Headed in the right direction…I think

In 2. Wayfinding, Florence, The Art of Travel by Eryn1 Comment

It is weird to think that i’ve almost been in Italy for about a month now, and it still blows my mind every morning that I am in a different country and I have to adjust to going to school here now. I adjusted to New York so fast and although I feel I know my way around in Italy, I still feel like a fish out of water here.

I downloaded two different types of maps of Florence before coming in case I get lost and need to find my way around, luckily that hasn’t happened yet. I usually follow a map once or a person who knows their way around, and then after going to a place once I can usually find my way back by memory. Although that is a bit risky I haven’t been drastically lost yet. I was always going the right direction I just had simple things wrong like the street or which way to turn, or which side the store was on.

By knowing the direction I can usually find where I’m going, but just to be safe I ended up buying a sim card so that I could use my maps and data whenever I needed to in order to look it up. The other way I get around is to use my surroundings, the two main landmarks I use are the Duomo and the river Arno. Whenever I use my maps or just walk around the city I always figure out where I’m going based on the two landmarks above. I know what direction it is from my apartment to walk to the arno and from that I am able to tell where I am going. SInce where I am going mostly takes place around the arno and the duomo it’s easy to get around. I live very close to the duomo, it’s less than a minute walk from my apartment which means whenever I try to find my way home I use the duomo as my guide.

In my everyday I seem to have a routine, going to the bus stop and back home after class is so familiar already because it will be the route I take almost everyday. I am on the same street as the duomo and the bus stop meaning it’s a straightforward walk for me, making it pretty impossible to get lost. I think the reason I am so happy for this is because I am the type of person who does get lost. If I do get lost it’ll be when my phone dies, it’s dark out, and I have no idea where I am. I stated earlier that I have yet to be lost, and I am really thankful that it hasn’t happened.

I am very scared of the unknown and to be lost is a stressful situation for anyone, and for me it would probably be at the stop of my stress list. I do not like not knowing where I’m going, it’s hard for me to follow others sometimes even if they may know where they are going more than me. Often I like to lead even if I’m wrong sometimes because it is what I am more comfortable with. It is scary to be lost in an unknown and new place, and I know sometimes it can lead to even more amazing sites, but I like to know where I am going and how to get there without a map.

It’s also why I often only go to one place once I’ve found it, I don’t usually venture past what I know even if it is to maybe find something better or cooler. For instance in New York I lived near a dos toros and I would eat there quite often, and I would never really go out to any other mexican place. It was close to me and I never really explored elsewhere, I often go to what’s familiar to me. Being in Florence I am trying to escape that bad habit and try a lot of new and different places. There’s so much to see here and I want to be able to see it all, or most of it anyway. I hope to keep up my luck and keep heading in the right direction, keep your fingers crossed that I don’t get lost soon. 

(Image: River Arno; Source: eryn )


  1. Hi Eryn!
    I totally get what you mean when you talk about how uneasy you get when you’re lost. No one likes to not be aware of their surroundings, especially in a foreign country and especially if you aren’t 100% adjusted yet. I’ve found, however, that some of the most magical things happen when I’m lost. I either uncover a hidden gem within the city that I never would have found otherwise, or I come across a restaurant that I’ve heard the name of and have been dying to try. It’s actually a pretty cool feeling when this happens because it makes me feel even more at home in my foreign city. So, I think you should challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s what studying abroad is all about, right? Go out one day with the intention of getting lost. Wander until you don’t know where you are and then plug it into your map so you can figure out your way home. But try to just let go of everything and explore your city with reckless abandon. I think you’ll uncover some pretty neat aspects of the city and of yourself as well.

Leave a Comment