When I was a little girl, my dad used to play a game where he'd take a turn he didn't know just to do something a little different. I'm sure he thought it would bring out the adventurous side of me, but I was always terrified that we'd get lost forever. I never really made it known to Dad so he probably never knew and therefore had no reason to stop playing this game. He knew the area I grew up in really well and he was always interested in learning more ways the roads connected. He is the best at detouring whenever we hit traffic.
When I started driving, Dad and I used to drive for hours and hours. Back when gas wasn't that expensive. We started by driving the routes I was already familiar with and slowly Dad pulled out my adventurous side by having me take turns I didn't know so I could learn how to deal with detours and getting lost. We never had a map on us, just our combined knowledge of the highways and roads in the area. It was really scary for me at first, but I started learning the roads really well. And I started memorizing roads. Eventually, I started looking at maps to enhance my local geographical knowledge. I would experiment with different routes to get to and from almost everywhere.
When I started working full-time a few years ago, I started traveling pretty often for work and I had to learn to adapt to new places because I was often alone in a new city. I had to get over any lingering fears of getting lost by glancing at a map and figuring out which major roads I would be near so that I'd eventually run into something familiar. I do drive with a map in unfamiliar areas, but I have lost all of my fears in terms of directions and getting lost. I quickly memorize routes and I could probably still drive some of the cities that I haven't visited in a long time. I've even become one of the most knowledgeable of my close friends in terms of everything that's near home.
And it all started with my dad's strange little game when I was little.