Different people have different abilities. Some are bestowed with the gift of direction. They are the ones who never forget how to arrive at a place of destination, no matter if they have to go through a labyrinth-like path to get there, and even though they’ve only been to that place once.
However, there are many people who do not possess that keen sense of direction. These are the people who just can’t seem to remember the places they’ve went to, even if they’ve been to these locations several times before. Well, there’s no need to get frustrated.
The first concept necessary to develop a good sense of direction is to have a deep interest in the places. You should begin to "take notice" of the direction of the streets or roads over which you travel - the landmarks; the turns of the road, even the natural objects along the way. Studying maps could help in awakening a new interest in them.
One of the first things to do, after arousing an interest, is to carefully note the landmarks and relative positions of the streets or roads over which you travel. So many people travel along a new street or road in an absent-minded manner, ignoring the features of the land as they proceed. This is fatal to place-memory. You must take notice of the thoroughfares and the things along the way. Pause at the cross roads, or the street-corners and note the landmarks, and the general directions and relative positions, until they are firmly retained on your mind. When you go jogging or walking, start to see how many things you can remember. And when you return home, go over the trip in your mind, and see how much of the direction and how many of the landmarks you are able to remember. Take out your pencil, and attempt to make a map of your itinerary, giving the general directions, and noting the street names, and distinct features of objects along the way.
Then as you travel along, compare places with your map, and you will find that you will take an entirely new interest in the trip. You will see that you can now notice things you were not able to recognize before.
It may be difficult to remember directions because of too many bits of repetitious, unfamiliar data being fed into your mind. If you’re going to remember a lot of left and right turns amidst all the roads and blocks you’ll be traveling, chances are, you will get totally confused.
What you have to do is to ask for a landmark. If your friend tells you to “turn right after the third block,” you can ask what landmark you will see when you turn right. If your buddy answers that it’s a barber shop, then you will certainly know in what block you will turn right to.
Another dilemma would be on how to remember all the “lefts” and “rights.” The solution is simple. You can convert “left” and “right” into clear images that represent these words. For example, you can use “lizards” for left and “rats” for right. So if your friend tells you to “turn right after the third block,” you can imagine large furry rats scurrying all over the barber shop. If you can exaggerate it further, like visualizing the rats in sunglasses and gangster clothes, you can remember it even better.
You can also use the methods you’ve previously learned in remembering addresses. For example, you want to remember 32 Cottonwood Avenue. You can turn 32 into moon (3 = m, 2 = n, then add vowels). Then for Cottonwood, you can visualize a large plank of dancing wood with cotton all over its body, eating cotton candy. Then link everything together. How about that large plank of wood with cotton all over its body, sharing and feeding some cotton candy to the bright round moon. Can you see them bond together so closely that they look like a perfect couple?
For larger numbers like 142, you can convert that to train (1 = t, 4 = r,
2 = n). You can visualize that cotton-covered wood riding a very happy train while they’re singing a lively song together.
See? Not only do these methods help you to remember, but they are fun to do. Just keep on practicing. And don’t think this is a chore. Have fun imagining things and you’ll end up with a far better memory than ever before.