When the GPS isn't working...

If you follow me on social media, or if you've read some of my blog posts, you know that I am an early morning walker; or at least for the months when it is warm enough (above 40) and safe enough (no slick pavement; I'm NOT ready to be that "old" lady who falls on the sidewalk and can't get up).For the past 7 years (give or take), I've been tracking my miles via the MapMyWalk app.  According to the app in mid June my lifetime stats were as follows:  DISTANCE 5,391.11 mi & DURATION 2.27 months.  I've had a few glitches over the year, but recently the app has been pausing on me and I've been very frustrated by that...hence last Sunday's post.

I was so frustrated this past week that I started to look at other apps.  And so on the recommendation of a friend I switched over to the Runtastic app.  I tested it.  It worked pretty well  and I was happy with it, but I was a little disappointed that by using a new app, I was "losing" my 7 years of  hard work.  I went for a walk on Saturday morning and all was good.  I like how the app worked and I thought I'd solved my problem.

I didn't.  Last night I went for a brief walk and at .97 the Runtastic app stopped tracking.  Frustrated yet again, I paused the app and then started it up again.  Nope.  I kept it on and kept walking, figuring I'd at least track my timing.  (Of course I'd already lost a few minutes while moving and stopping and starting the app.)  Then as I was almost home, it started up again and showing that I cut across a field to get to my current location, when in fact I'd walked several blocks more and have always kept to the road/sidewalk.

So what the heck was wrong?  I cleaned up my phone (as I try to do frequently) and cleaned out the cache.  I even told Life360 to stop (another tracking system that my family uses)  But this morning when I went out and used Runtastic NOTHING.  I switched over to MapMyWalk again.  NOTHING.  I tried Runtastic again NOTHING.  But I decided to just keep going and walk.  I generally walk about a 18-19 minute mile, so I figured if I rounded up to 20 I'd come up with a generalized (if unrecorded) mileage.  And then the Runtastic app spoke to me saying something along the lines of GPS lost.  Now it made sense.  the GPS in my phone was not working properly.  That stinks, but at least things were starting to make sense.

So I decided to keep walking...and take some photos as I went along.

In the recent weeks, I've been expanding my walking routine.  Sometimes I'm adding more miles, but what I've done is explore new areas.  Areas that aren't far from me, but I've never walked before.  I don't know why, but I've nearly always walked north or west.  Being stuck at home over the past few months, I've unconsciously decided to try new streets and see new things.  Because I am not familiar with these new streets, I really do need GPS so that I know where I am going.  But now I don't have GPS to help me, I have to navigate with my limited knowledge and go with what feels right and what feels safe.  I need to be (more) mindful of what is going on around me and while appreciating the beauty in all forms of the landscape.

Today, I did just that...and although I am not a particularly good photographer, here is a partial view of my walk this morning...


What is somewhat amusing or perhaps annoying is that somewhere around the 7th photo, my GPS started working...as a result this is what my app told me...

My start and end points should always be the same and clearly this is not the case.  So I'm trying to figure out what to do.  Do I get a new phone or do I try a device specifically for monitoring my motion.  (I'm looking at your Fitbit...anyone have any sage advise for me?)

Now, because I walked for nearly an hour and half (guestimating 4.5 miles), I thought about this whole GPS thing in broader terms.  It seems to me that as a country (perhaps as a world) our GPS HAS broken down.  We don't know where we are.  We are confused.  We no longer have an electronic road map to guide us.  It makes us angry and frustrated.  It scares us.  We are in the unknown and we're not sure which way to turn.  What is the right road to take.

Taking that into consideration, perhaps it's time for us all to navigate our lives with thoughtfulness.  Listening to our inner selves as to what is right and wrong.  Using what we DO know, looking around us and making a decision which was to go based on what feels right.  Not going forward in ignorance,  but with careful consideration.  Without GSP, I can still figure out which direction I am going in; and as a country and a world we CAN do the same.  While I may want a tracking system; I can find my way home without one.  I can even discover new things.  So can we all.

Let's live a life of awareness.  Let's not take things as they were or are for granted.  Let's observe and see the beauty in nature AND in mankind.  

Be kind.  Be safe.  Be well.


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