How long do you think it takes?

How long do you think it takes to find your way around a completely new place? It seems like a context contest sort of thing, I think. What do you mean, “find your way around?”

Today we found the propane tank fill service, the better of the two nearby grocery stores, a SuperCuts and checked out their hours for the next few days, sized up which intersections have the best price competition for gas, found a beautiful branch library and city park, and found the church service most appealing for tomorrow morning.

Yesterday we found, not without considerable trial and error, the Camping World and Verizon stores. The day before we found the nearby GM dealer and had our oil change service. What else could you need? So, in under a week in Bakersfield, we’ve found the hospital and our way around and the essential services.

I’ve lived much longer in some cities without figuring this out. Yes, I was working and my context was completely different. I knew the schools, libraries, and work-related locations quickly. My mind was pretty fully occupied with family and work. When Deb and I hit a community we concentrate on our few external needs. We can gauge pretty well what we’ll need for the next week or two. You know how long you have. New in a community, you might take your time finding things. I did. I figured I had a lot of time, up to three or four years easily.

We aren’t rushing things, but are able to focus differently than before. When we were backpacking we realized soon our priorities were pretty basic. Set up shelter, find water, prepare food and a fire. That’s about it. And these things took a lot of our time when backpacking. Nowadays if we are camping only a few days in a new location we might, or not, need groceries. If we are around a week or two we’ll have more time to catch up on shopping or other necessities.

We don’t have very much time, either way, in most places we’ve visited. Find it on the way in or ask around when we arrive. People in the campgrounds are glad to share with us the sources they’ve found. This is efficient. And, of course, we have the benefit of the computer and the GPS to search out services and locations.

We’re pretty comfortable with all this. How long does it take to find your way around a new place? Two answers: It depends, and, how long do you have? You probably take the time you have. I think I did. Without hurrying, I guess we’ve become more efficient at finding the certain things appealing or necessary to us. We’ve practiced, we’re deliberate, and we’ve learned. Our needs and wants seem pretty simple.

Finding our way around in a new location may be totally different from anyone else finding way around the same area. Our house is only 200sf and uncomplicated by yards, garages, attics, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. For us, finding the services and suppliers we need just seems to come naturally now. And we like it.

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