Find the tools to get lost

Look at the world, not your phone

When you are out walking, you are on your way somewhere. How do you get there? You might stick to the main roads, or maybe you constantly look down on your phone to make sure you didn’t accidentally start walking in the wrong direction.

But who wants to look down at their phone all the time? The world is beautiful.

You are not a car

You can use Google’s turn-by-turn directions. They are great if you are in a car and trying to go from A to B the quickest way possible. In 200 meters, turn left. At the roundbout, take the second exit. We don’t have to be confined to the main streets. That’s part of what makes walking enjoyable.

Big mistakes and happy little accidents

Aside from the obsession with taking the most efficent route, there’s a big difference between navigating as a car and as a human: the cost of error. Let me give you an example. Last summer I was on a road trip in France with a few friends, and I was the designated navigator. I misinterpreted Google’s directions, and we missed our exit. Going from Alsace in north west of France we almost ended up in Switzerland, despite aiming to go the opposite direction. We lost almost an hour on finding a place to turn around.

Contrast this with this morning, when I, walking to this coffee shop as I write these lines, I missed the first left turn. I ended up taking the next one, and the “mistake” cost me all of 30 seconds. Cities are dense, and there are many routes to take when you are walking - use them!

A tool for walking

If a friend is taking you out in an area you are not familiar with, and you don’t have any pressing time to make, how would you walk? What would the friend say? We are going that way…, pointing in a rough direction, as they know the place like their own back pocket, …but let’s take this street, it’s really quiet and has a nice coffee shop. It’s about a 15 minute walk”.

This is what I’m making. It’s an app that whispers rough direction and distance in your ear as you are walking somewhere. So you can get lost, but still move in the right direction.

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