This latest blog has taken me a while to get around to writing for various reasons but mainly due to the fact I have recently started a new job, moved to a new house and spent a lot of time trying to get used to my new surroundings.
It is said that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful things you can go through but combine with a new job and trying to find local amenities with poor sight is a whole different story.
The first week I was in Bristol I spent what can only be described as a terrifying 8 minutes walking around an area with nothing but giant buildings and no idea where I was. I was using an app to get a bus to the city centre to find the harbour side. A normal excursion for those who aren’t visually handicapped. The app told me to get off the bus at this concrete metropolis called Cabot Circus. A place I had of course heard of before but my God I had no idea of the sheer volume of the place and the amount of entrances and exits to get in and out is insane.
The app told me to walk to a bus stop for the 24 which would have taken me too my watery destination. Could I find the bus stop? Not a chance. Could anyone else help, your joking. I think I offended someone by asking them as the reply I got was quite out of order, how was I to know he was sleeping on the bench. It was only 2pm after all, bed time isn’t until much later where I’m from .
It turns out there are some kind people as one chap did help me, he saw I was clearly getting visibly frustrated with the lack of knowledge I had of my new surroundings and cursing at Google maps on my phone probably went some way to aiding my mystery helper to guide me to my potential new socialising point in Bristol. Turns out he became my first friend in this new city of untapped adventures.
So, I have now been here for 7 weeks and I have discovered lots of new places and lots of new possibilities, I have used the power of technology to find my way around several of the bus routes to some much-needed destinations and I can proudly say I am working it out slowly but surely.
There is of course only so much I can be expected to find by myself so I have now enlisted the help of Guide Dogs. Not to get a dog as they will not talk to me about what shops and bars are around of course. They are well trained and all but speech isn’t one of their strong points. Guide Dogs in fact have a service called My Guide which basically is a human volunteer who Is matched with a visually impaired person and they are there to help with guiding. Exactly what it says on the tin.
I have been fortunate enough to be matched with a young lady who is very easy to get on with, we have a good time and she is also very good at guiding. It isn’t a service I thought I would ever use as I am ridiculously independent, and I have always been stubborn enough to learn by myself and not take help when it has been offered. I am not sure whether it is because I have grown up a little or whether I just realised the enormity of the challenges in front of me finding my way around the city, but I have now learned to take the help. Either way I am very glad I started to use My Guide as not only is it a life changing service, I have also found a friend who is great company to go on these little adventures with and after all, who wants to go on adventures by themselves?
That’s it for now
Until next time