If you know me well… and I mean REALLY well… then you know that I am capable, strong, independent, successful, a real go-getter. A former European History teacher. A former art history teacher. A former Assistant Principal. All jobs and positions that involve a certain degree of level-headedness and capability. And I am completely incapable of finding my way around my home town of San Diego, California.
It’s not something I am proud of. But to find my way from Point A to Point B – even a Point A and B that I love and visit often! – I need to do a search and study on Google Maps… I need to mentally prepare… and I stress.
Sure, the part of me that is a stiletto-wearing professional clad in dark and stark business suits can make it to work… but anything else… You have no idea how many times I had to do a panicked phone call to my sister (who lives in NYC!) or my Ex-Husband (for God’s sake! But he KNOWS all the roads!) just so I can make an appointment for after work drinks on time… or so I can get out of downtown San Diego and find the damn freeway.
That said – You drop me in London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, York, Madrid… well, pretty much ANYWHERE in Europe… and I can find my way with NO problem. Sometimes… hold your breath!… I don’t even need a map!
When I was a teacher I actually had parents entrust their children to me to bring them on art history and culture tours of Europe. Crazy! I know! But… never was there a hitch. Somehow, somewhere… inside me there’s a homing beacon that can navigate the small, convoluted back streets of Venice easier than I can navigate the concrete jungle of Southern California.
Maybe it’s because I am not FROM SoCal. Born in Africa… I’ve lived in South Africa, in (depending on where you draw the boundaries) Lesotho, London, San Diego and Amsterdam.
So… I figured out a way to trade in my long work hours, my snazzy suits, and my big GPS-equipped car… for a lifestyle that allows me to be in Europe as MUCH as possible. I still have my roots in San Diego… in fact… that’s where my business is! But I also have (you really should see the grin here…. emoticons just CANNOT convey it!) a lovely apartment in Amsterdam and the flexibility to get on the train, plane or road as often as possible.
Now you know… I get lost. But not when I travel. In travel, getting lost means you discover something that the guidebooks didn’t mention. It means turning a corner and wanting to squeal with delight!
I get lost… but I found my groove with travel :)
Join my journeys by reading about them here or on Twitter! @FoundTravel