Know where you’re going!

I get lost a lot. I’m guessing that’s a pretty familiar thing for anyone reading this who also has dyslexia – navigation, we’re not great at it.

But now we’re all super-connected all the time, so I’ve gotten much better at finding my way around both familiar and unfamiliar environments. There are a few steps that I make sure I take though because even with all the technology in the world, I can still get lost pretty easily.

  1. Be organised ahead of time and check where I’m going the day before, especially if it’s for a work function or meeting. I put all the details in my calendar to make sure I’m super organised.
  2. Get my ‘Phone a friend’ numbers ready. If I can’t spell the name of where I’m going, all the Google in the world won’t fix it. I have a list of people who I know I can call for help, so I work my way down that list until someone answers.
  3. Be early because stuff goes wrong.

Just like it did today. Today I was sure I knew where I was going. I looked it up in advance and thought, no worries. I know where this place is. So I caught a tram down Bourke St, crossed the bridge, hopped off, and the building was meant to be right there. Except it wasn’t. I was not on the right tram, nor did I cross the right bridge.

Technology to the rescue. I got my phone out to check Google Maps, but I was just getting more confused. Where the hell was 700 Bourke St?!  I hopped on and off the tram, walked up and down the street, how could I be so wrong??

I wasn’t used to this part of the city and Google Maps was telling me I was in the right area, walking back and forth in front of what I thought was the building. (Google Maps was correct, it was the right area, but it didn’t tell me to walk up the stairs and over the footbridge!!)

I was in a panic, I started sweating even though it was cold, I was getting frustrated, talking to myself and getting really cross for making this mistake. Why didn’t I check with someone instead of assuming I knew where I was going – I never know, years of experience have told me this! Time for the big guns, I called my sister. She got me to tell her the landmarks I could see, figured out where I was and directed me to where I needed to go. She even sent me a screenshot of the building so I could recognise it when I got there. Crisis averted, coffee shop nearby, five minutes to spare!

I hate being late for meetings, but most of all I hate getting lost. So my tip for everyone reading this is … always be super organised when you are going somewhere new and always ask someone to check where you are going before you go there. Having dyslexia can mean we’re sometimes pretty disorganised, but the stress you save from a bit of advance planning is huge.

I love the following navigation tools, some of which are free and really helpful, especially when they can talk to you, so you can see and hear the instructions. These are some of the tools I use:

  • Google Maps
  • Sat nav in the car

And if stuff still goes wrong, ask for help!