Orientation / Navigation

I grew up in Calgary next to some of the best skiing in the world. My cousin told me that when you’re in an avalanche you need to spit to find out which way your buried in the snow. So you don’t dig the wrong way. When the spit starts hitting your face you know your digging the right way.

I have found that when I go to a new place it is imperative that I determine which way is North as soon as possible. Then I can orientate myself and start building context and maps to make sure I know where I am.

Even when I had a guide dog people would come up to me and ask me for directions. Its not unusual even when I’m using a white cane for cars to stop and ask me directions. I even have an adage that you never trust a sighted person with directions.

My skiing cousin had a spectacular wipeout and her ski goggles were covered in snow. She thought she was buried in snow. So she was laying in the snow spitting to see which way was up until she realized she was on top of the snow not buried in it. It was only her goggles that were covered in snow.

I had an incident like this recently. I was walking to an appointment and me in my arrogance thought no problem I’ll walk. Well I walked right past the place around it and headed way north again. This is like the only time in recent or remembered, admitted perhaps, history that I have been this turned around and lost. I had to call for help from my fiancee. Can you believe that a very humbling experience.

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About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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