 - 2:48 am

I have an awful sense of direction, but when lost I tell myself:”All roads lead somewhere” – and, you know, they do!

Shell Parsons May 26, 2016 - 4:15 am

I love your take on getting lost Sharon. I will never look at my poor sense of direction as a negative quality again. Loved the story about your friend going to the wrong house for dinner!!x

Dawn Johnson May 26, 2016 - 4:17 am

I am directionally challenged too and last fall I spent two weeks in Cotignac, I thought I needed the gps in my car but I found that it wasn’t always reliable. After a few days I just shut it off and used good old fashioned road signs and by the end of the week, I felt like I had a good sense of where I was and was confident driving all around and finding my way back even if I took a few detours. That came in handy when I had to drive back to the airport at 3:30 am through dark country roads. When I did turn on the gps as I approached Nice to find the airport, I took about half a dozen wrong turns and made several u turns before finally getting there. Good thing I left about 39 minutes early.

Linda Quast May 26, 2016 - 4:18 am

My family calls me a human GPS; I have been blessed with a good sense of direction. However, happening upon something so special as a beautiful garden or charming country church would be a delight even I took a correct turn! I am so thankful for those hidden gems that can be found around the bend.


Susan B. ( May 26, 2016 - 4:28 am

Oh, the story about your friend and the wrong house cracked me up. She must be a very charming person indeed! I do think we need to make room in our lives for those unexpected turns. They may be the Universe showing us a better way.

Mary Gimbert May 26, 2016 - 4:40 am

I think I have a fairly good sense of direction. I did pretty well learning how to get around in Dijon and Paris SO many years ago when I was a student – long before we had GPS and mobile phones!! Later I moved to Tokyo with my husband & children, and thinking I could get around, I was forever ready to go out to explore!! I found that my family was less patient with getting lost – and in times without GPS and not speaking the language well, when we were lost… it was often frustrating and humbling. I did find some interesting places, but as I realized that my family was not as curious or comfortable with being off the gird, I learned to pre-travel most of the sites I wanted to explore.

Emm May 26, 2016 - 4:50 am

I have a good sense of direction and have learned to navigate with chart and compass, and sometimes dead reckoning, because GPS isn’t always available (found that out from sailing).
That said, I like getting lost, and your comments about your own lostiness and your friend made me smile; it felt like something I might do.
Sometimes I go down little back roads just to see what’s there, what’s around the corner or over the next hill. Not really “lost” because I can always backtrack — but en route there are wonderful small adventures. Kind of a metaphor for life.

Victoria Savu May 26, 2016 - 5:01 am

I have been lost many times. But although it can be tough to be lost on the road or in life”s journey, I remind myself that I know where I came from so I will be ok. And I am.

Irene Peterson May 26, 2016 - 5:01 am

Oh I am so very careful going to new places. Just don’t like the “lost” feeling.
However, your take on getting lost is most uplifting. Tomorrow as I drive to
your book signing in Marietta, I shall try to remember your thoughts. Hope I make it to actually meet you!

Leslie in Oregon May 26, 2016 - 5:02 am

When I was 21, I spent the summer driving a VW Bug around Europe, sometimes alone and sometimes with up to 3 friends. This was long before there were any navigation aids except road signs and maps. Always the driver, I soon gave up on using maps to give me anything but a general idea of the layout of the largest cities we visited (Salzburg, Rome, Florence, Paris and London) and “followed my nose” from the periphery to the center of each city. Somehow, that instinct always was true, and we found our destinations with no problems. To this day, my sense of what is “the road I should take” is my most reliable guide. Literally and figuratively…

Irene Peterson May 26, 2016 - 5:03 am

I shall remember your ideas on taking a wrong turn so that I am not afraid.
Hopefully, I shall make it to Market with a B in Marietta tomorrow. I want
to meet you so very much!

