Research is the key to success
When traveling to a new location, be sure to take plenty of time to research your destination thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the area, getting to not only know the streets in the area, but large and common landmarks in the vicinity. I can’t count the number of time I have asked for assistance but the person I was asking didn’t know the street names nearby, but were intimately familiar with larger landmarks and monuments around the area. Knowing the locations of the landmarks can save you a ton of frustration when you are turned around and looking to get back on track. Steer away from navigating my Starbucks, and fast food – there are a ton of them, and someone giving you directions can easily not be aware of the location of a specific food or coffee place. On the topic of asking people for directions, I always suggest asking a second person the same directions to make totally sure you are headed in the direction you think you are. This can be done politely well after you ask the first person so there are no “you don’t trust me” kind of situations.
Phone apps like BlindSquare (40 dollars in the app store) are incredibly useful tools, and make our lives easier, but always research so you have the knowledge of your area as a backup. My biggest fear in relying on a app for navigation is that there would be a signal interruption and I would be stuck. Go with the boy scout mantra and always be prepared. I personally enjoy researching my destination, not only for the locationally aware knowledge I gain, but I also love to learn about the history of the area. No amount of technology will replace good orientation and mobility skills.
Speaking of navigating around a place you haven’t been, schedule a trip – it doesn’t have to be across the country, it can be across town to an area you haven’t visited. Challenge yourself and don’t let your lack of vision hold you back – I don’t.
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