Finding a place here in Europe has always been challenging for me. I come from a country where we don’t have GPS services or route planning websites. We ask for directions.
Hardly anyone in Nepal uses Google maps. If we don’t know our way around, we ask for directions. And people never hesitate to give you an answer and share their information with you. I had never ever used a map to find a location before coming to the Netherlands.
The way directions are given is also different. In Nepal they never tell you how many kilometers you should travel north or south. Directions are generally given in the time it takes to cover the distance and by the landmarks you see on the way. For example, it is not uncommon to get advice like: ‘You see the street? (Pointing in the direction of the street). Walk this way for five minutes. Then there comes a shoe shop, turn right. If you walk for five more minutes, there is a red building. A small street goes through it. The second building on the left with the clothes hanging on the balcony is what you are looking for.’ These are the kind of directions I am used to. This is what I am trained in and how I had lived my entire life, until I came to the Netherlands.
Here, things are different. I plan my way around using 9292.nl in combination with Google maps. This sounds quiet easy, but actually (being truthful) I always find it more difficult and I have got lost many times. I still find it very difficult to read maps (I hope that it’s not only due to my sense of direction), so I still often ask people on the street for the way (but most of the time people don’t know and sometimes they don’t want to answer).
Recently, I am getting better at finding my way around. With the help of GPS and the offline map on my tablet, I seldom get lost these days and I manage to reach my destinations on time.