Many of you know how I love maps. In the office, I gather maps from everywhere. Give me a map and I keep it. Why do I love them so much? If you are going to sightsee in a city, I always suggest my favorite maps MapEasy.com. You can get them online or often at your favorite bookstore. If you are driving in Europe, I suggest Michelin maps. In America, call AAA for maps. I always have a map. Why?
Maps give me a relationship between where I have been and where I am going!
A GPS just tells you where you are and the next turn. You cannot see where you were or where you are going. And you will never know where you are going, just where you are. For me, how can I get there if I do not know where I am going?
Some GPS’s have a small map on their screen. I saw one that showed the driver going up the screen, implying going north, as most maps the top is north. I knew we were driving due south. How confusing was that? Where are you going to southern or northern France? My map shows me loudly and clearly.
Maps can also show you there may be another way! The GPS will usually give you the most direct route, often a highway. Maps have divided and solid red roads, yellow and black roads. Yellow and black roads usually are local or older ‘off’ roads. Driving these will allow you to experience the region. These roads travel through small towns, yes with stop lights, but you will see the people along the way. How they live! You may learn a bit from them. You will see their architecture of homes, churches and shops. Are they wooden or stone, the kind of stone? What kind of roofs; thatched, tile or slate? There is so much to learn and experience when you drive ‘off’ road. And how will you know how to drive ‘off’ road without a map?
With the map you can decide not just a different way but your way!
Exploring a map prior to the drive will help me learn not just where and how I am going but what is the terrain going to be. Will there be hills and valleys, or water ways? In looking at a map of Tuscany in Italy one can quickly see the chain of ancient volcanoes, and the lakes in their center may be very high up.
Exploring a map can help me plan my day. Where is a good place to stop for lunch and other pit stops? Maybe there is some place along the way for a quick detour. I would not wan to miss a famous abbey, home, museum or cave! By driving up the hillside there may be a beautiful view of the valley below.
You learn something by looking at a map. To learn and experience is one of my secrets to finding joy in my life’s journey.