So I was thinking about a tragic story that was in the news a few months ago about a couple that were traveling to Vegas from British Columbia and they only had a GPS unit with them in their van for directions.
Now I tell people a little trip preparation and survival skills go along way no matter who you are or where you are going.  I think diabetics know this best because we are always planning for lows, highs, meter issues, pump issues, site issues, and all sorts.  People always tell me, oh we just travel with our GPS or smartphone and that will get us to where we are going.  If it doesn't then we can stop at a gas station and get directions.  How far from the truth this is.

I always keep a compass on me.  The above picture is of me holding the compass I keep in my briefcase.  This was the compass my father gave me when I was 11 and it still shows me directions.  I have a compass on my backpack zipper, in the center console of our cars, and I yes do have a compass app on my phone.
The couple in the above link for some reason turned down a loggers road (I am thinking GPS directions), got stuck and for 3 days they waited for help.  When help did not show up the husband decided to go out and get help.  That was the last time he was ever seen.  This is a tragedy that should not have been.  No one ever plans on getting lost or stuck in the outdoors but it happens too often.  The only times we hear about this is when tragedy strikes.
The next time your child gets a free compass from school or a kiddie meal from sonic and they think it is dumb and they want a transformer or something instead.  Put that compass in your glove box, or diabetes kit.  This might save your life one day.  There is no better backup for a GPS unit on the fritz or cell phone not working than a simple compass.
I would also recomend you learn how a compass works (red is north and white is south) and actually go out and try it because just having it is good but knowing how to use it is better.  Think of Tom Hanks trying to start a fire on Castaway.  He did it but with hours and hours of trying and getting hurt.  In all survival situations it is better to practice them in a non life threatning practice than when you actually need it.  We had an opportunity to do just this exact thing when on a campout.  We had a group of boys go out and hike up a hill.  We could see the boys but could not yell loud enough to let them know to come back.  Plus you don't want to be yelling in the wilderness just to communicate.  Someone mentioned to use a signal mirror and get their attention.  Great idea, just that alot of us carry signal mirrors but have never actually used one besides to shave or check out our teeth.  So one of our assistant scoutmasters actually knew and he taught us all how to signal and got really proficient at it and since we used 5 different models we learned which one worked best (there is a big difference in signal mirrors).  The boys saw the light and came back.

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Comment by The Diabetic Camper on July 20, 2011 at 10:52am
You are right Mark, that is my first boy scout compass. My father gave me his military wrist compass as well but it is getting cloudy to read. I have never used a fishing hook as a lancet. The worst thing I have ever used was my pocket knife.

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