Leaning off my GPS

Ah yes, my GPS. One of the most useful tools I’ve used throughout my travels.

Lately, I’ve been trying to use it a little less and I think you should, too.

Think back three years ago. When you didn’t need a mask to go to the grocery store and you shook someone’s hand when you first met them.

Three years ago, I started this blog. Three years ago, I was studying abroad in Ireland.

I didn’t have a lot of access to a GPS. I didn’t have a lot of data with my international phone plan. I found myself studying directions when I had WiFi access before heading out the door.

I would spend more time looking at the different pubs, shops, parks and people walking by. I would hear the music float out of one lively pub and see the latest trends modeled by a sleek mannequin in a big store window. I’d notice students laughing with their friends after class, mothers trying to round up their children, or businessmen catching up with colleagues after a hard day’s work.

I caught a few quiet moments in St. Stephen’s Green in the middle of a bustling Dublin.

I learned which direction streets led and where things were. I was happy for getting to know Maynooth and Dublin, and it made leaving so much harder. I was just getting the hang of it, now you’re telling me I had to go back to the US?

Fast forward to now, I’m living in Rochester during pandemic times. At first, I only really drove to work and back home. I occasionally ventured to the grocery store or friend’s place. I felt like a fish out of water, back in a foreign place with no sense of direction.

I used my GPS for EVERYTHING. I planned out my commute to and from work. I would use it every time I needed food. I constantly checked it to see what the fastest route would be.

Towards the end of the summer, I found myself checking it less. I started taking walks after work, half for exercise purposes and half to learn the neighborhood.

I find myself being observant again. I’m looking around, checking out the different houses lining streets, smelling pizza being cooked, hearing friends laugh over a few beers. It’s comforting to see life goes on, even in pandemic times.

Now, I still use my GPS. I’m not a genius, I need Siri to tell me how to get to places I’ve never been to. Still, I feel proud I can (sometimes) weave my way through Rochester without a glance at directions.

A sunny day looking at the Rochester skyline.

If you just moved somewhere and have no idea where things are, I suggest taking a joyride through your new town. You never know what could be just around the corner!

With so much changing about the pandemic every day, I’m daydreaming of taking a big trip once we make it to the other side. Any suggestions for cool places to check out? Let me know!

As always, appreciate you making it this far my loyal readers. Stay safe and stay healthy!

3 Replies to “Leaning off my GPS”

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