“A compass, I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll…it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing True North?”
After an high cadence evening exploring canals and bridges in Venice, I returned to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station for the homeward portion of my ticket to Castelfranco, the town from which I had launched a late afternoon expedition. I walked to the track assigned on the destination board. No train appeared. I rechecked the departure listings and cross-referenced a paper schedule. No worries, another train was slated to depart an hour later if I missed this one. I began to feel uneasy. The only trains in the station were clearly equipped for overnight transit and local departures seemed absent from the side tracks. I triple confirmed the train scheduled but upon this examination I decoded my error, I had been reading the arrivals information. The last train of the night destine for the Veneto left an hour ago. I regrouped. Seeing buses queued up at the transportation center I inquired about bus transit to Castelfranco. No buses departed for the town. My next available option was to inquiry at a local hotel but without my passport I was uneasy that a hotel would provide a room without appropriate documents (a prerequisite in Italy). The last reasonable option (outside of swimming) was to inquire about a taxi. None were immediately found at the taxi line however one eventually appeared. The driver and I spoke and the initial estimate was far higher than I desired but without traffic there would be no delay and possible efficiencies to gain. I determined this choice was most certain to deliver me to my hotel. So we crossed the causeway back onto the mainland and arrived at the hotel around midnight. More euros invested than anticipated but the afternoon had the hallmarks of adventure. I reached my intended destination but taken a deviation from the anticipated route.
Affixing our sights on a destination sets the compass. Allowing flexibility to select a route is the art of navigating when the path is not certain and the destination is known but no longer visible.