In his book Deep Survival Laurence Gonzales writes about how to survive life-threatening situations in the wild. One of these life-threatening situations is getting lost.
If you find yourself in this scenario, here is what you should do:
- When you realize you are good and lost, stop walking. Do not hurry to the ridge over there that looks familiar. You are not a forest-dweller and, let’s be real, your navigational skills are poor. Don’t get yourself more lost than you already are.
- Find shelter or make one. Familiarize yourself with the place where you are. The trees. The rocks. Their particularities. It is your new home. Perhaps make a nice seat for yourself. Have a snack (but save some for later!).
- Now, if you wish, you make walk calmly to the ridge that looks familiar. When it shows no signs of being the way out, come back home.
- Take a nap. Drink some water (but not all of it!). Then maybe explore another area around your new home.
These steps help conserve energy. Also, by staying in one place search-and-rescue will find you quickly (I hope you told someone you were going out for a hike!). But there’s something deeper here, about being able to adapt to your surroundings, about finding home wherever you are because, well, then you’re not lost anymore.