Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is it lost or just wandering?

I borrow this from J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” - it's one of my favorite quotes ... as I tender to be one of "those who wander" - or sometimes referred to as "directionally challenged".

For years, I traveled on a regular basis for work ... a different city every week or every few months - but even if it was the same city over a period of say 3 months, it was still a different city from my residence. This having been said, one might surmise that I could navigate fairly well. Well, one would be wrong. Sure, I always got to my destination - always ... but sometimes not by the most direct route.

There are those who have known me for decades who will swear that I have a sense of direction ... and I agree, it is indeed a "sense" of direction. However, I'm not one of those that can visualize a map in my head - let's say my husband for one ... the man who single handed navigated us at night on foot safely through the enchanting (dark and narrow) streets, bridges, and steps of Venice, Italy. If it had been up to me, we would have spent most of the night in a wine bar off the Piazza de San Marco.

So yes, my "sense" of direction usually leads me to somewhere that I might have missed had I followed a map, or directions, or the screeching of the person in the passenger seat urging me to "turn here ... NOW"!

One time, while on a business trip somewhere in the Morgantown, WV area, I ended up in a cemetery around midnight (my friend and coworker in the passenger seat still brings that one up ... she may still not be fully recovered).

Another favorite business trip was spending 2 hours looking for a specific Legal Seafood while in Boston on business and in possession of a GPS in the rental car. That was hysterical - the GPS said, "turn here", my friend and coworker in the passenger seat said, "no, go straight" - he can be slightly ornery just for the sake of arguing, and the ever so creative Boston DOT said "STOP!" by putting barricades blocking the road. We ended up going across a bridge and pulling over to decide what to do, when we looked up and saw the "Legal Seafood" sign.

Anyway, the point is ... and many of you were wondering whilst I was wandering is that sometimes wandering is good, sometimes not following the map brings you to places you might not have found (spooky cemeteries, bus depots in Boston, and magical hidden piazzas). It's good to allow yourself the freedom to explore sometimes - just leave enough time and preferably not during rush hour.

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