Sharon May 26, 2016 - 8:42 am

Hi Irene. Thank you so much for your kind comment, but please don’t expect to see me in Marietta tomorrow, the tour is next month! I’ll be in Marietta on Sunday 26th. Looking forward to seeing you there

Stacy May 26, 2016 - 5:46 am

I have a terrible sense of direction and seem to get lost so easily and there have been times when I have gotten terribly vexed stressing during my ordeal and I always remember my grandfathers’ wise words when we got lost together once when I was very young he said “every road leads somewhere” and that is so true and comforting advice when we stray off course in travel and sometimes even in life.

Pamela Jephcott May 26, 2016 - 5:50 am

I don’t know if you ladies realise this but, getting lost is more common in women.

Pat May 26, 2016 - 6:05 am

One of my favorite jazz singers, Chet Baker, has a wonderful song called “Let’s Get Lost.” He sings “let’s get crossed off everybody’s list.” I love this idea of just vanishing. A fantasy I know but still . . .

Jeni Maus May 26, 2016 - 6:25 am

You? Get lost? Never!!!! How could you possibly with Suri pronouncing everything so perfectly? I never liked getting lost until I spent time with you. We saw some beautiful things while falling off course, and even stumbled upon a couple great places to shop….so I will forever embrace the “wrong turns” …. thank you for that beautiful lesson you have taught me. Love you.

Sharon May 26, 2016 - 8:39 am

Hey Jeni. I think we just invented a new professional quality that could be on the list of endorsements “gets lost with panache!”
Love to you too

May May 26, 2016 - 8:10 am

Wonderful post, and question. Thank you

Many years ago returning to home turf, I was trying to find my father’s house. I remember fondly hearing little voices in the back seat asking, “Mom where are we?” I reply, “America.” Feeling safe by knowing is a comfort. For life, I feel sometimes the most obvious is the answer to how to deal with change.

Taste of France May 26, 2016 - 9:16 am

What a wonderful anecdote about your friend!
I don’t mind getting lost–it’s just a way of learning new routes. My dad used to take the oddest back streets, never the same way twice it seemed. I certainly learned my way around my hometown, thanks to him.
I went hiking with a friend through the vines last summer. We were busy talking and didn’t pay attention to the path. She stopped and said, “we’re lost.” But we weren’t TOO lost–we eventually spied some landmarks and got home fine. I think that’s often the case, literally and figuratively–“lost” just applies to those periods where we don’t see landmarks.

Our French Oasis May 26, 2016 - 9:20 am

For me it all depends where I get lost. In the car if I have misread the GPS and taken a wrong turn and I’m in a large city I don’t know then I can feel myself getting a little panicky. On the other hand here in the country, it’s quite an adventure getting lost. I did so with our youngest daughter the other day. The GPS is always on but most of the time I ignore it and I thought I would try a new road instead of taking a route we knew rather well. It didn’t take us at all where I thought it would, fortunately we were not in any particular rush and we found some charming little hamlets we never knew existed. When we are walking in the woods, especially looking for mushrooms in the autumn, everyone knows not to follow me, if I can’t see the sun my sense of direction seems to let me down quite dramatically!

TRINI May 26, 2016 - 11:18 am

Yo me pierdo a menudo y no me molesta; siempre hay cosas hermosas que encuentras o te encuentran a tí y me parece fascinante!
Un gran abrazo.

Lydia May 26, 2016 - 11:32 am

What a wonderful post and question thank you. As I sat here pondering an answer I realized that you can be exactly the opposite and still get the same results.

As the daughter of a ship captain I have known how to read a map and find my bearings long before Mr. Google But with that skill came a life long ability to embark on anything. New career, new life I am the one who just went down the road.

For me that was the art of “getting lost” I always knew where I was so I felt safe(ish) but because I could “read the map” I could and did go almost everywhere. And the funny stories in life all seem to happen when my faithful compass turns off and even though I know where I am I’ve lost my map, and I can’t find the place I’m supposed to be.

Andrea Fine Photographer May 26, 2016 - 11:42 am

Our little family lived for many years in Westport, Connecticut and our favorite thing to do (which started when my daughter was just 3 or 4) was”Daddy let’s take a drive and get lost”. We three loved looking at the beautiful houses and gardens on our way and always found our way home eventually. It’s a fond memory for sure.

david terry May 30, 2016 - 12:03 pm

Oh, Andrea…..that’s EXACTLY what my family would do when I and my two brothers were young. My mother (a stickler for order, punctuality, and several other qualities that are impressed on folks who grow up in orphanages, as she did) didn’t find any of this at all amusing or interesting. Still?….we’d get in the car with my father, and then we’d intentionally get lost…..which THRILLED my and my brothers.

