Where Have I Been?

Map pileThese showed up in a forgotten drawer, in a neglected desk consigned to the basement years ago:  a collection of maps, flyers, and brochures from every place I’ve visited (and several I haven’t).  And that’s not all.  Many more maps are carefully stored in other cabinets, or folders.  Or the car.

Now, with our smartphones and GPS, will anyone need or want these?  Personally, I abhor those voices droning directions in automobiles.  Worse than having a back seat navigator, and it’s more fun to get lost.  I will surely keep some maps for my own use.

But what of all this paper, much of which is dated?  At one point I imagined I’d get into scrapbooking, which now seems a crazed fantasy of spending time creating tacky keepsakes.  Cutting out pictures of tourist brochures hoping to remind my kids of good times, and perhaps fool us into adopting “shared memories.” (Memory is not shared.  Memory is inherently personal.  More on that, another time.)

But maps – maps are different.  Maps are in my blood, or maybe my neurons.

I’ve poured over trail maps of places I may never see.  I’ve put myself to sleep on numerous occasions by re-reading my 1972 AMC trail guide (the old orange-covered one, sized for backpacking) in my own bed.  Like my father, I can remember routes through cities that I’ve only traveled once or twice, and I get distinctly uncomfortable when I can’t tell which way is north.  So back when I traveled regularly I always picked up a local map.

I guess I’ll weed through this pile and pick a few that hold special meaning or utility.  Hopefully, the rest will make their way to some flea market, and other map-obsessed minds will wade through them.

2 thoughts on “Where Have I Been?

  1. In some library that I visited there was a book filled with maps of imaginary places – those locations drawn from fantasy and fiction. It was a beautifully illustrated oversized books and I spent a good deal of time pouring over the maps of places I have imagined. Spending time in the careful company of a map is a bit like traveling anyway. As for GPS.. I have had the experience of being the passenger with someone who got lost using their GPS because they only had access to the information that was being shown (or spoken) to them. In one situation we ended up in a grocery store looking for maps until the customer service person and several locals spread a couple maps out on the counter and talked us back onto our route. As far as I am concerned – a person can never have too many maps.. But I would get rid of the brochures unless you wanted to do a destination collage on the top of a coffeetable..

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