As a traveler who is suffering from acute disorientation, I always have a lot of incredible (a.k.a silly) experience. Not only once at the same trip, but this could even happen twice or so many times. And the weirdest thing is, I never learn something from the previous stupidity and keep repeating the same old mistake.
These are two symptoms which might occur every time this chronic disease relapsing. First, slightly like dyslexia, I suddenly lose my map reading proficiency. I can’t decide whether I have to turn right or left when the map told me to go to certain direction. Second, my short term memory lost disorder will also relapse. After listening to a long explanation about where and how to get to somewhere, all I can record in my mind is just the first and second sentences, while the rest will fade away just like that.
As an example, when I was in Manila. I was on my way from Mall of Asia to Malate (district where I stayed for couple days) by the taxi. The taxi ran through the traffic main road smoothly. At the beginning, I was still chill enjoying the view of some skyscrapers outside the window until the driver asked me questions.
“What’s the hostel name?”
“ABCDE hostel”, I answered.
“You got the address?”
Then there came a little dead air. Great!! I forgot to take the hostel’s business card and I didn’t write down its address. There was no information at all about the hostel at the room key. When the taxi reached the district, I pulled over and get off at a square I passed in the morning. By relying on my lousy memory, I walked through every streets, swirling around for almost an hour for nothing. So many times I passed the same shops, same cafes, same night clubs. Asking some people there wasn’t really helpful because my hostel was not really popular.
In the end, I decided to take a cyclo (Philippines public transportation), considering that I was pretty exhausted at that night. In less than five minutes, passing through small alleys as the shortcut, the cyclo dropped me exactly in front of my hostel. In my heart, I was mumbling, how on earth that I didn’t pass this way before??
Same thing happened again on the next day, when I wanted to go back to hostel from Intramuros. Looking at the map I brought, in full of confidence I follow the direction. Everything ran smooth at the beginning because all I had to do was just going straight. And in the next half hour, I met so many intersections that made my head suddenly blank.
I didn’t remember that I was at first, second or which intersection. I didn’t know when I had to turn where at which intersection. I was busy looking at the street name and trying to memorize some building. Counting on my intuition, my legs brought me to a boulevard with a strange metro sky railway I’d never seen before. Ok, ladies and gents, I was lost again, awesome!!
Miracle then happened. When I started to give up, starve to hell, and initiated to drop by at a shopping center, I accidentally found my way home. Once I finished my meals, I walked to a gate at the other side of the mall on a whim. And voila!! I was suddenly at a street where I was familiar with. I just needed to walk not more than 500 meters to reach the hostel.
Well, did I feel like willing to quit backpacking? Not really… For me, getting lost is an opportunity given to enjoy the other face of a site, to meet and interact with strangers, and peculiarly to pour another color at a flat and monotone journey. Well, let’s try to look at something from its positive side, right? How about you?