I’m always a little … apprehensive when I make a trip for the first time, especially if there’s a time crunch involved. Yesterday I made my maiden voyage to Jersey City by Public Transportation. It involved taking a train to Newark’s Penn Station and then switching to the PATH train which trundled me into Journal Square. From there I walked a few blocks to the building in which the seminar was being held.

Traveling by train and PATH/subway is nothing new to me – I do live in the suburbs of New York City after all, and spent some time after college working in the city. But I haven’t really done anything in Jersey City at all.

To prepare, I printed Google map directions and programmed everything into my iPhone. I looked up train and PATH schedules so I could manage my timing. However, no matter how much I prepare myself, there’s always something I don’t foresee – like a PATH station that’s under construction and next to impossible to figure out how to exit, and a foible I should accept as part of my general make-up – namely a deplorable lack of direction. No matter what the map says, there are chances I will head off in the wrong direction. Much like Joey in the Friend’s episode that takes place in London, I need to step on the map to be sure I’m pointing the right way. Once I get that established, I rock at directions. It’s just that first step that I truly suck at.

However, once the first trip is under my belt, I remember mistakes made and inevitably shave several minutes off my trip the next day. And what truly amazes me is the sense of ease I feel in repeated trips. Once I fix the end point in a tangible spot, I can even begin substituting routes to get there. e.g. This morning, knowing where the convention center was in relation to the PATH station, I found a faster way, by cutting out five or six blocks that I unnecessarily walked yesterday. I found a spot to buy my diet coke since I stupidly left my lunch at home and I even discovered a Dunkin‘ Donuts to feed my chocolate craving should it pop up. It’s really too bad I won’t be working there on a regular basis – I’m old hat at this by now.

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