Before a competition, athletes study the course and the environment. Before building a house, contractors scout the landscape, calculating layout. Before I travel places or go out to eat, I complete some recon, too.
The more familiar I am with an environment, the more confident and relaxed I am despite my disability. Reviewing a menu online before I eat out gives me an idea of what choices to make once I reach the dinner table, a simple habit, a tool to use when I wish.
The same trick works when I travel, whether I’m reviewing timetables of subways or researching bus stops. If I gain a basic idea of the transit system before I travel on it, I feel prepared. I might be able to anticipate items I need to take along to make the trip better or notice a temporary detour.
Best of all, there’s never a rush when I’m reading on my couch. People aren’t waiting on me to make a decision when I’m in my living room, no pushy crowds, no distracting lighting. Just me and my plans for a pleasant night out.
How do you turn an unfamiliar environment into a place you want to explore?
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You are right…it’s all in the planning. Travelling by public transport takes so much longer than hopping in the car and I always try to add a generous time factor into my journeys. I now have train and bus timetable apps on ipad and iphone but MUSt learn to use Voiceover on phone. When driving was no longer an option, I worked out how much money I would save by not using a car. Then decided that I could give myself a monthly taxi allowance from these savings..no guilt and not an indulgence. So now, at the beginning and end of train journeys or going out locally to difficult places I use this facility. It is so important not to let VI restrict out movement.
Good points. Which public transit option do you prefer, Bridget?
Good question! In Birmingham I prefer Cross city trains for ease of use with loudspeaker announcements of times and stops and local buses for flexibility of destinations but on buses the vI are very dependent on other passengers for information. . Your blog has helped me address this problem and I am thinking how to write about it more fully. Many thanks. But today I am with family living in London and planning a journey from North London to Knightsbridge by tube with 10 year old granddaughter navigating! Fingers crossed!
Looking forward to reading your blog. I hope the travel from the north to Knightsbridge goes well. I admit, I lived in Knightsbridge as a student and loved the Tube. Perhaps you will be riding the Northern Line to the Piccadilly Line via Leicester Square?
We made it from Woodgreen to Knightsbridge with no changes and no problems on the Piccadilly line! I’m so intrigued to know you know it! We had a fascinating day in Harrods and reluctantly didn’t buy the life sized polar bear for £6,000. It was like visiting a museum!
It’s so cool finding these commonalities! I have a couple of vision-impaired friends, all online, so I often don’t know that my adaptation is normal. I also learn things from you. Thank you. I too love to do reconnaissance before new places – I love google maps!
Google maps has really helped with understanding bus schedules and subway routes, too. Yes, we do figure out some tricks to deal with the vision impairments. I love it when I find a commonality, too.
P.S. we were in Florida in early November last year. It was beautiful weather for almost the whole week.
Florida in November sounds great.