When’s the last time you’ve been lost? Really, truly lost?

I’ve always been prone to getting lost. To this day I have no sense of direction.

Back when I learned how to drive, we relied on maps. We had to.

My parents and grandparents always had maps laying around – AAA maps and giant Rand McNally maps that unfolded into a million squares and were impossible to put back together.

Eventually the internet brought us Mapquest. You could simply type in two destinations and it would give you a route. My generation’s car floors were carpeted with Taco Bell and Mapquest directions.

Sometimes the instructions were wrong or you missed a step.

Boom, you were lost!

When I was a new driver, I got lost on the way home from a friend’s house. They thought it was funny when I called them crying asking, “WHERE AM I?!”

Without smart phones, a common thing to do when you got lost was pull into a gas station and ask for help. I haven’t had to do this for decades.

Smartphones were the best thing to ever happen to me. 

I haven’t been lost since. Well, until last week.

I drove to my friend’s cabin “up north” (as we call it in MN). On the way home, I set my GPS to the nearest coffee shop along the way, marveling at modern technology.

Shortly into my drive I noticed Google Maps kept changing the arrival time – it bounced between 30-minutes, 40-minutes, 38-minutes, 43 minutes. . .

My reception also died but since Google Maps kept showing a path forward, I assumed it was somehow connected.

Becoming more and more concerned, I drove through the woods until I found myself at a literal crossroads.

The highway ended at a gravel road and now my phone was telling me to turn right and drive 16 miles through a cornfield.

I thought of Michael Scott driving his car into the lake.

“THE MACHINE KNOWS,” he screams at Dwight as he makes a sharp right turn into a lake.

I had a few options. . .

  • I could actually drive 16 miles down the gravel road.
  • I could drive until I found cell service (who knows how long that would be and in what direction).
  • I could head back the way I came until I found some type of business to ask for directions.
  • I could drive until I found a home that didn’t look too foreboding and knock on the door.

Being a small woman has its advantages and disadvantages – on one hand it makes me incredibly vulnerable. On the other hand, it makes me appear less threatening which might come in handy if I had to knock on a stranger’s door.

In the city, no one answers their doors. In the country, I guess I was about to find out.

I headed back the way I came, and decided to drive until I found a residence where it looked like people were actually home and didn’t have too many burnt out cars or “NO TRESPASSING” signs.

All of a sudden I spotted a small sign for a garden center and eagerly followed it down another gravel road. But, when I arrived, the driveway was roped off with a closed sign.. I desperately tried to call the phone number which didn’t work of course, because I had no reception.

I took a deep breath and started to drive down someone’s driveway.

A car came towards me – the first I’d seen for miles. I waved for help and he stopped. Fortunately he was a very nice person who listened to me blubber away about being lost and drew me a little map back to the freeway.

I actually got lost again trying to follow the map and had to stop again at some type of small, outdoor boat meeting where people were congregating.

My cell service returned in Brainerd and I got home, just a little later than I planned.

I’ve been mulling this experience over for days, wondering why it feels so significant. I think it’s that in this day and age where many of us have tiny computers attached to our hands and wrists, we just don’t get lost anymore. And when you are really, truly lost, you can either go it alone or depend on the kindness of strangers.


Kusina is located next to a Filipino market – I stopped here on the way up North. I bought a small pack of tiny chicken lumpia.

Immediately, I loved the restaurant’s vibe – it’s fun and tropical and inviting – really nicely decorated.

The food is served cafeteria style – it’s hard to choose a dish, so I appreciate that you can make a combo from any two entrees for $16.

I chose the chicken adobo and pinkabet stew with eggplant, okra, squash, and shrimp.

The chef is really welcoming and proud of the food. For $16 I found the portion sizes to be generous.

Chicken adobo is one of my favorite foods and this was delicious – tender, flavorful chicken in a sweet, salty, savory, tangy sauce. Comfort food.

The shrimp itself tasted fresh – it’s that the sauce has a fermented fish note – recipes include shrimp paste which may be what I was tasting. I don’t prefer fermented fish flavor, but you may love it.