Lessons Learned from Navigating without GPS

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Lessons Learned from Navigating without GPS Listen to this article
Lessons Learned from Navigating without GPS

I have had a dedicated GPS in my car for the last 5 years. I started with a Garmin Streetpilot, and moved on to a Nuvi a few years ago. Up until a few days ago, I didn’t remember how to navigate without a robotic female voice barking angrily at me. But Sarah and I were heading to a wedding, and since she was heading down a few hours ahead of me, and had more stops than me, she borrowed my GPS. Suddenly I had a 2+ hour drive with no bossy instructions … how was I going to survive?

As it turns out, I found it incredibly freeing to drive without GPS navigation. I have Google Maps on my iPhone, but I opted to print out directions instead. I am not a big fan of Google Maps on the iPhone, and my logic was that it would be safer to have a piece of large paper to follow in place of tapping a tiny screen while hurtling down the highway. What struck me was that I was more aware of the road without a GPS yapping away. I was forced to watch for road signs more closely since I couldn’t rely on electronics to alert me when I was close to my next turn. I noticed more about the towns I was driving through as a result, and I just enjoyed the ride so much more than I expected.

Now, to be fair, there was a detour that required me to briefly follow Google Maps on my iPhone, but aside from that detour, I spent the whole trip disconnected from GPS. I have always said that without a Garmin I wouldn’t be able to find my way around the block, but I somehow made it a hundred miles from home to an unfamiliar area without getting lost. At least, not while driving. I did get lost running through the office park next to our hotel, but that’s a whole other story (and seriously, all the buildings looked the same! I lost my landmarks!)

I won’t be retiring my Garmin anytime soon, but this experience made me realize I don’t NEED it all the time. Instead of leaving it up on my dashboard permanently, I think I will keep it locked away in my glove compartment, and only pull it out when it is definitely needed. The truth is, I underestimate my own ability to navigate, and I have let GPS be a crutch, rather than a tool. This experience has given me a chance to change that! Have you found areas where you have leaned too heavily on technology? How did you change that? Let us know your experiences in the comments!


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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?