Journey.

GPS is a great tool for getting you where you want to go. It’s all about the destinationCase in point: Make a turn other than it recommends and it will quickly reroute to put you back on track. Try and make a detour (swing by the bank or stop at the grocery store) and it practically has a fit trying to get you to go where you said you wanted to go.

An old-fashioned map, on the other hand, supports such diversions – it suggests and invites them. All those parks and historic towns just off the beaten path, the sites and attractions you never realized are quite where they are – suddenly the place you were trying to get to seems like a boring old dot that can wait a bit, if you’ll even decide to get there at all.

Then there’s the amazing Triptik of AAA lore – the best of both worlds. A personalized highlighted line (there was always a certain thrill in watching the agent mark your path) leading you to where you wanted to go – eventually – but it did so across a series of narrow pages that gave just enough peripheral geographic vision to support the whimsy of meandering and exploration.

Do AAA offices still do that? I suppose the concept is all but obsolete. But here’s what I’d like: To sit down with an agent in the place I’m at right now and explain where I started, nearly 40 years ago and several states away. “Can you draw me a line,” I’d ask, “show me the path that led me to where I am today? I wouldn’t change it for the world – but how on earth did I get here??”

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3 thoughts on “Journey.

  1. Betsy says:

    The great tragedy is that some oeople rely entirely on the GPS and ignore their human impulse to vary from the named destination and just experience the journey.

    Like

  2. Claire says:

    Traveling with my sister this summer in a brand new place, I was driving and she was in charge of navigation. We set out to go where we needed to go and the gps kept telling us to exit and my sister kept saying that we needed to go another 10 miles before we exited. And so we kept driving only to realize that the gps did not want us to exit, it wanted us to turn around. We were headed in the wrong direction. Surely the gps should have some function that says “go back! You are headed in the wrong direction!” But it does not. And surely that is telling as well. You have to actually exit from the highway and figure out where you are before you can really see if you are going in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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