We happen to live at the foot of the mountains (The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is essentially our backyard….and there are 6 or so enormous state and national parks surrounding that). So…..we’d take a major road and veer off on a lesser road and then turn onto whatever gravel road came along and then end up on some dirt-track that scarcely qualified as a “road” at all……..and so it would go on, until we found ourselves at the end of nowhere. Often, that consisted of a cliff or sheer mountain-face.

This was all well-before “Thelma and Louise” had come along to give anyone any ideas, so we would, having looked around, get back in the car and simply go home. Of course, doing so wasn’t particularly difficult……all one had to do was to point the car downhill and keep going in that direction……..rather like following a stream if you get lost on foot in the mountains……eventually, you’re going to end up SOMEwhere that you vaguely recognize.

In any case, I’m like you in that those “get lost trips are among my fondest memories of growing-up.


david terry

Kiki May 26, 2016 - 11:56 am

Oh that’s me – getting lost forever and never been able to either read a card or even able to follow the GPS…. (Hero Husband has a way with it I can’t follow but then I don’t have to when he’s driving!).
Your friend’s story totally made my day – How lucky and how wonderful for all of them!
Some of my ‘more famous’ getting lost experiences were absolutely beautiful. Once I drove a rental car in Brittany France down an ever more narrowing lane and at its end I literally dipped into the sea. Already I was worried what to do should another car approach me with a lane hardly the with of my car and then that! I managed to turn the vehicle on the sand (marrée basse) and drove it up again a few meters, then went back and had my picnic all alone in that micro bay of blue water, high clouds and the smell of clean air. It was magic.
Another time I thought I had booked a weekend in nearby France but then realised I got myself landed in a tiny village in a terribly old but charming hotel in my home country Switzerland – the names were so alike that I didn’t realise…. And only started to wonder when I had to take a bus to get where I needed to go 🙂 Another (finally) very charming ‘find’ by my mistake.
Hero Husband absolutely fails to understand that I can be so dumb in this respect – he has a built-in GPS in his brain – but well, I can do a heck of many things with this same head he has no clue of.
Thank you for this wonderful, colourful and charming post.

Vicky from Athens May 26, 2016 - 1:34 pm

Sharon – a wonderful post! I’ve seldom gotten lost but have taken quite a few wrong turns that led to beautiful places. This post does remind me of the time I went to the wrong wedding and by the time I realized my mistake I was trapped and it was too late to get up and leave the church. I did, however, get to the correct reception! When on a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before my husband and I love (to quote Robert Frost) “take the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.
Can’t wait to meet you in June!!

Vivian in Tennessee May 26, 2016 - 2:40 pm

Years ago I would drive my mother and husband in the country and when I turned on a road that was unfamiliar my husband would ask where we were going, and I always said ‘Trying to get lost’. I though it was so much fun to see something new or find out where a road led us. I really wasn’t lost, just didn’t know exactly where we would come out. Those were fun times. My husband and mom are now gone, but it’s a good memory.

Mary Eman May 26, 2016 - 5:29 pm

I have no sense of direction. (I have to have two sets of directions: “getting there” and “coming home”. No, just reversing the “getting there” does not work.) I think it should be called directional dyslexia and we should have a support group. Except that we’d all get lost trying to get to the meetings.

Kiki May 26, 2016 - 7:41 pm

I’m in, Mary….. But yes, of course, we couldn’t possibly get together, as we’re all in one way or another, suffering from geographical dyslexia (nice expression!).

The amusing bit with me is that I always get lost on the way to somewhere and then, to return home, I’m like a highly trained dog, I always find my way home…. an endlessly amazing thing for me.

