Protest GPS: Fight to Get Lost!

“I’m lost…” With the onset of brilliant technology such as GPS, will important expressions like this disappear? While GPS proves to be extremely practical, does it distract from the natural flow of our lives?

GPS fails to take into account the most important part of the destination: the journey. My growing concern for ‘the journey’ stems from 3 inappropriate messages that GPS seems to promote: 1) There are no mistakes to be made when traveling 2) There is only one path to take to get to your one destination 3) Don’t veer from the path.

I have a problem with any piece of technology that makes me feel guilty for making a mistake; the obnoxious voice that articulates, “recalculating” makes me feel as if I just made a horrific life choice, and oh wow, I hope I can get back on track.

GPS tells us the nitty-gritty in clean, precise steps in hope of alleviating every possible future frustration of getting lost, but I have this strong feeling thatgetting lost is an important experience. It provides us with a more memorable journey, which fosters appreciation for the destination.

Going off the map can be a beautiful thing.

“I’m Lost!” quite frankly appears very frequently in my speech. Although this phrase may be associated with freak-outs, sketchy hotels, discomfort, distress, anxiety, or all of the above, these temporary feelings are eventually overpowered with feelings of perseverance and persistence as you begin ‘the journey.’

The unique, getting-lost-induced feelings of perseverance and persistence may be coming to a sad ending.  Luckily, my generation has experienced the gratifying, slap-your-hand-on-the-steering-wheel-in-excitement sensation of finding the way once again… but will our children never know this moment?

Unfortunately, as we stop listening to ourselves, and start listening to the GPS voice with an easily changeable accent, we relinquish the art of getting lost.

Even if the English accent GPS voice is seductive and entertaining, who’s to say that the GPS voice isn’t still subconsciously in our heads when were not listening to explicit directions? Should we really listen to people who constantly tell us that we’re going the wrong way? No. We were born with intuition for a reason. As the universe would so righteously have it, many times the ‘wrong way’ can lead us on an inexplicable adventure and an even better destination than we were headed for in the first place.

Navigating unfamiliar territory is not just for the average explorer, but a metaphor for something we all must do in many situations in our lives. To do so, we need to command the ability of listening to ourselves, and not the outside voice. When the cross GPS lady, whose voice we now recognize as the only correct option, says, “Turn right,” this not only silences our own voice, but curbs our own sense of wander and inhibits our intuition and curiosity. What if I went… Gasp… LEFT?!

She wouldn’t have enjoyed that snarky remark… I don’t think the GPS lady and I would get along in real life. She’s insta-killjoy in a box. If it’s not her cantankerous, straightedge personality that bothers me, maybe it’s her cultivated fun-sucking capabilities. Now, what I wouldn’t mind is a GPS that would instill a sense of adventure in its listeners. Instead of turning right, please stop the car. GET OUT. Take a little trek on this beautifully hidden trail to your left …don’t forget to take time to appreciate the scenery around you. *GPS lady locks car until the passengers have completed their challenge*


I’m a believer that half of the joy of adventuring is figuring out how to get to a location yourself: read a map, look at a compass, have a friend read you directions from the passenger seat. Bottom Line: if everyone is listening to computerized voices in order to get to specific, on-the-map destinations, …

 nobody becomes trailblazer.

Getting lost paves the way for blazing trails in new and foreign locales. And honestly,the times I have been lost with friends have made for frustrating, yet hilarious situations that always seem to pull us closer together and provide me with a renewed sense of determination and fierce problem-solution skills that I don’t normally whip out. GPS completely obliterates the bonding experiences and life lessons of ‘getting lost’. Maybe GPS should get lost too…(no pun intended)

Practicing saying it… “I’m lost” Again… “I’m lost…” I believe its one of the few, beautiful phrases that makes you equally powerful and powerless at the same time. Saying it is not giving up, rather sending a divine, cosmic message, which the universe is sure to intercept. Admitting to being lost gives you duel capabilities of taking hold of the situation and letting go simultaneously.  And when one is lost, one is constantly in that sweet, unknowing spot, undeniably on the brink getting back on track.

 The next time your planning on using a GPS, I challenge you to turn it off. Experiment, be apart of the journey; even if you get lost, you may end up finding a new favorite coffee spot or captivating nature lookout.

 While in route…

 Protest GPS: Fight for your right to get lost!


  1. d. adams | 19th Dec 11

    “it is not down in any map; true places never are.”

    • Words of a Wanderer | 19th Dec 11

      Exactly. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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