During my heavy revision period, the tram I take to university was undergoing some maintenance. This meant I could no longer use my normal tram stop, instead relying on the replacement bus service to take me to the next stop.
This worked great until one evening when I was travelling alone. I realised I had no idea how to get from the tram to the replacement bus service. I thought Ascot might just go with the flow and guide me to the bus stop. Nope! – instead he went with the flow that took me to a road. I thought to myself – if someone can point me in the right direction to Meadowhall, I can figure it out from there!. I asked around and a kind lady offered to guide the way, so me and Ascot followed along. The kind lady dropped us off at Debenhams and was on her way. Now the challenge was getting from here to the train station, I had never walked this route before.
The easy solution would have been to ask around, I am sure someone would of helped me. But instead I thought I could figure it out. I told Ascot to walk straight ahead and listened out for any cues. I heard a woman in high heels walk by me hurriedly. In my mind walking with such conviction meant only 1 of 2 things, she worked here or she was leaving the store. I took a gamble and began to follow her footsteps. It appeared to be paying off as ahead of me I could hear far more chatter and human traffic, a sure fire tell that it was the exit. Leaving the store I could feel the surface change and the acoustic change, now how do I get to the train station?
I knew I was on the bottom floor and the train station was on the first floor, so I just needed to find some stairs. I walked straight ahead until I could smell Yo Sushi!. I remembered that Yo Sushi! Was the only restaurant near the stairs, so that was quite easy. It also gave me the vital piece of information I needed. Where in Meadowhall I was. So now in my head I quickly plotted out the route and barked the instructions to Ascot, a few minutes later we arrived at the train station.
It was a great reminder of the power of combining the guidance of Ascot with the environmental cues to navigate unfamiliar environments. I also thank the kind lady and the lady with loud high heels!