March 27, 2010

I have a confession: I have no sense of direction!

You may be thinking, guide book writer eh? No sense of direction eh? What gives?!

Before you jump to conclusions, not that you necessarily would, but just in case, you can read the whole story here at Pocket Cultures. The story is called The Bumblebee and the Windswept Seed and explains how this directionally-challenged writer got up the nerve to give others directions on how to get from A to B when she almost always misses B herself, the first time around, anyway.

Here is an excerpt:

"I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I have absolutely no sense of direction. I mean, not a single cell in my body has any idea where it is once I turn a few corners, least of all my brain cells. As a collective, my brain cells throw their arms up and go on strike if I travel further than right, left, and right again. Game over.

So, I can only ever write a guide book for a country I have spent nearly four years traversing because it takes me this long to work out where I am and where I’m going—but when I work it out, I really work it out. 

The only way I know how to get anywhere in Ghana now is because I learnt the way by heart, slowly, like one memorises algebraic equations. 

Upon arriving in circular, hilly Cape Coast the first time I almost turned around and fled. (Of course, had I actually attempted to run home, I would have landed in South America, not Australia, such is my directional aptitude.) Navigating that town is like dropping you in advanced algebra before you’ve learnt to add one and one."

Keep reading at Pocket Cultures here. Read to the end to find out why I could, after all, author a guide book and give others directions around a small African country. That's me in Bolgatanga where you can't go too far wrong in the directional stakes.

Oh, and that tree behind me is what remains of Godwin's first primary school. Yep, sitting on stones under those now overgrown tree branches is how he completed primary school in the outlying villages of Bolgatanga. He'll be writing a post on Pocket Cultures about the role of Ghanaian men in the home and how his family turned out differently: they are five boys!

Download a free sample of our Travel Guide to Ghana see inside the guide before buying.


  1. No wonder you are so comfortable here in Ghana where almost everywhere the only directions you get are "Go straight!"

  2. Hey MadinGhana! I know! It took me a while to work out that "straight" meant, left, right, leeeefffft, straight for a few metres, right....cross a bridge, turn left, then "go straight!" Such is life in Ghana :)


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