travel 101 week 2

8 Nov

“these boots were made for walking”

if you really want to get the feel of a city and its culture, walk its streets, bump into people, get lost, ask for directions. but if you’re one to do things solo, or would rather avoid speaking with a complete stranger, here is what you need to do:

orient yourself with your starting location by referring to your map or online source, and of course in person. note the nearest cross street and traffic flow (one way/bidirectional/train tracks in the median/pedestrian crossings/etc). also make a reference of your mass transit options (bus stops/train stations/etc).

determine the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) either by referencing your map/gps, or if it’s a sunny day check out your shadow. it’s always with you! depending on what time of day it is, your shadow will either fall to the west or east. in the morning hours, your shadow will fall to the west since the sun rises in the east. and in the afternoon, your shadow will fall to the east, since the sun sets in the west. granted this will be an approximation; but at least it will give you a sense of direction without pulling out a compass, or rustling around with a map while staring blankly at street signs- as if they’re going to tell what way is north.

knowing your directions is a good foundation especially if you know that the avenues run north and south or the streets east and west. that sort of thing.

so you know where you are. you know where you want to go and what direction to head in – so start walking. make sure to look both ways before crossing a street (yeah, i know you know) but seriously anything can happen. i was 2 seconds from getting run over by some hot shot blasting through a red light the other night. also be on the lookout for bikers as some don’t have those annoying bells or horns to alert you when they are coming.

if you are in a rush, i’d suggest zig-zagging your way to your destination, letting walk signals determine your route. also be aware that people in america favor the “right of way” so oftentimes it’s faster to go to the left of a crowd. some people will not go on the street either, but if the sidwalk is swamped with people, your best bet is to walk alongside the parked cars in the street. again look out for cars, bikers and the savage scooter.


if you’re wearing long sleeves or a jacket, you can tuck your cell phone in the inside of the cuff! you can casually hold it in place by walking with a lightly closed fist or by wearing a watch or something around your wrist.

assignment: take a walk! find out where you are. use your shadow to figure out the cardinal directions.

if you missed it: week 1

up next: week 3

and the “syllabus”


2 Responses to “travel 101 week 2”


  1. travel 101 week 1 « v’s weblog - November 10, 2008

    […] Up next: Getting there-Walking […]

  2. travel with victoria 101 syllabus « v’s weblog - November 11, 2008

    […] WEEK 2 […]

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