Zen and the Art of Navigation


Maybe it’s a throwback to our primordial roots, which go out with club in hand and drag home the dinner instinct, but let us face facts here, Men don’t ask directions.

Why is this, I am sure you ask? Especially if you are a woman.

Personally, I believe it is a deep rooted sense of adventure. You can never take the boy out of the man, no matter his age. He is only ever two excuses away from kicking a ball around or getting stuck in and building a really cool go-kart.

Of course, I may be generalising. Having spent a large part of my adult life as a traveller, in one form or another, the urge to explore has never really left me.

A road closure is not a setback in my mind; it’s an opportunity, a sign from the gods.

If I get stuck behind a tractor trailer, my first instinct is to assess the plot of the land ahead, and seek an alternative route to my destination. I wonder where that lane goes. Will it come back to the main road ahead of the tractor? It’s worth a try.

Some would say, (not naming their gender) that such thoughts are frivolous and we are going to be late if we start to take random detours. Ironically, it is usually the same person that caused you to be late in the first place, as they couldn’t find their hairbrush, ties. That’s not to mention the fact that we had to turn around and go back home as they had forgotten their mobile phone.


A wise man doesn’t mention those critical facts. He just enjoys the journey. The final destination is irrelevant. We will get there when we get there and not a moment sooner.

So men do not feel obliged to ask for directions. That would be cheating. That’d be like looking at the back pages of a crossword puzzle book when you can’t find the answer to Five Down. Instead, we explore.

Our co-pilot can gnash their teeth with frustration, but we will persevere, safe in the knowledge that we will get there eventually. It may take a few detours to find the right one, but we will, in the end.

We will arrive at our destination as happy men, content in a job well done, even if the co-pilot glares at us and the sat-nav sounds irate.

Speaking of sat-navs, I love them but I still ignore them. In reality, I use mine more to keep me within the speed limits than for any directional assistance. I would be a rich man if I got a penny for every time it said, “Recalculating route.”

I admit I talk back to mine. “No, I’m not speeding,” “I’m not going that way,” “Yeah, whatever! Bite me.”

One day, my co-pilot is going to point out that I’m speeding, and I, in a moment of rashness, am going to say, “Yeah, whatever. Bite me!” forgetting that it’s my wife speaking and not the sat-nav. She’ll probably have the phrase engraved on my tombstone, and do the whole grieving widow bit well, or at the very least I’ll be in the dog house all week.

So ladies, I beg you, embrace the adventurer within your man. Let him have his moment of glory when he finds the shortcut that even the sat-nav didn’t know existed. It is a small victory, but an important one. Whether you notice it or not, be sure that he will often happily let you bask in the limelight. He will always be there to support you, and will happily turn the car around ten minutes into the journey so that you can search for your phone. The fact that you carry around a huge bag, and he wears only a jacket, and yet he can remember where everything is and have it to hand, is of no consequence. He accepts these little idiosyncrasies as all being a part of the wonderful person he married, even if he doesn’t understand them.

Let him have his hunter-gatherer moment. Plan ahead. Leave five minutes earlier so that there is plenty of time to explore the world around you. Consider it a Zen moment. You are meant to take that overgrown lane. It will lead you to your future self.


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