Jul 9, 2016

Giving and receiving directions

During my morning walk today, three Chinese women came running up to me at the train station, asking for directions. They propbably missed the train, and needed to walk to their destination. Fortunately, it was only a ten minute walk, and I gave them the necessary directions.

Happy travelers after receiving my instructions.
They walked with me for a while, and then came back for more directions, since the road split into two. I repeated the instructions, they thanked me, and walked off. Job well done. I saw them arriving at their destination a little later.

Easy instructions
How do you like to give and receive directions? I am often asked to give directions from friends, when they do not find my place. I sometimes let Couchsurfers stay at my place, and have to give instructions to total strangers, whom often have never set foot in Oslo.

That is a cool exercise, because then I will up my game and make the instructions as easy to follow as possible. A few times I have been told that I do not need to, because they can find their own way. That is impressive, and memorable.

Crossroads are interesting. 
Make a system
When my wife and I visited Iran for the first time, we visited downtown Tehran. Tehran is a huge city, with a population of 9 million, and 16 million in the wider metropolitan area.
The wife was getting her hair done, and I was left to myself for a couple of hours. I decided to explore the city. The solution was to implement a technique I sometimes use: Take the first road on your right, and then keep doing the same at every junction. Then I double back, taking all left turns, returning to the starting point. During my visit in Belarus last year, I also used it. Works every time.

Today I have the advantage of a smart phone, which is very clever. Take a photo of the starting point, street name, number and all, and even take pictures at every junction. This will help you in finding your way back.

Don't be afraid to give instructions to strangers!

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