Lost with a road map

Montreal and I have a bit of a frustrating history.  Driving through Montreal is part of any road trip to the maritimes.  I believe I’ve been through Montreal on 4 different road trips, and 3 of those four times I’ve managed to get lost.

I like to think that I have a really good sense of direction.  I typically try to avoid using gps, and I enjoy mapping out a trip before hand and then using my head to navigate on the road.  Normally I’m quite successful, but Montreal takes my sense of direction and throws it out the window.  The road signs are confusing, and it seems turns come and go with very little warning.  It doesn’t help that I am completely useless with reading French.  Mix that with the perpetual road construction and the more hectic Quebec style driving, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

In the early days of my long range road trips, I didn’t have access to gps.  So the road map was the only way.  This resulted in an experience in 2010 where I was lost with a road map.  We had crossed the St. Lawrence River and somehow managed to miss an exit.  The highway kept going for a while, so I didn’t notice at first.  But then it narrowed down to two lanes and I realized that I wasn’t on the road I thought I was.  I had a new phone with gps, but for some reason, it couldn’t find my location.  So I pulled out my trusty Canada Back Road Atlas and attempted to figure out where I was.  I knew approximately where I was, but the road signs weren’t quite lining up with the map.  I was lost, and my road map was not helping.  In the end, I recall setting out in the direction that I thought was made the most sense, and finding a larger town that I could identify on the map.  It sounds so simple now, but I remember it being a trying experience.

Road maps are generally quite accurate…and I like to think that my personal sense of direction and distance is right up there with them.  But there are times when my sense of direction fails, and I fool myself into thinking I’m somewhere that I’m not.  Usually it happens in a spot where the map is less detailed than it could be. Sometimes it involves passing a lake or a bend in the road and becoming convinced that I’m further along than I think.  Other times it involves turning too soon, or sometimes even turning the wrong way completely.  Eventually, I’m so far off the path that the map doesn’t help any more…all because I trust my sense of direction more than the map.

Lately I feel like I’m off the road.  In my walk of life, I’ve managed to get myself lost.  I’ve lost the main road, and am limping along a mud road that’s filled with potholes.  I feel like the road map doesn’t help as much as it should, because I’m off in an unknown area.  My road map, the Bible, says I need to rely on God, and pray for Him to change me….to get me back on the right road.  Like in Quebec, the road map just doesn’t feel like it knows what its talking about.  But at some point I have to trust and start driving in the right direction, trusting that I will find that main road.

I feel like the road map is wrong.  Or at least, it doesn’t work in my case because I’m too far away from the highway.  I know God knows best.  That His road map is perfect.  I still struggle with feeling like somehow it’s directions are somehow wrong.  But like my time in Montreal, maybe I just need to set out in the direction that I’m given and hope that I will get where I need to go.

Driving across the St. Lawrence on the A20 in Montreal.
Driving across the St. Lawrence on the A20 in Montreal.

One Reply to “Lost with a road map”

  1. Next time, consider taking the new A30 around Montreal. When you take it, it feels as if Montreal is not there.

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