Mary Eman May 26, 2016 - 8:15 pm

Hi Kiki,
Being stationed in Hawaii was great. If I got lost, I just kept driving until I saw something familiar. (And I only ended up driving around the whole of Oahu once. Because I was lost. Taking guests for a tour of the island was something else entirely.)
I wish I could say going home was never a problem, But I cannot! If there is reincarnation, I just know the next time around I’ll have a superb sense of direction…..

Julie May 26, 2016 - 7:07 pm

I can tell by reading all the comments, and the post, I am in good company. Here’s to those of us who need to go left when we think we should go right, who land up in places they never expected (safely) and can laugh about it and call it an adventure…even if we make those with us a little nervous at times.

Carline Anthony May 27, 2016 - 3:05 am

I do this all the time and to quote Mark Twain, “I have never been lost, just a might confused a time or two. I figure I will find my way sooner or later, so I don’t stress about it. I have found some lovely places that I wouldn’t have found if I had been on the “right” track.

Sandra T. May 27, 2016 - 4:31 am

My late mother used to say, “Let’s go have an adventure!” That meant no maps, just pack a lunch and the dogs, climb in the car, and take off for parts (probably unknown). Sometimes her friends or my friends or various relatives would go along. It was the best time ever! The joy of seeing something new, finding treasures along the way, or meeting someone new was part of the attraction. I think most people don’t have enough adventures these days. Life is to be exciting!

This & That: No. 211 - The Simply Luxurious Life® May 27, 2016 - 10:00 am

[…] ~Sharon Santoni shared her thoughts on letting yourself go with life’s flow. It was exactly what I needed to read yesterday. […]

Judi Hirst May 28, 2016 - 3:57 am

When I was married,my husband was in control. Now after 34 years of marriage, divorced it is all up to me. So when I park my car in a parking lot, I am aware of
my surroundings. So I don’t lose the car or lose my way

Kiki May 28, 2016 - 1:21 pm

Judi, I salute you and your way of seeing your life! You won’t get lost again…. 🙂

(Sharon, dear; sorry to have taken ‘over’ your blog – this just hit right home – my apologies!)

Colleen May 29, 2016 - 4:03 pm

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” – GK Chesterton

Marilyn May 30, 2016 - 5:31 am

Normally I don’t get lost, but on a recent trip in Bruges, Belgium I got very lost and realized that my husband walking with me with quite sick with a fever. It was a bit scary trying to find our way back to our B&B and tuck him in bed. Getting lost can be scary, but yes we can enjoy the view along the way.

david terry May 30, 2016 - 12:07 pm

Oh, Sharon?…….Not entirely by the way?…….

Reading over these comments, I’m happily reminded of a song by Sharon Wheeler (about a crazy, undeterrable friend of her mother’s) titled:

“Frequently Wrong, But Never in Doubt”

I love that title.


David Terry

Marian from England May 31, 2016 - 12:01 pm

I suppose thinking about it, I have always been a bit nervous about getting lost – in the car mainly. And yet when I have, it’s not been that bad really. I don’t know why I worry about it. You’ve made me think! What’s the worst that can happen? Being late somewhere I suppose. And you’re right, we do sometimes see things that we otherwise would never have known existed. In other things in life, I’ve had a different attitude: I was made redundant after 13 years but decided to re-train which opened up a different working life for me; 5 years ago, we decided to follow our dream and move to a country village and an old cottage. Not easy in your 60’s but it’s been a new and mostly joyful experience. The only bit I’m struggling with is recent new neighbours who are behaving very badly towards us. They are tenants to the neighbouring property, not villagers, but it’s incredible how much distress one person’s bad life-attitude can cause. I’m trying to hang on to the positive as best I can!

Marcy Hammerstein June 1, 2016 - 5:17 am

Getting “lost” is a tiny gift of slow down and see what you might have missed. Sometimes you find great things there!

Pam Dixon June 6, 2016 - 3:01 am

After cutting many peonies today because of rain and the promise of rain, I put “peonies and rain” in my search. Glad to find your lovely web site! Signed up and look forward to future posts.

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david terry April 2, 2017 - 1:15 pm

Dear Fotbollstrojor,

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advisedly yours as ever,

David Terry


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