There’s a funny thing I’ve noticed since moving to Denmark.
I sat on a train making its way towards Aarhus and the number of fields and bridges and little cosy towns on the way seemed as countless as the number of f- words on the Internet. Three and a half hours seemed to have a span of 13. Yet the tiring traintrip came to an end and looking back on it my rambling about the travel time and continuity seems silly.
More recently I was on the way to a gym through a city I don’t really know. Here I’d like to thank my trustworthy friend Google Maps that has always been a good tripadvisor. And my natural sense of orientation. Back to the point though. As I was on the 5-kilometre-long way, the streets just seemed to be stretching away in the distance. The destination seemed further and further away, although logically thinking I was getting closer. Add here some nasty dribbling rain that started as I walked and you get -10 on the mood scale. Yet I managed to find the right place in that maze of a city. After exercising my anger away, I started on my journey back. And guess what? Those 5-somethingish kilometres weren’t that long at all.
I guess the reason of this wierd perception of distance, which doesn’t change a single centimetre while the train whooshes on the tracks or the feet are running on a treadmill, is habit. In a place you know quite well, been there since childhood or spent a considerable amount of time, you get a little minimap in the head. Grocery store? 2 minutes walking. Library? 20 minutes on the bus on a traffic jam free hour.
In new surroundings, I have no tools to help me find my way through the streets or parks. I don’t know the place and the GPS navigation system in my brain is shut down for some time. At least while I get to the point of destination. After that the white blur has been corrected with some lines and schemes about where the hell I am.