Life-Hacking Skills

It is widely known among my friends that I do not, in fact, own a smartphone.

Yes, I know, it’s quite the tragedy. As they have assured me many times. How do I get along without it? How do I live without a portable camera and Instagram filters? How do I know where anything is?

To which I say – just fine thank you, cameras have always been portable, photo-editing can be done on my computer, and MAPS, thankyouverymuch.

But as a result of this caveman philosophy, I constantly surprise myself with how much I can actually make life work for me with simple stonelike tools such as a LAPTOP and THE SHITTY INTERNET ON MY PHONE (5 year old platform) and GOOGLE MAPSΒ – BEFORE I go somewhere.

First of all, I have the insanely weird talent of being able to look at a map 1 time and know exactly where I am going, and it’s a pretty sure thing that I’ll always remember how to get there after that, too. I look at it once, and my brain holds it forever.

Pretty nifty tool. Who needs a fucking GPS? I’ve got MY MIND (it’s better than yours).

So normally, if I need to get somewhere, I simply look up directions beforehand and handily take myself in that direction. I first learned I had this skill when I lived overseas for 3 months and successfully navigated myself on the Metro, the bus system, and to church. Alone. At 17 years old.


Except, this morning, all went awry. I am in Kansas City for the weekend for my grandma’s 90th birthday. It’s an epic family reunion and includes people I haven’t seen for 6 years. Some of them for longer. And with some of them (mostly IMMEDIATE family ones aka Father) it has the potential for extreme awkwardness.

So, I decided in order to cope with sharing hotel rooms and cars for the weekend, I was going to rent my OWN car for 5 hours and 5 hours only, so I could have a zen-like afternoon before everyone else showed up.

I planned out where I was going to go.Β Good coffee had to be a part of this, obviously. I literally cannot go to a city without having their best coffee. When I was in London 2 years ago with my best friend, we had not a drop of tea in the 2 days we were there. BUT I HAD 3 CUPS OF COFFEE. At least.

Enter problem 1. I get off the plane, get my bags, and get on the rental car bus. WITHOUT turning on my trusty laptop to look at Google Maps. I had no fucking clue where I was going.

The lady at the rental car place asked if I needed directions, so I asked her how to get downtown. Inside, I secretly sparked with the adventure of having absolutely NO idea where I was going, other than two directional cues (LEFT, then RIGHT).

I’m a badass, so of course off of these 2 directions, I got myself downtown. Within 2 minutes of arriving in the downtown area, I inadvertently turned onto a street I had planned on going to, anyway – the Kansas City Library and its supercool parking garage.

WINNING. I then proceeded to meander around downtown and then landed myself in the ARTS DISTRICT.


It was at this point that my skills almost evaded me. Though I drove around for an hour, I could not track down a coffee shop. I just KNEW they were right out of my reach (spoiler: I was correct).

But just in time, my life hacking skills saved me as I spotted a Panera Bread. As anyone with life hacking skills knows, Panera Bread has the most accessible free wifi ANYWHERE.

MWAHAHAH. I promptly parked in the nearby mall parking structure (FREE), walked over to Panera, and SAT OUTSIDE (FREE) at the outdoor tables while I mooched their FREE internet to find out where I was and where I needed to go. Turned out that earlier, I had literally come within 7 blocks of a coffee shop I’d been looking for. (See, told you they were just out of my reach)

So with my trusty Panera wifi as my guide, I headed back out and within 10 minutes had parked and ended up in Oddly Correct, a lovely little hipster coffee shop (The Costa Rica they have on their brew bar right now is epically delicious, FYI).

So the next time any of y’all say “OMG YOU DON’T HAVE A SMARTPHONE?” here’s what I’ll say:


Suck it, bitches.

Do you have any lifehacking skills? What street smarts do you have that you’re most proud of? Do you have a weird brain likemine that retains directional information? HollaΒ at yo booiiii!! I mean… girrrlll…


23 Replies to “Life-Hacking Skills”

  1. My husband would say I’m completely inept at finding my way around however…I do love wandering about and often find some fantastic places. Eventually I get where I need to be.

  2. You are a legend! I’m a bloke, we do directions, we’ve got some kind of inner compass/telepathy thing going for us…and a hyper-space button…whatev. Anyway, I would totally go exploring with you, Laurie. Love your shiz. Red

    1. A legend! I don’t think I’ve heard that one before. Thank you, kind sir. I think I got that inner compass/telepathy thing; I almost always know which direction to go. πŸ˜› Oooh yes lets go exploring sometime, for sure! πŸ™‚

  3. I am never lost. I may frequently be out of sync with where other inhabitants of this wonderful planet expect me to be, but I am always exactly where I am. That said … the people in my life who need me to be at a specific location at a predetermined time seem to be happier since I acquired a GPS…

    1. Hahaha! I LOVE your perspective. πŸ™‚ But yes I can see why they admonished you to acquire a GPS. πŸ˜›
      and yet, you ARE in fact always where you need to be… πŸ™‚

  4. I am amazing at reading maps to find places, and have a great sense of direction. Until I am inside a building. Then I get so lost. What is happening with that? Am I tracking the sun or something? I don’t even know. My mother and sister are terrible with directions and if they get lost they become so irrational and upset they cry. Every time. And then they call me, crying, to rescue them with my freaky sun tracking skills.

    1. Ha!!! That’s so weird! I haven’t had that experience with the building thing. But definitely the weird directions thing. My best friend actually texted me and asked me for directions to work last year. Thing is… SHE lives in Vancouver and I live in Colorado… and yeah, I knew how to get her where she was going.
      It was a little odd.

  5. That’s like a super power! Wow! A few days ago I finally gave in to the smartphone… Because I needed a phone with a functioning alarm clock and well… It will be easier to stay in touch when I go abroad for a year.
    But you see, I didn’t want to buy one for so long… So I feel you πŸ™‚

  6. I inherited my dad’s sense of direction — you could drop that man in the middle of Morocco on a camel and he’d find his way back to the States with no map. One of my favorite things to do is just to get in the car and drive to see where I end up. I always manage to find my way back home (even when I’d rather not). But…that being said, I recently had to go a week without my phone and I was in serious withdrawal.

    1. That’s exactly how I am, Jana! I almost always freakishly know exactly where I am. I loved my fun navigation skills this week. πŸ™‚
      I DO have a phone. It’s just not smart. πŸ˜› and I hate going without it.

  7. You are a badass and I love it! But I will never have this ability. I use maps like a boss (hello, former wilderness instructor here) – but I have to re-check them at every turn. At least I’m doing better than the folks who have to hold their hands up and stick their thumbs out to remember which is right and which is left.

    P.S. That thing with all the books painted on is a parking deck?!

  8. Lol omg you’re so funny! Love your sense of humour!
    Love that library too! I’ve been travelling for 2 years now . Have lived without a phone very well. As long as we have wifi at our accommodation – we don’t bother about life without phones! All of our friends are on fb anyways . When we eat out we just go to one that has wifi – it’s amazing how life feels quite comfortable when you actually give it a chance to feel that way πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you!!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Quite the compliment, i will take it!
      I agree I don’t think it’s terribly hard to live without a smartphone. Life IS pretty comfortable when you just let it be, amazing how that works. πŸ™‚

  9. I love it! I feel so guilty every time I’m on my smartphone. I used to read a lot more books than I do now. I used to have a lot more meaningful conversations. So I’m making a conscious effort to gradually pull away from this addiction.

    I will say, though, that I will keep a smartphone, since one of the reasons I use it the most is to go on my dictionary and my thesaurus apps. They make me happy!

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