How Getting Lost Can Help You Find Your Way

Thursday, December 13, 2018
CALS Video Coordinator Cody Sheehy recently shared what he learned from getting lost in the wilderness with "Outside" magazine.

Q&A With Cody Sheehy, CALS Video Coordinator

You recently retraced your journey of getting lost in the wilderness of Northeast Oregon as a 6-year-old boy for “Outside” magazine. What did you learn from the journey as an adult that was different from the lessons you learned as a child?

It was very interesting to see the journey I took in the daylight and with Everett, who was involved in the search. I was able to see how the rolling hills and meadows look the same in every direction. Everett told me how they tracked my footprints running in circles. I didn't remember doing that, so it made the point to me how terrified I must have been all of those years ago.

You told “Outside” you worry about getting too comfortable. What do you see as the benefit of discomfort?

There have been times in my life when I've been out of my comfort zone. As a kid, my family lived in Inner Mongolia for three years. Before I came to work for CALS, I took a year off to cruise a sailboat from San Francisco to Nicaragua. During those periods, every day was different and I had to always be thinking on my feet, aware of what I was doing. It can be exhausting, but it also has the benefit of making each day seem like an eternity. If I get too comfortable, I worry that time will speed up and my life will flash by before I realize it.From left: Dave Bogner, Cody Sheehy, Jatta Sheehy, and Matt Rahr at the Rocky Mountain Emmy's

What do you hope CALS students, your colleagues, and "Outside" readers learn from you sharing your experience?

If you really are lost, it is a good idea to wait for rescuers. The quicker they find you, the safer for everyone. But, if you do have to walk out, I guess it is important to mentally commit to getting all the way home on your own. I think that advice might be translated to anything, even the work we do here at CALS. There may be a project that you want to master, but you don't have someone to show you how. So, in that case, if you commit to doing it, make sure you bring the stamina you will need to figure it out on your own and see it completed.

What advice do you have for people who want to push through barriers, but don’t want to get themselves lost in Northeast Oregon?

Great question! How do get yourself in a situation that will force you to do things that you didn't think you can do, but not to be in an unsafe situation? When I look around, I see that the world is full of people who are doing amazing things that inspire the rest of us. I guess we have to remember that they probably didn't get to where they are all at once. They probably picked a little goal each day and tested to see if they could make it. In my case as a lost kid, I just focused on taking one step at a time. Now, when I look back, it seems like a long way for a 6-year-old boy.

Read the article about Sheehy’s experience in "Outside."

Cody Sheehy
CALS Communications & Cyber Technologies